I haven’t had actually such a sad Passover seachild given that the mid-1950s, as soon as Stanley Nusenko, Larry Carboy and also I checked out the New Theatre in downtown Baltimore to watch the ultimate Hollyhardwood Old Testament extravaganza, “The Ten Commandments,” whose running time was longer than your grandfather’s seder.
You are watching: So let it be written, so let it be done
Up on the massive display, there was Charlton Heston, starring as Moses. I have the right to still hear my friend Stanley muttering, out of the side of his mouth, “Hey, Moses, what’s with the rug?”
The thing sat tbelow atop Heston’s head and also looked choose it might take flight throughout the Red Sea.
Not once, in all the endless afternoons we’d sat via Hebrew school lessons, had the learned rabbis of Northwest Baltieven more ever discussed to us that Moses sported a toupee for 40 years across the blistering sands of the Sinai.
So best away, Stanley and also Larry and also I were disappointed.
Not disappointed favor this particular day, when this coronavirus has so many kind of of us isolated on nights we as soon as happily gathered for seder.
But saddened sufficient to look for a few smiles to gain us through a dreary holiday seachild.
And “The Ten Commandments” — televised annually about this time for the previous numerous years — provided even more than a couple of unintended smiles as it told its campy variation of the ancient Hebrews’ trip from Egypt.
How about Anne Baxter, Yvonne De Carlo and Debra Paget? They played imperial Egyptian womales. Who knew that womales ago then wore nighties choose the road company from Victoria’s Secret?
And how about Edward G. Robinson? In our eyes, he would constantly be the mob male Caesar Enrico Bandello in “Little Caesar,” crying, “Mother of Mercy! Is this be the finish of Rico?”
Why, in the name of God, was this classical Hollywood gangster getting here currently in a flouncy outfit playing Dathan, the Hebrew that plots against Moses?
“Hey, Dathan, what’s via the bit skirt?” my friend Stanley hollered at the screen. For this, Little Caesar turned in his life time union card through the mob?
In “The Ten Commandments,” Ramesses II (Yul Brynner) tells the traitorous Dathan, “You have actually a rat’s ears and also a ferret’s nose.”
“To usage in your survival, child of Pharaoh,” Dathan meekly replies.
Would Little Caesar say such drivel? Mother of mercy, no! He’d have actually pursued this pharaoh with a gun straight out of Charlton Heston’s NRA arsenal.
Edward G. Robinson
What we had actually below was not just campy language but confusion of photo.
In Hebrew college, once our teachers recited the story of the good Exodus, we were totally free to produce heroic images in our minds. In reality, confidence is constructed on image. Lose the image, shed the opportunity that such points could ever before have developed.
The the majority of powerful image in the Exodus story is the parting of the Red Sea. I can still hear my Hebrew college teachers informing us the story every spring. My head would certainly fill with effective imperiods of the sea splitting, and Moses leading his civilization across the clearing an prompt before the waters descended and also swenabled up pharaoh’s army.
But what was this Red Sea we beheld upon our movie screen?
It wasn’t the picture we’d carried in our minds, that’s for sure. In reality, as we later on learned, director Cecil B. DeMille had 2 large tanks flooded via 350,000 gallons of water and then dumped into a dry bed. Then, he proved the footage in reverse.
Whatever it was, it wasn’t the stuff of our dreams.
The parting of the Red Sea is just one of the great, iconic biblical stories, so acquainted that it’s noted in a brand-new book, “A Field Guide to the Jewish People,” (Flatiron Books) by the comic writers Dave Barry, Alan Zweibel and Adam Mansbach.
In it, Barry writes of his wife, whose family members members are Jews from Cuba, “They didn’t come here on rafts. They parted the Caribbean.”
Now there’s a smile to carry us via a sad holiday seaboy.
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A former Baltimore Sun columnist and also WJZ-TV commentator, Michael Olesker is the writer of 6 publications. His a lot of current, “Front Stoops in the Fifties: Baltimore Legends Come of Era,” has simply been reissued in paperago by the Johns Hopkins College Press.