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 ...
Honey! I’m home…!
Whew! It is crazy hot here in Hollywood. How have you survived? I’m this close to envying the Donner Party.
[Sets luggage down.]
Where have I been? Didn’t you see the Post-It note I left on our autographed portrait of Gunnar de Frumerie?
What do you mean you were struck blind by the Lord Our God while traveling the Road to Damascus? Are you crazy?
Yes, I know Labor Day traffic on I-5 is maddening, but I hardly think a detour through Syria was good idea. And anyhow, I wrote the note in Braille, so that’s no excuse for not reading it.
[Takes off shoes and unbuttons shirt.]
Anyway, I don’t want to fight.
I’ve been in Santa Barbara over the weekend. I was at a wedding for some of Corey’s friends. It was hot there, too, but at least we were on the coast, so it was beautiful.
Oh, a funny thing happened that continues a strange theme in my recent blogs. One of the humans attending the wedding was Octavia Spencer – a total sparkplug, very quick with the one-liners – and, as she was introduced to my small group, she lowered her sunglasses at me and said:
“Whoa! You have some pretty eyes! Hoo!”
Which makes two times this week that an obscure female comedian has commented on my optical globes. I know, right? What exactly are my pheromones excreting? Too funny.
Cathy was often seen on TV stand-up shows; I remember, Mtv showcased her frequently. I also had the LP she shared with Paula Poundstone. She was one of my favorites and I was always excited when she showed up on billing.
Working in Hollywood, one is always running into celebrities. It's a relief when those you like end up being cool in person, as Ms. Ladman was.
I tried to find some of her stand-up on YouTube to share with y'all (I'm always looking out for you, sugar), but the few things that featured her also included many others, so I leave it to you to discover her yourself. But only, y'know, if you like laughing and stuff.
The immensely satisfying Kathy Ladman.