One Froggy Evening

Steven Spielberg called this cartoon short “the Citizen Kane of animated shorts.” It was written by Michael Maltese and directed by Chuck Jones.

This is my favorite cartoon short. The short story is told without dialog…just singing in parts.

If you want to teach someone about Greed… watch this short. Instead of appreciating what he had…he wasn’t happy unless he could make money off of the frog.

The story is great. A 1955 construction worker is on a demolition site and pries open a box from 1892 found in the cornerstone of the building. Out of the box comes an old frog that climbs to the lid. The frog looks up at the construction worker and suddenly pulls up a top hat and coattails and starts singing “Hello my Honey, Hello my Baby…” and continues with the song.

The worker then starts dreaming of a theater marque with the picture of the frog…”He Sings”, “Talks”, and “Dances” with a picture of the frog.

He rents a theater and presents his frog to the audience. Right before the crowd settles in with the curtain down…the Frog starts singing and dancing away but stops the instant the curtain rises. The audience boos and throws vegetables.

That is his dilemma.  The frog will only sing for this one guy. Not for paying crowds, not talent agents, ONLY HIM. Slowly he is driven mad, not so much by the frog but by his own failed plans with the frog. Failing to recognize the special gift he has, he sees the building going up and sticks the frog back into the cornerstone. Years pass, and when the laser demolition-man is vaporizing the building with his 21st-century technology, what does he find? Our friend the singing frog. The space suited construction worker from 2056 starts dreaming of the money he can make from the frog… And so the cycle continues.

 

Let’s All Go To The Lobby!

“Let’s All Go To The Lobby” is an animated short from the 1950’s that was played before movies and during drive-in intermissions.

This advertisement is beyond catchy. It’s hard to get it out of your head. Plus, who doesn’t want to see singing popcorn, candy, and a drink? I KNOW I DO!

I see this occasionally at the theater when they are showing an older movie.

In 1957 Chicago-based Filmack Studios released the trailer animated by the producer of Popeye, Dave Fleischer, as part of a series of similar Technicolor shorts to promote the newly installed concession stands in theaters across the country.

Filmack has continued selling copies in the decades since its production. The company estimates that 80% of independent theaters have screened the film at various points.

In 2000, “Let’s All Go to the Lobby” was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.

So everyone… Let’s Go Out To The Lobby!!!!

Let’s All Go To The Lobby

Let’s all go to the lobby
Let’s all go to the lobby
Let’s all go to the lobby
And get ourselves a treat

Delicious things to eat
The popcorn can’t be beat
The sparkling drinks are just dandy
The chocolate bars and nut candy
So let’s all go to the lobby
And get ourselves a treat
Let’s all go to the lobby
And get ourselves a treat

Little Richard – Good Golly, Miss Molly

No one has a voice like Little Richard. His voice would have worked in any generation. He has one of the most primal aggressive voices I’ve ever heard. He sings these rockers great but he also can sing ballads.

Little Richard recorded this song in 1956 and it was released in 1958. The song peaked at #10 in the charts and #4 in the R&B Charts in 1958… as well as #8 in the UK.

The song is ranked #94 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Good Golly, Miss Molly was written by John Marascalco and Robert “Bumps” Blackwell.

From Songfacts

The title was taken from the pet phrase of one of Little Richard’s favorite DJ’s, Jimmy Pennick. Musically, the song was inspired by the sax player Jackie Brenston, famous for singing lead and playing with Ike Turner on the song “Rocket 88.”

Like most of Little Richard’s songs, this contains a lot of innuendo (“sure like to ball”) but most people were too busy listening to the music to notice, or didn’t get the reference. At the time, the most common meaning for “balling” was dancing; only later did it became a popular euphemism for oral sex. The term later took on a new meaning when it came describe a lavish and extravagant lifestyle, with these guys flashing their cash known as “ballers.”

This song was a huge influence on many musicians in the early years of rock and roll. Speaking with Songfacts, Roger Reale, who was in the group Rue Morgue with Mick Ronson, said: “It’s revolutionary, rebellious and celebratory all in one, starting with that rolling piano intro, before moving into a totally unique vocal performance. I had never heard such a direct, crazed, almost otherworldly vocal before in my life.”

Little Richard’s publisher sued Creedence Clearwater Revival over their song “Travelin’ Band,” which they claimed lifted from “Molly.” A settlement was reached with Creedence giving up some of their royalties.

Good Golly, Miss Molly

Good golly Miss Molly, sure like to ball.
Good golly, Miss Molly, sure like to ball.
When you’re rockin’ and a rollin’, can’t hear your momma call.

