Friday, July 12, 2013

Comedy Film Classic: Danny Kaye in The Court Jester (The Vessel with the Pestle......)


This is the centennial year of Danny Kaye's birth to Jewish Ukrainian immigrants as David Daniel Kaminsky.

Kaye (1913-1987), a celebrated American actor, singer, dancer, and comedian, was best known for his physical comedy, idiosyncratic pantomimes, and rapid-fire nonsense songs. He started his career at the age of 13, performing in the Catskill Mountains of New York.

One of the best tongue twister routines in film comedy came at a crucial point in The Court Jester (1955), considered the best of Kaye's films. The plot is too convoluted to explain here, but you can get a synopsis from the Wikipedia entry for it.

There are many funny parts to the movie, but the most memorable and most often quoted is the rhyme that Kaye, as the jester made a knight, has to repeat to himself before a joust in order to avoid drinking a poisonous beverage.

The classic line, a great tongue twister, is "the pellet with the poison is in the vessel with the pestle. The chalice from the palace has the brew that is true." Just after Kaye memorizes the rhyme, he is told that there's been a change, because they broke the chalice from the palace. Now, "the pellet with the poison is in the flagon with the dragon and the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true."

And as a special bonus for Danny Kaye fans, we add a video clip of him singing Anywhere I Wander from his portrayal of Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen in the 1952 film.

Enjoy!

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO IS NOT VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)