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  • David Bernhart


Irving Berlin wrote a charming number, "I Can't Tell a Lie," for the Washington's Birthday sequence in his 1942 film musical, "Holiday Inn." Fred Astaire and Marjorie Reynolds minuet while Bing Crosby, jealous of Astaire's attempts to kiss Reynolds during the dance, tries to sabotage them from the harpsichord.


My plan was to share the number here on February 22, this past Friday. I located a clip of "I Can't Tell a Lie," saved it to YouTube and prepared to include a link to the video in this blog post. Within minutes, however, YouTube notified me that visibility of the video was being blocked because it contained copyright-protected material claimed by NBCUniversal, the current owner of "Holiday Inn." I could see the video, but no one else could.


I never intended to violate copyright law. If the owner of an example of intellectual property, such as a movie clip, has determined that the presence of that clip on the Internet would be damaging to the movie's value, I fully support the owner's authority to take action.


Interestingly, though, NBCUniversal does not object to a post containing just the audio of "I Can't Tell a Lie." I present such a post herewith. It isn't the complete experience of sound and sight that I'd envisioned, but I think the charm is undiminished. Close your eyes and imagine Astaire and company in powdered wigs:



  • David Bernhart



  • David Bernhart


(I originally posted this reminiscence on Facebook five years ago today, the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' first appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show.")


My mother utilized one of those daily desk calendars, with two pages for each day. And one of the small but everlasting gifts she left us was that she kept them all rather than tossing each one at the end of that year. As curator of the calendars today, I can look up what was going on in the family on any given day, stretching back to the late '50s. For a long time, I've been meaning to check Sunday, February 9, 1964, and see if my mom made reference to the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. We didn't watch the show -- I would have remembered -- but it was still an important moment in modern culture.

I'm now looking at that date in the 1964 calendar. In the section where my mom noted TV programs she wanted to see, all she wrote was "Harold Arlen show?" A little Googling reveals that CBS aired a special in tribute to Harold Arlen two hours before the Sullivan broadcast. That was right up my folks' alley; a rock group from England (or anywhere else) would not have been.

So I missed the Beatles and didn't really catch up with who and what they were until after they'd broken up. Perhaps my mother sat us down a couple of hours earlier and we got a healthy dose of "Over the Rainbow" and "Come Rain or Come Shine." That's every bit as worthy.

The only other entry on the February 9 calendar that catches my eye is that a tile man came in the afternoon (on a Sunday!) to check on a leaky shower stall. Incredibly, I've been having that very shower stall retiled. It's almost finished. How little things change.