From the early, early mornin’ till the early, early night
When I caught Miss Molly rockin’ at the house of blue light.
Good golly, Miss Molly, sure like to ball.
When you’re rockin’ and a rollin’ can’t hear your momma call.

Momma, poppa told me: “Son, you better watch your step.”
If I knew poppa’s momma’s, have to watch my poppa myself.
Good golly, Miss Molly, sure like to ball.
When you’re rockin’ and a rollin’, can’t hear your momma call.

Good golly Miss Molly, sure like to ball.
Good golly, Miss Molly, sure like to ball.
When you’re rockin’ and a rollin’, can’t hear your momma call.

I am going to the corner, gonna buy a diamond ring.
Would you pardon me kiss me ting-a-ling-a-ling.
Good golly, Miss Molly, sure like to ball.
When you’re rockin’ and a rollin’ can’t hear your momma call.

 

A Christmas Carol 1951

There have been many versions of this great story. This is the version that I like the most. The great Alastair Sim plays Ebenezer Scrooge and he is the reason I like this so much. When I think of the Scrooge… I think of him.

The movie is in black and white which turns some people off but it makes it that much better to me. The effects they use are obviously not CGI but they get the point across well and serve the story. I like the scene where the ghost of Jacob Marley is warning Ebenezer of being greedy…the two were not on the set at the same time…it looked really good for being 1951…or anytime for that matter.

So get some eggnog or hot butter rum and sit back and watch this great movie.

From IMDB…spoilers

Ebenezer Scrooge (Alastair Sim) is a greedy businessman who thinks only of making money. For him, Christmas is, in his own words, a humbug. It has been seven years since his friend and partner, Jacob Marley (Sir Michael Hordern), died and on Christmas Eve. Marley’s ghost tells him he is to be visited during the night by three spirits. The Ghost of Christmas Past (Michael Dolan) revisits some of the main events in Scrooge’s life to date, including his unhappy childhood, his happy apprenticeship to Mr. Fezziwig (Roddy Hughes), who cared for his employees, and the end of his engagement to a pretty young woman due to a growing love of money. The Ghost of Christmas Present (Francis De Wolff) shows him how joyously is nephew Fred (Brian Worth) and his clerk, Bob Cratchit (Mervyn Johns), celebrate Christmas with those they love. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (Czeslaw Konarski) shows him what he will leave behind after he is gone. Scrooge awakens on Christmas morning, a new man intent on doing good and celebrating the season with all of those around him.

Cast

  • Alastair Sim (Ebenezer Scrooge)
  • Kathleen Harrison (Mrs. Dilber)
  • Mervyn Johns (Bob Cratchit)
  • Hermione Baddeley (Mrs. Cratchit)
  • Michael Hordern (Jacob Marley)
  • Glyn Dearman (Tiny Tim)

Bing Crosby – Silent Night

This song is not only my favorite Christmas Carol… I think it’s up there with the best songs ever written. I hope everyone has a great Christmas/Holiday.

There are over 26,000 different versions of “Silent Night” on Spotify, meaning you could listen to a different rendition of the carol every night for 72 years.

Halfway through December 1818, the church organ in St. Nicholas in Oberndorf, 11 miles north of Salzburg in what is now Austria, broke (a popular version of the story claims that mice had eaten out the bellows). The curate, 26-year-old Josef Mohr, realized it couldn’t be repaired in time to provide music on Christmas Eve. He told his troubles to his friend, a headmaster and amateur composer named Franz Gruber, while giving him as a present a poem he had written two years earlier. Gruber was so taken by the rhythm of the poem that he set it to music, and on Christmas Eve there was music after all. Mohr played his guitar while the pair sang the song. It was the first public performance of “Stille Nacht” or as we know it “Silent Night.”

It is believed that Silent Night has been translated into over 300 languages around the world, and it is one of the most popular carols of all time.

From Songfacts

Bing Crosby’s version became his best-seller of the 1930s.

Music licensing company PPL announced in December 2010 that this carol tops the list of Britain’s “most recorded Christmas song of all time.” Said Mike Dalby, Lead Reporting Analyst at PPL: “Silent Night is a beautiful carol which encapsulates the feeling of Christmas entirely. Everyone from punk band The Dickies right through to Sinead O’Connor has recorded it, which exemplifies just how much it resonates with all different types of artists.”

According to PPL, Sinead O’Connor’s 1991 recording was the most popular version of the carol in Britain.

