Play It Again Bogie

Posted on February 14, 2018 by Martin Oaks under Cremation, Memorial
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Recently in this space, we recounted the story of Humphrey Bogart’s 1957 cremation. The esteemed actor, who currently ranks number one among men on the American Film Institute’s list of greatest American screen legends, wanted to be cremated with his ashes to be scattered at sea. While his wish for cremation was fulfilled, the scattering did not happen — he ended up in a niche in Forest Lawn Memorial Park. A fitting final resting spot, but not the one he wanted.

Our point being that here at Martin Oaks Cemetery and Crematory in Lewisville, Texas — where the funeral directors who work with us offer a very affordable cremation package — we have learned that the best way to insure the final disposition you want is to pre-plan. We noted that when you have the resources and notoriety of Humphrey Bogart and you do not receive the funeral service you want, the same can apply to consumers who do not possess these means.

We received a number of responses on the Bogart piece: one of the more frequently submitted comments related to the fact that we didn’t go into detail about his movies, particularly “Casablanca.” The affection accorded this film remains quite evident: again looking to the American Film Institute, “Casablanca” is ranked by the 1,500 AFI judges as the third greatest movie in the history of Hollywood– only “Citizen Kane” and “The Godfather” top it.

Given the requests, the critical ranking and the fact that we are upon the 75th anniversary of “Casablanca,” we thought a few words might be appropriate about Bogie’s most well know role.
To begin with, some trivia: as film buffs know, Bogart’s character, Rick Blaine never actually says, “play it again, Sam.” The reference is, of course, to the Dooley Wilson piano playing character of Sam being asked to play the song (“As Time Goes By”) Blaine and his love, Ingrid Bergman, associate with their bittersweet affair. Blaine says, “Play It” in the film, nothing more.

But did you know that Bogart was actually connected to another unused line, this one from his early Broadway days. “Tennis, anyone” was attributed to him for years — it was said to be delivered by a blue blood character he played in a long forgotten drawing room comedy. None other than the noted New York Times William Safire finally cleared this up by directly asking Bogie if he said it. While squirming about the “corny” lines he had to say on the stage, the actor “swore” that tennis, anyone” was not one of them.

casablancaOne other note on the dialogue written for “Casablanca.” Many have claimed credit for contributing to the script, Howard Koch being one whose efforts are still debated, the final product was most certainly crafted in large part by twins Philip G. and Julius J. Epstein. Screenwriter Casey Robinson, who had composed several Bette Davis vehicles, also had an uncredited hand in it, as did producer Hal Wallis. In fact, the latter came up with one of the most famous of all “Casablanca” quotes — several weeks after the shooting was completed, it was Wallis who called Bogart back to the studio to dub in “this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” the immortal line with which the picture closes.

Just one more note for trivia fans — the aforementioned Epstein’s are granduncle and grandfather to the highly successful President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs, Theo Epstein.

As has been well documented elsewhere, the movie was based on an as-then-unproduced play, “Everybody Comes to Ricks.” Actual filming began in May, 1942; it went into general release in theaters in January, 1943. “Casablanca” went on to be nominated for eight Oscars, winning “Best Picture.”

One last point: you know a film is a classic when it is shown in a theater and the audience recites the lines aloud during the showing. Our first experience of this was seeing “Casablanca” at the wonderful (since departed) “Flick” theater in Denver, Colorado in the early 1970’s. An SRO crowd that night didn’t miss a beat.

Happy 75th anniversary, “Casablanca.”


Stamps – USPS

Poster – Life Magazine

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