Thursday, July 2, 2009

Overture, curtain, lights!

As I've said before, I'd like to create a website where folks can vote on matters of opinion like best 1960s sitcom theme, and if someone has a favorite choice that isn't on the list, the software would allow people to add choices to the list for others to vote on. For example, if I had remembered it in time, I certainly would have added this song to the list last week.

This is a great tune from the genre of songs about show business. Others in this category include There's No Business Like Show Business and Another Opening, Another Show, the first tune from Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate. The Muppet Show theme would certainly count, as would several Stephen Sondheim tunes like Comedy Tonight and Broadway Baby. This one is by Jerry Livingston and Mack David, Tin Pan Alley denizens famous for novelty tunes like Mairsy Doats, but who also wrote some excellent and more serious tunes like The Ballad of the Sad Young Men.

Some of the votes I've cast have nothing to do with nostalgia for the TV show. I was too young to stay up for Peter Gunn, so when I voted for it as one of the best action show themes, it was based solely on how I feel about the tune. With this song, I know that other feelings are definitely in play.

In 1960, when The Bugs Bunny Show first aired, this song meant cartoons in the middle of the school week in prime time.

My sister Karlacita! and I have discussed many times the things we would have a hard time getting young people to believe about life when we were growing up. Back in the day, a kid who liked cartoons on TV was fed what would now look like a subsistence diet, if not a starvation diet. There were three "regular" TV networks and educational TV. There were no UHF stations when I was a pre-schooler, and Sesame Street wasn't around yet. Except for an hour after school when a show like Captain Satellite was on, cartoons were not to be found. Cartoons were for Saturday mornings, with a few airing on Sunday morning. I was such a cartoon junkie, I would sit through Davey and Goliath on Sunday morning waiting for Rocky and Bullwinkle to come on.

Seriously. I still have memories of Davey and Goliath.

There were three choices of cartoons on NBC, ABC and CBS for a few hours on Saturday mornings, and if there was a show you liked airing opposite another you liked, you watched one and the missed the other. There was no videotape, let alone DVDs. By sometime around noon on Saturdays, sports programming would take over, and little kids were expected to peel themselves away from the TV and go outside and play if the weather was nice, and I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the weather was always nice.

Our lives seem as Spartan to today's youth as the stories of the parents' childhoods seemed to us. OMG, my dad and mom didn't even have TV when they were growing up! They listened to the radio.

Seriously. There were dramas and comedy shows on the radio. Can you imagine?

I feel a little odd writing about the 1960's on a Thursday. After all, my blog buddy Distributor Cap doesn't do a Wednesday math post or create lolz giantesses. So I apologize for peddling papers on his side of the street this week. But a wave of memories overwhelmed me, and I wanted to write about them while they were fresh in my mind. I end this post with the last lines from the tune that brought all these memories back.

On with the show! This is it!


Margaret Benbow said...

Looney Tunes have always meant the most to me, and to this day I'm charmed by the one and only Bugs....his manic playfulness, the way he always had a full complement of weaponry and explosives up his sleeve, his coquettish leers when in drag which included Scarlett O' Hara petticoats and curls,his comically ingenious persecution of Elmer Fudd. Bugs lives large, and all the others seem puny in comparison.

Matty Boy said...

Bugs does great stuff, but I also love Foghorn Leghorn. The original Road Runner cartoons when the animation quality was high are favorites of mine as well.

Disney did better animation than Warner Brothers, but Warner had better comedy writers and the music of Carl Stalling is really amazing.

dguzman said...

Bugs Bunny was always a hero to me growing up--I wanted to be a wiseacre like him, constantly able to get the best of everyone around him. And the songs! I still sing "Oh carrots are divine, you get a dozen for a dime, it's maaaaaa-gic!" And "Carrots wait for noooooo ooooone, so I pick them noooowwww... before they are eeeeaten by some slobby cow."

Pure greatness.

However, I always thought the words were "over chure, curt the lights!" It was only later than I figured out (duh) "Overture, curtain, lights."

And FOGHORN LEGHORN! My gosh, I love him. And the Southern Gentleman guy who said, "Aaahhh, magNOlias!" just before Daffy Duck descends on him, a hated yankee who then pretends he's a rebel soldier "Yankees to the left o' me, yankees to the right o' me... Father, I'm tired... take me home."

Can you tell I never missed a second of Bugs Bunny?