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uptown gotcha!Toad remembers: First they took Swedish-Kansan beauty Inger Stevens, in 1970. Or, rather, she took herself: suicide– pills– at the age of 35. Czech-born Stefan Ihnat is still missed: felled by a bum ticker at the 1972 Cannes Film Festival, he was 37. Henry Fonda’s 77-year old-heart crapped out for good in 1982. Four months later, on January 19, 1983, composer Don Costa also croaked: first there’s laughter, then those tears. The great Don Siegel hung on until 1991; cancer got him. It was Siegel who, two decades earlier, gave a young writer named Nick Tosches the deathless counsel “If you’re going to be a whore, be a high priced whore.” Brooklyn-native Harry Guardino was the next to go, in 1995: again with the cancer. In March 1999, just seven months before his death of heart failure, 88-year-old Bronx-born blacklistee Abraham Polonsky still had it. Asked about Elia Kazan, schlock-rat director of a barely third-rate crime movie, On The Waterfront, Polonsky replied “When heconey ayo criminology goes to Dante’s last circle in Hell, he’ll sit right next to Judas.” Finally, it was Richard Widmark’s time. Following, as they say, “a long illness,” the 93-year-old received his own kiss of death on March 24, 2008. Requiscat Harry Fabian, Skip McCoy, Comanche Todd, Madigan.


Madigan: Put your pants on, we’re taking you to Brooklyn.
Benesch: Brooklyn?
Madigan: Brooklyn.
Benesch: I’ve been clean for two years, what do I know about Brooklyn?
Rocco: Well that’s what they wanna know, Benesch; c’mon, move it.
— from Madigan (1968), dir. Don Siegel, screenplay Abraham Polonsky

The Music Director adds: Interesting to see the often maligned Don Costa here, as Madigan is not a bad soundtrack at all. 1968 was also the year Costa worked on Frank Sinatra’s Cycles. Although Will Oldham (aka Bonnie Prince Billy) recently covered Gayle Caldwell’s title track, at least some folk rockers recognized it was really a cover of a cover &, like most of Oldham’s recent work, way more arch than affecting. (We won’t even speak of his awful version of Phil Ochs’ “My Life,” no matter that Will probably meant well.) As with John Cale’s invention of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” New York Calling contributor Paul Kopasz (aka Paul K.) has shown many a lesser minstrel what to do with unlikely source material. Don’t believe me? Listen yourself & remember, Paul’s version came out in 2000.

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