Wednesday, December 2, 2009

THE MAKERS OF ‘MOTHER CROAKER’S HEMORRHOID OINTMENT’ PRESENT . . .

.

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MAKE A WISH FOR

. . . . TINY TIM

“MOST OF ALL, I’D LOVE TO SEE CHRIST COME BACK TO CRUSH THE SPIRIT OF HATE AND MAKE MEN PUT DOWN THEIR GUNS. I’D ALSO LIKE JUST ONE MORE HIT SINGLE.”
~ TINY TIM
[Interviewed by Harold Ramis for
Playboy magazine, June, 1970]

Tiny Tim WILL get his second hit single. I am determined to see it occur in my lifetime. I won’t rest until Tiny’s voice is once again heard on radios from coast to coast. Every Christmas Day for about the last ten years, my brother Nappy and I have each dropped a coin into a fish pond here in Phoenix, Airheadzona, and we’ve each made a wish that Tiny Tim will score one more hit song. (My dear friend the Flyin’ Aardvark has made a similar wish in Los Angeles the last two or three December 25ths. Thanks, Aard! Yer a true friend.)

“I always believed in telling the truth and I feel very guilty when I don’t – though I do exaggerate a little sometimes.”
~ Tiny Tim
Ibid.

But we’ll get back to this Make A Wish For Tiny Tim campaign shortly. Right now, I want to relate to you some . . .

BIG TINY NEWS

In December of 2008, I placed an online order for a copy of Tiny’s first album ‘God Bless Tiny Tim’ which included his one hit song ‘Tip-Toe Thru The Tulips With Me’, which climbed to #17 on the Billboard charts in 1968. ‘Tip-Toe’ was the only Tiny Tim song I had ever heard. I was pretty sure I’d never play this album during the year, but I thought it would be a nice touch to listen to ‘Tip-Toe Thru The Tulips With Me’ every Christmas Day, just before Nappy and I go out to make our traditional Tiny Tim wish. A few days before Christmas, my order arrived and I was disappointed to find that I had accidentally ordered the LP format rather than the compact disc. I have no record player anymore, so I just put the album out as a house decoration and, like the Dodgers, I said to myself: Wait ‘til next year.
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“I finished three years at George Washington High School and then I was asked to leave. … They thought it would be better for me to go out and look for work.”
~ Tiny Tim
Ibid.

Well, last month, I tried again but found that ‘God Bless Tiny Tim’ is out-of-print and used copies on compact disc are quite expensive. I found that I could buy a brand new 3-CD box set which includes Tiny’s first three Reprise recordings in their entirety, plus a lot of singles and demos, for not much more money than sellers were asking for just the one used copy of his first album. I knew it was dumb to spend this much green for one song that I’d listen to one day a year, but being the dumb guy I am, I did it anyway.

“Then for a while, I worked as a bobbin boy in a factory, changing the bobbins on sewing machines, but they let me go pretty quick.”
~ Tiny Tim
Ibid.

It’s better to be lucky than smart! On October 24, 2009, the box set arrived and I listened to it at work. The opening track, ‘Welcome to My Dream’ was what I expected: appropriately weird, with Tiny singing in that warbling falsetto
a cappella. The next song up was my favorite One-Hit Wonder’s one hit, ‘Tip-Toe Thru The Tulips With Me.’ I’d heard it plenty of times before (I’m old enough to remember more than enough about 1968) and it’s hard not to smile at ‘Tip-Toe’, but – well, you know the song, so . . . well, you know.

About midway through track #3, ‘Livin’ In The Sunlight, Lovin’ In The Moonlight’ I was thinking: Hmmm… well, that’s not so bad. Next up, ‘On The Old Front Porch’, and I’m left scratching my head and thinking: Wait a minute here! I actually liked that. Quite a bit, in fact. Track #5 is called ‘The Viper’ – it’s not really a song, more like a two-minute spoken piece that’s meant to be humorous. I wasn’t laughing. Track #6, ‘Stay Down Here Where You Belong.’ Wow! An opening blast of electric organ (my favorite musical instrument) leads into a powerful anti-war song! What the hell’s going on here? I’m actually digging this stuffs, man! Shhh! Don’t tell anyone! OK, so Tiny got lucky on a couple of tunes; it must be a fluke.

