Wednesday, February 27, 2008


George Gershwin (September 26, 1898 – July 11, 1937) was an American composer. He wrote most of his vocal and theatrical works in collaboration with his elder brother, lyricist Ira Gershwin.

George Gershwin composed songs both for Broadway and for the classical concert hall. He also wrote popular songs with success.

Early in 1937, Gershwin began to complain of blinding headaches and a recurring impression that he was smelling burned rubber. He had developed a brain tumor. In June, he performed in a special concert of his music with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra under the direction of French maestro Pierre Monteux. It was in Hollywood, while working on the score of The Goldwyn Follies, that he collapsed and, on July 11, 1937, died at the age of 38 at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital following surgery for the tumor.
[from Wikipedia]

Those are the facts, as laid out in the real world. However, in the TV Universe, we're left to deal with a twist in that reality. In the 'Poirot' mystery, "Sad Cypress", retired Belgian detective Hercule Poirot picks up a newspaper before taking a taxi to the library. The news vendor is hawking the edition's big story as "Gershwin Dies". We even see the story in Poirot's newspaper.

And yet, on the opposing page, there is this obituary notice:
How could it be that Gershwin's death didn't become news in England until two months later?

Maybe there wasn't the instant communication system we have today via the Internet, but the people in 1937 had access to the telephone, telegrams, MAIL! - which would have crossed the Atlantic much faster than it would appear by this story. I don't know why - or how - but the life of George Gershwin's televersion must have died September 16th of 1937 as well.

But then again, maybe it's best to employ the Toobworld version of Occam's Razor and go for the simpler splainin: the typsetter at the paper made a mistake with the notice of Mrs. Welman's death. It should have read that she died in July, not September.

Perhaps the typesetter was drunk, upset over the news about Gershwin.

Young Indiana Jones met the famous composer twice in his life, in June and August of 1920. Introduced by a mutual friend, they jammed together in New York and Gershwin introduced him to some of the leading names in theatre (George White, Irving Berlin) as well as to its critics (Dorothy Parker, Alexander Wolcott). Later that year, Gershwin got Indy a job in Hollywood working with Carl Laemmle, Erich Von Stroheim, and John Ford. (Both encounters can be found in 'The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles' in the episodes "Young Indiana Jones And The Scandal of 1920" and "Young Indiana Jones And The Hollywood Follies".)

The televersion of George Gershwin didn't quit the stage, as it were, once he died. About fifty years after his death, Gershwin's spirit was summoned via a psychic to provide inspiration for Jo-Jo Gillespie, a Broadway lyricist, after he split with his partner Jerry Lane. What kept the ghost earthbound was "Gershwin's Trunk", as recounted in the episode from 'Amazing Stories'.

Toby OB

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