Wednesday, February 15, 2012

EXTRA: Peter Gunn, redux. Or not!

Wednesday was one of those days I wish I had been carrying a broadcast-quality recording device. Although the moment I would have captured would not have been a “pleasant” one.

It was the sight, and sound, of Rick Bryant, a long-time aide and now Chief of Staff to Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., D-Ill., in south suburban Harvey – where officials held ceremonies marking the beginning of the demolition of the old Dixie Square shopping center.

WHICH TO MOST people is nothing more than the place where the Illinois State Police car chase through the shopping mall in The Blues Brothers film took place (as opposed to the Chicago Police chase that began at McCormick Place, went into lower Wacker Drive and wound up at the Daley Plaza "where they have the Picasso" just outside the Cook County building).

Jackson was instrumental in finding federal funds that will allow Harvey municipal officials to pay for the shopping mall’s demolition – one-third of a century after the structure closed to the public.

So Bryant was on hand to represent his boss. And he tried to be cute in concluding his remarks with an allusion to The Blues Brothers; telling us that if Jake and Elwood were here, we’d see them with their theme music from the film playing in the background.

The only problem is that Bryant then tried to do the theme music with his own voice – which came out more as a series of grunts that were extremely unpleasant to hear.

NEVER HAVE I heard the theme from the old television show Peter Gunn butchered so badly – not even when I pick up my guitar and attempt to play it myself. (And that is bad too, believe me.)

So consider yourself lucky that you’re not now hearing the Rick Bryant version of the Peter Gunn theme. Besides, the original version by Henry Mancini is the only one that truly deserves much of any attention.


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