What are we missing?


Check out this lyric from a song called “Play for Today” by The Cure:

It’s not a case of aiming to please
You know you’re always crying
It’s just your part
in the play for today

Not bad… and actually, I love the song. Other lyrics from it (which I won’t quote here), are fairly typical of Robert Smith... and frankly, brilliant.

Now, check out this article from the BBC web site. Turns out there are plans to revive a show I never knew existed. The show is called Play for Today. And although the name is set to change, the idea is basically the same… a quest for new talent.

Take another look at the last two lines I used from the song…

It’s just your part
in the play for today

I would be willing to guarantee you that Smith is quite aware of the existence of the original show (which ran twenty years before wrapping up in 1984). I’m guessing that several people in England have probably put the line and the show together… or that a connection was made at the time of its release… but it isn’t something I have been able to find on the internet. It was completely lost on me over the years, and I never would have seen it if I hadn’t stumbled across the article announcing the revamped show.

This is something I wonder about all the time. Robin Williams voiced the part of the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin, and he inserted line after line that went away from the actual script… doing plenty of imitations and voices that were incorporated into the film. For an audience in 1992… and even today… Williams is hysterical and a direct hit. But what about fifty years from now? Will audiences then recognize the characters? Will they get the jokes?

And I use that as an explanation to move a step further... and ask you to consider the absolute classic… Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It stands to reason that there is something in virtually every frame of that movie that we, as an audience almost seventy years removed from its debut, are missing. Perhaps caricatures of certain people. The presence of certain types of furniture. Maybe a rabbit or a bird or a deer happened to be the favorite animal of the daughter of one of the animators drawing a scene of Snow White out in the woods. Maybe that same little girl liked to wear blue and red and yellow.

We don’t know. At least, not that I can find in some specific place.

And overall it doesn’t change the fact that the movie is outstanding and unique and, for many people, one of the greatest films ever made. A legendary, industry changing production.

As time moves on, and productions get cuter and cuter, things like specific words or items being inserted into songs, books and movies will become easier and easier to overlook and forget. Heck, retail outlets are advertising on the billboards in video games now. But there is an art to some of it. When the staff at Pixar work on the fine print of a newspaper, or the titles of compact discs, or the pictures on a wall in one of their films… that’s art. That’s hidden meaning.

And although I can’t confirm it, I believe the same holds true for the “play for today” line in Smith’s song and a connection with the show. It’s there. It’s something that’s fully intended to add depth to the meaning of the line.

The simple question becomes... how often are we missing the true intent when it should be right there in front of us?

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com