The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Monday, May 16, 2011

The John Belushi-Joe Piscopo-Eddie Murphy Syndrome

           I was listening to Sam and Dave's version of the song "Soul Man" yesterday on a CD in the car.  Usually I like the original version better than remakes, but not in this case.

           I prefer the Blues Brothers' cover.

This is a sculpture of the Blues Brothers; it's in the Chicago airport...

           Perhaps it's because the song is part of a great soundtrack and a funny movie. (I mean, come on! Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles and Cab Calloway...It couldn't get much better!) Perhaps it because the brass is a little more prominent in the Blues Brother's version than Sam and Dave's. (Or so I'd like to try and convince myself.) Or perhaps it's because there's the element of humor---even as they sing---in Belushi and Ankroyd's voices.

          And it got me thinking about something I've considered several times during the 10 or 12 decades I've been alive so far.

          What is it about some comedians who---when they immerse themselves in playing certain characters (like Joe Cocker, or Frank Sinatra) they cast off their comedian's coccoon and morph into a singer? I really don't think they have had great vocal ability all along...I think something happens to them when they allow themselves to become completely enveloped in a character.

           (And here it comes, Hope...Wait for it...)

          As writers, doesn't something happen to us when we immerse ourselves in our characters?  I know I'm not the only one who gestures or works on a task or gallops to the car and I become a character for a moment. Or, I contemplate how I would describe the gesture, the movement, if I was a character in the story.

        Perhaps there are some gifted comedians who are chameleons...And when we write well, we get into the skin of the characters we create... 

          At least that's our hope...           


  1. The infamous hope... the transformation awaits as our characters come to life.

  2. Oh yeah, the traits I some times take on. I'm completely unrecognizable.

  3. Hi Sioux,
    I love the music of Sam and Dave! "Hold on, I'm Coming" is one of my favorites.

    As to your question--at times I do get into my character. It's weird.


  4. Yup, I agree with all of it! I once read that some writers of the most exciting fiction are truly boring human beings in real life. I think the escape is maybe part of the fun of writing, too?

  5. I agree with everything, too!! AND, I, too, prefer The Blues Brothers version of "Soul Man"! I bought an LP of theirs at a garage sale years ago and still play it sometimes. (I have one of those combo turntable, cassette player, CD Player, am/fm radio thingys!)And to add a comment to Tammy's....I've seen Steve Martin in interviews and most times he is very "un" funny! Almost to the point of boring!

  6. Considering some of the characters I've been writing about lately, I hope I don't get too far into them, LOL! By the way, introduced my kids to the Blue Brothers movie last month. The loved it!

  7. Anyone who sees me alone in the car probably thinks I'm nuts. I work out scenes before I write them---mostly the dialogue, because it sounds different if you say it, you know? Anyway, when I'm in the car driving down the highway is a good time to have those two character conversations. All by myself. Just me, myself & I. And the characters in my story. LOL

  8. Dahling, sometimes Babs, my alter ego who writes my Objets D'art blog, takes over my mouth and makes me say something terrifically droll about little people or debutantes. But only sometimes.


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