December 28, 2018

Friday (Moderated) Open Thread (122818)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items which they believe need to be known. Rules are here.

Positivity: Composer of music for ‘Grinch’ went to CCM after escaping Nazi Germany

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Cincinnati:

Published 9:44 p.m. ET Dec. 24, 2018

It took just three minutes for Albert Hague to convince Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, that he should write the music for the Grinch.

Geisel had written lyrics for the 1966 animated television special based on his children’s book, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” and was looking for a composer.

Hague was a 1942 graduate of the College of Music of Cincinnati, formerly located next to Music Hall and now part of the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music.

He recounted his audition to UC Magazine editor Deborah Rieselman in 1997.

Hague had insisted that Geisel come to his house because he had the better piano, then played his composition for the imaginative put-downs in “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”

“Afterward, Seuss looked up and said, ‘Anyone who slides an octave on the word Grinch gets the job.’ The whole thing took three minutes,” Hague told Rieselman.

The 1966 animated show will air at 8 p.m. Dec. 25 on NBC-TV, followed at 8:30 p.m. by the 2000 film version, according to the network’s online schedule.

“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” was directed by Chuck Jones and narrated by Boris Karloff. The Grinch song was sung uncredited by Thurl Ravenscroft, the voice of Tony the Tiger.

The Grinch has become a staple of the holidays, with the TV show ranked by Time magazine as one of the 10 best holiday specials. Hague’s theme song was used in both the 2000 and 2018 film versions, including a new rendition of the song by rapper Tyler, the Creator.

Getting to that fateful audition with Dr. Seuss was a long, winding path for Hague.

He was born Albert Marcuse in Berlin in 1920. According to Hague’s 2001 obituary in the New York Times, his father was a psychiatrist and his mother was a champion chess player. The family was Jewish but believed it was safer in Germany at that time to identify as Lutheran.

“I grew up in a tough neighborhood,” Hague once remarked, “Nazi Germany.”

In 1937, before Hague could be inducted into the Hitler Youth, he and his mother escaped to Rome. Family members then helped arrange for Hague to attend the College of Music in Cincinnati on a scholarship.

To give him legal standing to stay in the United States, he was adopted by Dr. Eliott B. Hague, an eye surgeon with close ties to the college.

While in school, Hague played both boogie-woogie music in nightclubs and classic piano concerts, including a performance with acclaimed Russian pianist and composer Sergei Rachmaninoff.

“You want to know about nervous?” Hague told Rieselman. “Let me tell you, playing piano for Rachmaninoff – that’s nervous.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.