Friday, May 23, 2008

Jerry Colonna

No, that's not Gurdjieff in a wig, It's Jerry Colonna! I've become slightly obsessed with him in the last few days. One of my vaguely pointless long term projects is to rate everything on my iPod, using a playlist that serves up unrated tracks randomly. On Monday, the album Music? For Screaming!!! came up. This is one of many oddities I grabbed last year during WFMU's second 365 Days Project. I recognized the voice, but couldn't quite place it. A little searching showed me that I knew it not from the original source, but from Mel Blanc's countless imitations in old Warner Brother's cartoons (like the worm in this one).

Colonna's main claim to fame stems from his association with Bob Hope, on his radio show and from numerous appearances in the Hope/Crosby Road movies. I have a terrible confession: I've never seen any of the "Road" movies, but based on this clip from The Road to Singapore I really need to:

There's one particular track on Music? For Screaming!!! that's been getting stuck in my head, an exceedingly daffy version of On the Road to Mandalay that kicks the Kipling up a notch by adding bits of Gunga Din to the mix, besides the usual verses from Mandalay. I work in a dismal cube farm, and the temptation to stand up and start singing this at the top of my lungs in true Colonna fashion is becoming harder and harder to resist. I can think of worse ways to get fired. Or maybe promoted: who knows what's a winning strategy in this economy? Maybe Jerry Colonna imitations are just what we need. Maybe a good one contains the secret resonance that can reverse the condition that men call "a recession", by pushing the true and perfect economic vibrations up through the octave, producing the fifth perfect real being food of qwazimaxistantiko, which you may know better as "the wood pulp that satisfies" or "money"-

No, sorry, wait, I'm running Colonna and Gurdjieff together again.

I'll leave you with one last link, again to WFMU, this time to Kliph Nesteroff's loving page on Ol' Bug Eyes.

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