Friday, July 4, 2014
Today's look-back is a variety of clips about several all-American historical subjects: The Pledge of Allegiance, The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, not all from TV but most of them! (The only caution I give is that if you view these directly on YouTube and read the comments, you'd think that some of the U.S. population is made up of a bunch of racist, intolerant flag-wavers without a sense of history or modicum of respect...and I guess you night be right.)
Let's look at the Pledge of Allegiance. Actor Red Skelton was famous for delivering a tribute to the Pledge on his TV show and at other venues. It's a remembrance of one of his schoolteachers who explains the Pledge. You can't deny Red's sincerity in this charming monologue:
Here's a different clip from 1976 where Red talks directly to a bunch of little kids about the Pledge:
This audio is from a record John Wayne made celebrating his idea of America:
A short clip from the Why We Fight informational short subject motion picture series made in 1945:
Here's a short segment from the 1949 movie The Red Pony, with Peter Miles as the boy and Margaret Hamilton -- The Wicked Witch of the West -- as the schoolteacher.
This clip is from the movie The Great Man Votes from 1939, starring John Barrymore.
Here's another Pledge movie clip, this time from The Bells of St. Mary's starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman, from 1945:
How about a little Declaration of Independence now, with this clip from the wonderful HBO miniseries John Adams starring Paul Giamatti in the title role:
I didn't grow up during the Schoolhouse Rock era but it's fondly remembered and here's their take on The Constitution:
How about a bunch of Hollywood celebrities reading the Declaration of Independence?
Of course I have to get my favorite President Abraham Lincoln in here, so let's take a look at robot Lincoln doing his speech from Disney's Hall of President from a few years back:
Now we get the best for last, perhaps. First, an adorable clip from the Warner Bros. cartoon "Old Glory" with Porky Pig reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. To view the entire cartoon -- and it's an exciting rotoscoped ride through U.S. history -- click here.
How could we not end with this sequence from Star Trek episode "The Omega Glory" where William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk magnificently explains the meaning of the words from the Constitution. Kirk, Spock and McCoy meet up with inhabitants of a distant planet who have been mis-reciting a version of it left by another Starship visit, and it's up to Kirk to set them straight. Classic Shatner! (You might also like to see a lovely homage to this by Kirk fan Darren Dochterman on his Kirk's Korner, here.)
It doesn't get any better than heartfelt Captain Kirk! (I used to dislike this episode, not necessarily because it wasn't a good one but because the Viewmaster folks had chosen THIS episode for their incredible 3-D treatment, and there were so many others more colorful, fun, whatever they should have picked!)
Happy Fourth of July everybody!