Location: Iowa, United States

61 years old (pretty old for a blogger) proud to be a grandpa

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Oh, THAT Don Gardner!

This is going to take a bit of “set-up” but I thought I should pass it along. A few days the NYT printed an obituary of actress, Alida Valli, an Italian movie star famous for her role in “The Third Man” (1949). The obituary details her dramatic life before and after WWII and includes this paragraph:
“Rather than comply with the dictates of the fascist government, Ms. Valli retreated into hiding and in 1944 married Oscar de Mejo, a Surrealist painter and composer, whose most successful song was ‘All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth.’ In 1945 she resumed her acting career, and two years later she went to California with de Mejo, from whom she was divorced in 1952.”
This struck me as rather strange. An Italian Surrealist painter, married to this serious actress, and he wrote, “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth”?? !! It’s kind of like an obituary that reads, “Joe DiMaggio later married Marilyn Monroe, a famous neurosurgeon who won the Nobel Prize in 1962 for her work on the biochemistry of nerve transmission.”
Anyway, a couple of days later there were a couple of corrections to the obituary one of which stated:..”In addition, the obituary also misidentified the composer of the song ‘All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth.’ It was Don Gardner, not Ms. Valli's husband Oscar de Mejo.”
I find both mistake and the correction absolutely, laugh-out-loud, hilarious--made even more so when I try to imagine any possible chain of events that might have caused such an outlandish error in the first place. Imagine all the red faces at the New York Times.
-Hey, Bob, the editor wants to see you
-About what?
-How should I know
-Hi Bob, I want to talk to you about the obituary you wrote yesterday
-Which one
-The one on Alida Valli
-Oh yeah, did you like it?
-Where did you get the idea that her husband wrote the song, “All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.”
-Why, isn’t it true?
-Turns out it was written by a guy named Don Gardner. Don Gardner is an American composer and that’s about the only song he ever wrote. Oscar de Mejo, on the other hand, is an Italian painter.
-Oh man, I’m always getting those guys mixed up.