For obvious reasons the 1976 song entitled The Rubberband Man has found itself back in the spotlight. Since it makes a memorable appearance in a very popular film that was released recently. However I can certainly say that I knew the song very well before the film. That was due to my Grandmother and her record collection. I have mentioned before that as a baby and wee lad, I listened to the likes of The Mills Brothers. As well as members of the Rat Pack and of course The Spinners which included The Rubberband Man.
Yeah if that is not in fact the height of being cool on stage, I don’t want to know what is. Besides, for all you know I might wearing that sequin outfit while I type this.
The Rubberband Man was released as a single as well as on the album Happiness is Being with the Spinners. For myself I listened to the album version, which is the full version. The single besides having Now That We’re Together on the B-side. Is only three minutes and thirty seconds long with the album version running almost seven and a half minutes.
While The Rubberband Man has been classified as Soul, Pop, as well as Funk. There can certainly be no denying that it deserves to be on greatest lists. Which is in fact what the Detroit Free Press did, listing it in “Detroit’s 100 Greatest Songs“. The catchy tune came in at number 70 in that list I should add.
Were you aware though that the song title started out quite differently? That is an absolute fact, friends. Songwriters Thom Bell and Linda Creed originally wrote a tune entitled “The Fat Man”. Because at the time Thom’s Son was being mercilessly picked on at school due to his weight. The duo had intended the song to help the young man strengthen his self-esteem so it became The Rubberband Man. If you listen to the lyrics closely you can hear that original intent. Actually, why not watch the 1976 performance by the Spinners on The Midnight Special?
Don Rickles was a legendary entertainer. Furthermore he earned that title through his years of incredibly cutting humor. As well as receiving the moniker of ‘Mr. Warmth’, which was bestowed on him by Johnny Carson in fact. Don Rickles owed his big break in TV thanks to Carson, not that you would see him acting thankful. No, I would add that it caused him to lean in with the insults even more. To say nothing of taking shots at his special guests, like Frank Sinatra.
I think it is quite important to understand that Don Rickles never actually meant what he said. It was all part of the act. Beyond a life of stand up comedy, Rickles of course worked in film and television. Appearing in everything from The Twilight Zone to Innocent Blood. While he might have best been known in his later years as the voice of Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story animated films and shorts. I remember the very first time I was introduced to him, thanks to a showing at the 62 Drive-In. It was in 1970’s Kelly’s Heroes as the sarcastic supply Sgt. Crapgame!
I feel that if you really want to see Don Rickles at the top of his game however. You need only take a look at his appearances on the popular The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts. For example, I think you will enjoy how he handles the then Governor Ronald Regan.
On the other hand, Don Rickles was also known to momentarily go after his fellow roasters, temporarily letting the roastee off the hook. Remember I did say temporarily as is proven in this clip from the roast for Jerry Lewis.
The world is a bit sadder for the loss of Don Rickles, friends. Of course we hockey pucks have a silver lining. And that is Rickles certainly has left us with an impressive legacy. 62 years of solid performances and laughs.
One of my favorite TV appearances by Don Rickles was his role in the Tales from the Crypt episode entitled The Ventriloquist’s Dummy. The perfect blend of horror as well as humor.
When you think of the late and great Muhammad Ali, I doubt it’s for his LP’s. But he most certainly did a record in 1976 entitled The Adventures of Ali & His Gang vs. Mr. Tooth Decay. To help of course raise awareness for the dental health of children. It was in fact even approved by the American Dental Association.
Certainly one of the draws to this groovy LP featuring the former Cassius Clay are the guest stars featured on the record. Good friend to the boxer, Howard Cosell, not to mention none other than Ossie Davis. You also have singer-songwriter – Richie Havens and actress/model Jayne Kennedy. As if those names weren’t enough to get you hitting play on the video below already. Would you believe that Frank Sinatra also lends his voice as an store keeper.
In addition to all of that, this record was made during the United States Bicentennial. So you will of course hear how the boxer affected moments from the United States’ past. In particular in the opening number which is so amazing it might get stuck in your head. So I have given you plenty of warning!
The story for The Adventures of Ali & His Gang vs. Mr. Tooth Decay concerns some bored children. Who are having a meeting at their neighborhood club house. While all of this is going down the villainous Mr. Tooth Decay and his slimy sidekick Sugar Cuber are lurking nearby. Muhammad Ali thankfully meets up with some of the children and visits the clubhouse. Just in time to warn them about the dangers of tooth decay and how to prevent it.
There are numerous temptations of course thrown in the children’s way. Like Frank Sinatra trying to get Ali to buy ice cream for the children. It’s a good thing that there are folks like Brother St. John (Davis) to help the kids and Ali along the way.
Will Muhammad Ali be able to help the children avoid the temptations of Mr. Tooth Decay and Sugar Cuber? Let’s find out on Retro Records as Ali Vs. Mr. Tooth Decay!
[Via] Muhammad Ali – Topic
While the record was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1977. For Best Recording for Children, it sadly didn’t win. Even with that awesome opening theme song.
That wasn’t his first Grammy nomination however.
Muhammad Ali released the spoken word album I am the Greatest in 1963!
Thanks to Sids 60s Sounds you can listen to the single for that very album.
Rocky Fortune was a short lived Old Time Radio series on NBC back in 1953. The popularity of the show was in no small part to whom the showrunners casts as Fortune. Namely none other than Frank Sinatra!
Now bear in mind this isn’t a typical mystery program. No matter what that above GIF might make you think. As a matter of fact I bet you will quite enjoy the overall lightness of the show. Thanks to the writing by creator of Rocky Fortune, George Lefferts, the program plays to Sinatra’s strengths. Which is of course being a mixture of a smooth talker as well as completely cheeky. Moreover would you truly expect anything less from the future Chairman of the Board?
I do go into a little more detail in the podcast itself. But when Sinatra was performing on the Rocky Fortune show – it was a career low for the star. His mouth had landed him in dutch with the head of MGM and his records weren’t selling. Not like they used to that is. Thankfully for Frank and we fans, 1953’s From Here to Eternity helped right his career.
So what is Rocky Fortune all about?
The show follows a wandering young man, an adventurer you might call him named Rocco Fortunato or Rocky Fortune for short. Who through his continuing search for a vocation that fits his demeanor finds himself frequently in hot water. In the case of our episode today entitled “The Shipboard Jewel Robbery” he is on a luxury liner. Acting as a steward from a trip starting in Brazil and headed to New York City. Fate though throws a wrench into the plans when Fortune is accused of stealing $50,000 worth of jewelry…and then of murder.
Can Fortune clear his name and bring the real culprits to justice? Find out for yourself on the Retro Radio Memories Podcast!
If you have any comments or feedback for the show you can e-mail them to at VicSage@Retroist.com. You can also reach me on Twitter and of course on Facebook.
The music on the podcast was graciously provided by Peachy! You may contact him by e-mail at peachy@Retroist.com.
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