Continuing the We Didn't Start the Fire roll call . . .
Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio
Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, Television,
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe
Rosenbergs, H-Bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
Brando, The King And I, and The Catcher In The Rye
Eisenhower, Vaccine, England's got a new queen
Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye
Today: The King and I
The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I commenced on Broadway in 1951 with Yul Brynner as the King of Siam, a role he repeated in the movie version in 1956.
- The King and I is based on Margaret Landon's novel, Anna and the King of Siam (1944), which is in turn derived from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the early 1860s. The musical's plot relates the experiences of Anna, a British schoolteacher hired as part of the King's drive to modernize his country. The relationship between the King and Anna is marked by conflict through much of the piece, as well as by a love to which neither can admit.
- The humorous depiction of Mongkut as a polka-dancing despot, as well as the king's and Anna's apparent romantic feeling for each other, is condemned as disrespectful in Thailand, where the Rodgers and Hammerstein film and musical were banned by the government.
- Anna Harriette Leonowens (1831 – 1915) was an Anglo-Indian or Indian-born British travel writer, educator and social activist. She became well-known with the publication of her memoirs, beginning with The English Governess at the Siamese Court (1870), which chronicled her experiences in Siam (modern Thailand), as teacher to the children of the Siamese King Mongkut. During the course of her life, Leonowens also lived in Aden, Australia, Singapore, the United States and Canada. Among other achievements, she co-founded the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.
The reality of the "Shall We Dance" sequence was that Deborah Kerr suffered continual bruising from the hoops in her skirt, and Yul Brynner - a chain smoker who had already lost a lung to his habit - had to take oxygen in between takes.