Tag: Cole Porter

Cole Porter and a Vanished Culture: Brewster and Mussolini

Cole Porter and a Vanished Culture: Brewster and Mussolini

 “You’re the top: You’re a Brewster body”

Down­load­ing a Cole Porter clas­sic, “You’re the Top,” to Spo­ti­fy, I real­ized how much the lyrics have changed. Some vers­es were altered, oth­ers just dropped, because they’d only baf­fle peo­ple. Take for exam­ple my favorite—a verse now extinct, because it’s well-nigh unrec­og­niz­able:

You’re the top! You’re a Ritz hot tod­dy.

You ‘re the top! You’re a Brew­ster body.

You’re the boats that glide on the sleepy Zuider Zee,

You ‘re a Nathan Pan­ning, You’re Bish­op Man­ning, You’re broc­coli!

Brew­ster and Com­pa­ny was a car­riage mak­er found­ed by James Brew­ster in New Haven, Con­necti­cut in 1810.…

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Purple Prose: Brooks Stevens

Purple Prose: Brooks Stevens

The blogsite of Hem­mings Motor News sees fit to post my  1982 arti­cle on Brooks Stevens, along with a gra­tu­itous opin­ion: “Per­haps Richard Langworth’s ten­den­cy toward pur­ple prose in this pro­file of Brooks Stevens in Spe­cial Inter­est Autos #71, Octo­ber 1982, is appro­pri­ate, giv­en the pic­ture he paints of the leg­endary design­er.” Aside from the fact that Hem­mings paid only for first rights and is there­fore in copy­right vio­la­tion, it’s nice to be remem­bered.

Reac­tions: A one­time edi­tor of SIA wrote: “I see noth­ing purple—it reads like an essay in The New York­er.” (Ah, if only Hem­mings paid New York­er rates!)  A Packard Club col­league wrote: “Naah, not pur­ple, maybe faint mauve.” A blog read­er wrote: “Ugh, I can’t read it.…

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