Monday, November 07, 2016


As I've noted in the past, either there is weaker editing in books these days or I'm getting better at catching mistakes.  One thing I've noticed about these errors is they're much more likely to occur on subjects beyond the main one the author is writing about. Let me give you a few recent examples to demonstrate.

Peter Filichia's Strippers, Showgirls And Sharks is about shows that didn't win the Tony for best musical (the title refers to the trio of Gypsy (lost to The Sound Of Music and Fiorello!) Follies (lost to Two Gentlemen Of Verona) and West Side Story (lost to The Music Man)).  In one chapter he discusses the enchanting She Loves Me, which lost to Hello, Dolly!

He relates the plot of She Loves Me, which is adapted from an Hungarian play. Filichia describes the delightful way book writer Joe Masteroff has one character let the leading man know his secret love and pen pal is also the woman he can't stand who works with them in their shop.  Except that the dialogue that Filichia quotes is almost taken word for word from how it's done in The Shop Around The Corner, a movie adaptation of the same play released more than twenty years before She Loves Me opened.

Filichia knows his way around Broadway.  He's 70 years old and has seen most of the production he discusses.  But I guess he's not as big a movie fan that he wouldn't recognize who took what from where.

Then there's Jennifer Keishin Armstrong's Seinfeldia, a book about, sure enough, Seinfeld.  She discusses the careers of the main cast members before they joined to make TV history.  She notes that Jason Alexander was a major Broadway star, having won a Tony for his performance in Jerome Robbins' Broadway.

She describes his role, however, as "an aspiring comedy writer." She's obviously confused the musical revue, where Alexander plays numerous parts--none of which are comedy writers--with another play Alexander was in, Neil Simon's Broadway Bound.  An easy mistake to make, I suppose, if your expertise is TV, and not the stage.  She could have used Peter Filichia's help.

Finally, we have Peter James Carlin's Homeward Bound: The Life Of Paul Simon.  Simon and Garfunkel played the Monterey Pop Festival, and Carlin's right on it.  But when he mentions The Association, another act on the schedule, he states one of their hits was "Here Comes Windy."

It's clear, in the little time Carlin discusses the band, he doesn't think much of them, but they deserve better than this.  I think "Here Comes Windy" is some sort of mash-up of two big Association hits, "Along Comes Mary" and "Windy." (Actually, I like the sound of "Here Comes Windy." Sort of "Here Comes The Sun" with different weather.)

It was odd--in that it seemed unnecessary--how dismissive Carlin was of The Association. Perhaps he, or at least his editors, should have spent just a few minutes more to look up the names of their songs.


Blogger New England Guy said...

It's only an article but its related to your point. This morning in my daily email from the local news aggregator, they turned their attention to FBI Director's letter yesterday and called it his "Roseanna Roseannadanna moment" clearly confusing it with one of Gilda Radner's other characters. What's worse is that the link embedded in the article was to a Youtube video of Emily Litela. I'm assuming the editor of that piece is a millennial...

10:37 AM, November 07, 2016  

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