Sunday, January 19, 2014

Hilo Days: Me and My Clown Friend

Sometimes what you do as a child stays with you forever. Things like listening to a record album. I wonder how many kids today even KNOW what a record album is? The 78, 45, and 33-1/3 revolutions-per-minute (rpm) vinyl disks have  gone the way of rotary phones, slide rules, double-edged razor blades and 8-track tapes. 

Still, there’s something quite nostalgic about listening to a scratchy old record on an ancient phonograph. 

I wrote about it in my old Hilo Days website. 

Bozo the Clown 

Remember Bozo the Clown? I do.
We had an old phonograph that we'd haul out occasionally. It was one of those that required winding with a crank and played only 78 rpm records.

I had a couple of Bozo the Clown story albums. "Bozo on the Farm." "Bozo at the Circus." Like that. 

Anyway, I had this memorized and could recite the entire record and turn the pages in the dark. But of course, you just had to wait for Bozo to make that right sound that meant "turn the page." 

My favorite was Bozo on the Farm. The "turn page" signal was the sound of the klaxon traffic horn on Bozo's flivver (jalopy Model‑T car). There's this one part where Bozo finds a bullfrog sitting on a lily pad and asks the frog if he can sing. "Sku! Ah skan sking!" the frog would croak, launching into a glumpity‑glump bullfrog rendition that never failed to crack me up.

When I was in college, we used to have a singing group and whenever I'd mention that fact to someone, they'd invariably ask "Can you sing?" and it took every bit of self‑control I had not to answer, "Sku, Ah skan sking!" 

"Can you sing?" Dumb question. 

Anyway it was fun, especially when the phonograph spring would run down and the voices got lower and slower and even lower and even slower. And if it got that way during the bullfrog segment, I'd consider it a special bonus.

Boy, I loved that record.

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