So as I was typing up my email to our governor, Comrade Cooper, begging official permission to be allowed to celebrate my “freedom” on the 4th, I was listening to the classical-music radio station as background, as is my usual wont. Amidst all the usual rah-rah 4th of July treacle and sludge, they aired a rendition of “Down In The Valley” for some reason—a lovely old tune, a real classic. And somehow, that in turn reminded me of an old Richard Pryor/Gene Wilder buddy flick called Stir Crazy, which at one point featured a beefy, intimidating cellmate of Our Heroes yclept Grossberger performing maybe the doggone prettiest version of the old chestnut I ever did hear:
Nice, eh? The guy who played Grossberger was a Dutch-American actor, wrestler, and opera singer who also held a BS in computer science named Erland Van Lindth De Jeude. He died, alas, in 1987 at a quite young age. Hats off to him for a real treat of a performance on this tune, anyway. Says something that it’s stuck with me all these years.