Tuesday, February 13, 2007

the artist: out of her time

Today on the way to the pharmacy, I was amused to hear Evangeline singing, without prompting:
All day, all night, Cary Grant.
That's all I hear from my wife: Cary Grant.
What can he do that I can't?
Big star, big deal, Cary Grant.

I know a man named Mr. Lang,
And he has a neon sign.
And Mr. Lang is very old,
So we call it "Old Lang's Sign."
These are some of the lyrics to Allan Sherman's "Schticks of One, a Half-Dozen of the Other," a medley of mangled folk songs. Sherman was a variety singer who did send-ups of popular and well-known songs, such as Petula Clark's "Downtown." He also did the voice of the Cat in the Hat in the CBS TV special, but he is most famous for his "Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda" song, in which an unwilling camper pleads for the chance to come home.

In any event, as someone who appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, he made his splash when my parents were my age. I have (somewhere) a CD of "My Son, the Greatest: The Best of Allan Sherman," which is fairly unusual for someone my age. That Evangeline enjoys his music is nothing short of astonishing.

In other words, congratulations, Mr. Sherman. You've achieved a form of immortality that most artists only dream of.

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