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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Email, Haikus, Magoo & Food

A couple of recent emails from Dreamtime listeners...

"Who is the 'Bishop' referred to on this week's [Heat] show [when the caller reads his 'favorite poem']?"
I had to listen to that segment several times and eventually Googled the haiku's (as Our Host correctly points out) opening lines as I couldn't make out the poet's name myself. It does sound a lot like Bishop. We need better enunciation, please, Theme Time callers!

The haiku is:

heat waves shimmering/ one or two inches/ above the dead grass

and the poet is Matsuo Bashō (松尾 芭蕉) the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan, according to his Wikipedia entry. During his lifetime, Bashō was renowned for his works in the collaborative haikai no renga form; today, he is recognized as a master of brief and clear haiku. His most famous poem is generally considered to be...

old pond / a frog jumps / the sound of water

Another longtime listener goes all the way back to November 15, 2006 and the Food episode of TTRH to ask if I have any clue as to what is playing during the opening sequence, which features a couple laughing and reciting these lines as a small group plays in the background...

Ooh we're gonna have fun
It's a cozy table, isn't it?
And champagne my dear, heh-heh
Mmmmmm delicious, ha-ha
It's an an excerpt from a novelty number released by Jim Backus (he of Mr. Magoo, Gilligan's Isle, and Rebel Without a Cause among other things) "& Friend" in 19 and 58 on the Jubilee label titled "Delicious!" The song, believe it or not, actually broke into the U.S. Top 40 that year (1958 must have been a very slow year for music). The backing is provided by "Appleknocker & His Group," probably a pickup name for a studio group, as "Delicious!" and the B-side "I Need a Vacation," seem to be the only two pieces they ever recorded under that name.

The identity of the "& Friend" is unknown, although various claims have been made for Phyllis Diller (which it probably isn't, since the laugh is totally different from Diller's trademark bray) and Hermione Gingold(!). Here's the text from the original press release that accompanied the 45...
Jim Backus, the voice of Magoo is aided by a fem friend on this zany novelty. It involves a couple getting inebriated over champagne and working into a laughing jag. It's a very amusing item that should pull plenty of jockey play. There's already action on the side in several areas. Flip, "I need a vacation", is also a novelty type.
The cut is the lead track for the Dr. Demento 20th Anniversary Collection: The Greatest Novelty Records of All Time CD compliation, if for some reason, you feel moved to own it. And for reasons known only to Dreamtime, I'll even provide you, O Gentle Correspondent, with a video featuring the cut...

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