I’m currently reading Dickens’ “Oliver Twist”, having fairly recently come into the possession of a Kindle e-reader, thanks to my oldest daughter who gave it to me as a Christmas gift. Any books I can get on it for free are always welcome, and many of the classics are no longer under copyright protection and can be had, in many cases, for the low, low price of zero dollars and zero cents. You can’t pass up a bargain like that.
Anyway, prior to reading the book (I’m only about a third of the way through it now), my only other exposure to the story was through the 1968 movie musical version of the story, titled just plain “Oliver!”, exclamation point and all.
Just went to IMDB.com to check out the details on the film, and I’m always a sucker for the ”trivia” section, and I learned this about Lionel Bart, the composer of the score for the play and the movie:
“Amazingly, the composer of this highly respected score, Lionel Bart, could not read music himself. From his earliest days in theater, he would sing his melodies to a trained pianist, who would then set the tunes down on sheet music and orchestrate them.”
Unfortunately, despite early success with “Oliver!”, to finance a later musical based on the Robin Hood legends, he ended up signing away his rights to “Oliver!”, and “Twang!!” (yes, two exclamation points) flopped badly. Eventually he filed for bankruptcy, became a heavy drinker, developed diabetes, destroyed 1/3 of his liver and then finally died at age 68 in 1999 of cancer.
And there’s your music tragedy trivia for the week. Or the day. Maybe the month. (Gotta get back to doing this more regularly.)
P.S. Here’s the truly frightening bit of trivia about the movie:
Dick Van Dyke was considered to play Fagin.