"MORE MEMORY DREDGING..." August 6,1997
During a recent session of attempting to toss the stacks of semi-useless memorabilia, I came upon some almost humorous gems, all of which I saved. The subject: Sweets.
I must have had a new candy sponsor on one of my radio or television programs as I had prepared a few sweet notes on the subject. I hasten to add that I had no scripts, just notes with one or two key words such as: "grandma/teeth" or such cryptic wordage. For instance, those key words would prompt me to come up with something like this, "grandma had the biggest sweet tooth in town if she had any teeth left." In those days (40's and 50's) there was not the politically correct infrastructure of communicating, constantly concerned about the possibility that some group would be offended if improper buzzwords are used. Today we must call fake choppers, dentures. In those days, they were called false teeth. Nobody seemed to mind.
Returning to the subject of sugar, how about this poetic venture: "those who eat a lot of sweets, soon develop bigger seats." NO LAUGHS... When I did my radio and television programs, all were live -- there were no laugh tracks -- they were not invented until a few years later when the filmed sitcoms needed canned chuckles when the material was flat. In other words, if audiences fail to respond with laughs, just fill in with canned laughter -- they still do it today. If you listen carefully, you can detect the same laugh characteristics used repeatedly in all of the so-called comedy sitcoms, even today.
Here are some standby comments I used when my material flopped -- as it hardly ever did (?) -- ahem.
"I don't have to do this for a living. I could always go back to my old job selling adding machines to rabbits!"
"Now to bring this prayer meeting to a close."
"that's one of my Easter jokes -- it always lays an egg."
"Ah, the pause that depresses."
Here is a routine I used with an accompanying basket of vegetables and assorted fruit. This is from a note from 1945 -- just as I was beginning to flex my minuscule muscle in the world of entertainment. This routine I used to "warm up" the studio audience prior to going on the air. It took a lot of "props" -- such as fresh veggies and fruit. As I related the story, I would take out one of the vegetables incidental to the story...EXAMPLES are in CAPS: нннннннн н н н
"Here is a very corny (CORN) story about a boy, a girl, and her peppery (PEPPER) father. The boy was the (APPLE) of her eye and he thought she was a pretty slick (TOMATO). One day he gave her a fourteen (CARROT) ring and said, "(LETTUCE) elope." So they set out to (ORANGE) County for a wedding. But her father was a pretty bad (EGG). He thought the boy was a (CABBAGE) head and said his daughter wouldn't marry a (LEMON). So the boy said to the girl, "Sorry, we (CANTALOUPE!)" And they lived happily ever after.
Remember now, THAT was better than a half-century ago. In this case, age doesn't improve the product. Of course, if you watch all the current TV shows, you just may hear this "humor" again -- it's about time for a revival cycle of old stuff. That's broadcasting for you.
I'm so pleased that I've found the newspaper world, I really enjoy writing this weekly column. I'm not concerned about using yesterday's material, either. I just learned that I'll be around for another winter -- I overheard Boss Ross say, "It'll be a cold day when Hawthorne writes another humor column for us again."
©1997 Jim Hawthorne