“From 1944 to 1947, I listened to every Dodgers game on the radio – every game of the season. In those days, when they went on the road, Red Barber used to describe the game from a ticker tape. And he always said, when someone like Eddie Stanky came up, that the greats of the game had real hustle. Even though it might have been the last of the ninth, with two outs and a three-and-two count on him, Mr. Stanky would manage to get on base – because he had moxie. That’s where I got my nerve – from scrappers like Mr. Stanky, Mr. Reese, Mr. Robinson, Louie Olmo and Frenchy Bordagaray. I learned to say to myself, ‘There are people who have ten times the talent you do, so you’ve got to hustle.’ My secret was persistence.”
~ Tiny Tim
Ibid.

SHOCK AND AWE!

Next batter up is ‘Then I’d Be Satisfied With Life.’ I love it! I Love it, I tell ya! And now I’m convinced of the topnotch production and genuine musicality of the album ‘God Bless Tiny Tim’, but I’m also quite concerned about my sanity. Then track #8 plays – the haunting ‘Strawberry Tea’. Shock and Awe! Well, knock me down, step on my face! Hokey-Smoke and Hoo-Wee all over the place! To my inexpressible surprise, I’m forced to admit the obvious. I get down on my knees and I pray: “Dear Lord, please forgive me, but I’m a Tiny Tim fan. I could deny it, God, but I know you can see into my heart, and You’d know the Truth no matter how much I protested.”

Then I got up off my knees, cranked up the Tiny Tunes and danced! Reading the liner notes in the box set’s accompanying booklet – notes penned by the good Doctor Demento (Mr. Barry Hansen) – I come to realize that I don’t just like Tiny’s tunes, but I like Tiny Tim the dude, too. What a freak! What a weirdo! What an original! I’m a big Tiny fan now! Big Tiny Fans, unite!
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“I began to accept Christ in 1952. … I prayed to Christ, knowing that he could see the loneliness in my heart.”
~ Tiny Tim
Ibid.

Across these three discs, I had other gems to discover in this Tiny gold mine. To name a few: the sorta spiritual, Christian Scientistic ‘Fill Your Heart’; the melancholy ‘This Is All I Ask’; the falsetto-drenched ‘Hello, Hello’; the 1920s/’30s stylized ‘Christopher Brady’s Ol’ Lady’, ‘Down Virginia Way’ and ‘Frisco Flo’, which “I’m a nut” about – it’s definitely amongst Tiny’s top three for me! And how ‘bout the song ‘It Took A Good Good Woman (To Make My Life A Mess)’ and Tiny’s heartfelt ‘What The World Needs Now Is Love.’ Also, ‘School Days’ – a song my Pa (may he rest in Peace) used to sing around the house when I was a kid. And seriously, what could be more apropos than Tiny covering The Doors’ song ‘People Are Strange’? You go, girl! Er… boy. Whatever.

I showed up at work two weeks ago singing Tiny’s ‘Ever Since You Told Me That You Love Me (I’m A Nut)’ and a coworker of mine almost fell down laughing.

“I told them that I’d be a great star of the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties and Nineties, but my mother said, ‘He’s sick.’ I said, ‘Don’t you dare discourage me. Someday you’ll see my name in lights on Broadway, because even though you think I’m a bum now, I have Jesus Christ with me, and if He helps me play the game right, then I’m going to make it.’ I refused to be defeated spiritually. And I finally DID make it. That’s how I know Jesus Christ has always been with me and that’s why He means so much to me. In 1968, after I’d made it, people would ask me how long I thought it would last. I always told them that it didn’t matter, because I’d been fulfilled. I told them that they were talking to a real miracle in show business and challenged them to find anyone who was considered as abnormal as I was who still made the grade. What the world couldn’t see, what my parents couldn’t see, was that Christ was there to hear my silent prayers.”
~ Tiny Tim
Ibid.
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WEIRD LIKE ME?

