Wednesday, July 4, 2007

4th of July

Alright, go ahead and call me a geek. Whatever.

One of my favorite movies of all time is "1776". I was never even familiar with this show until after I graduated from high school in 1976. At the time I was dating a guy (from our RIVAL school, I might add) who was involved in band and plays, like I was. His community always put on a play during the summer and he was usually involved with it, so if I wanted to spend any time with him, well, I had to get involved too.

The production that year was "1776" and there were many male roles, but only two female rolls. Now don't start jumping ahead here...I did NOT try out for one of the female roles. Being that I was not FROM this particular town, I wouldn't have had a chance in H*LL of getting it, so I did the next best thing...I played in the orchestra! And here I thought I would never get my trumpet out again. It was actually fun, sort of showing off my talents (cough cough) to a small group who had never had to deal with someone from their rival town, hahaha. I was accepted very easily into the group. Of course it didn't hurt that the guy I was dating was very popular with all of them.

Each night I played in the orchestra and listened to the entire show. There were certain songs that I really enjoyed and looked forward to hearing and playing every evening. Being that the year was our nation's bicentennial, everyone was into anything even close to patriotic, so each performance was well attended.

Not only did I thoroughly enjoy the entire experience, but I also learned a lot about our nation's birth! Until that time, I had no idea that Benjamin Franklin wanted our national bird to be the TURKEY! Nor did I realize that Thomas Jefferson played the violin. And it was a surprise to me that so many people didn't like John Adams. There are countless other things that left me thinking, "huh? I didn't know that!" (I was also a little surprised at the sexual innuendos spread throughout the movie, but hey, I guess they needed to get their fun somehow, right?)

Unfortunately for me, I've rarely had the opportunity to use any of this knowledge in a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit or anything else, but at least it's in my knowledge base, hahaha.

And let me interject an important sidenote here. Not ALL of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were in the movie/musical. My several greats uncle (through my dad's side of the family), Abraham Clark of New Jersey, was a signer of the original Declaration of Indepence, but for some reason HE was not made into the STAR of the show. Hmph. (I'll have to speak to someone about re-writing that little bit of history.)

Imagine my surprise when I learned that "1776" was not only a Broadway musical, but also a ... MOVIE! Eventually it came on TV and it was shown every Independence Day, usually around 11:30 pm or so (and I'd fall asleep half way through it), before the days of the VCR! When VCRs finally became affordable necessities, a very good friend of mine (thank you M!) video taped it for me because it was on one of those "pay" channels that we didn't get, but she did. Then I was able to watch the movie any time I wanted!

That makes it so convenient, but there's just something about being able to watch a movie at the same time other people are watching guess what I'm doing at 10:00 pm tonight? Yep, I'm tuning in to Turner Classic Movies and watching "1776"!

Uncle Abraham is seated in the above picture. If you look at the 5 men standing at the table, you will see a group of men sitting behind them to your left. Starting from the first seated man on the right, behind the men who are standing, Uncle Abraham is the fifth man, going left. He has dark hair and you can barely see his face. There is a gentleman standing behind him to the left. (This is the famous painting by John Trumbull which hangs in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.)