May 28, 2008

"Orphans of the Cinema" [?]

In December 2006, the actor Keith Carradine (Dexter, Deadwood, Will Rogers, Nashville and a hundred others) played a musical gig at Joe's Pub in New York. I did not see the show, but heard him sing live on a WNYC-FM program. He performed a protest song he had written.

Carradine entitled his song "Orphans of the Cinema." I'm not sure why, having not listened closely enough to the lyrics the one time I heard it sung. To date, I've found no indication of it having been published, recorded and discussed -- save for a brief mention in the annual alumni newsletter of the Ojai Valley School in California. "Alumni Profile: Keith Carradine (U67)," Family Tree (2007): 10-11.

There at least we have the first verse of this multi-versed song, about which I'd like to know more.

Deep into the witching hour
The glitter city sleeps;
The orphans of the cinema
Are wandering the streets,
Sunken eyes beseeching,
A withered hand is reaching
For the traces of humanity that linger.

There's no orphan film related to any of this (so far as we know), but I am curious about the metaphor as imagined by this film actor/singer/songwriter from a notable Hollywood family. Brother David Carradine famously played an orphan, Kwai Chang Caine, in the TV series Kung Fu -- and Keith played the teenage "Grasshopper" Caine in flashback sequences. But that's hardly an explanation.