I once mentioned to my Ma (may she rest in Peace . . . yeah, I’m an orphan) that I dug that Rudy Vallee-ish “antique” sound of late 1920s and early ‘30s records. She later surprised me with a gift: a CD by trumpeter Clyde McCoy, recorded in 1931 and ’33. Great stuffs! Well, Tiny nails that old ‘20s/early-‘30s sound. I don’t feel I could necessarily recommend Tiny’s music to everyone. But if you’re as strange a duck as I am; if you like old stuffs; if you dig ‘Plan 9 From Outer Space’, Roger Miller, Jim Stafford, and Foghorn Leghorn; if you like green olives and buttermilk, and Excedrin on an empty stomach, then I think you’ll like Tiny Tim, too! I found that I dig in varying degrees 57% of the 107 tracks included in this 3-disc Tiny Tim box set. And some of that 57% I’m crazy about. Or maybe I’m just crazy.

“But I had the strength of Christ, as well as my baseball philosophy to keep me going. ‘Keep plugging,’ I told myself. ‘The game is never over until the last man is out.’ … I never forgot the way our Dodgers came back and I knew I could do it, too.”
~ Tiny Tim
Ibid.

Ed Wood Jr. with a ukulele – that’s Tiny Tim! Well, OK, there’s a bit more to it than that. Tiny also had going for him Eddie Stanky’s hustle, "Rudy" Ruettiger’s determination, CoverGirl’s cosmetics, and Christ’s miracle.
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Let’s be honest, the ukulele is a pretty hideous instrument. But surprisingly, I found that Tiny Tim REALLY COULD sing. I particularly enjoy his baritone voice when backed up by an orchestra or studio musicians. But Tiny also had an impressive ability to adopt a wide range of various voices and to sometimes shift back and forth between them as quickly as Barry Sanders could cut back and forth across a football field.

“I knew from baseball that, according to the law of averages, even a guy who doesn’t get a hit very often may come up with that big clutch homer.”
~ Tiny Tim
Ibid.

I have my music collection arranged by genre; the first category is my favorite - Jazz and Jazz-like stuffs. Reading from left to right it goes: Pat Metheny, Glenn Miller, Ray Anthony, Brian Auger, Ben Webster, Wes Montgomery, Tiny Tim, and Frank Sinatra, etc. I deliberately put Tiny before Frank just to piss off Ol’ Blue Eyes, wherever he is. Ha! Take that, Frankie!

Thanks to Dr. Demento’s liner notes in the Tiny Tim box set, I learned about the fine Tiny Tim website maintained by Mr. Ernie Clark. And it was at Mr. Clark’s website where I finally found the actual Tiny Tim quote I had been attempting to track down for a few years now. [“Most of all, I’d love to see Christ come back to crush the spirit of hate and make men put down their guns. I’d also like just one more hit single.”]

That statement appeared in a really interesting June, 1970, Playboy magazine interview, which is the source of all the quotes I’ve used in this Blog Bit. I recently bought that issue of Playboy . . . but just for the article – I SWEAR IT!

“I’d painted ‘Jesus Christ Is My Lord’ over two of the walls, and He knows of the many lonely hours and prayers.”
~ Tiny Tim
Ibid.

On November 30, 1996, immediately after singing ‘Tip-Toe Thru The Tulips With Me’ on a stage in Minnesota, Tiny Tim suffered a massive heart attack and died some minutes later. (It may not have been the first time Tiny died on stage, but it was destined to be the last.)

HERE’S THE GIG

Alright, now listen up! Here’s the gig: We are going to help Tiny Tim get a second hit song so he will be posthumously removed from the One-Hit Wonder category. Are you aware that experiments have been conducted where large numbers of people have visualized the same result and that result has come to pass? All we need to do is get enough individuals to drop a coin into any body of water on Christmas Day (the upcoming one or some other one) and wish for Tiny Tim to score another hit song, and it will happen. One way or another, it WILL happen! (Of course, as time permits, my Emailing disc jockeys and radio station programmers across the nation might help as well.) Popular music’s all-time greatest underdog, Tiny Tim, will have another hit if I have anything to say about it. And I do.

“I can be very hard to live with during a hot pennant race.”
~ Tiny Tim
Ibid.

As far-fetched as all this seems, it IS going to happen. It was impossible that Tiny Tim would score a major hit song at all – especially with something as unlikely as ‘Tip-Toe.’ But since the impossible has already occurred, the second hit should come even easier. After all, it’s not impossible anymore; we’ve seen it happen before.

