Blinded by the lyrics (responsorial)
Friday’s Bulletin Board included this note from Fantomas: “Here’s the ‘Nancy’ comic strip for March 2, 2017, belatedly commemorating the passing of Mary Tyler Moore:
“Like many other such tributes, this one incorporates misheard lyrics. As those of us who were not yet hearing-impaired when the show originally ran (or even when we watch reruns today!) can testify: It’s not ‘You can have a town,’ it’s ‘You can never tell.’
“I wish I’d kept track of how many tributes I’ve seen with the misheard version.”
We presently heard from Jim Fitzsimons of St. Paul: “What?! Those are the lyrics?
“Well, I’ll be damned. Until Fantomas pointed out the common misheard lyric, I had always thought the line in ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ theme (‘Love Is All Around’) was ‘You can have this town…,’ not ‘You can never tell….’
“Being a skeptic, I decided to check it out.
“Initially, I was able to find three sites with the lyrics to the song, written and performed by Sonny Curtis (some folks mistakenly attribute it to Paul Williams). One site had the line as ‘You can never tell….’ The other two that I found had variations on the misheard ‘town’ line: ‘You can have this town…’ or ‘You can have a town….’
“I then gave a listen to the different versions used on the show. Being aware of the phenomenon known as priming, which is when you are told what to listen for and — voilà! — you hear it, I carefully listened several times. I heard the ‘never tell’ line. But could I be sure I wasn’t primed to hear that line by Fantomas?
“I continued to search for a reliable source for the actual lyrics. Wikipedia didn’t have them, but the Boston Globe did. And they had the ‘never tell’ line. Well, if you can’t trust the Boston Globe, who can you trust?
“Incidentally, included in the number of us who got the lyrics wrong is the St. Paul ’80s punk band Hüsker Dü. Hüsker Dü would often close their shows with ‘Love Is All Around.’ It was a bit of a joke response to all the times the band was asked about ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ whenever people found out they were from the Twin Cities. They even recorded and made a video for the song. Listen closely. It’s pretty clear they sing the ‘town’ line. Or am I priming you?
“Well, then, why did so many of us mishear the lyric as ‘You can have this town . . . ?’ I have a hypothesis. In the first year of the series, the opening montage shows Mary Richards starting her new life on her own. It shows her driving to a new town. We see the highway sign showing which way to head to get to Minneapolis or St. Paul. (Mary took the wrong turn and ended up in Minneapolis.) Immediately after seeing the sign, we hear the ‘you can never tell’ line. I think it is reasonable to assume many of us were primed visually, with Mary driving to her new life and the sign post, to hear ‘you can have this town.’
“But, I could be wrong.”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Did anyone else notice that the sign has it backward? Minneapolis should be to the left and St. Paul to the right. No wonder she went to the wrong city!
Here is the theme song (from Seasons 2 on) and the intro from a later season (plus closing credits):
Later, again, Jim Fitzsimons of St. Paul: “Subject: Enunciate, pal!
“All right, all right! This is quite a rabbit hole!
“This ‘Love Is All Around’ thing has me going. I do think the preponderance of the evidence points to the lyric being ‘you can never tell,’ but I’m still searching for a more definitive answer.
“I decided to see what I could find from the song’s writer, Sonny Curtis. I did find three videos on YouTube of the song. Two are studio versions, and one is him playing the song live. It’s still not clear! I listened again and again to that section in each video. I think he’s saying ‘never tell,’ but it could be the ‘town’ line. He just doesn’t quite enunciate the line very well.
“Here are the three versions:
“The 1980 country version:
“Did you catch the fine example of ’70s sexism in those lyrics? All that girl needs is her looks and charms to succeed. And that sexy look will do wonders for her. You’ve come a long way, baby!
“The 1970 version [Bulletin Board interjects: Along with the second chorus of the previous version, we think this is the best enunciation of the line in question]:
“The live version:
“Then I found a version by the Ray Conniff Singers. Well, that will do the trick, I hoped. Um. Kinda. They do sound more like they are singing ‘never tell,’ but the lyrics included in the video have it being ‘You can have the town…’ Ugh.
“I do think it is ‘you can never tell,’ but I don’t think I’ll ever be to tell.”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: According to this site, quoting Sonny Curtis, the man who wrote and sang the “MTM” theme song — http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-et-ms-mary-tyler-moore-sonny-curtis-theme-20170126-story.html — the line was “You can have the town” — which, when one thinks about it perhaps longer than one ought to, does make more sense than “You can never tell.”
Case (as far as we are concerned) CLOSED!
The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon
Snackmeisterin of Altoona, Wisconsin: “Subject: Baader-Meinhof . . .
“… I hope!
