Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beware The Ides of March...

...They just might make you laugh yourself silly!

I've posted Wayne and Shuster's classic sketch Rinse the Blood Off My Toga before, but never more aptly than this - the day it's supposedly taking place, the dreaded Ides of March. It was on that date in 44 BCE Julius Caesar was killed by Gaius Cassius Longinus and Marcus Junius Brutus at the head of a conspiracy numbering at least 40 (and as many as 60) noble Romans. The event is most famously depicted in William Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar, which was written circa 1599.

The sketch manages to parody Shakespeare, police procedural dramas like Dragnet, and even the gladiator movies which were so popular when it was first written, in 1958. This 1970s version, however, is truncated by at least two minutes; alas, the original version - which the Canadian comedy duo performed on their own show as well as on The Ed Sullivan Show, does not seem to exist on YouTube.

It lives on today thanks at least as much to the vocal skills and comedy timing of Johnny Wayne and Frank Shuster as it does to those of one Sylvia Lennick, who as Caesar's widow Calpurnia Pisonis utters a line almost as timeless at that of Caesar's own* - Et tu, Brute? - in 'I told him, Julie! Don't go!'
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