There’s still time for you to get in on the ground floor of this experiment. But if you don’t contribute a penny and your thoughts, think how you’re going to feel when Tiny gets miracle #2 (a second hit song), and everyone’s yakkin’ about it, but you won’t be able to honestly say, “An’ I he’ped!”

“The greatest invention in history is the safety pin. The second greatest is perforated toilet paper.”
~ Tiny Tim
Ibid.

In his interview with Mr. Ernie Clark, Tiny himself stated that he thought ‘Strawberry Tea’ had a chance to be a hit. And heck, why not? It may be my very favorite Tiny Tim tune. Tiny also said that he thought ‘Ever Since You Told Me That You Love Me (I’m A Nut)’ would have been a good choice for the second single, but I don’t know if that one – as much as it amuses me – has a genuine shot at radio attention in 2010. Mr. Clark said that he felt ‘Livin’ In The Sunlight, Lovin’ In The Moonlight’ “should have been a single.”

But I don’t care which Tiny Tune makes it into Billboard’s Top Forty; any one will work for me. I’d love to see his terrific number ‘Then I’d Be Satisfied With Life’ getting national recognition. And I could certainly imagine Tiny’s cover of ‘People Are Strange’ getting some airplay. I mean, really, who knew whereof he sang most - Jim Morrison or Tiny Tim? And if Morrison could take that song to number twelve on the Billboard charts, there’s no reason Tiny, as strange as he was, can’t reach number ten with it.

“I know that I’m a little stranger than most people.”
~ Tiny Tim
Ibid.

Regardless of which Tiny recording goes Top Forty, and regardless of how or when it happens, YOU are going to help me with this. Aren’t you? Friend? FRIEND? C’mon y’all! Let’s win one for the Timster!

God, Bless Tiny Tim . . . with one more hit. Please!

Those of you whose Email address I am in possession of can expect a little reminder from me prior to December 25th. We wouldn’t want any of my “real” friends [Hint!-Hint!] to forget to MAKE A WISH FOR TINY TIM ON CHRISTMAS DAY, now would we?

Everyone, please do consider making a wish for Tiny a part of your family's annual Christmas Day traditions.
.

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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
. . .
OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS
AND DOWN THE ROAD WE RACE
AROUND THE BEND, OUR JOURNEY'S END
FOR THERE IS GRANDMA'S PLACE
~ Lydia Maria Child.

“NEVER HIT YOUR GRANDMA WITH A SHOVEL –
IT MAKES A BAD IMPRESSION ON HER MIND.”

~ Tiny Tim

Ukulelely Yours,
~ Stephen T. McCarthy

Links:

"MAKE A WISH FOR TINY TIM": THE EARLY YEARS

MR. ERNIE CLARK’S OFFICIAL TINY TIM WEBSITE

Postscript Links:

I WANT A HIPPIE POTTY-MOUTH FOR CHRISTMAS

'TINY TIM'S CHRISTMAS ALBUM' [Join The Tiny Tim Wish Fulfillment Team!]

ORIGINAL 'TINY TIM WISHING SITE' [Photo Gallery]

THE TINY TIM WISHING POND - 2010
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10 comments:

arlee bird said...

In December of 1979 I was doing a Christmas tour with some magic show. We'd been in Virginia or PA. or someplace and had been driving all night to go somewhere and I don't know why but the magician who was driving a big old cadillac pulling a trailer full of show props decided to drive straight through NYC. Now like I said, we'd been up all night and we were tired silly and laughing like you know how you get when you're like that. So we go through one of the tunnels that go into the City and it about 6 in the morning, cold, and just getting light. Well shortly after we emerge from the tunnel the first person we see on the street is Tiny Tim. He's just walking with no one else around and it's cold and gray outside. It almost seemed like it was a dream or some kind of weird acid trip hallucination, but we did see him and I'll never forget it.
And he was talented and deserves another hit-- I'll try to remember to make the wish. And I'll put the box set on my Amazon wish list. Doesn't mean I'll buy it, but I just like to put things on that list. What do have? About 3000 things on there now?

By the way, have you seen any of those Youtube ukelele videos? Amazing! Don't be dissin' the ukes!