“Yesterday afternoon (3-2-17), I read the BB from the previous day, wherein The Stillwater Scouter‘s first-of-the-monthly report included this: ‘On the morning of March 11, 1918, Private Albert Gitchell of the U.S. Army reported to the hospital at Fort Riley, Kansas. He had cold-like symptoms of sore throat, fever and headache. By noon, more than 100 other soldiers had joined him. The disease spread globally and was dubbed “The Spanish Flu,” after 8 million deaths were reported following the initial outbreak there in May. Thirty-one thousand cases were reported in June in Great Britain. The flu would eventually kill 675,000 Americans with another 20 to 40 million around the world.’
“Just now (3-3-17, 11:24 a.m.), I read this in ‘Circling the Sun,’ a novel by Paula McClain (which I highly recommend): ‘We were nearly four months in Bombay, and when we returned, British East Africa didn’t exist anymore. … We were Kenya now, after our tallest mountain — a proper colony, with the graveyards to prove it. Africans and white settlers had died in the tens of thousands during wartime. Drought had stolen thousands more, and so had the Spanish flu.’
“I don’t recall hearing or learning about the Spanish flu. If I did, it would have been in high school in the late 1960s, and surely that shouldn’t count against me! (?)”
BULLETIN BOARD RULES: B-M!
The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon
Comics Page Corollary
Fantomas: “Fantomas submits ‘Soup to Nutz’ and ‘Looks Good on Paper’ for March 3, 2017.”
The Permanent Sisterly Record
The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “My oldest sister, Ruth, was born in mid-March 100 years ago, and she was a performer her entire 91 years. She was THE ‘celebrity’ in our family, and most of the blame goes to my maiden aunt. Our Aunt Ethel would have been a typical stage mother if she had been a mother, but with no child of her own, she focused on her sister’s child. She paid for elocution, dramatic-arts and dance lessons for Ruth, and she had her on the stage at the old Shubert Theatre by the time she was 10.
“My sister loved show business and tap-danced in clubs across the Midwest. Sometimes she and her dance partner would be held over for months at a time. One time, my folks got a letter from her saying she would be home the next day because the club they were working at was sold, and the new owners fired the entire cast. Daddy had mixed emotions. He was delighted that she was coming home, but cussing up a blue streak that those blankety-blank owners had FIRED his precious firstborn. I was about 4 years old, and I realized that I actually couldn’t remember exactly what she looked like. I climbed up on a chair to look at the big 8-by-10 of her on top of the bookcase and wondered how badly burned my sister was now that those cursed men had set fire to her.
“When I was 8 years old, she eloped, and her husband became her dance partner.
“As kids came along, they settled down in one place. She kept her hand in the show-business world even through the motherhood stage of her life, bringing her kids along to take parts in the centennial pageants they produced in the summertime. She played along with her kids’ wildly embracing every craft craze that came along. No one who ever saw it will forget the humongous papier-mâché bust of Mount Rushmore hanging from her wall.
“She also had many home-oriented talents. She inherited our mother’s gardening and sewing ability. She had a flower garden that was the envy of her neighborhood, and she was a whiz on her tiny little portable Singer sewing machine. It had traveled with her through the five-state nightclub circuit and produced many dance costumes — and by golly, she wasn’t going to turn her back on it. I remember the day she decided she was going to remodel a fur coat. The air turned blue as I watched her muscle that fur coat through that ridiculously tiny opening in her old Singer.
“She could handle our dad’s carpenter tools and wasn’t afraid to tackle any upholstery job or painting project around the house. To the dismay of her husband and live-in father-in-law, she sawed apart her deceased mother-in-law’s antique Queen Anne chair and turned it into a large hassock and did a ‘Peter Hunt’ paint job on the old lady’s telephone stand. I think they were too stunned by the orange ceiling to protest.
“Yes, her talents were many and varied — as long as they didn’t take place in the kitchen. She was not a happy cook — but that was probably a good thing, since her favorite food groups consisted of chocolate and gin.”
Today’s nominations come from Sleepless from St. Paul (in Minneapolis): “A ‘Nervous Body Odor’ double feature. These Badvertisements appeared in the January 23, 1940, and January 30, 1940, editions of the Pioneer Press.”
Life as we know it
Pull of a Place Division
Doctors’ Mom in Mendota Heights: “D. Ziner beautifully describes the homing instinct.
“I have had similar feelings, which I think of as nostalgia.
“Spurred by a Facebook page devoted to memories of the suburb I grew up in (from ages 5 to 17), I started feeling a strong pull to go back and see my old haunts. When I had a dream in which the streets around my old house appeared and in which I tried to remember all their names, I realized that I had to take action.
“Shortly after the dream, I visited an old friend who still lived in that area. I told her that I really wanted to take a nostalgia tour. We took a drive around my old neighborhood, saw the old shopping center, my old elementary school, the two houses I had lived in. Things had changed so much. There were deer hanging out around my old, now-empty school. Big-box stores now dominated the shopping center. The big tree in front of my old house was no longer there.
“Yet it all touched my core. I experienced the essence of those places and a feeling of time lost. I think I got it out of my system, but still get watery-eyed when I think about it.”
Band Name of the Day: The Blue Streaks
Website of the Day: