Monday, July 21, 2008


The Goat and I went to see Wall-e together. In fact, one of my favorite things about the Goat is the fact that he humors my movie-going whims, up to a point. I guess I don't mind his occasionally running on about the stupidity of Hollywood and its gim-crack products as long as he occasionally agrees to go slumming with me at the multi-plex...

We went, we saw, and we were conquered.

My problem at the moment is that I can't get the opening song from Wall-e out of my head. Of course it's not really from Wall-e; it's from from Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly.

It's "Put On Your Sunday Clothes," which I have hummed now and then over the last forty years or so. Back when I lived in Big Cities, I even saw not one, but two, revivals of the show. One featured Carol Channing giving what must have been her 500,000th performance, as fixed and ritualized as kabuki ever was; the other featured Pearl Bailey, who still described herself in her program bio as "willowy." (If that's not something you have to give up as you get older and wider, I guess I still am, too.) I came away with a dread respect for the machine, but an allergy to Mr. Herman's taste. My distaste was only reinforced when he couldn't accept his Tony award for La Cage without putting in a dig at Steven Sondheim. But that's another story.

Anyway, I hated the show until the movie came out, and then I began to remember things that I had liked better onstage for their relative simplicity: the wonderful idea of having the cast ride a train straight across the stage as a way of getting the hell out of Yonkers, and to what I was beginning to realize might be a great tune. The movie seemed bloated and slow, and Ms. Streisand seemed at least as self-indulgent as Ms. Channing was.

(Actually this is a general problem for me; I hated Peter Shaffer's Amadeus until I saw the movie and had to trade Ian McKellen and Tim Curry for F. Murray Abraham and Tom Hulce, and watch 20th century theater stars Twyla Tharp and Jozef Svoboda turn up in 18th century Vienna... suddenly the play looked good. Do you think I might have a problem with Initial Negative Reactions?)

BUT... now along comes Wall-e.

And I can't for the life of me get that damn "great tune" out of my head. I have been running changes on the lyrics in my mind, as the tune recycles itself endlessly; I had never really completely retained them, so it was easy to come up with something to fit. And to bend them in my direction. I have ended up somewhere closer to Folsom Street than 14th Street or Broadway.

It now goes like this:
Put on your leather duds--that's what it's all about!
Strut into town and get your picture took--
Decked out in hide you're filled with pride
Now you've come out!

That subtle shine is a certain sign
That you feel as good as you look!

Put on your leather duds and get your ass in gear--
Pull on your cock-ring, boots, and chaps!
We'll smoke some dope and we'll play with rope
In the gay bars on every block,
And we won't come home until we've tasted cock!

(c) Troll-at-Sea Media

Now, I realize that this is probably not the reaction that anyone at Pixar was looking for--if it is, they are welcome to contact me. And it's as much of a dig in its way as Jerry Herman's dig at Sondheim, but then, what goes around, comes around. Herman would probably be revolving in his grave-to-be if he hadn't laughed all the way to the bank so much sooner... Anyway, I couldn't think of anyone who needed to hear this version more than you people; I certainly can't sing it around Nowheresville, unless I choose my setting rather carefully... ZIPPOyZHang in there, guys.


  1. Pixar gets an "R" cause you like to put risque lyrics to the tunes?
    Heck I did that to Disney SingAlong Tapes after I've heard them for the umpth-tienth time...
    Thank God my kids have grown up now.

    I'll have to share the Tiki-Tiki-Tiki Room rendition sometime.

  2. so how do you feel about "Momma Mia!" and ribald lyrics?

    I think we have been doing the obvious redention of that since I was a kid!

  3. JC:

    I have to say, I never even heard of ABBA until the guys wrote the musical "Chess." And I heard most of their music for the first time when I saw "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert."

    I wanted nothing to do with disco. So, take away my gay card.
    I can handle it.

    Actually, reworking lyrics is something most poets and writers, and most other people, do: either to fill time that seems empty, or just because we can't remember the real ones.

    I have to say, by the time you get to "Push it in, pull it out, it's just the right size," you're better off making up your own lyrics..


  4. oops, I must predate you then...
    I am a child of the Disco era- lol

  5. JC:

    I don't think so.
    I'm 56, so was too old too young to get with disco.


    Juan Carlos?
    Jesus Christ?
    Just Confused?