Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bop when it stopped

So after yesterday's entry about The Twelve Days of Christmas, Cindy wrote to say, "Thank you for clearing that up for me. I have much more respect for the song now... but can you now tell me what the hell the song is about the spinning toy that went bop when it stopped and so on.. it's quite baffling to me!!! hahahahah!!"

Well, all right. I need to say that of the four best-known versions of "The Marvelous Toy," the original by the author, Tom Paxton, is the best, followed by the version done by the Chad Mitchell Trio and then the version done by a former member of the Chad Mitchell Trio, the late John Denver (born Henry John Deutschendorf.)

So of course, the version most often heard on the radio at this time of year is the least effective rendition, namely, the corny, over-affected, way-cute version by Peter, Paul and Mary. Not content to just sing the doggone song, they zipppppppppppedboppppppppppppppppppped and whirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrred just likeYippi or whatever his name is, that children's entertainer that you know must just hate to hear the alarm sound in the morning, meaning another day of talking like Barney and singing like...well, like Peter, Paul and Mary. Oh, yeah, Raffi, that's the guy's name. Raffi Palmeiro? Nah.

Another thing about this song...they always drag it out at Christmas, but notice that nowhere in the lyrics does the singer say that the Marvelous Toy was a Christmas gift. He just says that his father showed up with it one day. I always had the feeling that old Pop came home from work with it, so that meant unless he had to work on Christmas Day, it might as well have been an Arbor Day gift. We'll never know, though. But at least I planted that seed...(brummmmmmp.)

We know this much..the Marvelous Toy is multi-colored, with two big buttons underneath that look like big green eyes. You can twist the thing's lid, and you can also make it a) march or b) chug. So, you can compare the lyrics to The Marvelous Toy to the lyrics to The Thing and see if you don't see similarities:

The Marvelous Toy

Words and Music by Tom Paxton

When I was just a wee little lad full of health and joy,
My father homeward came one night and gave to me a toy.
A wonder to behold, it was, with many colors bright,
And the moment I laid eyes on it it became my heart's delight.

[Chorus:]
It went "zip" when it moved and "bop" when it stopped,
And "whirr" when it stood still.
I never knew just what it was and I guess I never will.

The first time that I picked it up, I had a big surprise,
For right on its bottom were two big buttons that,
Looked like big green eyes.
I first pushed one and then the other, and then I twisted its lid,
And when I set it down again, this is what it did:

[Chorus:]

It first marched left and then marched right,
And then marched under a chair.
And when l looked where it had gone, it wasn't even there.
I started to sob and my daddy laughed, for he knew that I would find,
When l turned around, my marvelous toy, chugging from behind.

[Chorus:]

Well, the years have gone by too quickly, it seems,
I have my own little boy.
And yesterday I gave to him my marvelous little toy.
His eyes nearly popped right out of his head,
And he gave a squeal of glee.
Neither one of us knows just what it is,
but he loves it, just like me.

It still goes "zip" when it moves, "bop" when it stops,
And "whirr" when it stands still.
I never knew just what it was,
And I guess I never will.
I never knew just what it was,
And I guess I never will.


"The Thing" by Phil Harris

While I was walking down the beach one bright and sunny day
I saw a great big wooden box a-floatin’ in the bay
I pulled it in and opened it up and much to my surprise
Ooh, I discovered a boom-boom-boom, right before my eyes
Oh, I discovered a boom-boom-boom, right before my eyes

I picked it up and ran to town as happy as a king
I took it to a guy I knew who’d buy most any thing
But this is what he hollered at me as I walked in his shop
Oh, get outta here with that boom-boom-boom, before I call a cop
Oh, get outta here with that boom-boom-boom before I call a cop

I turned around and got right out, a-runnin’ for my life
And than I took it home with me to give it to my wife
But this is what she hollered at me as I walked in the door
Oh, get outta here with that boom-boom-boom, and don’t come back no more
Oh, get outta here with that boom-boom-boom, and don’t come back no more

I wandered all around the town until I chanced to meet
A hobo who was looking for a hand-out on the street
He said he’d take most any old thing, he was a desperate man
But when I showed him the boom-boom-boom, he turned around and ran
Oh, when I showed him the boom-boom-boom, he turned around and ran

I wandered on for many years, a victim of my fate
Until one day I came upon St. Peter at the gate
And when I tried to take it inside, he told me where to go
Get outta here with that boom-boom-boom and take it down below
Oh, get outta here with that boom-boom-boom and take it down below

The moral of this story is if you’re out on the beach
And you should see a great big box and it’s within your reach
Don’t ever stop and open it up, that’s my advice to you
‘Cause you’ll never get rid of the boom-boom-boom, no matter what you do
Oh, you’ll never get rid of the boom-boom-boom, no matter what you do


Phil Harris recorded The Thing back in the early 50's and The Marvelous Toy came along about a decade later. They were considered novelty songs, songs that became hits because of some oddity about them or about the performer. Nowadays, most every song has some oddity or another about it.

I'm just sayin'.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

Thanks for the info on those wonderful songs... but please leave Adam out of this!!! hahahahahahahah he is allowed to be odd!!!