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PAMTGGDon't!


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#46 bart

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 05:38 AM

Thank you, Quiggin! I remember that push-button shifting innovation. It was an idea that didn't always work. Nor did it last very long, as I recall. I got my first car around that time (1957 Ford Fairlane) and never would have trusted something so flimsy as push-buttons. (I love the idea that it would be popular with the ladies because it was so simple. Pushing buttons to do all sorts of important tasks was one of the seductive design goals of the 1950s.)

I am in awe of the song-and-dance number. Those who were not around in the mid-50s may not really credit the extent to which Americans wanted to believe that they were living in a time of unprecedented Progress -- innovation, style, productive energy, and youth-enhancing freedom. "The forward look for 1956" combines show-biz with a remarkably positive and optimistic view of the role of science in human life. (As opposed to the view that science = atomic bombs and such.)

I can close my eyes now and still visualize all those big, shiny cars -- fins projecting into infinity; chrome reflecting the brilliant sunlight; mpg not even an issue in time of 20 cents a gallon premium gasoline -- on my suburban street. One dressed up to go to the car dealer. Signing the purchase papers was a ritual not unlike signing a marriage license. When the car was delivered one dressed up to have a family photo taken in front of the new vehicle, rather like a big game hunter posing with his rifle in front of a dead rhino.

PAMTTG, as I recall, lacked that essential optimism, that good-times-will-never-end feeling. There was a frantic quality, an underlying insecurity (Things CAN go Wrong) that is missing in the Chrysler commercial.

#47 Helene

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 08:02 AM

My father had a Plymouth station wagon with the push buttons. As a child in the front seat, I was fascinated by them, and I couldn't understand why my father didn't use more of them. I wanted to push them all.

#48 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 09:23 AM

My father had a Plymouth station wagon with the push buttons. As a child in the front seat, I was fascinated by them, and I couldn't understand why my father didn't use more of them. I wanted to push them all.


And my mom had a Chrysler 1956 with the push buttons too...! :P

That car was in full function just until she left Cuba in 1998. She sold it just before leaving, and for what I've heard, it is still up and running in my hometown... :)

#49 rg

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 12:32 PM

another glimpse of PAMTGG via a Chicago Tribune press photo - dated like the others here August 1971.
the only dancers i recognize with some certainty are the two men holding the "flying" dancer aloft.
they are on the left, H. Conde and on the right R. Mairano. once again the costumes' lettering connected to the ballet's title is in evidence.

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#50 melange

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 01:19 PM

In a strange way, the the dancers to the left in rg's snapshot above remind me of that sequence in Symphony In Three Movements when the corps girls run around in a circle with arms out, airplane-like.

To touch on a point raised earlier in this thread, I think that, to be relevant, any revival of PAMTGG that Peter Martins or Benjamin Millepied might make necessarily must include those current TSA security screening procedures that, of course, did not exist in 1972.

#51 Helene

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 03:00 PM

To touch on a point raised earlier in this thread, I think that, to be relevant, any revival of PAMTGG that Peter Martins or Benjamin Millepied might make necessarily must include those current TSA security screening procedures that, of course, did not exist in 1972.

:lol: (Sad, but true...)

It would have to be a full-length: Act I is where the dancers get to the theater two hours earlier than usual.

#52 sandik

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 05:55 PM

But surely the see-through luggage would mean they could skip the scanner.

#53 Helene

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 06:05 PM

But not the explosive swabber or the choice of body scanner or grope.

#54 sandik

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 04:17 PM

Ah, the romance of travel!

#55 Liz

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 03:36 AM

I was in the ballet, PAMTGG, in 1971 as a corps de ballet member. Balanchine did have us all wear our own clothes for the 3rd performance (and final, as I remember it) and he said, "I want you all to be hippies" - so I wore a pair of blue jeans and in the middle of a lift, where I split my legs in second position, hugh above my partner's head- (Hermes Conde) - my jeans split at the crotch! - a mortifying moment in a mortifying ballet - thank goodness I was wearing tights underneath!

#56 sandik

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 10:30 AM

I'm sorry for your mortification, but thanks so much for sharing the moment with us!

Is there anything you can recall about the making of the work that seemed unusual, or specific? It's one of those ballets that make me curious, since I'll never see it.

#57 Helene

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 10:38 AM

It was based on a TV jingle, and from what I read, the premises -- musical and thematic -- were weak, and it ran out of gas. It might have worked if it was part of a short work for a special occasion, like in front of the Pan Am building, like the work Balanchine did for a World's Fair.

#58 Jack Reed

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 08:55 PM

... the 3rd performance (and final, as I remember it)


Third and last performance in New York, maybe? I thought it got two performances at Ravinia (north of Chicago, the Chicago Symphony's summer outdoor performing pavilion, where ballet went on for a week in August, IIRC). I remember seeing one or two, with the Lucite luggage we don't see in these images. Notice rg credits the photo to the Chicago Tribune, and notice the surface the dancers are on, big rectangular sheets of something. Plywood? Was your floor laid in sheets in New York, Liz?

(If you didn't make the Chicago tour, you may not have missed much. When NYCB tried to give the local premiere of Agon at Ravinia in 1957, I recall someone took such a hard fall the performance was stopped and they went on with something else after a considerable interval, to the apprehension and disappointment of my companion and myself. Like dancing on trampolines there? But 1971 was not 1957, of course.)

#59 Liz

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 04:03 AM

I'm sorry for your mortification, but thanks so much for sharing the moment with us!

Is there anything you can recall about the making of the work that seemed unusual, or specific? It's one of those ballets that make me curious, since I'll never see it.


I remember thinking, as Mr B was choreographing PAMTGG, "What trash!" and I actually hated doing this ballet. But, as a corps member, it was my job to dance, without complaint. This was not the first piece of junk I had to dance, but it was the most disappointing because, after all, it was the great Balanchine ,and in my eyes he had just toppled off a huge pedestal. I also remember thinking that to Mr B, this ballet was a throwaway and even he didn't like it, but he was commissioned to do it... I Pan Am gave the company a million dollars to create it... that was a lot of money in 1971! I was thinking: what a waste!....

#60 Liz

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 04:34 AM


... the 3rd performance (and final, as I remember it)


Third and last performance in New York, maybe? I thought it got two performances at Ravinia (north of Chicago, the Chicago Symphony's summer outdoor performing pavilion, where ballet went on for a week in August, IIRC). I remember seeing one or two, with the Lucite luggage we don't see in these images. Notice rg credits the photo to the Chicago Tribune, and notice the surface the dancers are on, big rectangular sheets of something. Plywood? Was your floor laid in sheets in New York, Liz?

(If you didn't make the Chicago tour, you may not have missed much. When NYCB tried to give the local premiere of Agon at Ravinia in 1957, I recall someone took such a hard fall the performance was stopped and they went on with something else after a considerable interval, to the apprehension and disappointment of my companion and myself. Like dancing on trampolines there? But 1971 was not 1957, of course.)

I remember going to Ravinia and dancing there - but oddly enough, I was not listed in the program for those performances of PAMTGG. - and when I referred to the third and last performance, yes, that was new york. There is a photograph from the Chicago Tribune, that I found on ebay and purchased, of PAMTGG, and I am in it....How do I post it here? anyway, I don't remember the flooring.. Sorry.


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