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‘Rubber Legs’ and 80-something crew go uptown funky

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Cathy Dobson

“Who ever said ‘old’ folks don’t rock?”

So asks a viewer commenting on a new YouTube video starring a group of hip-shakin,’ lip-syncin,’ Bruno Mars lovin’ seniors at Landmark Village in Sarnia.

“I didn’t know who Bruno Mars was before this,” confesses Arnold Murphy, the video’s 85-year-old leading man.

Now he knows every word of the hit song “Uptown Funk.”

The professionally produced parody features 10 or so Landmark Village residents. It was uploaded to YouTube on Dec. 5 and quickly reached 10,000 hits.

“I’m getting comments from all over the world,” said Murphy, who ballroom-danced with his late wife and was involved in live theatre for years.

“I used to do Elvis Presley impressions. My nickname was “Rubber Legs,” he said.

Murphy is quick to note the project was a team effort involving the performers and Landmark staff.

“I just happened to get the main part,” he said.

Landmark Village is a retirement community on L’Heritage Drive owned by Steeves and Rozema Group. Executive director Janice Horley came up with the idea of producing an Uptown Funk send-up to surprise Clarke Boddy, the VP of senior living, at the Dec. 1 corporate Christmas party.

“I am a huge Bruno Mars fan,” Horley said. “We had an absolute blast doing it and it’s turned into something bigger than we imagined.”

Murphy said he’s getting feedback on the video from across North America and as far away as Malaysia.

“I even heard from people I knew in the 1970s,” he said.

Auditions were held in August and the players practiced three times weekly before filming in September.

Horley came up with many of the dance moves for the cast, who are all in their 80s and 90s.

“We can’t do what Bruno Mars does,” Murphy said.

Terry Currie of Backdraft MultiMedia in Petrolia was hired to film and produce the 4.5-minute video. Currie strayed from the original to give Landmark’s house dog, Marky, a cameo and to added some humour with a dinosaur and a chicken.

The costumes came from Goodwill and Picker’s Alley loaned the band equipment.

“Clarke was so impressed. He said he’d like to do another one next year,” Horley said.

A release party attended by 75 family and friends was held to present the video at Landmark.

“We’re all flabbergasted by the response,” said Horley.

Television comedian Ellen DeGeneres was sent a copy of Uptown Funk featuring the Landmark Village Players, but there’s been no response yet.

To watch the video, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J66VhKz7W3U

The Arts Journal is a weekly feature about cultural activities in our community.  Contact Cathy at [email protected] or 226-932-0985 with your ideas.

 

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