METhinker01.jpg

The Flagon with the Dragon

dannykaye04

And while you're programming your DVR or VCR, you might want to note that overnight, Saturday into Sunday, Turner is showing an awful lot of movies that Danny Kaye was in: Up in Arms, Merry Andrew, The Kid From Brooklyn, The Inspector General, Me and the Colonel, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Hans Christian Andersen, The Court Jester, A Song is Born, Wonder Man and The Man From the Diner's Club.

It kicks off at 3 AM with a 1963 episode of The Danny Kaye Show, the star's variety series that I enjoyed so much back then. I believe they're running one with Gene Kelly and Michele Lee but don't hold me to that. Later in the mix, TCM is sharing a 90-minute episode of The Dick Cavett Show with Mr. Kaye…and then there are all those movies, some of which are quite splendid. If you have to pick just one to watch, go with The Court Jester. If you don't love him in that, there's no point trying any other Danny Kaye movie.

Speaking of being a jester: At the Danny Kaye tribute at the Paley Center last month, I got to meet David Koenig, author of an expertly-researched new book on the man, King of Jesters. There are a number of books around that make Kaye out to be a pretty miserable human being…and indeed, a lot of those who worked with him reported great conflict. They loved the guy when performing and loathed him when not performing. Koenig's book seems to me to strike a good balance and to give its subject the benefit of most doubts while not attempting to whitewash his shortcomings. Here's an Amazon link to order a copy if you'd like to read what may be the best book anyone will ever write about the wondrous (if mercurial) talents of Danny Kaye.

And while we're at it: Monday night, TCM is running five Dick Van Dyke movies. You've no doubt seen Bye Bye Birdie and perhaps Cold Turkey. Ah, but have you seen Divorce American Style? Or Fitzwilly? How about Some Kind of Nut? Well, now you can. The last two aren't quite worthy of their star but they have their moments…