"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Birthday Today - Jimmy Cagney

Born in 1899, Cagney, along with a very few others like Errol Flynn, Humphrey Bogart, Spencer Tracy, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, John Wayne -- a real pantheon -- were the heroes that dominated my youth in the 1960s through re-runs of their black-and-white movies.   For some reason -- OK, the obvious reason -- today's stars like Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Tobey McGuire, Leo DiCaprio just don't have the same weight.   Doesn't it seem to say a lot that it's hard to imagine two or three of those 1930s and 1940s stars being able to kick the crap out of a dozen or so of today's nancy boys?   Doesn't Tom Cruise's Mission Impossible character look like a little boy next to Cagney's gangsters?

Anyway, Cagney, of course, was also a wildly talented tap dancer, here in a routine with the great Bob Hope:

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