“On The Twelfth Day Of Christmas, Although It May Seem Strange.”: A Holiday Tradition

One of my holiday traditions is to listen to the following:  “On the twelfth day of Christmas, although it may seem strange.  On the twelfth day of Christmas, I’m going to exchange…”  So sings Allan Sherman on his album, For Swingin’ Livers Only!  In a contemporary satire on the carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas, Sherman enumerates the silly and trivial gifts he has received, including “green polka dot pajamas”, “a calendar book with the name of my insurance man”, “an indoor plastic birdbath”, etc.  The carol has been the subject of numerous satires.   Willard Espy provides one of the best in his Words At Play, In this satire, the writer imagines how a lady would react if she really did receive all the gifts listed in The Twelve Days of Christmas.  The conclusion is most amusing.  Just a note:  the Victorians were fond of number games and it’s interesting that the number of fowl in the carol equals the number of musicians, 23.  I wonder…

“And Now That You’re On The Right Road, Don’t Forget His Area Code…”

In 1962, the President of AT&T decided to introduce a solely numeric code for telephones.  Previously, telephone owners were provided names such as Triangle, Poplar, Crestview, State, etc., whose first two letters could be found on any telephone, making it easier for owners to remember telephone numbers.  Allan Sherman satirized the President’s decision in a funny and rousing song, Let’s All Call Up AT&T And Protest to The President, march!, in his album, My Son, The Celebrity.   Sherman sings:  “Let us wake him up from his slumber.  Get a pencil, I’ll give you his number.”  Then comes a ridiculously long spewing of digits followed by the quote from the post’s title.  Another silly long stream of numbers follows.  However, in retrospect, Allan Sherman was something of a prophet.  A few years later, zip codes were introduced.  Credit card numbers became more prevalent.  Social security numbers, VINs for cars, numbers to locate departments within an individual entity came into being.  Now there are numbers to access checking accounts, confirmation numbers for purchases, numbers in user names and passwords.  And the end is nowhere in sight.  An improved means of communication, or a ridiculously long spewing of digits?  I leave it to you.

More On Allan Sherman

Before Allan Sherman made his hit recording, my son, the folk singer, he made a private recording, My Fair Lady.  This recording was produced by Associated Recording Studios with a blue and white label that had only one side.  It has the greatest number of Yiddish references of all Sherman’s recordings, which might make it difficult for some to understand.  It is a satire of the famous musical, My Fair Lady, and lasts about twenty minutes.  Here Eliza, the flower seller, speaks English so perfectly that she can’t be understood by the Brooklyn natives.  In order to speak correctly, she needs the help of a Jewish owner of a candy store and learn about “Jewish things.”  The owner tells Eliza:  “You’ll trouble, dalink, is you’ve got a speech imperiment.”  As is common for Allan Sherman, there are the usual mangled words, i.e. “I’ve got the customers to face.”  However, unlike the majority of Sherman’s works, which feature individual lyrics(the exception is Peter and the Comissar), My Fair Lady tells a story, and quite an amusing one at that.

What Is A Bubu?

In comedian Allan Sherman’s song, “Chim Chim Cheree”, (a clever satire of American advertising  based on a Sherman Brothers’ song from Mary Poppins) on the record My Name is Allan, the line “And I sharpen my bubu, and use it to shave” , causes peals of laughter from the audience, but does anyone know what a bubu is?IMG_4689