Tuesday, May 17, 2016

R.I.P. "Short Shorts"

(No, no, I haven't killed the "Short Shorts" feature, although it has been absent for a while. Instead, I'm presenting two short memorial pieces.)

Bill Backer, 1926-2016, R.I.P.

Quick! Who was the adman responsible for the iconic Coca-Cola commercial, where a crowd of people sang "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. I'd like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company?" If you said "Don Draper," you're wrong! It was Bill Backer, pictured above, who just died at the age of 89.

Madeleine Lebeau, 1923-2016, R.I.P.

The young woman who -- along with almost everyone in Rick's Cafe Americain -- tearfully sang "La Marseillaise" in Casablanca has died at the age of 92. She was supposedly the last surviving actress from the film.

Varying reports list Madeleine's last name as Lebeau and LeBeau.  As near as I can determine, Lebeau was her birth name and LeBeau was a studio misspelling (or renaming).

Madeleine Lebeau and Leonid Kinskey in Casablanca!

Thanks for your time.


  1. Gosh, I remember that Coca Cola song. We learnt it by heart and sang it all the time!

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

    1. I think everyone who was alive then remembers it! :)

  2. Two last names at play, what a typo can do. Knew the second, never heard of the first guy.

  3. Oh wow....that was an iconic commercial and one of the best ever. It's amazing how each character from Casablanca were important and remembered. She was a great character especially when she sang the song.


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