Currie’s Corner 604 – March 8, 2018
One of my very favourite departments of any news service, whether it’s printed or digital, are the obituaries. The dear old New York Times still has a few brilliant obit writers, especially when they are blessed with material that is truly golden. This past week I went online to read in the Times about the death of 91 year old Alan Gershwin. That surname should ring a bell with most of you. Even though he died more than 70 years ago, George Gershwin is still regarded as one of the greatest musical artists of the 20th century. Whether it was the great orchestral classic Rhapsody In Blue, or the many terrific songs he wrote with her brother Ira, George was a musical genius.
He never married, so it was assumed for a long time that there were no children to carry on in the family business. Enter Alan Gershwin who spent more than half his life claiming to be George Gershwin’s illegitimate son. He claimed that he was born in Brooklyn on May 18, 1926. His birth name was Albert Schneider and his mother was a dancer named Mollie Charleston.
He claimed that she was the longtime paramour of George Gershwin . Other than claiming this remarkable lineage which has never been completely proven or dis proven, Alan’s life never amounted to much. He never wrote any classic songs, although he apparently was pretty good at playing the piano.
If nothing else, he became a somewhat accomplished storyteller. One of his tales spoke of scary men in black limousines who came by occasionally with handfuls of crisp hundred-dollar bills to help Alan pay his rent.
The Times writer said “As the years went by, genetically certified Gershwins and their loyalists came to regard Alan less as a threat to their pocketbooks, but more as a crank and an annoyance.” The piece went on to say “Mr. Gershwin was, despite living in meagre circumstances, good natured and optomistic – a modern Micawber if you will, the ultimate underdog.”
If 81 year old Woody Allen has not been totally trashed by the waves of ‘Me Too’ this would be a great final movie for him, don’t you think ?
I’m Roger Currie