Amoeblog

Easy does it.

Posted by Job O Brother, February 7, 2011 06:14pm | Post a Comment

One of the most rewarding and confounding things about being an Earthling who loves music is watching my tastes change with time, or better said, watching them grow – I don’t think there’s very much music I once loved I no longer do. My first favorite acts (at age 3) were The Beatles, Linda Ronstadt, and The Chipmunks, and I still adore them all today.

More surprising to me is how much I’ve come to cherish music I would have once loathed. 2010 became the year I “discovered” easy listening, both light music (which can be found in Amoeba Music's classical section) and lounge music (which can be found in the coincidentally-named Lounge section).

It all started with a bandleader named Robert Farnon. I was drawn in by his album covers, which evoked lush, darkly romantic landscapes and liaisons reminiscent of a Douglas Sirk film.

Perhaps it was city living that led me to lust for light listening – a kind of escapism from the constant soundscape of waves of traffic, the bling and bursts of cell-phones, and the startling pitch of people’s dreams breaking into billions of bits. For whatever reason, impulsively, I gave an album of Robert Farnon’s a spin while I worked, and found myself enveloped in ease – my imagination drifted into sweet scenes as each suite seemed to sweep me off my feet – I was a fourteen year old girl writing of new, naïve love in her totally boring diary.

Bill Thompson - The Voice of Droopy Dog and Wallace Wimple...

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 8, 2010 01:45pm | Post a Comment


Today is the birthday of radio and voice actor Bill Thompson. Although he also sang for a bit with The Sinclair Weiner Minstrels, he was best known for voicing the characters Wallace Wimple and Droopy Dog.

William H. Thompson was born on July 8, 1913, in Terre Haute, Indiana to a Vaudevillian family. Bill began his career making regular appearances on Don McNeill’s variety show, The Breakfast Club, on Chicago radio in 1934.

Around 1936, he joined the cast of Fibber McGee and Molly, where he played several characters including Widdicomb Blotto (aka Horatio K. Boomer) and Nick Depopulis. In 1937 he introduced The Old Timer, whose classic statement, “That's pretty good, Johnny, but that ain't the way I heeerd it!” became a national catch phrase. In 1941, McGee’s frequent foil, Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve, left the show to star in his own sitcom, The Great Gildersleeve.

Thompson ultimately reintroduced Mr. Wimple in 1941 to fill "The Great Man’s" newly-created vacancy. Wallace Wimple was a henpecked milquetoast who lived in fear of his abusive, oft-discussed but never seen/heard wife, “Sweetie Face.” His mush-mouthed greeting, “Hello, folks,” was another big laugh-getter and inspired Tex Avery to build a character around his voice. The result was one of MGM’s most enduring cartoon characters, Droopy Dog. The jowly Droopy Dog was one of the most beloved cartoon characters of all time; he was a mild-mannered basset hound who was usually motivated by his romantic pursuit of various beautiful, vaguely disturbing anthropomorphic beauties. Given his lethargic demeanor and small stature, he was frequently exposed to bullying which would provoke hilarious displays of surprising physical strength, albeit meted out with his normal, stone-faced stoicism.

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