Saturday, November 23, 2013

The worst Thanksgiving song ever

From Bacharach & David no less. This is from their musical PROMISES PROMISES. There are some brilliant songs in that show and then...

there is "Turkey Lurkey Time" and it's even more horrifying than that title. Get ready to throw a drumstick at your monitor.

Truly, what were they thinking???

20 comments:

Anthony said...

I agree that Promises, Promises has some nice music, but I often wonder what possessed the creation of the song....especially considering it is the end of Act One (at least in the original version).

Professor Longnose said...

Yeah, pretty rotten. But there aren't a lot of Thanksgiving songs at all. Come to think of it, it's a niche that needs filling. Have you pitched The Ken Levine Musical Thanksgiving Special to a network?

Anonymous said...

But it's not a Thanksgiving song - it's an office Christmas party song. I'm not saying it's great, but considering how tacky that whole office was, and what jerks the bosses were, what can you expect?

Scooter Schechtman said...

I'd rather watch this than any "musical" number you can see on TV today.

Jim said...

Isn't that pertty much par for the period? Compare it for example with this clip of Liza Minnelli singinging Laura Nyro's Sweet Blindness on the Ed Sullivan Show way back. As if any man ever wore a floppy feather in his hair.

Dixon Steele said...

I don't favor this version, but TURKEY LURKEY TIME, as choreographed by the great Michael Bennett, is considered one of the best Broadway musical numbers of the 70s. When I saw it, it brought down the house, as it did at the Tonys that year.

In fact, the number was recently memorialized in the indie film hit CAMP, and you can see both versions on YouTube.

What were they thinking? It's a Christmas Office Party scene set during the 70s.

RareWaves said...

Replace the soundtrack with some sultry music, slow down the speed of the video, darken the exposure, and use a vignette effect, and you've got the beginning of a strip club number.

An (is my actual name) said...

For me it's all about the dancing, and Donna McKechnie (Sam Malone's ex-wife) owns the choreography for this. Check out her version sometime, if you can sit through the song again: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkBZ0-r_M-8

An (is my actual name) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Victor Velasco said...

I made it to the :1:03 mark;at least it was nice to see good old Captain Block from Car 54 in color .

Cap'n Bob said...

Victor just wrote my post for me.

Larry said...

As Neil Simon notes, the show needed a big number with the whole chorus to liven things up, but when Michael Bennett came up with this in the final scene of the first act, they had one of the greatest showstoppers in Broadway history.

The tune isn't too bad. It's the words that are ridiculous.

Chris said...

At the risk of incurring the wrath of everyone who hates this song, I'm going to defend it. Almost anything is ridiculous taken out of context--which this is. Heck, even the great "Hello, Dolly" number in that musical looks stupid without the rest of the show in front of it. The office party scene in "The Apartment," which this is, was wacky and out there, and as others have pointed out, they needed a slam bang close for Act One. The words really aren't that stupid when you realize that the three women had each had an affair with the Sheldrake character and they were blowing off steam about it (so to speak). They're saying, yup, all married men go back to their wives after they use us, and that's going to happen to Fran, too, but what the heck, live and learn, no harm, no foul. It's supposed to be ironic. So how do you do that and send the audience into the lobby with a smile at the same time? Just give it to Michael Bennett. Which they did. I'll take this over any juke box musical any day. Bennett, Bacharach et. al. created characters (by way of Wilder) for these people to play. I'm wondering, Ken, if you had sat through the whole show if you would still feel this way. Maybe. But maybe not. This is all goofy fun and games before the real pain sets in, and it's meant to serve as a comment on that. I'm a fan.

Ken Levine said...

Hi Chris,

PROMISES PROMISES is one of my favorite all-time musicals. I saw the original and two revivals. I agree with everything you're saying as to the intent of the scene, I just felt that the lyrics were insipid. You could do the same production number and get across the same message with better lyrics. Otherwise, I love the show. "Knowing When to Leave" is one of the great songs of Broadway.

Jeffro said...

I don't care what anybody else says, I like it!

-bee said...

What caught my interest there was watching Michael Bennett seemingly trying to channel the type of choreography Bob Fosse often came up with for pairs/trios.

Another example of a really excruciating song in a mostly great musical (IMO) is "The Farmer and the Cowman Should be Friends" from Oklahoma.

Chris said...

Ken, I'll grant you that Hal David sure wasn't Sondheim! But then, who is? Not that lyricists shouldn't try.

Dbenson said...

Adapting Billy Wilder is a tricky proposition at the very least.

A big Broadway musical simply couldn't be as dark and dry witted as "The Apartment." Comedy songs about adultery instead of Fred MacMurray's smiling hypocrisy make it something else altogether. Also, "The Apartment" was about a very specific moment in time and the premise didn't update that smoothly.

"Sugar" had a lot of good stuff but could never deliver the vital farcical speed of "Some Like It Hot". The movie had impossible lightning-fast costume/gender changes, chases, and realistically dangerous gangsters to drive the plot. The play had to settle for lumpy workarounds, including a scene change and epilogue to get in the legendary closing gag.

Austin in Japan said...

Ken, please post proper health warnings before posting videos of this nature.
Signed, The Management.

Tod Hunter said...

Anthony Newley (of all people) wrote a great Thanksgiving song titled "Thanksgiving Day" for his '70s musical "The Good Old Bad Old Days."

--t