Do You Really Know What’s At The End Of That Rainbow?

In the early 1980s, LA-based, multi-instrumentalist Ray Pizzi, was cast in a short which really challenged his playing abilities. The award-winning film End of the Rainbow, was produced by Marino Colmano and Laszlo Papas, as well as written and directed by Papas.

End of the Rainbow is a take on a British joke—at least I assume it’s British—that goes like this:

There’s a very dark old joke about a haggard tenor sax man who gets a chance to play “Over the Rainbow” for the King of England. He does just fine, giving it a ready and anguished lilt that pleases HRH. The jazzman’s ready to blow wild, reaching into the lower registers, but then he forgets the bridge. A quick ad-lib but still nothing. He falters. Hushed silence. He repeats the melody but the crowd goes restless. In shame, the defeated sax man leaves the stage, goes back to his tiny flat and jumps. Face-down on the street, the ambulance with those weird and shrill European ambulance tones bleats out the forgotten tune.

Source: REVIEW: Hollywood Reporter article END OF THE RAINBOW by Duane Byrge on

For Pizzi what challenged his playing abilities, was purposely screwing up the bridge repeatedly during the filming of the movie. How’s that for pressure? I would also think that the more takes it took, the more difficult it would become to mess things up.

Ray’s performance in End of the Rainbow did garner him a couple of awards. (Although an Oscar for his playing wasn’t one of them.)  😉  :mrgreen:

End of the Rainbow
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The 14 minute-long movie was released in 1985, and went on to win 7 international awards. If you’d like to read more about this classic short, check out this article reprinted from the American Journal of Cinematography.

…this is just my blog. My “real” website is If you’re looking for sax info, you should check it out too.There’s lots there!

© 2012, Helen. All rights reserved.


Helen Kahlke is a professional horn player and sax teacher who lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia. She plays soprano, alto, C melody, tenor, baritone, and bass saxophones.

One Comment:

  1. …..”End of the Rainbow”, One of the most difficult musical challenges of my career was “screwing up” the bridge to Over the Rainbow (only 2 notes). The director kept saying. “You sound like you know you know it”

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