September 19, 2016

"'Mama' Cass Elliot of the Mamas and Papas was born Ellen Naomi Cohen on September 19, 1941."

"She would have turned 75 today. She died in 1974 at age 32."

Says my son John Althouse Cohen in a blogpost — with lots of videos.

He includes something I wrote earlier today, on Facebook, after watching a video of The Mamas & The Papas doing "Monday Monday" on a TV show in 1966:
I remember how it felt to see them on TV like that -- looking so different from other groups of the time. The men were like the other men, but the women were different, because of Cass and because of her contrast with Michelle [Phillips], who would have stood out as phenomenally pretty anyway, but standing there next to Cass, she made a fantastic contrast, and there were many people who were suddenly discovering that the fat one was even more attractive. It was kind of like with The Beatles, the way many girls thought Ringo was the most attractive, when, by conventional standards, he was the only ugly one. Back in the 60s... when everything was a revolution.
John responded to that with:
Now it's hard to imagine anything being a revolution!

52 comments:

Ron said...

We don't sit still long enough to be able to revolt against anything anymore!

Jason said...

All I know is that if Mama Cass Elliot and Karen Carpenter had shared that ham sandwich, they'd BOTH be alive today!

David said...

So John does not think electing Trump would be a revolution. Probably not, but could it cause one?

David Begley said...

Now that would have been a duet: Cass and Karen.

Birkel said...

What was the fundamental transformation of America for which Althouse voted in 2008, but a revolution?

FullMoon said...

Cannot remember title of book, but was amazed at what total drug addicts a couple of them were. Such mellow music and such self destructive addiction.

boycat said...

Ogling Michelle aside, the Mamas & Papas were a chick's group.

Ellen said...

Thank God for "Mama" Ann Althouse. Loved this post by your son. Memories are lighting the corners of my mind...

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chickelit said...

Broken jars of mayo on the kitchen floor!

Paul said...

No, the fat one was not more attractive. More Cultural Marxist fantasy. And it's so very tiresome.

Mark Daniels said...

Enjoyed the Mamas and Papas' harmonies, but I was never really much into them. In the 60s, their music seemed like throwback nostalgia.

Peter said...

Cannot remember title of book, but was amazed at what total drug addicts a couple of them were. Such mellow music and such self destructive addiction.

Not to mention the claim that John Phillips nailed his own daughter. Ick, if true.

exiledonmainstreet said...

There's a reason Mick Jagger banged Michelle Phillips and not Mama Cass.

Cass had terrific pipes though.

William said...

She didn't die of a ham sandwich. She died of a heart attack. A contributing cause of the heart attack was obesity so I guess in an attenuated way the ham sandwich had something to do with it.......I like the story about the ham sandwich better even though it's not the truth. If you have to die young, an absurdist death is even cooler than a Porsche crash. It is fitting and sweet to die for one's ham sandwich......It's probably more fun to be most beautiful like Michelle, but there's some satisfaction in having the best voice. Bummer that she didn't live long enough to see Michelle's looks fade while her own voice gained in range and quality. As a morality play, everything about the Mamas and the Papas sucked, and there are no useful lessons to be learned from the study of their lives.

Earnest Prole said...

Watch Mama Cass do her Mashed Potatoes Happy Dance — no sound required.

Mick said...

exiledonmainstreet said...
"There's a reason Mick Jagger banged Michelle Phillips and not Mama Cass.

Cass had terrific pipes though."

"The fat one was more attractive". Said the "Law proff",

No I doubt it

Mike Sylwester said...

The Mamas and the Papas, like the Beach Boys, found themselves associated with the Charles Manson murders. Cass Elliot's situation was as follows.

Elliot lived across the street from the home of coffee heiress Abigail Folger and a Polish immigrant named Wojtek Frykowski and was friends with them. Frykowski was close friends with fellow Polish immigrant Roman Polanski. When Polanski went away to make a movie in 1969, he asked Folger and Frykowski to house-sit his home.

While Folger and Frykowski were living in the Polanski home, they asked a friend named Pic Dawson to house-sit their own home. Dawson soon became the boyfriend of Elliot, who lived across the street.

When Polanski's wife, Sharon Tate, began to have difficulty with her pregnancy, she returned home. Then Charles Manson's gang invaded the home and murdered everyone there, including Folger, Frykowski and Tate.

Frykowski regularly purchased narcotics from a professional bodyguard named William Mentzer, who sold narcotics also to people in Elliot's entourage who hung around in her home.

Mentzer is a key character in a book called The Ultimate Evil, by Maury Terry. Mentzer and a Satanic cult are a connection between the Manson murders in Los Angeles and the Son of Sam murders in New York. Mentzer eventually was convicted of murdering a show-business promoter named Roy Radin.

Because of her fame, wealth and loneliness, Elliot became surrounded by a bunch of parasites, some of whom were deeply involved in nefarious activities.

She herself was a nice person and a wonderful singer.

http://crashrecovery.org/pidcock/The%20Ultimate%20Evil.pdf

eddie willers said...

After I heard the two girls sing, I figure God evened 'em out.

I remember watching the TV series "Lost" when they came back for the first show of the second season and was anxiously awaiting to see just what was down that hatch!

They opened with a mysterious guy in some sort of bachelor pad...waking up, typing on a computer and then getting up to select an album. He put the record on the turntable, and when the needle hit the first groove, I almost squealed when the pristine notes of "Make Your Own Kind Of Music" started playing.

She (Cass) also made an album with Dave Mason (of Traffic fame). A weird combo, but it worked.

walter said...

What's the word on "Wilson Phillips"?
Carnie had the surgery...then..

wholelottasplainin' said...

boycat said...
Ogling Michelle aside, the Mamas & Papas were a chick's group.

****************
The idea of a "chick group" did not exist back then. I suspect you are confusing them with "girl groups", of which there were many.

Particularly, African-American groups like the Supremes, Shirelles, Ronettes, Chiffons, Marvelettes, Martha and the Vandellas, Gladys Knight and the Pips....

They appealed to both sexes, and to blacks and whites. Go to YouTube and see old performances, and then look at the audiences.

If you're saying the Ms and Ps appealed more to whites, you would be correct. But that's a different argument.

I suspect you weren't there.

Earnest Prole said...

Responding to John's point, I think what Andrew Sullivan describes in the article you linked constitutes a revolution -- a fundamental change in how humans relate to each other.

gadfly said...

Evolution, revolution, devolution from the latin root volv-, volu-, -volve, volut-, -volute, -volution which translates as bend, curve, turn, turn around, twist, roll.

Man's search for a better way has really become more of a convolution - don't you think? Coiling, winding, twisting together to form "a complexity or intricacy, especially one of many others."

tcrosse said...

At one point Cass proposed marriage to Denny Doherty, who had had an affair with Michelle. He refused, but they remained friends. Eventually Denny ended up in obscurity, i.e. Canadian television.

CStanley said...

Now it's hard to imagine anything being a revolution!

Thanks, baby boomers! You ruined teenage rebellion.

tim in vermont said...

She was in a folk group called "The Big Three" and they did a version of "Oh Susannah" that got ripped off for a huge hit, "Venus", with the exact arrangement but different words by Bananarama. If you have Spotify, listen to it.

Paul Snively said...

"When everything is a revolution, nothing is."

Curious George said...

Michelle Phillips was a whore.

MayBee said...

Imagine having to sing a lyric your bandmate wrote about you getting fat.

Ipso Fatso said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ipso Fatso said...

@tim in vermont:

The original version of "Venus" was done in 1969 by Shocking Blue. Bananarama's version was a cover of that song. (As an aside, Shocking Blue's lead singer was Mariska Veres, who was beautiful.) Anyway, here is a link to a youtube video comparing both songs. I never knew any of this until you pointed it out. Thanks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omze3EHmltY

who-knew said...

I read John Phillips autobiography many years ago. All I remember is he was a terrible person and so addicted that Mick Jagger walked out on producing his second solo album (which then, never was finished) and that he said Denny Doherty had the most beautiful tenor voice he'd ever heard. I went back and listened to "Monday, Monday" and he was right. Doherty was phenomenal.

Roughcoat said...

Michelle was more attractive, by several orders of magnitude. I don't know where or how this notion that Cass was more attractive than Michelle, or that men secretly desired her over Michelle, got started. But I think I know who started it: fat women and beta males. I mean, seriously, ARE YOU MENTALLY ILL?! Michelle was hotter than a two-dollar pistol. Cass was fat, Orca fat--and unattractive.

But she had a pretty face, like all fat women, didn't she.

Ann Althouse said...

"there were many people who were suddenly discovering that the fat one was even more attractive"

= from the perspective of some, Mama Cass felt like the one they'd want to have sex with.

That was a fact.

Ann Althouse said...

Obviously, some men prefer fat women. It's not worth fighting over that.

It's a matter of taste. It's like arguing over some men preferring other men. You know it's true. There's nothing to object to.

Maybe you think that calling a fat woman attractive is encouraging others to get or stay fat and it's going to lead to health problems and even — as in Cass's case — early death. But I don't think telling fat people they're not desirable is a good way to help them get to a healthier weight. It may even do the opposite.

