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Thursday, March 19, 2015


It seems oh too coincidental, but, apparently, Spanish investigators just found part of the remains of Miguel de Cervantes in Madrid, on the eve of his death 400 years ago next year.  Some laud that he wrote the first novel novelDon Quixote.  Of course, this is from the European viewpoint, for half a millennium previously, Lady Murasaki Shikibu wrote The Tale of Genji.

More recently, there was the 1965 broadway show, The Man of La Mancha, starring Richard Kiley as Cervantes/Quixote, with music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion.  Kiley won a Tony.  The most popular film version of The Man of La Mancha was released in 1973 with Peter O'Toole as Cervantes and the Man from La Mancha, Sophia Loren as Dulcinea/Aldonza and James Coco as Sancho Panza.  Rotten Tomatoes reviewers gave the film a 50% rating,  while 73% of audiences liked it.

Interestingly enough, thirty years later, Terry Gilliam's ill-fated attempt to make The Man Who Killed Don Quixote became Lost in La Manchaa resultant documentary, and received a 94% reviewers' rating from Rotten Tomatoes.  Johnny Depp played Toby Grisoni.

That was a lot of background for the title of this posting:  The Impossible Dream, which came from the original broadway show and has been a theme song for me all my adult life.  Thus, The Impossible Dream is 50 years old.

I used the caricature of Don Quixote on the cover of my proposal to NASA to build PAT (Planetary Abstracting Trinterferometer), and called the project, To See the Impossible Dream.  Bad choice, for the reviewers thought I was not being serious enough.  I will some day sing this song in a karaoke bar, or maybe next week when I host my 15 Craigside floor mates in my apartment.
There are a hundred best versions of The Impossible Dream, but the original is almost always tops, so Richard Kiley's is right up there.

However, the most memorable has to be Marine Private First Class Gomer Pyle's (Jim Nabors) stunner in 1967, for, here, this bumbling boob, totally mesmerized his TV audience.  This performance is worth a click.  Otherwise, I should note that Simon Gilbert was the musical voice for Peter O'Toole in that first film.

A few more tidbits about The Impossible Dream:
  • Billboard in 1966 had Jack Jones' The Impossible Dream as the #1 hit on July 23, here introduced on the Andy Williams Show.
  • In 1976 the pennant-winning season of the Boston Red Sox was referred to as The Impossible Dream.  Jim Lornborg pitched the clinching game, someone I actually knew, for I acted as scorer for the Stanford University baseball team when he was a star pitcher there.  
  • I also remember being responsible for second base.  No, not the position, the base, during practices.  I was such a good luck charm that I was voted to get one of those "white-sleeved" Stanford jackets only lettermen get.
  • Andy Williams' version was used by friends Robert and Ted Kennedy in their campaigns.  Then in 2005, Williams' soundtrack was utilized in a Honda commercial that was named the TV advertisement of the year in the UK.
My problem is that my impossible dreams have thus far been impossible to engineer into reality:
    However, someday, someone will gain fame and wealth with those dreams of mine.

    There is a Category 3 tropical cyclone named Nathan at 105 MPH just about to make landfall close to Cape Melville National Park in Australia:


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