I’ll never forget Jimmy Cagney playing George M. Cohan in the musical, Yankee Doodle Dandy
I’m a yankee doodle dandy,
A yankee doodle do or die;
A real live nephew of my uncle sam,
Born on the fourth of july.
I’ve got a yankee doodle sweetheart,
She’s my yankee doodle joy.
Yankee doodle came to london,
Just to ride the ponies,
I am that yankee doodle boy …
My two favorite 4th of July memories are:
Old Forge, NY
When I was a little boy, we went with my mother’s family to watch the fireworks in Old Forge, New York. My Mom, Dad, my brother, my grandfather and grandmother, and I think my Aunt Carol and Uncle Ken were there. Halfway through the fireworks display, it began to rain, many people fled to their cars, but the fireworks continued.
My grandfather calmly took out his handkerchief and placed it over his head and continued to sit there and watch the fireworks. Periodically, he would reach up, take the wet cloth off, wring it out, and replace it. He was not going to let a little rain dampen his patriotic enjoyment!
I went to see the fireworks in Norris, Tennessee with a lady I was dating. We got settled and ready for the show to begin. We saw a man carrying a flare toward the firework setup to start the show … which he did!
The fireworks began, and it was a glorious sight—a nonstop barrage of colors and explosions lasting several minutes. I thought, Wow! If this is the opening salvo, this is really going to be something.
Then there was nothing. The silence continued on for long minutes. People began to get impatient, muttering, asking what was wrong? Eventually, word came around that it was over. This was the first year a new and safer system for setting off the fireworks was being utilized. Somebody had screwed up and ignited the whole display at once.
It was the shortest and best fireworks display I have ever seen, even to this day!
Happy 4th of July to all my readers, friends, and fellow Americans.
May that star-spangled banner forever wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
And for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure. Jimmy Cagney, while famous for gangster roles, was a great singer and dancer as well! Check it out!