When the organ builder finally did show up to repair the St. Nicholas organ, he was given a copy of the “Silent Night” composition and brought it home. From there, traveling folk singers got a hold of it and began incorporating the carol into their repertoire. It didn’t make its way to America until 1839.

As the song gained traction throughout Europe, Franz Gruber composed several different orchestral arrangements. He donated all profits from the carol to local charities for children and the elderly, and eventually died penniless.

According to Steve Sullivan’s Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings, Crosby, a devout Catholic, refused to record the religious song, arguing it would be “like cashing in on the church or the Bible.” Crosby met with Father Richard Ranaghan, a priest trying to raise money for overseas missions, and decided to donate the royalties to the cause. But Ranaghan died in a car accident later that year, so the money went to several charities throughout the US and abroad.

This song lends itself to interpretation because the first four bars are all on the same chord. Jim Brickman explains: “There’s room to treat it dynamically in a different way: in the tempo, in the sounds and silences, in the time signature.”

Silent Night

Silent night, holy night.
All is calm, all is bright.
‘Round yon virgin mother and child.
Holy infant so tender and mild.
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night.
All is calm, all is bright.
‘Round yon virgin mother and child.
Holy infant so tender and mild.
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Johnny Cash – Cry! Cry! Cry!

No one crosses genres like Johnny Cash. I’ve seen rockers, heavy metal, and country fans like Johnny.

After Cash returned home from the Air Force and signed with Sun Records, he gave Sam Phillips the song “Hey Porter.” Phillips asked for a ballad for the B-side, so Cash went home and quickly wrote “Cry! Cry! Cry!” literally overnight. It became his first big hit.

“Cry! Cry! Cry!” was released and sold over 100,000 copies. The song was originally released in 1955 and reached #14 in the charts at the time. This song was the B side to Hey Porter.

Elvis Costello did a fantastic cover of this song in 1982 as the B side to I’m Your Toy. 

 

Cry! Cry! Cry!

Everybody knows where you go when the sun goes down.
I think you only live to see the lights uptown.
I wasted my time when I would try, try, try.
‘Cause when the lights have lost their glow, you’ll cry, cry, cry.

Soon your sugar-daddies will all be gone.
You’ll wake up some cold day and find you’re alone.
You’ll call for me but I’m gonna tell you: “Bye, bye, bye, “
When I turn around and walk away, you’ll cry, cry, cry,

You’re gonna cry, cry, cry and you’ll cry alone,
When everyone’s forgotten and you’re left on your own.
You’re gonna cry, cry, cry.

I lie awake at night to wait ’til you come in
You stay a little while and then you’re gone again
Every question that I ask, I get a lie, lie, lie
For every lie you tell, you’re gonna cry, cry, cry

When your fickle love gets old, no one will care for you.
Then you’ll come back to me for a little love that’s true.
I’ll tell you no and then you’ll ask me why, why, why?
When I remind you of all of this, you’ll cry, cry, cry.

You’re gonna cry, cry, cry and you’ll want me then,
It’ll hurt when you think of the fool you’ve been.
You’re gonna cry, cry, cry.

 

 

Chuck Berry – Maybellene

Chuck Berry was THE first guitar hero in Rock and Roll. He was also rock’s first poet. This song evolved out of “Ida Red,” a hillbilly song by Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys from the early ’50s. Berry heard that song on the Country radio station KMOX in St. Louis but didn’t know who recorded it.

Not only is the music great with the steady beat… but those lyrics. The motor cooled down the heat went down, And that’s when I heard that highway sound, the Cadillac a-sittin’ like a ton of lead, a hundred and ten half a mile ahead, the Cadillac lookin’ like it’s sittin’ still, and I caught Mabellene at the top of the hill

You can see what is happening in the song in your head with no problem… no MTV story video needed. He was one of the best descriptive lyricist rock and roll has ever had.

The song made it to #5 in the Billboard Pop Chart in 1955.

 

From Songfacts

Berry had never recorded, but when he went to Chicago to see Muddy Waters perform, he stayed in town to pitch himself to Leonard Chess of Chess Records, who asked him to come back the next week with some original songs. Berry returned with his bandmates Johnnie Johnson (piano) and Eddie Hardy (drums), and a demo reel with four songs, including “Ida Mae.” That’s the one Leonard Chess liked best, but he asked Berry to change so there wouldn’t be any confusion with “Ida Red” and to fend off any copyright claims. Berry changed the lyrics, turning it into a song about fast cars – one of his favorite topics. It was the first song the band recorded, and it proved a challenge: they recorded 36 takes.

