Tuesday, December 9, 2008

MAKE A WISH FOR TINY TIM

.
Over the river and through the woods
To grandmother’s house we go.
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
Through white and drifting snow . . .

. . . never mind the fact that grandmother’s name is Helen A. Handbasket.

OK, so everyone has figured out by now that the country is on its last legs, but that’s no reason to be glum, son. It’s Christmastime now, and for another month or so, we can pretend that all is well and we can deck the halls with bouts of folly.

Look, Christmas is a time for giving, and I propose that this year we all give to TINY TIM (Herbert Khaury; 1932–1996). Give what you ask? Well, how ‘bout a penny and a moment of silence? Is that asking too much?

Our story really begins in 1989 to 1991. I can no longer recall the source of this information (but I’d sure love to track it down!) Did I read it? Did I hear it? A couple of Google searches have turned up nothing. But one way or another, I came across an anecdote about TINY TIM, the One-Hit Wonder whose song “Tip-Toe Thru The Tulips With Me” went to #17 on the Billboard music charts in The Summer After The Summer Of Love – 1968.

It seems that some journalist asked Tiny Tim: If you had one wish guaranteed to come true, what would that wish be? Tiny responded by saying words to the effect that he would wish for PEACE ON EARTH. Then he immediately added: If I could slip in one more thing, I’d like to have another hit song.

His reply tickled me no end. I found it very amusing that in perhaps a single breath he managed to travel from this grand, noble, selfless wish to such a simple, personal, wisp of a wish. What made it even more interesting was the fact that Tiny didn’t wish to be a superstar entertainer or the mogul at some major music label. He didn’t want wealth or power or fantastic fame. All he wanted was a second hit song. Ha! I have to wonder if being included in the "One-Hit Wonder" category was something that secretly bothered Tiny Tim. At any rate, I enjoyed Tiny’s response to that question so much that my heart instantly found a little corner for him that wasn’t being used and I let him tiptoe into it and settle in with his ukulele, while I told a few folks about Tiny’s wish. One person I related that story to was my brother, Napoleon. Remember that, you’ll need it later . . .

FLASHBACK...

From the time I was a little kid, one of my Pa’s Christmas traditions was to take a drive on Christmas morning. He usually went to the neighborhood in northern Santa Monica where he spent his youth and he looked at his old home and the gully he played in as a child. Through the years, he could always count on me to accompany him on this drive. If we had any stated goal at all, it was to see how many kids on brand new Christmas morning bicycles we could spot.

This Christmas morning drive tradition continued after my parents joined me in Prescott, Airheadzona, following my move there in 1992. By 1995, we had all moved down the mountain to Phoenix and I recall that the last Christmas morning drive my Pa and I took together found us going through the empty downtown streets of Phoenix. My Pa passed away in April, 1996. Every Christmas Day since then, I’ve loosely recreated that last drive accompanied by Nappy, my brother. We take highway 17 South to highway 10 and get off the freeway downtown. After a quick stop to visit our Ma’s “tombstone” at the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball stadium (a story for another day), we drive up Central Avenue and stop again at the outdoor Park Central Mall. Here we stroll around looking into the windows of closed shops. There’s a deli located there with a large, neat fish pond built into its back patio. I don’t know what’s swimming in that water (koi? goldfish?), but they’re large and they have fins and scales.

Nappy and I would always drop a coin into that pond and make some private wish. Well, about seven or eight years ago, I suddenly asked him, “What did you wish for?” And Nappy said, “I wished that Tiny Tim would have another hit song.” I could hardly believe that he’d remembered that story I’d told him many years earlier, or that it would mean enough to him that he’d make a wish for Tiny. Well, ever since then, Nappy and I have BOTH made a wish for Tiny Tim at that deli’s fish pond on Christmas Day.

(I’ll never forget Nappy’s reaction the first time he ever saw Tiny Tim. You see, he didn’t even know what Tiny looked like until he saw an old clip of Tiny’s April 6th, 1968 debut performance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Tiny comes out from behind the curtain with that white face and blowing kisses to the audience while slinging his ukulele and looking like some gay carnival freak, and Nappy almost explodes from shock: “OH, MY G*D!!! OH, JES#S CHR!ST!!!” I didn’t approve of his taking The Lord’s name in vain, but I knew what he was experiencing inside and I just cracked up. Heck, I’m laughing now just remembering it! Tiny behaved so over-the-top oddly on The Tonight Show that Johnny jokingly acted as if he was concerned about preserving his own reputation and clarified things, saying to Tiny, “We’ve – uh – we’d never met until just backstage a moment ago, did we?” To Johnny’s relief, Tiny confirmed it, “That’s right, Mr. Carson.”)

