Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Sir Lancelot

Lancelot Pinard was a Trinidad-born calypso singer and actor. When he began his career as a calypso singer, he chose to add 'Sir' to his name, and became known simply as 'Sir Lancelot'.

He was seen in several of the Val Lewton-produced movies of the 1940s, including "I Walked With a Zombie" (1943), "The Ghost Ship" (1943), and "The Curse of the Cat People" (1944). In "Zombie", his role was a calypso singer whose song 'Shame and Sorrow in the Family' told the story of the characters in the movie. He sang a parody of this song in the 1945 comedy "Zombies on Broadway".

'Shame and Sorrow' actually became a well-known calypso novelty song, 'Shame and Scandal in the Family' with lyrics different from those heard in the movie. It was later recorded by several other calypso singers and groups.

In 1982, I found a phone listing for Mr. Pinard, who was living in Los Angeles. I called and had a pleasant but brief conversation with him, telling him how much I enjoyed his music. Mr. Pinard had a 'musical tone' to his voice when speaking. He appreciated my interest, and told me that he recorded many records over the years, but all were long unavailable (since then, there has been a cd release of several of his single records). I asked if he had any photos. He said he did and would be happy to send one, so I wrote to him, reiterating my interest.

Mr. Pinard sent this photo within two weeks of my written request. He apparently used two pens to sign, as you can see the words "With best wishes" are bolder than the inscription below it.

He died in 2001, shortly before his 99th birthday.

I haven't been able to find any videos of Sir Lancelot's movie performances, so the best I can do is provide this link to his cd "Trinidad is Changing" available from Amazon. You can listen to samples of the songs there.

No comments: