Friday, January 16, 2009
I imagine it's ethnically insensitive of me, but here goes: I expect all our Latin stars to be able to sing and dance. And it seems to be true, dating back to our earliest glimpses of stars such as Ricardo Montalban, whom we lost this week. Before he was Mr. Roarke, before he was Khan, before he luxuriated in fine Corinthian Leather, he was a song and dance man. Maybe I should say, a tango-and-salsa man. Oops, there I go again. Whatever. I wish I could find an online clip of Montalban as "El Gallo" in The Fantasticks, a role he played in the early 60s for television. (That was back when theatrical musicals had a regular place on TV.) I have a copy of that version, only 60 minutes long and in grainy black and white. Bert Lahr is playing one of the fathers, and a very young John Davidson plays the boy. But it is Montalban who steals the show as narrator-bandit El Gallo, crooning "Try to Remember" and breaking the girl's heart. In lieu of that, please enjoy one of the many musical numbers which Montalban performed in his days as a film contract player.