Wednesday, February 01, 2006
i am silly
Like Bit-O-Honey to teeth, there are some things in your childhood bag of goodies that stick to the pop culture capsule of your mind. Whether it’s a song, a show, the taste of a certain pizzeria pizza that you can’t get anymore… there are just some things that are destined to remain only in the back recesses of your brain. For yours truly, Mr. Miller, that bit o’ popcereal* stickiness was The Silly Record.
I’m not quite sure who it was in my family that first brought home that side tickling disc of 331/3 vinyl silliness; all I know is that from then on we had it on near permanent loan-out from the local library. The head librarian only allowed one renewal per loan, so we’d have to wait for her to put in back in the record bin before we’d be able to snag it for the third go-around. Don’t know why we never bothered to try and find a copy at the Big N around the bend. Mr. Miller was just a wee one at that time, so I didn’t know consumerism from the Apollo 11. I was just in it for the ride.
In case you’ve never had the pleasure, The Silly Record was the vinyl companion to The Silly Book, written by comedy writer and performer Stuart “Stoo” Hample. Now, Mr. Miller never heard of this The Silly Book until he started researching The Silly Record a few years back. And then, coincidences of all coincidence, he found a copy sitting on a dusty shelf at an antique store in Cold Spring just a couple summers ago. Man, was Mr. Miller one happy cat!
In case you’ve never had the pleasure, The Silly Book was published in 1961. As the Candlewick Press recounts its history: “first-time writer Stuart Hample worked on a manuscript with legendary children's book editor Ursula Nordstrom. Legend has it that at their initial meeting, Stuart Hample said to the editor, ‘You wouldn't be silly enough to publish anything I'd write.’ Ursula Nordstrom returned with the dare, ‘You couldn't write anything silly enough that I'd publish.’ Never one to balk at a challenge, Stuart ("Stoo") Hample surpassed all expectations with THE SILLY BOOK, and the rest is history.”
Following the success of his best selling book (and a best selling Boodleheimer doll – check out the LP cover to see what a Boodleheimer is) Hample teamed up with veteran composer George Kleinsinger and rookie voice-over artist and TV writer Frank Buxton (voice of the Batfink cartoon) to put together an audio version of his silly stories and songs. The rest is popcereal legend.
Mr. Miller, along with his brothers and sister and Mom and Pop, would sit around and listen to this wonderful record, reciting every line with great enthusiasm. It wasn’t long before catch phrases from the LP began creeping into our daily dialogue. “Cheese please, Louise,” “Me too. Me three. Me four. You four what? I four-got,” and of course “You are silly, we are silly, all of us are silly willy. All of us but cousin Milly.”
Ever since I got on the Internet some ten years ago, yours truly Mr. Miller has been searching for a copy of this much admired LP. Copies are very rare, and I’ve only heard of people finding one here and there for sale. I’ve never seen one myself, but I’m still looking. Luckily, though, I was able to score a recording of the LP. On the Kididdles website there used to be a message board where fans of kid’s music would discuss their favs from long past and present. One member (I’d love to give him credit, but have since forgotten his name) owned the LP when he was a kid, and made a cassette recording of it when he went off to college. Since then his mother had – as mothers do when their kids leave the nest – tossed out all the junk in his room. All he had left of his prized memory was a muffled recording of his scratchy record album. And he kindly offered a CD copy of it, free of charge, to anyone who wanted to hear the beloved album once again. Naturally, Mr. Miller here jumped at the chance like a gapped-tooth boy at a candy apple on a stick.
Take a listen and tell me you don’t let out a giggle… “not even a little bittle?”
Scratch that last link, kiddies. It's a dead one. Try the lovely folks over at Forbidden Ctypts Music:
* popcereal is defined by this website and its curator to be that certain bit of socially transmitted trivial behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought beloved by the generation of the Saturday morning cartoon
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