(Don) Quixote #atozchallenge

I have never read Miguel Cervantes’s 1605 novel Don Quixote, nor have I ever seen the musical Man of La Mancha, so don’t expect me to talk about either one of those.

The role of Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha was created by the famous actor Richard Kiley.

Richard Kiley, 1960. ("Photograph courtesy of United States Steel Corporation". The company was the sponsor of the program. [Public domain])

Richard Kiley grew up in Chicago and attended my alma mater, Loyola University Chicago, for a year. This is always a great source of pride for Mary and me, for whatever reason.

When I was getting ready to graduate, Kiley was in Chicago performing at (let’s call it) the Schubert Theater in a revival of the play Man of La Mancha, and rumors were circulating that he would be giving the commencement address or at least pop in to sing “The Impossible Dream.” I was actually looking forward to seeing him, because I had heard that graduation ceremonies tend to be really, really dull.

Of course, I hadn’t taken into consideration the fact that this was mid-year graduation, which is nowhere near the big deal that year-end graduation is. The big celebrities and famous people are always reserved for June; in January you basically get whoever they can find. In our case, we had a fun-filled and exciting lecture by a Jesuit scholar on graduation ceremonies in the Middle Ages. Or some such folderol. I pretty much slept through it.

Graduation tends to be a big anticlimax and a pain in the ass anyway. You show up, put on the cap and gown you rented, march in, sit where they tell you to sit so they call your name in the right order, you sit through an hour of festivities during which you get the leather folder into which your diploma goes (you don’t get the actual sheepskin until you turn in your cap and gown), you march out, drop off your rented stuff and get your diploma, and that’s that. I have no idea what happened to my diploma and tassel, and really don’t care.

Anyway, since I didn’t hear it at graduation, here is Richard Kiley singing “The Impossible Dream.”

29 thoughts on “(Don) Quixote #atozchallenge

  1. I remember seeing this play when I was a little girl. I think most of it went over my head, but that Impossible Dream song was a dramatic one that moved people to tears. Funny I hadn’t thought of this musical in years, now I’ll be humming its theme song all day.

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  2. Haven’t heard that song in a long time! You’re not alone–I’ve never read the book nor seen the musical either.

    How’s the official A-Z going this year? You must be incredibly busy!

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      1. Yes, we did the Marriage Encounter Weekend at the urging of my sister and her husband. I put a good effort in. Some marriages still ended in divorce. Mine too. 😦 Still a good ideal to aim for.

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        1. Marriage Encounter has its benefits for a good marriage. We did one about 30 years ago, but we gave up on the letter-writing about a month after we started. There are some ME folks that are just a little too into it. They usually recommend Retrouvaille (I think that’s how it’s spelled) for marriages that are “in trouble,” but as you say it’s no guarantee.

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  3. I did see this play, on Broadway, during the one year I lived in NYC. It would have been better if my ex hadn’t invited here mom, dad and four siblings to attend at our expense.

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  4. I don’t remember reading Don Quixote or seeing the movie either unless I had to read it in high school. It is a very stirring song though. I think you’ve given me an ear worm.

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  5. I haven’t read it or seen a movie adaptation either. I have the book, only because it was my father’s. It has Dali illustrations, so it’s kind of an odd one.
    I remember renting gowns, and buying the caps. My daughter just texted me to see if her cap and gown are ready to pick up at the college bookstore. She had to buy the gown. It’s one of those things you wear once! Like a wedding dress. Those ought to be rented too! Is that unromantic? It’s practical and you can use the money for future needs, not a one time outfit!

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  6. That’s a long time unheard and it all comes back. I did read it, and I had an incredible teacher who made it all come to life — so good!
    Sassy just got the Loyola “Come learn here” pamphlet this week — not a choice for her, but this reminded me of that.

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    1. I don’t know if I’d recommend Loyola today. My stepfather was director of admissions, my grandfather was a Math professor there, and most of Mom’s family graduated from there (Mom went to Mundelein, which is very close by and now a part of Loyola), but I’m not sure I’d want one of my kids going there. Lots of reasons why, chief among them their real estate acquisition choices…

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      1. It’s not a choice for her, because it’s out of state, but that’s very interesting, with your lineage and your knowledge of the institution.

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  7. I saw a revival of the musical starring Hal Lindon and thought it was excellent. This song is close to my heart and one I truly believe in, in fact, my mom always wanted to make a jewelry box, out of an egg, using this song when it would open. I wish she had the ability to make it.

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  8. John,

    You not on crack me up but you speak the truth. Like proms, graduations are equally boring and so overrated. I didn’t snooze through mine but I sure came close to nodding off. 🙂 ‘The Impossible Dream’ is a beautiful song. I always liked hearing Jim Neighbors sing it.

    Thanks for joining me on Friday for my A2Z Little Mermaid art sketch ‘Queen’ post. Happy a2zing!

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    1. Jim Nabors could rattle some windows with that voice, couldn’t he? Carol Burnett considered him her good-luck charm and had him on the first show of every season.

      I had graduation and my prom the same evening. Just as well, get it all out of the way at once. My date (who went to another school) and I pretty much hated each other by the time my prom rolled around, and I seriously considered breaking it off with her before that night, but I hung in there and never saw her again after that. Now I wish we had broken up, because I hit it off with the girl they paired me up with at graduation, who was really cute and friendly and didn’t have a date…

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