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"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Young Haven Hamilton: A Poem by Henry Gibson

Here's the late, beloved Henry Gibson on my favorite sitcom, "The Dick Van Dyke Show," in 1966. (When I grow up, I still want to be Rob Petrie.) On "Laugh-In" (1968-1971), he was known for his recitations, which began with him holding a large artificial flower (he himself was only 5'3") and announcing: "A poem... by Henry Gibson." This particular poem, originally penned by a guy named Frank Stanton circa 1920, later became a song by Gibson and Richard Baskin, performed by Haven Hamilton at the Grand Ole Opry (and sponsored by Goo Goo Candy Clusters) in Robert Altman's "Nashville" (1975). Full lyrics to Haven's inspirational anthem below:

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(via Robert C. Cumbow, >Richard T. Jameson)

Haven: "And now I'd like to do a special old favorite, the song that got me started in this business that's been so kind to me, a song you've loved through the years, and one I'm sure you're gonna love tonight: "Keep a' Goin'"!

Well, if you strike a thorn or rose, Keep a-goin'! And if it hails or if it snows, Keep a-goin'! Ain't no use to sit an' whine 'Cause the fish ain't on your line Bait your hook and keep a-tryin'-- Keep a-goin'!

When the weather kills your crop, Keep a-goin'! Why, it takes work to reach the top, Keep a-goin'! If the skys look dark and gray Tell the world you'll be OK And don't forget to pray! Keep a-goin'!

If you're up against the wall, Keep a-goin'! Swallow hard and just stand tall, Keep a-goin'! S'pose you're out of any dime, Bein' broke ain't any crime! It'll all work out in time, Keep a-goin'!

And if the doctor says you're through, Keep a-goin'! Why he's a human just like you, Keep a-goin'! Ain't no law says you must die, Wipe them tears from off your eye, Give ol' life another try -- Keep a-goin'!

Ain't no law says you must die, Wipe them tears from off your eye, Trust the Good Lord up on high -- He'll help! Keep a-goin'! Keep a-goin'!

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