Song Of The Day 4/27/2014: Ellen Janov - "Portobello Road"

Ellen Janov starred in a Disney film called The Horse In the Gray Flannel Suit. It's one of the live-action Disney movies from the '60s (and well into the '70s) in which the fate of serious, human-erected institutions rested on the previously unheralded talents -- and capricious unpredictability -- of nonhumans. The Shaggy D.A., Gus, The Love Bug, The Amazing Adventures of Henry Kissinger and His Pet Meerkat "Diplomacy" -- all those movies from an era when Walt Disney desperately wanted to infect you with an inferiority complex unsolvable in real life. In the case of The Horse In the Gray Flannel Suit, the company in trouble was an ad agency, and the nonhuman brought in to save the day was, actually, a kangaroo. I'm just messing with you. It was a horse. Don't ask me about the film because I haven't seen it, and at this late stage of my home planet's elliptical journey, I don't think I'm going to get around to it. (I do know that Dean Jones was in it, because of course Dean Jones was in it.)

Ellen Janov -- who tragically perished in a house fire in 1976 at the age of 23 -- was also the daughter of Arthur Janov. If that name rings a bell in your head, please give me a chance to cover my ears. Arthur Janov was the inventor of primal scream therapy, in which troubled patients are encouraged to relive past traumas and give voice to the long-repressed rage such upheavals shocked back into the dark recesses of our systems. Two of his patients were John Lennon and Yoko Ono, who really had a lot to scream about at the end of the '60s, and did so both in Janov's office and on the John Lennon Plastic Ono Band album, which reportedly and shockingly was a big favorite of crooner Sammy Davis Jr. Again, that's me just messing with you. There's no evidence that Davis either owned or heard that album. I'm simply trying to create a comic moment of disconnect for effect.

"Portobello Road" was written by Cat Stevens about a street in the Notting Hill section of London. It's got nothing to do with mushrooms. Get your mind out of the gutter.

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