Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Short Cuts: The Dr. Demento Show!



Redartz:  Greetings, all! How many of you grew up demented? I sure did (as my wife and sons will attest to). Specifically, I spent countless Sunday nights in the 70's and 80's listening in the dark of my bedroom to the jolly madness of the Dr. Demento Show! The Good Doctor was my introduction to the inspired music of Stan Freberg, Weird Al, Allan Sherman and many others. I went "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park" with Tom Lehrer, and got 'taken away, ha haaaa' with Napoleon XIV. You see, the same twisted sense of  humor that colors my comic book preferences also taints my musical tastes: I love a good novelty song (and I also love a bad one). 

Every week the Doctor would present two hours of tuneful fun, often including a few never-before heard recordings. And the show would conclude with the week's "Funny Five" countdown. All told, there was enough musical dementia to keep me chuckling for the remainder of the week. 

Any other citizens of the "Land of Dementia" out there? Favorite songs, performers? Unstrap the straightjacket and let's staaaaaaaay demented!!!!!



 

















Two fantastic collections of the Dr. Demento Show's greatest hits...










Weird Al, who got a big helping hand early in his career from the Doctor Demento Show...



24 comments:

Humanbelly said...

I caught his show occasionally upon coming home at night from the evening weekend shift after my third (!!) job in the period between college and grad school. Mostly, I remember thinking, "I've GOT to get some sleep-- but just one more song/sketch first. . ." as I sat in the driveway. Apparently he was going through a bit of a Bob and Ray phase (Bob Elliot and Ray Goulding) at the time, 'cause I discovered them for the first time on that program. "Slow Talkers of America" had me howling with exhausted laughter. . . in the driveway. . . in my car. . . in the middle of the night. This particular sketch was buh-RILLIANTLY recreated in ZOOTOPIA last year--- to the point where the slow-talking sloth was clearly a loving caricature of Bob Elliot himself.

HB

Anonymous said...

I don't know anything about Dr. Demento but I love comedy/novelty songs. Yes, "Poisoning Pigeons In The Park" and "Dear Muddah, Dear Faddah, Here We Are At Camp Granada". I think the Napoleon XIV song actually made #1 in the UK in 1958 or thereabouts, I'd have to check on that. Did Dr. Demento ever play "Star Trekkin" by The Firm ? That song was definitely a UK #1 hit in June 1987 - it made #1 just a few days after Thatcher won her third election (winning just 43% of the votes cast in case anybody thinks she was hugely popular - she wasn't) and it cheered me up enormously - life wasn't so bad after all when there were such funny songs as Star Trekkin' around :D

Redartz said...

Colin J- yes, the Doctor did play " Star Trekkin". In fact, it's included on the "20th. Anniversary Collection" CD shown above. Great, fun "...always going forward, 'cause we can't find reverse...".

ColinBray said...

Likewise I know nothing about Dr Demento. Another one for a wel-known video viewing site.

Colin J - do you remember a British novelty record from (guessing) the 60s. On the record the football/soccer results announcer runs the gamut of extravagant emotions - hilarity, weeping etc. while giving the scores. I loved the record but haven't heard it for something like 35 years...

Anonymous said...

Colin B - I don't know that song. Do you remember "Snooker Loopy" from 1986 ?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Good ole Demento ... I could always count on him for "Blind Purple People Eaters" and "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Bikini!"

Anonymous said...

"Bounce Your Boobies" -- "The Clean Song" -- the "Star Drek" sketch ("No mustard, Captain") -- "The Boys From Camp Cucamunga"....

ColinBray said...

I do. Grim stuff.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hi Colin, do you have "winner take all" like here, or do you have to build coalitions?

Clinton (both terms) Bush Jr. (first term), Trump did not get majorities either, here. We're stuck with two parties absent coalitions, given "winner take all."

Martinex1 said...

Like others I listened to him after 2nd or 3rd shift work.

Is that where I first heard "The Curly Shuffle"? Could be.

Redartz said...

Anonymous- oh yes, more Star Trek parody: "Analysis Mr. Spock? It appears the captain will be eating his sandwich without mustard". Loved it.

HB- I didn't make the connection with Zootopia, but found the character strangely familiar. Thanks for the enlightenment!

Charlie Horse 47- you mentioned a couple biggies frequently played on the show. Do you recall "Beep Beep", "Fish Heads" or "The Cockroach that Ate Cincinnati "? Oh, so many songs, so much dementia...

Marti- it seemed many novelty hits that hit the pop chart got a boost from the Doctor. Another was "Shaving Cream" by Benny Bell. And "Curly Shuffle" is a blast. Once upon a time I could do a fair Curly impression and sang along. Can't seem to manage it now...

Redartz said...

