Sunday, July 16, 2006

One more fugitive angel...

Yet Another Angel's Vacation

I must have prodigal angels on my mind.

Last night I saw For Heaven's Sake, one of those 40's movies (actually 1950) featuring exceedingly human angels. Like Jack Benny in The Horn Blows at Midnight, Clifton Webb's angel is a foul-up, to put it delicately.

Benny is sent to earth to sound the final trumpet blast that will signal the end of earth -- a minor planet that's been more trouble than it's worth for far too long, according to Benny's immediate heavenly superior -- but he misses the beat (the horn has to sound at midnight, exactly) because he stops to save a pretty young suicide.

Webb's assignment is far less epochal... he's sent to arrange for the conception (hinted at by references to champagne and romantic music as precursors to the crux of the mission) of a young girl who has been waiting patiently for her childless, show biz couple prospective parents to make the move. (Strikingly, for the era -- but subtly, nonetheless -- it's also hinted that the couple has been using birth control -- of some form controlled by the wife -- to wait for a convenient time to start the family. Although Bob Cummings as the Broadway producer prospective dad seems so thoroughly distracted that he barely seems to be aware of his wife as anything but the longtime leading lady of his plays...)

Anyhow, where was I?

Ah, yes, Clifton Webb's angel assumes the role of a drawling Texas millionaire who can be enticed into bankrolling the couple's next play -- but the part takes over the angel actor and he quickly devolves into a big spending bon vivant, completely bollixing heaven's plans for the little girl's birth. In the end, it's only her offer to return to heaven to salvage Webb's angelic career that gets him to resynch with his angelic dharma and light a fire under the reluctant couple.

Anyhow, there's a metaphor there, somewhere, that's talking to me right now but I'll be damned if I can explain it all, really.

The version of "Angel's Vacation" below was recorded only an hour or two before Tuesday's entirely different version.

download [ 3.1 mb]
play [broadband]
AYoS radio [broadband]
Internet Archive page for this song (multiple formats/streams)

previous AYoS version (1)
previous AYoS version (2)


He tried to do what was right
but it always turned out wrong
the heavenly host was not impressed
and he had to blow out of town

he came down to earth near Phoenix
in the middle of the summertime
he walked to the first bar he saw
and ordered whiskey, beer, and wine

An angel came down from heaven
hoping to get away
he stewed in the hotel bar all night
and baked by the pool all day

He pushed the desk clerk to a breakdown
and drove the other guests away
he punched out the hotel detective
and ran off with the pretty dark eyed maid

They laid out on the lam for 40 days and nights
and on the 41st they had to rest
the pretty dark eyed maid was all worn out
and the angel was scared to death

he knew they'd have no trouble tracking him down
angels have this certain glow
and when they tell you it's time to leave,
by God, then it's time to go

An angel came down from heaven
hoping to get away
he stewed in the hotel bar all night
and baked by the pool all day

(C)1990,2005, TK Major

[related song: Goin' Home ]

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