Thursday, June 19, 2014

Take A Letter

Years ago I used to oversee a competition for readers of Performing Arts Magazine.  Each month was a different contest—such as composing a clerihew or providing the last line of a limerick—always dealing with the arts.  One such competition asked readers to alter one letter in the title of a familiar opera, play, or musical to yield a new meaning and then provide a brief synopsis.  Although this was more than a quarter of a century ago, some of the winning answers are worth repeating even now.

The top prize-winner was How to Succeed in Business Without Really Frying—Japanese sushi millionaire conquers American fast-food market with semi-raw chicken.

Others that struck the judges’ fancy were:

Seven Bribes for Seven Brothers—Scandal rocks the Osmond clan.

Desire Under the Elks—Passion in a flat located beneath a men’s lodge.

Doc Giovanni—M*A*S*H’s Trapper John relocates from Korea to Italy.

Heath of A Salesman—Poignant drama of the bitter turf wars fought by Scottish commercial travelers.

Children of a Lesser Cod—Two poor fish grow up near Squid Row.

An American in Parts—Gruesome discovery in the left-luggage departments of several European railway stations.

Porgy and Bass—The management of Catfish Row decides to diversify. 

The Subject Was Noses—A day in the life of a plastic surgeon.

No prize will be awarded for any additional submissions by readers of this blog—but they are welcome, anyway!

The Bard of Buffalo Bayou is certainly no prize.  But you have to admire (or deplore) his persistence.

            A contest was offering a prize
            Of quite a considerable size,
                        An amount that exceeds
                        Ten years of my needs—
            So I entered with several replies.

            It was a most fierce competition,
            And to win it was my great ambition—
                        But my entries were nixed,
                        For the contest was fixed
            (Which always had been my suspicion.)

            I vowed I’d compete one more time,
            And this time my plan was sublime:
                        I paid off the judge—
                        But he still wouldn’t budge,
            And bribery, I learned, is a crime.

            So they charged me with misdeeds aplenty,
            Now I’m serving from ten years to twenty
                         In a fine calaboose,
                        And until I’m turned loose,
            I’ll just bask in my dolce far niente.

Please note that the Bard has given notice that he will be away for a few days on one of his sporadic tasting tours of the Gin Country.  That being the case, I shall take this opportunity to get a little rest as well.  A day away from the Bard is like a month in the country (as someone once said of Tallulah Bankhead). In the meantime, talk among yourselves.

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