HR Musical Monday Fiorello!

The HRi has always enjoyed theatre, and can’t watch a stage play or movie without thinking about the HR issues presented. It’s a curse.

Long before he played Howard Cunningham on TV’s Happy Days, Tom Bosley led a Broadway cast in a musical based on the political life of Fiorello LaGuardia, one time mayor of New York City. (Bosley, who recently passed away, won a Tony in this role.)  As I read about Charie Rangel over the last couple of weeks, it called to mind this story about corruption in government. Most of LaGuardia’s party had given up trying to get their candidate in place where Tammany Hall corruption held a firm grip on the city’s high office. The party chose LaGuardia, thinking that he wouldn’t stand a chance and saving their stronger candidate for another time.

They didn’t count on his determination. The feisty, diminutive candidate got the labor vote, the poor vote,  and appealed to enough “little people” to make a big difference. What I learned in this bit of history is that a dedicated, fair-minded person can overcome great odds.

At a lighter moment in this musical, the political cronies share their view about the people put on trial for corruption. One by one, they mimic the explanations of the defendants. The last is my favorite:

“Mr. Z, you’re a junior official
And your income’s rather low,
Yet you’ve kept a dozen women in the very best hotels,
Would you kindly explain how so?”

“I can see your Honor doesn’t pull his punches,
And it looks a trifle fishy, I’ll admit.
But for one whole week I went without my lunches,
And it mounted up, your Honor, bit by bit.
(Up your Honor, bit by bit.)

One other thing about LaGuardia. During a newspaper strike, he read the comics to kids over the radio.  If the Internet ever goes on strike, I hope Joe Biden will read us The Cynical Girl, I’d miss those posts.

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