Friday, September 30, 2011

Potayto, Potahto, Tomayto, Tomahto

Just as there is only one Cher and only one Elvis (but truth in blogging compels me to tell you that there actually are three Elvises -- Elvis Presley, Elvis Costello who was born Declan Patrick MacManus, and Elvis Stoyko the ice-skater from Canada; I do not say that there are multiple Chers), there was also only one Ella and only one Louie. In case you are unfamiliar with them, they were Ella Fitzgerald (1917 - 1996) and Louis Armstrong (1901 - 1971).

Here they are collaborating on “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” (4:18), a song written by George and Ira Gershwin (who were born Jacob and Israel Gershowitz) for the 1937 film Shall We Dance where it was introduced by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers as part of a celebrated dance duet on roller skates.

Israel Gershowitz (Ira Gershwin) should not be confused with Israel Balin (Irving Berlin). Did you know that Jack Benny’s real name was Benny Kubelsky and Tony Curtis’s real name was Bernie Schwarz? Or that Marilyn Monroe was Norma Jean Baker and John Wayne was Marion Morris? But I digress.

I do apologize for the unflattering caricatures of Ella and Louie in the video clip. I do not apologize, however, for the music.

Speaking of a celebrated dance duet on roller skates, here are the one and only Fred and Ginger (1:01). At least this time Ginger didn’t have to do everything backwards and in high heels. Here they are in a more traditional role without the wheels (2:27).


  1. We call them tayties! When I was a child, there was a school holiday called 'taytie picking week' when we all helped on the local farms to gather in the crop. Back breaking but necessary. Now machines do the picking and the children get an ordinary half term.
    Love Fred Astaire... x

  2. Elizabeth, over here across the pond folks say "taters" and "maters"...I remember digging up potatoes in my parents' garden, and by "garden" I mean about half an acre of various kinds of vegetables.
    Thanks for commenting.

  3. Thank YOU for being a friend when I needed one most, Bob. It's easy to be around someone when all is sunshine and light, but only true friends stick by when someone's falling apart and things aren't pretty...and I appreciate it very, very much. This year and especially this last month has been the hardest of my life, but I'm not going to let it defeat me, despite the jokers and those whose intention was only ever to hurt me. Stick around - the sunshine and light are returning and they are going to be brighter and more illuminative than ever before. Fair weather friends are ten a penny; those who weather the storm and hold the sails secure are treasure beyond price. xx

  4. Elizabeth, what a touching comment. May you (and yours) and I (and mine) always be the type who weather the storm and hold the sails secure.

    I especially liked your Rosh Hashanah post.