Friday, July 21, 2006

The Ballad of Jed Clampett (Paul Henning)

(from the Spanish)

TV Theme Song Friday manages to fall on a Friday this week. Merrill Markoe once asked Sherwood Schwartz why the theme songs he wrote for Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch were so explicit in explaining each show’s premise and he said something like “Because confused people can’t laugh.” That little bit of show biz acumen was possessed by Schwartz’ predecessor: Paul Henning (right), theme song writer for and series creator of “The Beverly Hillbillies” (and producer of its more Dadaist inverse, “Green Acres”; also “Petticoat Junction”, though neither of those songs were performed by Flatt and Scruggs, like this one).

A critic whose name I can’t find apparently summed up the show as “one joke, nine years”; I say, there’s no shame in

Thank you, Paul Henning; if you were alive, I'd tell you about what happened with the “Texas Tea” line and we would laugh with confusion (in Spanish: “¡Ja ja ja!”) and then we'd talk about how well this show would go over if set in modern day Mexico: 40% of the population is looking for this kind of escapism.
If only they could afford TVs.
(Please get your people working on this, whoever ended up winning.)


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

It comes and it listens to my history on a named man Jed.
To mountaineer: poor. Hardly kept to his feed from the family.
Then, a day, it threw in a little food,
And raises of the Earth comes a gross petroleum that bubbled:
Black gold of the oil, that is to say, tea of roofing tiles

The first thing, you, you know a millionaire: Jed as an older person.
Kinfolk said, “Jed, movement far from there.”
They said, “California is the place that you ought to be,”
So they loaded upon the car and they were transferred to Beverly:
Swimming pools of hills, that is to say, cinema stars.

Beverly! The hillbillies!

[Closing credits verse:]

Now is the hour to say good bye to Jed. And all their kinships
Wanted to thank for people, to him, amiably to fall inside.
You are everything. Behind, invited the week next to this place.
Helping that piles up of its hospitality:
Hillbilly, that is to say, has fixed an enchantment, acquittal of your shoes,
You that now becomes everything? You, you hear?

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