Lorne Green’s greatest claim to fame is starring in the long running western Bonanza, playing the role of the family patriarch Ben Cartwright and being the first man most people ever saw in color on television. But Green’s oddest credit is that he had a number one single in the middle of the English Invasion in 1964: his talking ballad “Ringo”, (which ironically is not about the Beatle, but a Western gunslinger: Johnny Ringo).
This 7 inch record, “Must be Santa,” is his contribution to the subgenre of “annoying kids singing Christmas songs”, (of which I have somehow become a leading collector!?!), featuring some fine shrill warbling of the Jimmy Joyce Children’s Choir. Oddly enough the flip side, “One Solitary Life”, is the polar opposite; a morose, bleak, 2000 year old tale of loneliness, social deprivation and the ultimate execution of a doomed unnamed man (hint, hint) which is probably a more telling song of Christmas than we’d like to acknowledge. Loren Green really plays the fate card well. Then again, years before Bonanza, Lorne Green was known to his fellow Canadian citizens as "The Voice of Doom", a nickname he earned as a radio announcer for CBC radio from 1939 to 1942, where his distinctive baritone painted the grim news of World War II in deep somber tones. Listening to such a desolate voice, especially on a Christmas record, is just a plain and simple holiday cheer killer … that miserable tingling in your soul, its not unlike that vacant stare when you’re trying to find parking at the Glendale Galleria the weekend before Christmas, and you have an exhausted, yet frantic, raging, sugar-doped child in the back seat screaming that he wants to see Santa -NOW!- meanwhile babbling on a badly deteriorating cell phone connection is your employer going on about something trivial and asinine, and while looking at that pink parking ticket still stuck under the windshield wiper blades from the last failed attempt at shopping, you rear-end a new Lexus ...
Celebrities, actors, politicians, actually any one with an ounce of fame and without an ounce of shame seem to always want to get into the glamorous record business. That is as true today as it has been for many, many a decade. And one of the simplest ways to back into a recording career is to release a Christmas record, either novelty or a heartfelt, weepy ditty. But I have to say it’s very odd when a cultural icon steps into these murky waters.
When Cary Grant recorded “Christmas Lullaby” in 1967 it was just a year after he retired from the movie industry, leaving as one of the most popular and respected actors of all time. Obviously, Grant learned a few things from his occasional, and unintentionally amusing, stabs at singing on screen. Check-out his performance as the Mock Turtle in the 1933 Alice in Wonderland, or his attempt with a ballad in Kiss and Make Up, because in 1967 Grant mostly recites “Christmas Lullaby” in that perfectly invented accent of his. He gently whispers to his sleeping daughter the joys she’ll find on Christmas morning, about the time Grant promises that angels will always be there to watch over and bless her he breaks into song … well sort of … I guess it was easier for the former Archie Leach to invent the actor we know as Cary Grant then it is for Cary Grant to invent a singer. But who cares, it’s still Cary Grant! Like Audrey Hepburn’s line in Charade whenshe asks and purrs, "Do you know what's wrong with you? Nothing."
Many, many questions … mostly about the space-time continuum. I imagine it doesn’t actually run in a straight line, but in a vertical spiral, spinning in several directions simultaneously and at undulating speeds, analogous to a surging elliptical orbit, gyrating and wobbling like a mountain of dradles as they lose momentum. Think of ‘time’ as one of those old turntables that change a stack of records by dropping the next platter, except this turntable twists unpredictably forward and backwards, erratically spiraling and switching speeds, coughs up the record done, spits out a new one. Better yet, think of ‘time’ as a turntablist who is sandwiched between two turntables stacked on top of each other spindle to spindle, and the DJ is simultaneously scratching, looping, cross fading, juggling beats, rubbing, bugging, juggling the thing of a thing of a thing, cutting and pasting, grinding and humping, downbeat sweeps, creeps, bumping and slamming, twiddle, diddle, tweak, zig zag, squirrel, scribble scrabble, kif lift, willy nilly, dada, nada, dodo, zoot horn rollo, zither zather zuzz, hepcat swinging over a Euclidian three ring circus gumbo, without a net, without a tent, without an answer, up shit creek, without a gift on xmas day hallelujah.… then the record changer drops another disc on the other turntable and the tone arm continues all over again.
This is also how one might explain paranormal phenomenon. If the ‘time’ spiral spin’s in conflicting and inconsistent directions, on occasion this spiral inter-splices momentarily into a singular part of the coil. In that collision, we could experience a virtual and distinctive time door, opening briefly, accounting for ghostly apparitions, UFO sightings, déjà vu and even disappearing socks.
hysteron proteron - n. inversion of natural order or sense, especially of words; fallacy of proving or explaining a proposition with one presupposing or dependent on it.
It’s been a couple of months since I photographed any of our arty 7 inch boxes, so here are some more examples of post outsider art-damaged modern adverts faux iconography from Amoeba Hollywood 45 Room brain trust.
Hysteron Proteron literally means “the latter before”, and the purpose is to call attention to the more important idea by placing it first. You might say it’s the rhetorical equivalent to "the last shall be first and the first, last". (Sort of reminds me of my old Catholic School Catechism lessons, which no matter how hard I try to obliterate, remains intact in my skull, an example once again of the inverse natural order of things. But the rewards last a lifetime … I mean eternal! The vague and twisted challenges of a post Irish Catholic childhood are the dented theological reflections or simple colorful profanities, available at a drop of a hat … and are never more than just a couple of pints away.)