More love is better.

Roughcoat said...

from the perspective of some, Mama Cass felt like the one they'd want to have sex with.

Some = beta male losers.

At the time when the Mamas and Pappas were big, I was a teenage boy, and I didn't know any teenage boys who wanted to have sex with Cass.

None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

tim in vermont said...

Nothing is more beta than worrying about what other people think of the girls you want to have sex with.

clint said...

"John responded to that with:
Now it's hard to imagine anything being a revolution!"

That's how the pendulum swings.

See all of the headlines about how millennials and the generation following them are so conservative and square. It's how they rebel.

Re: larger women... From Summer Catch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BEgXtfxH-4

madAsHell said...

The original version of "Venus" was done in 1969 by Shocking Blue.

To this day, my mother insists that they are singing "Penis".

madAsHell said...

Little known factoid....Mama Cass died in the same flat as Keith Moon.

urbane legend said...

Was that good planning or the intersection of certain planet influences? Was Mama Cass in love with Keith Moon, maybe over the moon for Moon?

GWash said...

'More love is better'... finally althouse comes through...
Less misogony, less sexism, less racism, less inequality...
more cooperation, more empathy, more trust...
get on board the love train... the o'jays... another great Gamble and Huff Philly sound... this blog is picking up !

Mike said...

To support Althouse's comments about Cass's attractiveness, I was going to link to porn search results. You see, I heard a couple years back that "one of the most popular search terms" within porn was for chubby or BBW women. But my quick googling disavowed that notion. Out of a pretty extensive list of most popular porn types, chubby didn't make the top 20.

There is a substantial amount of that type of porn out there, meaning someone is looking for Cass-like flesh. But I got nothing to show for that wasted time!

Paul said...

Obviously someone somewhere likes fat girls. Someone also practices coprophagia too. I will submit that these people represent a very small minority and statements like "from the perspective of some, Mama Cass felt like the one they'd want to have sex with. That was a fact", is just typical propaganda designed to mislead and prop up a fantasy reality.

JAORE said...

I was at a bar (MANY years ago) with an agency lawyer. He was mid-thirties, considered good looking and appeared to have money. We, as was common in our bachelor days, made note of the various women moving about. He was, by and large, unimpressed.

Until a Mama Cass clone walked by. His ears shot up, he dropped his glass on the table and virtually sprinted in her direction uttering the phrase, "Blimp Patrol!"

So, yes, it happens. But it is so rare, in my experience, that the memory still astounds me.

JAORE said...

Oh yeah. My wife was at a local club with friends and saw a performer named Candye Kane singing blues. She was impressed and thought I would be too.

So I pulled up U-Tube and searched that name. Turns out Ms. Cane was a former porn star of substantial girth. Judy laughed at my reaction as the videos appeared and said, "Oh, didn't I tell you she was a former porn star?"

Adding the term singer made a world of difference.

Alas, Ms. Cane was battling cancer and I understand she passed away not long after.

Andrew said...

Cass had a great personality and a beautiful voice, but

""there were many people who were suddenly discovering that the fat one was even more attractive"

= from the perspective of some, Mama Cass felt like the one they'd want to have sex with."

+ she was easier, a mattress back.

dbp said...

"Obviously, some men prefer fat women. It's not worth fighting over that.

It's a matter of taste. It's like arguing over some men preferring other men. You know it's true. There's nothing to object to."

Some men prefer fat women. Even if it is 1/2 of one percent, that is many men. I can believe that many thought the fat one was more attractive, I can't believe that those "many" are any but a tiny minority.

coupe said...

The nice thing about obese women, is they die early. Just make sure you have enough life insurance on them.

I mean, she lived 20 years after puberty - ka-ching!

Smilin' Jack said...

More love is better.

So if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with.

Chelsy Kho said...

Numpang Promo ya

PAPADOMINO agen poker online terpercaya
judi poker
bandar poker
domino online
agen poker online
poker online
capsa susun
poker online terpecaya

Bad Lieutenant said...

Ann Althouse said...
Obviously, some men prefer fat women. It's not worth fighting over that.

It's a matter of taste. It's like arguing over some men preferring other men. You know it's true. There's nothing to object to.



This is very nearly meaningless. Some people prefer amputees. Some people prefer animals. Most men prefer women with long hair, fair skin, even features, and a low waist-hip ratio with weight proportionate to height.

You know, Ann, by some standards, you are, or were, a beautiful woman. I cannot think that you would negate that objective, i.e. statistically preponderantly true, advantage. I think that if you were in the same room as Mama Cass (minus her celebrity, and minus whatever yours as a lawprof/Cromwell droid), you would expect to get most of the male attention.