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30 November 2004


Over on Discarded Lies, my pretend fiancé evariste began a headline with the delicious word-string Yemeni Bourgeoisie, Clerisy...

The phrase immediately reminded me of the magical incantations used by the apprentice witch Eglantine Price (Angela Lansbury) in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Disney's so-so attempt to recycle a formula that some years earlier had yielded a box-office hit and a well-deserved Oscar for Julie Andrews: British woman with alarming paranormal abilities, kids in need of watching, friendly bum who becomes a father surrogate, cartoon animals, score by Richard & Robert Sherman.

Well, the result was no Mary Poppins, but Bedknobs and Broomsticks has a lot of sterling moments. As a kid, I was immediately hooked by the rhythms of the movie's magic spells. "Filigree, apogee, pedigree, perigee," for instance, would turn the addressee into a white rabbit, while the spell that enchanted the bedknob of the movie's title began with a litany of poisonous -- but euphonious -- herbs: "Hellebore, henbane, aconite; glowworm glow, firefly light."

(The magic formulas stuck with me because I had to look up some of the words when I first saw the movie, in third grade or so. Since I wasn't sure about the spellings, it was quite gratifying when I finally found apogee in the dictionary and it said "See also: perigee.")

But the most powerful incantation in the movie -- the one that brought a museum full of armor to clanking life in order to drive off a Nazi reconnaisance force -- were the five words:

Treguna - Makoides - Tracorum - Satis - Dee

Hmmm, nothing happened. Nothing happened the eleventeen dozen times I tried reciting it as a kid, either. In the movie, it took David Tomlinson's jazz-chants and some background music to get the spell working the first time, so maybe you should head over to the Diskoteka and practice with "Substitutiary Locomotion."

posted by Throbert | 11/30/2004 02:26:00 AM |
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