Tuesday, June 26, 2012
PAUL WILLIAMS STILL ALIVE
Documentaries keep getting better and better! This one, about the famous and successful Paul Williams, song writer of such top ten hits as "We've Only Just Begun" (Karen Carpenter), and Barbra Streisand's rendition of his "Evergreen," which won them an Academy Award, not to mention (but I will) "Rainbow Connection" soulfully delivered by Kermit the Frog, this film was wonderfully put together by his lifelong fan, Steven Kessler, who was thrilled to discover that Paul was still alive after seemingly disappearing for a couple of decades. During the '70's, Williams was so popular (and witty) that he appeared on numerous TV shows, most notably 50 guest spots on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. During the eighties, Paul did the whole drug, booze thing, but fortunately came out alive, cleaned up, and became a counselor and effective spokesperson for groups promoting being clean and sober. His most recent accomplishment, President of AFTA. No longer young, but still sharp, and certainly wiser, he's been married a couple of times, and fathered some children. Because he was given obviously wrong growth hormones as a kid, though his voice deepened, his bones were stopped from growing, and so he remained painfully short as an adult. Always feeling alienated, "inferior," his music revealed the aching loneliness that reached from his soul to his listeners, and brought his songs so much recognition, including numerous Grammys. Brash, rude, self-effacing, albeit seemingly narcissistic, Williams is a fascinating subject for a documentary, especially seen through the honest lens of Steven Kessler, whose affection and appreciation for this icon is obvious.