Friday, August 19, 2011


Now this is really going back in time but when I was a little girl I remember how much my family loved to listen to the radio and we especially loved to hear Spike Jones. He and his orchestra were loud, corny and irreverent but they were also hysterical and it was a relief to laugh in those war-torn years.

Spike’s orchestra, consisting of 12 to 16 talented musicians, played practically anything that made a loud noise, including cow bells, horns and whistles. A washboard was Spike’s musical choice.

I loved the way he murdered the classics and, particularly, his version of “The William Tell Overture”. He turned this serious classic into a frantic and corny horse race entitled “Girdle in the Stretch” and featuring the horse, “Feitlebaum”, who, against all odds runs the entire race as a distant last and suddenly surges ahead to win!

For those who have not heard it, here is a sample of the words being called out as “The William Tell Overture” plays softly in the background:

“It’s a beautiful day for the race. Stu Chan is the favorite today, Assault is in there, Dog Biscuit is three to one, Safety Pin has been scratched and at twenty-to-one: … Feitlebaum.

THERE THEY GOOOOOOOOO!...Cabbage is second by a head, Banana is coming up thru the bunch... aaaand Feitlebaum …(etc., etc)

Around the turn, heading for home, it’s Stu Chan and Dog Biscuit. Girdle’s in the stretch, Mother-In-Law nagging in the rear and, OH, OH, here comes Feitlebaum and it’ll either be a photo finish or an oil painting...And THERE GOES The WINNERRRRRRR.....

I’s corny and slapstick and wouldn’t have a chance on today’s stage, but it was great fun in the 40’s and a wonderful memory.


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Humor changes over both place and time.

The Lone Ranger used William Tell very reverently. :)

4:42 PM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

That was my brother's favorite show. This post brought back some neat memories.

4:56 PM  
Blogger Syd said...

I liked the Lone Ranger. The only thing that I know about Spike Jones is a refence to him in the song Cripple Creek by the Band. Hope your visit to Beaufort went well. Did you get to a meeting while there?

6:31 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

I remember Spike Jones, but just barely. He and his music were funny.

7:15 PM  
Blogger ellen said...

I do remember Spike Jones!
Do you have memories of Dorothy Shay?

7:36 AM  
Anonymous schmidleysscribblins, said...

Ginnie, I can identify with this. My favorite was Wild Bill Hiccup. I used to listen to our recordings over and over.

11:59 AM  
Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I remember Spike Jones and never really appreciated what I considered cornball music back then.

8:22 AM  
Blogger possum said...

Oh MY! I had forgotten all about Spike Jones. I do remember him from when I was a kid... I have no idea what shows he appeared on, but I thought he was funny. Of course, I was young enough I probably did not have any sense of the humor outside the music. It was music, wasn't it? LOL!
But, then I went overseas and that ended TV until '75... No Spike then. Plus I was serious by then and into serious classical music. Ya kinda hafta do that when you are living with a classically trained pianist. LOL!
I wonder what I would think today!

2:10 PM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Corny and fun are good things, Ginnie. We are in a time warp cause the "40s on 4" is one of our favorite Sirius channels!

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Big John said...

Like many American bands Spike Jones was popular here in the UK, with one or two British bands following his style.

7:10 AM  

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