This song tells the story of a girl who keeps cheating on her man. Various cars appear in the lyrics; Berry sings about chasing Maybellene in his V8 Ford while she drag races a man in a Cadillac with her Coupe de Ville.

There are a few different stories floating around about how the song got its name. Berry has said that Maybellene was the name of a cow in child’s nursery rhyme, but Johnnie Johnson recalled that there was a box of Maybellene mascara in the office, which gave Leonard Chess the idea for the title.

Chess Records gave the disc jockey Alan Freed a cowriting credit on this song (and also some cash) in exchange for playing it on the radio. Deals like this led to the Payola scandals, which led to rules prohibiting record companies from paying DJs to play their songs. Marshall Chess, the son of Chess founder Leonard Chess, recalled to The Independent newspaper May 27, 2008: “He [Freed] played the hell out of Chuck’s first record, ‘Maybellene’, because of that. My father says he made the deal, and by the time he got to Pittsburgh, which was half a day’s drive away, my uncle back at home was screaming, ‘What’s happening? We’re getting all these calls for thousands of records!'”

Deals like this were perfectly legal and fairly common at the time, but when the government took action in 1959, Freed refused to admit to taking Payola, insisting he was acting as a consultant to the music industry. Holding steadfast to this position, the radio and TV stations he worked for fired him, and his career never recovered. In contrast, Dick Clark admitted to taking cash and gifts, and simply stopped doing so when it was declared illegal. He was able to grow his media empire considerably after the scandal.

Berry was 29 years old when he recorded this song, but he knew that his audience was teenagers, so he wrote the song to appeal to that crowd – the ones fascinated with cars and experiencing young love. Berry also took care to sing it as clearly as possible so it would have more crossover appeal with a white audience. His strategy worked: the song went to #1 on the R&B chart and also made #5 on the Pop chart.

Chuck Berry was a rock and roll original, but he didn’t consider this a rock song. Said Berry: “‘Maybellene’ was very much a country song, with country lyrics. Maybe a little faster but basically it was country.”

Soon after this was released, Elvis Presley started performing it at some of his live appearances. Many other artists also recognized its propulsive appeal and covered the song. British acts – notably The Beatles and The Rolling Stones – often recorded Berry’s songs, but the UK act that grabbed this one was Gerry and the Pacemakers, who included it on their 1963 debut album How Do You Like It?

Other artists to cover the song include George Jones, The Searchers, Jerry Lee Lewis and Foghat.

The B-Side of the single was a slow blues song called “Wee Wee Hours.”

One-third of the composing credit went to Russ Fratto for the sole purpose of making sure that Berry got more royalties than Alan Freed (Fratto was a local DJ who was a close friend of Berry’s). He agreed to give Berry his share. In those days, it was common to give Freed a composer credit in exchange for airplay on his show. Freed would get royalties, and the song would become a hit.

A version by Johnny Rivers reached #12 in the US in 1964.

Later in 1955, Fats Domino released his own song with a three-syllable girl in the title: “I Can’t Go On (Rosalie).”

Berry died in 2017, the same year Fats Domino passed away. Jon Batiste and Gary Clark, Jr. paid tribute at the Grammy Awards in 2018 by performing “Maybellene” and “Ain’t That A Shame.”

 

Maybellene

Maybellene, why can’t you be true
Oh Maybellene, why can’t you be true
You’ve started back doin’ the things you used to do

As I was motivatin’ over the hill
I saw Mabellene in a Coup de Ville
A Cadillac arollin’ on the open road
Nothin’ will outrun my V8 Ford
The Cadillac doin’ about ninety-five
She’s bumper to bumper, rollin’ side by side
Maybellene
Why can’t you be true
Oh Maybellene, why can’t you be true
You’ve started back doin’ the things you used to do

The Cadillac pulled up ahead of the Ford
The Ford got hot and wouldn’t do no more
It then got cloudy and started to rain
I tooted my horn for a passin’ lane
The rainwater blowin’ all under my hood
I know that I was doin’ my motor good
Maybellene
Why can’t you be true
Oh Maybellene, why can’t you be true
You’ve started back doin’ the things you used to do

Oh, Maybellene
Why can’t you be true
Oh Maybellene, why can’t you be true
You’ve started back doin’ the things you used to do

The motor cooled down the heat went down
And that’s when I heard that highway sound
The Cadillac a sittin’ like a ton of lead
A hundred and ten half a mile ahead The Cadillac lookin’ like it’s sittin’ still
And I caught Mabellene at the top of the hill
Maybellene
Why can’t you be true
Oh Maybellene, why can’t you be true
You’ve started back doin’ the things you used to do