Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Paul Williams a true gift to Planet Earth
By Rob Klein
Paul Williams is a special talent on the Earth arriving to public awareness in the later part of the 20th Century. Paul started his songwriting career, in the 60s. He was inked into pop culture when his catchy-lazy-groove-mellow tunes were recorded by The Carpenters and the sounds of Karen’s and Richard’s musical gifts mixed with Paul’s hooks summed up the feel of the early 70s. The post-sixties, tired of all the drugs, burned out counter culture, music lovers of the early 70s needed a sonic break, and the relaxing vibes of the Williams tune was the right medicine. “We’ve only Just Begun” went to the top of the pop charts and many more went straight to "hit" status.
Maybe it should have been titled “Paul has Only Just Begun,” as his career took off into solo LPs and writing complete scores for motion pictures, as was the case in Brian DePalma’s first film Phantom of the Paradise. Paul also wrote the complete score for Bugsy Malone (the one with the kids as gangsters, with Jodi Foster lip-synching along with the child mob-boss Fat Sam) Bugsy Malone featured the prop called the splurge gun. The Tommie-gun styled weapon that fires cream pies effectively messing up the victim’s face and effectively killing them. This is probably the most sought after movie prop by the powerhouse super-duo collecting team of Gary Emerald and Jim Hobbit. The aggressive pop culture collectors have reportedly tracked down the only surviving working prop known to exist, but they were unwilling to relinquish their Charlie Chaplin collection for it as trade.
Paul Williams later got into acting, finally gracing us with his entire person. Appearing in films such as Smokey and the Bandit as Little Enos Burdett, Swan the evil music mogul in Phantom of the Paradise and Virgil the orangutan scientist in the 5th and "best" Planet of the Apes offering: Battle for the Planet of the Apes. In addition to small screen appearances on magical programming like “The Muppet Show” and 70s Saturday were never the same without shows like “Fantasy Island” and “The Love Boat” and both featured Paul in guest starring roles. Most importantly Paul composed the soothing theme song to the “The Love Boat”…BANG! Paul even had his own show for a time, titled what else: “The Paul Williams Show”…BAM!!!
What's next...collecting Paul Williams merchandise. Paul Williams manufactured mementos are very scarce and there really is not too much that we know of around, with the exception of soundtrack LPs, and 8-tracks, and the occasional movie poster, that he appears on, perhaps other items surrounding his music, such as sheet music and the like.
The late seventies brought about Paul’s most celebrated contribution, writing a song for Kermit the Frog in his first feature film The Muppet Movie. Without over working the word "magic" the song “The Rainbow Connection” truly is. How that song did not receive the Oscar for song of the year is about as annoying as when Raiders of the Lost Ark did not win in 1981 for best picture. Or when Star Wars lost out to Annie Hall in 1977,
At least Paul took home an Oscar for one of his songs in the forgettable film A Star is Born. I prefer the Judy Garland James Mason version, but I support the effort merely on Paul’s involvement.
Today Paul in the president of ASCAP…BANG!!! He occasionally does concerts. I went to one in the early 90s and it was sold out…darn!
Texans are true Paul fans as they have a Phantom of the Paradise concert quite often where Paul comes out and sings his tunes written for the film…Texas is cool.
Paul Williams… Emerald and Hobbit loves you, carry on beautiful man, carry on.
Here are a few of Emerald and Hobbit’s treasures from the vaults pertaining to Paul Williams.
If anyone turns up the satin powder blue suit he wore in Smokey and the Bandit, please contact Emerald and Hobbit immediately.