Lee

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

>>[the first person we see on the street is Tiny Tim. He's just walking with no one else around and it's cold and gray outside. It almost seemed like it was a dream or some kind of weird acid trip hallucination]<<

Oh, I can see that in my mind's eye, and yes, I can easily imagine how it might have seemed like some dream or acid trip hallucination. I've had some similarly strange experiences (only not involving Tiny Tim) and felt the same way about them. In fact, in some ways, my entire life seems like a dream or acid trip hallucination.

>>[I'll try to remember to make the wish.]<<

Oh, not to worry, rLEE-b - I'll remind ya! :o)

>>[By the way, have you seen any of those Youtube ukelele videos? Amazing! Don't be dissin' the ukes!]<<

Nope, ain't seen none, Brother. I only recently acquired computer speakers and joined the 20th Century. Huh? 21st Century already? Dang! Where haz I been?

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

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

`
I have a very Special Announcement to make:

Yesterday [12/3/2009], I Emailed Mr. Ernie Clark who maintains the official (and best!) website related to Tiny Tim, and I notified him of this "Make A Wish For Tiny Tim" campaign by sending him a link to this Blog Bit.

Well, later that day, I received a response from Mr. Clark in which he said:

Hi Stephen,

I'll add the link to your blog to my website, it's great! Thanks for
sending it.

Best,

Ernie

And true to his word, Mr. Clark has very graciously added this Blog Bit under the "Links" category of his Official Tiny Tim Memorial Website. You will find it here:

http://www.tinytim.org/links.html

So, my sincere thanks to Mr. Ernie Clark, and an urgent reminder to the rest of y'all:

DON'T FORGET TO MAKE A WISH FOR TINY TIM ON CHRISTMAS DAY. Any coin into any water (even if just a penny into a glass of H2O) and a simple wish for Tiny's second hit song is all I ask.

And y'all have A Merry Christmas!

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

arlee bird said...

I looked and I seen it. That's pretty cool. You may actually start a movement. Maybe you should try to get the link on other places as well-- Drudge Report? Perez Hilton? Michael Medved?

Have a great weekend! (says I in my best falsetto).

Lee

Anonymous said...

You and Tiny Tim. I just can't share your passion, but hey, I'll drop a coin in the fountain.

WP

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

`
I thank you so much, my "real" friend, OL' WP. I don't axe dat anyone un'erstan' - I only axe dat dey wish.

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

DiscConnected said...

Stephen-

Why don't you persuade your legion of readers to persuade their legions to all call a radio station and request "Strawberry Tea?"

Or maybe ask them to spend the $0.99 on a download of "Strawberry Tea."

I don't know if radio hits really exist anymore, but imagine if you could get the song to chart on iTunes...

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

DISCMAN ~

>> Why don't you persuade your legion of readers to persuade their legions to all call a radio station and request "Strawberry Tea?" <<

My legions of readers, eh?
Ha!-Ha!

But really, it's an interesting idea. If I could somehow set a date (or dates) on which many folks called their local radio stations across the country and all requested the very same song... Hmmm...

Well, I really am semi-serious about trying to help Tiny score a second Top 40 hit. Once I've completed my blogging goals, I will have more time to devote to that cause.

I mean, if I can't have my own career in show business, perhaps I can help Tiny Tim extend HIS career, even if it is after death.

I dream BIG!

~ UkuleleDogg

arlee bird said...

Blogging goals? Have you stated these anywhere? What are your blogging goals?

Legions of readers? Come on now--I'm sure you must have legions. They are just left to dumbfounded and speechless to comment to your posts.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Yo! r-LEE-b ~
>> Legions of readers? Come on now--I'm sure you must have legions. They are just left to dumbfounded and speechless to comment to your posts. <<

Yeah, that MUST be it! ;o)

>> Blogging goals? Have you stated these anywhere? What are your blogging goals? <<

I haven't stated it openly (i.e., on either of my blogs), but I have mentioned it to a couple of friends in Emails and alluded to it, I believe, a couple of times in some blog bit comments.

My blogging goal is to compose and have posted, by the end of October, all of the "blog bit ideas" I have been entertaining in mind for quite some time.

After which, I will semi-retire from blogging (posting something new only once every other blue moon) and spend my free time in more rewarding ways - such as riding my bike more often, playing games of Wiffle Ball with my Brother... trying to score a second hit song for Tiny Tim. Basically, anything but bloggin'.

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