OK, that’s the history, but here’s the future and where YOU come in: Even if only posthumously, wouldn’t it be a wonderful Christmas present if we could give Tiny Tim the second thing he most wanted: a second hit song? Let’s be honest: it was highly improbable that Tiny Tim should have had even one hit song, let alone TWO. But that’s what makes Tiny the underdog’s underdog. Let’s all pull together for the ultimate
U-Dog!

I am convinced that if enough people in this world would drop a coin into a body of water after making a wish that Tiny Tim should score a second hit song, somehow or another, it WOULD HAPPEN. In fact, this would not be an unprecedented event, for there have been several instances of musicians scoring unlikely Top 40 hits after they had stopped recording. For example, in 1981, a medley of Beach Boys hits from the 1960s suddenly surged to #12 on the Billboard charts. The Righteous Brothers surprisingly found themselves with a #13 hit in 1990 after their song “Unchained Melody” was used in the movie Ghost, and it became popular all over again. And for an old recording to suddenly become a surprise hit, it isn’t even necessary that the song was a hit before: In 1976, six years after they had broken up, the Beatles inexplicably found themselves with a #7 hit, “Got To Get You Into My Life” from their 1966 album “Revolver.” So if this sort of thing can happen for 2nd rate musical hacks like The Beach Boys, The Beatles, and The Righteous Brothers, why could it not happen for one of the world’s premier entertainers twelve years after his death? I know there is one more hit in the late, great Tiny Tim.

What we’re looking for here is some kind of “Hundredth Monkey Effect” where if enough people wish for Tiny’s next hit song, we will reach a point of critical mass when unseen forces will kick into action to bring the hit into manifestation in one way or another. Maybe some filmmaker will decide to use a Tiny Tim song in a movie and it will stir enough interest to incite radio play and boost sales. Or something like that - I don’t know, but I BELIEVE! "Yes, Virginia, there IS a second Tiny Tim hit."

So, I’m begging you, my friends: Won't you help us make Tiny Tim's dream come true? Let's all wish Tiny out of the One-Hit Wonder category posthumously! Drop a coin into water and send out a wish for Tiny on December 25th. Make it a part of your own Christmas tradition, too. Sometime this Christmas Day - and every Christmas Day that follows - won’t you please make a tiny wish for Tiny Tim? Make a lifetime commitment today to THE TINY TIM WISH FULFILLMENT TEAM, where our slogan is: “His voice was tinny although tiny, Tim wasn’t.”

And God Bless Us, Every One!”

Ukulelely Yours,
~ Stephen T. McCarthy

Links to...
My first public plea on Tiny’s behalf:
I Want A Hippie Potty-Mouth For Christmas

Tiny Tim at Wikipedia
.

6 comments:

mousiemarc said...

You is crazy!!!

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

"I've always been crazy...
but it's kept me from going insane."

Can we count on you, BR'ER MARC? Can we count on you to make a wish for Tiny this Christmas Day and every Christmas Day thereafter? Have you a heart? Are you a team player, Br'er? Will you pull for the ultimate U-Dog and try to enlist others for the team? Let's win one for the Timster!

Ukulelely Yours,
~ STMcC

(Try saying THAT ten times and fast!)

mousiemarc said...

I'll put my best foot forward on it.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

.
Try not to step on it!

~ STMcC
<"As a dog returns to his own vomit,
so a fool repeats his folly."
~ Proverbs 26:11>

Kathleen said...

I just read this entry, can I make my wish after Christmas, the next time I see a wishing well? Can I, huh, can I?

I feel like I owe Tiny one, since Christmas was less than a month ago!

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

.
Well... hmmm... Uh...

NO!

You must abide by the rules. And rule #3.659c states: "All wishes for Tiny Tim shall be made on December the 25th and between Zero Hundred Hours and 23:59 Mountain Standard Time. Any wishes made prior to, or later than, said times shall be null and void and the non-conforming Rebel Wisher severely killed and then beaten and then sent to bed without any supper, and a very small lump of coal shall be placed in the aforementioned non-conforming Rebel Wisher's largest visible sock. NO KIDDING!" And rule #3.659c is signed by order of The Burgermeister.

Well, I guess you'll just have to "Wait 'til next year." But now you have something to look forward to.

Psst. By the way, I think I was in your company when I first learned that bit about Tiny wishing for a second hit song. I don't suppose you remember where I encountered that story?... "Hmmm?" (as The Chicken would say).

~ STMcC
<"As a dog returns to his own vomit,
so a fool repeats his folly."
~ Proverbs 26:11>