Peaches Prattlings











{March 30, 2021}   The Court Jester

The Court Jester is one of my all time favorite movies. I know, I know, I’ve said that before, but if you have spent any time with me and my family, especially when I was younger, it was Danny Kaye all the way.

I truly have been a Danny Kaye fan most of my life and one day I’ll tell you all about the other movies of his I love, like The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, yes, before Ben Stiller‘s version, White Christmas with Bing Crosby, A Song is Born, the list goes on. But…today, I’m going to tell you about a movie that myself, my dad, my sister, and my mom all loved. When we were kids, we spent our summers in Mastic Beach, NY, which is on the South Shore of Long Island. We had a VCR, for those of you under 45…ha ha, that’s a video cassette recorder, you would put the cassette tape in, watch it and then have to rewind it before you took it back! and we would bicycle or drive to the library and get movies out.

Two movies that my sister and I absolutely adored were Walt Disney’s Cinderella [1950] and The Court Jester [1955] with Danny Kaye, Glynis Johns, Basil Rathbone, Angela Lansbury. Some of you will know who all of these people are, but I’ll give you other references if that helps. I told you about Danny Kaye, but…you might not remember that he played Dr Burns, the dentist on The Cosby Show. Glynis Johns was also the mother, Mrs Banks in Mary Poppins and the grandmother in While You Were Sleeping, she used to come into the deli I worked in, in the Hamptons! Basil Rathbone was most famous as Sir Guy of Gisborne in The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn and personally, I think he was one of the best Sherlock Holmes. Lastly, there was Angela Lansbury, Miss Price in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Mrs Potts in Beauty and the Beast, and probably most known as Jessica Fletcher on Murder, She Wrote. Ok, now you’re caught up on some of the bigger names in the movie.

The tagline in IMBD: A hapless carnival performer masquerades as the court jester as part of a plot against an evil ruler who has overthrown the rightful King. That pretty much says it all. It’s an action/adventure story, with a little swash buckler thrown in, romance, intrigue, all wrapped up in a musical. What more could you want?!

Danny Kaye plays Hubert Hawkins, he’s part of The Black Fox’s band of merry men, gives you a Robin Hood type of vibe. His role is to entertain the merry men, but he wants more, he wants to be out there, on the front lines, fighting, but The Black Fox feels he is best suited where he is. King Roderick I is on the throne, but not by birthright and he is constantly looking over his shoulder because there is a rumor that the royal baby was missed, the rightful heir to the throne and he can’t have that!

His righthand man is the evil Sir Ravenhurst, who does the kings bidding. Basil Rathbone can play a mean one, he can. Little known fact, he is best known for his fencing skills as the greatest swordsman in Hollywood history, what do you think about them apples! He really was great, it was a treat to watch his skills with a blade! What he did made Danny Kaye look good in their scenes.

Something happens at The Black Fox’s camp and Hawkins has to go with the Maid Jean, Glynis Johns, who happens to be The Black Fox’s Captain, to deliver the royal baby to the castle and take the throne back for the royal baby. Along the way, they meet Giacamo, King of Jesters and Jester to the King, and Hawkins takes his place when he gets to the palace, perfect cover!

Throughout the movie there is laughter, silliness, sword fighting, poison, intrigue, romance, spells, threats, singing, dancing, and to top it all off, a baby with a royal birthmark. What more could you want?!

The songs are clever and fun, with Danny Kaye, you know there has to be hillarity, some of the best scenes are where he is being a total goofball. The best scenes also have the most tongue tying lines! “The pellet with the poison’s in the flagon with the dragon; the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true.”

Here’s a quote from IMDB about that line: Danny Kaye’s daughter, Dena Kaye, said for the rest of his life, when people recognized Danny in a restaurant, they would walk up and spout the entire “brew that is true” speech.

I mentioned romance, right? Hawkins is awkward around women, and when he appears at the castle, Princess Gwendolyn’s handmaid, Griselda, who is also a witch, puts a spell on Hawkins to romance the princess to save her own neck! She makes him braver than he ever was!

The reason I’m telling you all about this movie and these memories is I has it on as background while I was working today. There are certain movies and tv shows that I have seen so many times, I don’t have to actually pay attention to them, I can have them on in the background and still get work done. I might sing along, maybe to The Maladjusted Jester, or Life Could Not Better Be, or any of the songs he sings. When GES and I watched this movie, the same thing with Cinderella, we would watch it, rewind it, then watch it again, rewind, watch, repeat. We don’t have to say much more than one of the lines and we’re off and running, quoting lines and laughing with each other.

Today, while I was watching it, I actually recorded the Pellet with the Poison scene and sent it to my dad and sister, sent good vibes into the universe and got them right back.

My hope is that any one of the clips I posted has maybe piqued your interest just a bit, maybe you’re curious to explore the world of Danny Kaye, even try to find The Court Jester and check out all the merriment. Even if you just watch the clips, maybe look for additional clips and laugh, I’m good with that!

Get it. Got it. Good. Yes friends, if you’ve ever heard me say that…now you know where I got it!



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