Great Uses of Songs in TV Shows: “Dream A Little Dream Of Me” by Margot Bingham in Boardwalk Empire

Sometimes songs that are more upbeat than anything are used in a way that makes them a final, ending note that’s kind of tragic but also somehow ironic. Margot Bingham’s song Dream A Little Dream of Me in Boardwalk Empire is used sparingly when it comes to the death of Chalky White. That seems like an odd name for someone whose skin tone is that dark but it’s the name he’s had and the name every fan has come to know him by. Chalky is also one of the characters that Boardwalks fans are likely going to miss quite a bit.

Unfortunately Chalky is also a man who knew his time was up. He’d done his share of dirt, enjoyed the prosperity, and stepped himself in the riches that had come from his ability to turn a profit on the business he did. But he was also the type that wouldn’t hesitate to protect himself or his business from anyone that might seek to upset it. He made alliances that were wise but still dangerous, and he upset more than a few people along the way to his rise to power. This seems to be the life of the thug on TV, to scratch and scrape until one finally gets hold of that dream and can ride it for so long until the dream comes crashing down as they’re wont to do at times.

It’s not even just the dissipation of the dream that causes the worlds of such men to erode beneath them eventually, it’s the seeming belief that nothing will change as their lives continue to roll forward regardless of who they affect. Power does very odd things to different people no matter their intentions towards others. For Chalky it turned him into a man that was both resentful and yet still craved what he didn’t have. He essentially became a man that wanted it all and yet wanted to show that the dream was nothing more than a fabrication and that they were still very much under the control of the white man. No matter what he said or did he had that tremendous chip on his shoulder that wouldn’t allow him to act any other way. He’d seen and heard too much in his life concerning the white man to offer any kind of trust or well-being that would last for longer than need be when it came to business.

This is Boardwalk Empire after all, where business is business and whatever isn’t business tends to just be in the way. The thing is that those that get in the way of business don’t stay there very long, and Chalky knew this for a long time before his number was finally up. He’d been through too much in his life to go out simply, but a long and prosperous existence was something that he also knew wasn’t bound to be his no matter how much he tried. Chalky knew his day had come, and he accepted it.

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