Tuesday, May 29, 2012

There was no way Caesar Augustus was wearing Reeboks!

From an old episode of Cheers...
Norm: Want to tell me what that taxi cab was doing parked in front of the Temple of Athena?
Cliff: Uh, uh...It was, uh...it was, uh...probably taking Demetrius to the airport!

Anachronisms.  We've all seen them while watching a movie.  A WWII film where the hero is using a very modern weapon.  The contrails of a jet in the sky in a period western.  Things that just don't fit the time frame.

Last night I was watching the Hatfields & McCoys on the History Channel.  Well done.  A bit violent, but well done.  Something caught my eye.  Actually, my ear.

There was a scene shortly after Randall McCoy returns home at the end of the Civil War.  He and his family attend church.  The congregation is singing the Isaac Watts hymn, "Alas! And did my Savior Bleed?" (At the Cross). They sing a verse and the chorus.

I don't have a head full of hymn knowledge.  After hearing it I asked myself, "When was 'At the Cross' written?"  I didn't know.  Off to the internet to find the answers.  I first came across the Net Hymnal that shares the lyrics and brief info on the hymns.  The Isaac Watts version was published in 1707.  The familiar chorus was added by Ralph E. Hudson. In 1885.

The filmmakers had the actors sing part of a song about 20 years before it was written. 

The Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs of the Rev. Isaac Watts - 1855

Best Endeavor Hymns - 1907

A bit more poking around and I found the songs above.  Interesting to note that how the words changed and what they decided to include.

Was it for crimes that I had done, He groaned upon that tree?  Amazing pity, grace unknown, and love beyond degree.  A good reminder that it is not works that get us to heaven, but by the sacrifice of Christ.  Truths fulfilled some 2,000 years ago and written in song some 300 years ago.

So, the makers of the Hatfields & McCoys got part of one scene wrong.  I'm not going to hold it against them.  The rest of the show is entertaining.

At least I haven't seen any taxi cabs.  Yet.

No comments: