IT’S ALIIIIIVE!!!!!

Hmm. Four days and no blogging? There’s alot to catch up on.

A few days ago, we ticked the obligatory Broadway musical off the list of ‘essential things to do in New York’ with the help of Young Frankenstein.

If you’ve ever met me (and, to be honest, even if you haven’t), I’ve probably told you that seeing Mel Brooks’ The Producers on stage provided me with the single most amazing night of my life. Which it was. And ever since the rumours began that he might follow it up by adapting Young Frankenstein for the stage, I got excited. Finding out it would open in time for me to see it with the initial Broadway cast was rather fantastic.

And so, off we hobbled to the Hilton Theatre, Row R tickets in hand, and I prepared to brace myself for a disappointment. The Producers seemed a natural fitting for the theatre, but Young Frankenstein would require a bit more effort to make it work. And it did.

From the set (the laboratory was absolutely astounding- everything it should be, and more) to the absolutely perfect Puttin’ on a Ritz, it really delivered. It didn’t quite match the previous effort, but then, how could it?

Earlier on in the day, we’d been for a nibble at the Hard Rock Café. I’d never actually made it inside one before, and was astounded by some of the stuff in there. From the entrance, you walk down some stairs and are met with four grey suits worn by some 60’s liverpudlian lads who made quite an impression on the world. One of them, George, even had his guitar hanging on the wall next to them.

Played at the Concert for Bangladesh, this one doesn’t seem to have been used in the Beatles era. But Macca’s Bass is also hanging there. Walk around, and you find the original doors from Abbey Road Studios, Elvis’s suit, the first square guitar Bo Diddley ever made, John Entwistle’s original drawings for the Who by Numbers album cover, and Jim Morrison’s trousers. And we got put next to Madonna’s dress. Typical.

According to the accompanying plaque, Gibson gave Hard Rock 300 guitars several years ago. So they did as they saw fit, cut them in half, and glued them to the wall. While it looks quite impressive, I would have made FAR better use of them. Grr.

But it doesn’t end there. The location hasn’t always been a Hard Rock Café. It was once the Paramount Theatre (scroll back up, and you’ll see the sign’s still there), which housed the premiere of one of Elvis’s films. It was also here that the Ed Sullivan show was recorded, and subsequently where America was introduced to The Beatles. Impressive.

In fact, it proved to be the beginning of an Elvisy day for us. After leaving the Hilton Theatre, we ducked into BB King’s a few doors down, and had a sneaky peek from the box office area at the Elvis Birthday Tribute taking place with the legend that is Chris Spedding.

He wrote this.

New York’s ‘city that never sleeps’ title is, surprisingly, very true. Even the museums are open until around 1am. So, we headed over the road to Ripley’s Believe it or Not, a chain of circus sideshow-like museums, featuring freakish oddities and other relics. And it’s all real.

It also contained possibly the best thing I have EVER seen- a mass-produced Vampire Killing Kit.

In it, you would find a gun, silver bullets, wooden stake, an ivory crucifix and, of course, garlic. There’s also an accompanying inscription that confesses that very little is known of Vampires, but that this set capitalizes on what we do know. And one of these things recently sold at Southebys for $20,000. None of them have probably ever been used.

To complete the Elvis hat trick, they had a strand of his hair on display, along with similar strands from various US presidents, and even Napoleon. My personal favourite thing on display, though, was an unintentionally hilarious public safety film produced by the US Government, telling children what to do in the event of an Atom bomb going off. Entitled ‘Duck and Cover,’ you can see it here. Admittedly the version we saw had been shortened to a few minutes, but it’s worth a watch if only for the idea that, in the event of a major explosion leaving a huge radioactive trail, all you have to do to stay safe is jump on the floor and put your hands on your head.

Enjoy!

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~ by chrispresswell on January 7, 2008.

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