DCS: france gall

Poupée de cire, poupée de son

France Gall won the 1965 Eurovision Song Contest with “Poupée de cire, poupée de son,” penned by French songwriter Serge Gainsbourg.  It was the first non-ballad song to win the competition. The song, a sort of double meaning of the phrase “rag doll,” implied a Svengali-like power Gainsbourg possessed over his young protege, as well as the traditional implications of a child’s toy. The song’s popularity led France Gall to record versions in German, Italian and Japanese for international distribution.

In 1966, France recorded another song written by Gainsbourg called “Les Sucettes.” The song was wildly popular, due, mostly, to its risqué lyrics. “Les Sucettes,” on the surface, seemed to be a song about a young girl’s love of lollipops, but the lyrics are rampant with double entendres alluding to oral sex. France, a naïve 18-year old, did not understand the double meaning of the song when she recorded it. She was mortified when she finally learned the truth about the song’s double meaning. She shunned the press and stayed in hiding for weeks. Feeling betrayed by the adults that ran her career, she severed all ties with Gainsbourg and refused to perform any of his songs for the rest of her career, despite requests and their popularity.

Her song “Laisse tomber les filles” was rewritten with English lyrics by singer April march as “Chick Habit,” and was played over the closing credits of Quentin Tarantino’s film Grindhouse.  France’s former lover, singer Claude Francois, met with composer Jacques Revaux. He told of his failed relationship with France, inspiring Revaux to write “Comme d’habitude,” which was later rewritten with English lyrics by Paul Anka as “My Way.”

In January 2018, after a two-year battle with cancer, France died at age 70.



IF: guitar

I remember everything!
I remember every little thing as if it happened only yesterday.
I was barely 17 and I once killed a boy with a fender guitar.
I don’t remember if it was a Telecaster or a Stratocaster, but I do remember
That it had a heart of chrome and a voice like a horny angel.
I don’t remember if it was a Telecaster or a Stratocaster, but I do remember
That it wasn’t at all easy.
It required the perfect combination of the right power chords
and the precise angle
From which to strike.
The guitar bled for about a week afterwards and the blood was
Dark and rich like wild berries.
The blood of the guitar was Chuck Berry red!
The guitar bled for about a week afterwards and it rung out beautifully,
And I was able to play notes that I had never even heard before.
So I took my guitar and I smashed it against the wall!!
I smashed it against the floor!!
I smashed it against the body of a varsity cheerleader!!
I smashed it against the hood of a car
I smashed it against a 1981 Harley Davidson…
The Harley howled in pain, the guitar howled in heat!
I ran up the stairs to my parents bedroom
Mommy and Daddy were sleeping in the moonlight
Slowly I opened the door creeping in the shadows right up to the foot of the bed
I raised my guitar high above my head and
Just as I was about to bring the guitar crashing down upon the center of the bed
My father woke up screaming:
“Stop! Wait a minute! Stop it,boy!
what do you think you’re doing???
That’s no way to treat an expensive musical instrument!”
And I said “God damn it, Daddy!!! You know I love you…..

Love and Death and An American Guitar by Jim Steinman



DCS: jerry van dyke

me and my shadow

Despite a surprisingly successful career, Jerry Van Dyke spent most of it in the shadow of his older brother Dick. His talents were often compared to Dick’s successes. Granted, Jerry made some questionable career choices, but he was an in-demand, working actor for the better part of six decades.

A budding stand-up comedian in his native Danville, Illinois, Jerry made a memorable splash in a first season episode of his brother’s sitcom, The Dick Van Dyke Show, playing, of all things, Dick Van Dyke’s brother. He went to make three more appearances on the show.

A guest appearance on The Andy Griffith Show led to an offer to replace the departed Don Knotts (who signed a five-film contract with Universal Pictures) as Mayberry’s deputy sheriff. He declined that offer, as well as one to star in the title role on Sherwood Schwartz’s new sitcom Gilligan’s Island. Jerry, instead, chose to star in the short-lived, often derided My Mother, The Car. The inane show, which lasted a single season, featured Jerry as a family man whose late mother is reincarnated as a 1928 Porter automobile. After My Mother, The Car was canceled, Jerry joined the cast of Accidental Family, another show that was canceled after 16 episodes.