All this talk of novelty and comedy songs. Does anyone still make such things anymore? Can't remember the last time I heard a (intentionally) humorous song on the pop radio. Has pop culture lost its sense of humor?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Red, there is no more pop radio; we all live in our own Pandora worlds now! "Fish heads" I went through a phase where I played it as much as Tarzan Boy! LOL! But I listen to MeFM now which is 50s, 60s, 70s on the FM dial. So cool and refreshing! (Marti - MeFM is 88.7 in Chicago land.)

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Oops. MeTV's MeFM is 87.7 in Chicago.

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Anonymous said...

Did Dr. Demento ever play "The Smurf Song" by Father Abraham & The Smurfs ? Father Abraham was Dutch and The Smurf Song was a massive British hit in 1978. It would have been a #1 hit but due to unlucky timing it got stuck at #2 for 6 weeks behind an even bigger hit - John Travolta & Olivia Newton John's "You're The One That I Want" which was the 3rd best-selling single of the '70s in the UK (if you're wondering - #1 was "Mull Of Kintyre/Girl's School" by Wings and #2 was Boney M's "Rivers Of Babylon/Brown Girl In The Ring"). But The Smurf Song must be one of the biggest ever novelty hits in the British Top 40...

Redartz said...

Colin J- " The Smurf Song" sounds familiar. I'm sure it must have made numerous appearances on the Dr. Dementia show. The Doctor had an unbelievable library, very wide ranging. Old, new, garage bands, pop, blues, just about any genre you can imagine. If it was odd, funny or unusual, he played it...

By the way, that Boney M song is great. Only made it to #30 here though.

The Prowler said...

There were several times on my trips back from my hometown to where I went to college, about a 9 and half hour trip, that I would pick up KMOX, the giant super station out of St Louis. There was the Dr Demento show and some trivia show. They covered everything from sports to history to pop culture. Really helped when playing Trivial Pursuit. Did make being on the road a bit more bare able.

(One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do
Two can be as bad as one
It's the loneliest number since the number one

No is the saddest experience you'll ever know
Yes, it's the saddest experience you'll ever know

'Cause one is the loneliest number that you'll ever do
One is the loneliest number, whoa-oh, worse than two

It's just no good anymore since you went away
Now I spend my time just making rhymes of yesterday

One is the loneliest number
One is the loneliest number
One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do
One is the loneliest
One is the loneliest
One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do

It's just no good anymore since you went away (number)
One is the loneliest (number)
One is the loneliest (number)
One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do (number)
One is the loneliest (number)
One is the loneliest (number)
One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do (number)
One (one is the loneliest number that you'll ever do)(number)
One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do (number)
One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do).

Humanbelly said...

My favorite song in the fall of '79, there, Prowl! (Three Dog Night version)

So guys, pop music is certainly still out there-- there's a whole Top 40 market that's inescapable. It just, of course, doesn't sound the same as what we were "patterned" on. It's also maybe heavier w/ female vocalists than in our day, and much less reliance on "SuperGroups". It's also 'WAY tonally darker. There was a study/survey a year or so ago, and the majority of new popular and Top 40 songs are now in minor keys. In the 60's and 70's they made up, like, 15% of the tunes, I believe.

I'll be darned if I can think of any recent true Novelty songs, though.

HB

Martinex1 said...

CH47 - thanks for the tip on MeFM. I honestly didn't know that station was there. I mostly listen to XRT but I'm going to check it out.

I've run into some recent "novelty" songs that are actually on YouTube as videos. Look up "Bad Lip Reading", Not only do they create hilarious re-dubs of everything from the Presidential Debates to "The Empire Strikes Back", they create some really great funny songs (and I mean laugh out loud funny). My sons and I have laughed together watching these.

There is "Bad Lip Reading - Seagulls (Stop it Now)" performed by Yoda in a crazy re-dubbing. And another - "Bushes of Love" led by Obi-Wan Kenobi. But my favorite is a reinvention of Coldplay singing a song "Yeti" all about Bigfoot.

I consider these to perhaps be the new era of novelty -well crafted, completely nonsensical, and using video as well.


Redartz said...

HB- I appreciate your comments on current pop music. I try to keep up with it to some degree, should dig deeper though. The prominence of female vocalists is appealing. Now if they would just eliminate auto tune...

Charlie- thanks for the info on MeFM. Will try to find a local version here in the Louisville area. Sounds pretty good!

Marti- and a thanks to you for the tip on "Bad Lip Reading". A good laugh is always welcome!

Unknown said...

"Dead Puppies", "Y.O.D.A", "Kinco the clown" always made me giggle. The show came through my cracklin' Radio Shack radio. It made us feel like we were part of some special club.

Fred W. Hill said...

I listened to the Dr. Demento Show regularly from 1976 to 1981 on Sunday nights when my family lived in Lemoore, CA, about 40 mile south of Fresno. Got the 20th, 25th and 30th anniversary collections. Lots of great novelty songs!

Redartz said...

Fred- Glad to hear from a fellow 'dementite '! And they released a 30th. Anniversary Collection? Jeez, how did I miss that?

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