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Tuesday, July 8, 2014
I Am Pete's Dragon, Hear Me Roar Like Helen Reddy
There's a port on a western bay and it serves a hundred ships a day. Lonely sailors pass the time away and talk about their homes. And there's a girl in this harbor town and she works layin' whiskey down. They say "Brandy, fetch another round". She serves them whiskey and wine. The sailors say "Brandy, you're a fine girl (you're a fine girl!)! What a good wife you would be (such a fine girl!)! Yeah, your eyes could steal a sailor from the sea!"
Brandy wears a braided chain, made of finest silver from the North of Spain. A locket that bears the name of a man that Brandy loves. He came on a summer's day, bringing gifts from far away. But he made it clear he couldn't stay. The harbor was his home. Yeah, Brandy used to watch his eyes when he told his sailor stories. She could feel the ocean foam rise. She saw its ragin' glory. But he had always told the truth, lord he was an honest man. And Brandy does her best to understand.
At night, when the bars close down, Brandy walks through a silent town. And loves a man who's not around. She still can hear him say: "Brandy, you're a fine girl (you're a fine girl!). What a good wife you would be (such a fine girl!). But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea."---Elliot Lurie, writer and composer of the 1972 Looking Glass song Brandy (You're a Fine Girl).
It's fitting that Brandy was written by someone named Elliot, because whenever I hear this song, it reminds me of Nora (Helen Reddy) in the 1977 Walt Disney Productions film Pete's Dragon. Nora, of course, lost her man to the sea. And she spends time with drunks in a bar, including her dad Lampie (Mickey Rooney). Nora adopts Pete (Sean Marshall) and Pete's animated dragon, Elliott.
Elliott was a big deal in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In the Disney universe, he is widely known because of his appearance in The Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland in California and at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida.
Pete and Elliott have many foes. Luckily, Elliott can breathe fire.
Pete's Dragon is full of wild characters like abusive matriarch Lena Gogan (Shelley Winters), a potential dragon-murderer named Dr. Terminus (Jim Dale) and tipsy henchman Hoagy (Red Buttons).
There's some great songs here, including Brazzle Dazzle Day and Candle on the Water.
Thankfully, Elliott saved the day in Pete's Dragon with his pyromaniac tendencies. He also reunited Nora with her fiance, Paul. No such luck for Brandy.
Elliott has appeared on quite a bit of groovy merchandise.
Canadians found Pete's Dragon character prizes in boxes of Nabisco Shreddies Cereal (there were different color toys of Elliott, Lampie and Pete).
In Pete's Dragon, the horrible schoolteacher dismisses Pete's idea of having a dragon by saying "Dragon Wagon!" This phrase was actually used in a (non-Disney) 1977 "C.B. Iron On" promotion for Honeycomb Cereal.
These days, the characters from Star Wars are now part of the Disney universe. And proving it is a small world after all, Helen Reddy is part of the Star Wars universe. She appeared in the 2007 "Blue Harvest" Star Wars episode of Family Guy. Red Buttons is there, too!