To close this weeks series of original versions of movie themes that my trio and I (redundant? is just ‘my trio’ enough?) performed last week, here’s the first screen appearance of Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley’s iconic ‘The Candy Man’, from ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ (1971). The singer is Aubrey Woods, a respected English actor/singer/writer whose rather wide-ranging career is nicely covered in this obit from The Guardian (Woods died in 2013). I’ve also included a duet version featuring Anthony Newley and Sammy Davis Jr. , whose hit record of the song wa still going strong at the time of this appearance from the ‘Chevrolet Presents: Burt Bacharach TV Special’ in 1972. The Woods film version is nicely staged, with Woods throwing around so much candy that one wonders if the inventory count later that day will result in his firing. As for the Sammy/Newley appearance, the second stanza (or the second ‘A’ of the chorus) has been eliminated for some reason. Sammy is very Sammy and Anthony Newley is just…odd. He was revered in his day for his multi-talented charismatic persona but time hasn’t treated him well and this appearance, along with a couple of very uncomfortable Johnny Carson appearances from the mid-70s that I recently watched, is a stark reminder that performance styles often change and what once looked like a classy, buttoned up, groovy/cool/hip/of the moment thing can wind up seeming awfully dated. For further discussion on this topic, see any Al Jolson material…


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