Jerry was a frequent guest on popular sitcoms, including appearances on single episodes of Gomer Pyle, USMC, Good Morning World, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and even his brother’s new series The New Dick Van Dyke Show. He took a regular role on Headmaster in 1970, a new Andy Griffith project, but the series was canceled after only season.

He kept busy with live appearances in nightclubs throughout the United States, until 1989, when he took the supporting role of befuddled “Luther Van Dam” on the sitcom Coach. The series, which ran for a whopping nine seasons, earned Jerry four Emmy nominations. Jerry continued to land recurring roles on popular series like Charles in Charge, Yes Dear, My Name is Earl, Raising Hope and The Middle. He was the commercial spokesperson for Hardee’s Hamburgers and Big Lots discount stores.

Jerry was married twice. His first marriage lasted nearly 20 years and produced three children, including actress Kelly Jean Van Dyke. Kelly, who performed in pornographic films under the name “Nancee Kelly,” was married to actor Jack Nance, a favorite of director David Lynch and best known for the title role of Eraserhead. Kelly, a longtime drug abuser, hanged herself in 1991.

Jerry was involved in a serious car accident in 2016 and had been in declining health as a result. He passed away at his Arkansas ranch in January 2018 at the age of 86.



IF: the letter a

Yes, I would just like to say I'm sailing with the rock, and I'll be back, like Independence Day, with Jesus. June 6, like the movie. Big mother ship and all, I'll be back, I'll be back.

In the one-year span, between November 1989 and November 1990, Aileen Wuornos, a prostitute, murdered seven men by shooting them at point-blank range with a .22 caliber handgun. She claimed that each killing was performed in self-defense. She was captured and brought to trial, subsequently sentenced to death.

In her final interview before her execution, Aileen’s last words were: “Thanks a lot, society, for railroading my ass.”



DCS: carolyn craig


Just out of her teens, aspiring actress Carolyn Craig landed small roles in a variety of TV shows, including a few Westerns and popular anthology series. Moving to the big screen, she was cast as “Lacey Lynnton,” Elizabeth Taylor‘s sister, in 1956’s Giant, James Dean‘s final film. She followed that role with the female lead in 1957’s Portland Exposé, a tale of union struggles, and Apache Territory with costar Rory Calhoun in 1958. In 1959, she was part of the ensemble cast led by Vincent Price in William Castle‘s House on Haunted Hill.

She made the jump back to television with roles in many series – both comedy and drama – throughout the 50s and 60s, including Perry Mason, General Hospital, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, My Three Sons and the Westerns Laramie and  The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp. Her final role was a guest shot on the spy series T.H.E. Cat starring Robert Loggia in 1967.

In 1970, Carolyn died from a self-inflicted gunshot. She was 36 years old.



DCS: rose marie


Rose Marie did it all. One of the few survivors from vaudeville, she began her career delighting audiences as a three-year-old songstress. Rose Marie made her mark in film, radio, records, theater, night clubs and television, over a career that spanned nine decades. Nine!

Enjoying a career in short films, where she appeared alongside W. C. Fields, Rose Marie also starred on her own radio show in the 30s. She released recordings on Vitaphone Records, accompanied by famed bandleader Fletcher Henderson. She broke into nightclubs with the help of mobsters Al Capone and Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel. She performed at the grand opening of Siegel’s Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas in 1946.

On television, she is best remembered for her role as “Sally Rogers,” the comedy writer who was always on the lookout for a husband, on The Dick Van Dyke Show. She later costarred on The Doris Day Show as “Myrna,” the title character’s office pal. Rose Marie was a frequent panelist on Hollywood Squares. She also had guest roles dozens of TV series including My Three Sons, two episodes of The Monkees and a recurring role in S.W.A.T. In 1966, she starred with Dick Van Dyke Show alum Morey Amsterdam in a seriously silly, but seriously funny film called Don’t Worry, We’ll Think of a Title, that also featured Dick Van Dyke Show costar Richard Deacon.

For nearly a decade, Rose Marie toured in the musical revue 4 Girls 4 with Rosemary Clooney, Helen O’Connell, and Margaret Whiting.

Most recently, Rose Marie was the subject of a career retrospective documentary called Wait for Your Laugh, that she was promoting when she passed away in December 2017 at the age of 94.