Art Vs Commerce: End of History (1960s)

1964

Two iconic ladies of musical theatre took on the silver screen in 1964, and together they revived the big Hollywood musical. One was the awards darling, and one ruled the box office… but only beat out the other by a single million dollars. Close race. Close, close race.

So really it feels like there’s only one thing to do.

Gonna need a beat.

EPIC RAP BATTLES OF MUSICAL HISTORY!

And The Oscar Goes To…

ELIZA DOOLITTLE!

VERSUS!

The Box Office Champ

MARY POPPINS!

BEGIN!

The name’s Doolittle but I’m gonna do plenty
Carving out a place with the fancy and the gentry!
A simple flower girl but my plans they ain’t stop,
Gonna prove I’m the cream, I’m gonna rise to the top!

Move in with my sponsor Henry Higgins,
Learn to talk proper, the rich’ll be wiggin’
Hit the fancy ball and I’m sure to surprise ya
When even posh princes want to dance with Eliza!

I’m a box office smash with a pile o’ Oscar gold
And I know the one reason I leave dear Mary cold.
On stage Julie Andrews gave Eliza the gift o’ gob,
But you were small potatoes, so Aubrey Hepburn took yer job!

I’m Miss Mary Poppins, my success is uncanny,
As I am the world’s greatest and OG Supernanny.
I drift through the clouds to save the family Banks
Then float back away, no need to say thanks.

Live action and cartoon simultaneously employed
To bring new heights to the Empire of Joy.
My box office triumph is unquestionably great,
For I was Mr. Walt Disney’s biggest hit to date.

You scream you’re a good girl all night and all day,
But I’m practically perfect, perfect in every way.
Aubrey took Eliza but Poppins surely prospered,
With a million more dollars and a Best Actress Oscar.

Keep your one acting Oscar, I won’t take it too rough.
Picture, director, two actors, I think we got enough.
The words you throw around are stranger than fiction,
You could use a Henry Higgins style lesson in diction.

The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain,
Mess with Doolittle, even Higgins feels the pain.
I conquered the elite and I sure ain’t stoppin’,
So don’t step to Eliza or I will mark you, Poppins.

Oh pish posh, put those claws away dear,
I’m the most iconic nanny, I’ve got nothing to fear.
I teach children and parents the best ways of living,
You get used by a bully that you wind up forgiving.

His “I’m cruel to everyone” is hardly an excuse.
I’d stick my magic carpet bag up his blowhard caboose.
I sing my own songs, your voice they augment,
And my dear Liz, what is that awful accent?

On stage and on screen I make the crowds swoon,
You had to “augment” yourself into a Disney cartoon.
I know me cockney words won’t make your ears hurt,
Not after hearing the nonsense coming out of Bert.

His accent is atrocious, his lyrics even worse,
He couldn’t chim-chiminey chim-chim come up with a whole verse.
I could’ve danced all night, but your moves are looking sparse,
So you both can step in time and move your bloomin’ arse!

In every job that must be done there is an element of fun,
So I’ll enjoy this little battle which I’ve already won.
You’re not a player, not a lady, you’re a sweet amuse bouche
For some super callous fragile ego empty hollow douche!

Your professor might have grown accustomed to your face,
Get accustomed to my back, you’re behind in this race.
Your attempts to dethrone me simply don’t hold any water,
I’ll make you kneel before me like Mr. Disney did my author.

And Rotten Tomatoes Says: My Fair Lady comes in right under West Side Story at #49 (fair), with a score of 95% and an adjusted score of 100.496%. Mary Poppins scored slightly higher, so RT sides with the masses on this one.

What’s Good, Hays Code? Oh, nothing’s challenging the Code here. Just some simple family fun, officer. Well… Eliza did yell “Arse,” that might have been a no-no when the Code first started.

Other Events in Film

  • This Year in Bond: James Bond showed up in two movies in 1964… man they could fire out a sequel back then… From Russia With Love gave us our first glimpse of early Bond nemesis and SPECTRE leader Ernst Stavro Blofeld, but Goldfinger solidified Bond as an icon, with no SPECTRE, but Oddjob, Pussy Galore, “No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die,” more gadgets, and more than double Russia’s box office.
  • A different icon (or two) was introduced when Peter Sellers debuted Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther and another rapid-fire sequel, A Shot in the Dark.
  • Elsewhere, Sellers teamed up with Stanley Kubrick for Dr. Strangelove, man Peter Sellers was busy that year.
  • Beatlemania came to the big screen with the band’s first movie, A Hard Day’s Night. Seems like a weird vanity project now, but Elvis was on his 14th movie by that point (Kissing Cousins), so, sure.
  • The first novel adaptation of I Am Legend, The Last Man on Earth with Vincent Price, came out in ’64. There’ve been three such adaptations and only one actually used the name of the book.
  • Over in Japan, Godzilla took on Mothra. Round one went to the giant lizard, but when fighting Mothra, never turn your back on the larva. Don’t worry, they made up and joined forces for Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster the same year.
  • Parts of the Rat Pack reassembled for Robin and the 7 Hoods.
  • Over in Italy, an enterprising filmmaker named Sergio Leone adapted the samurai flick Yojimbo, lured Clint Eastwood over to Italy, and created the Spaghetti Western genre with A Fistful of Dollars.
  • B-movie fans will note the release of Kitten With a Whip, in which Ann-Margret uttered the immortal line “You think you’re something when you’re nothing painted blue.”
  • Immortal being Keanu Reeves pretends to have been born in ’64, but we all know he’s walked the Earth for centuries, don’t we.

Next Page: Andrews Uber Alles

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