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.
Oh boy. I’m not sure if it was because I took up the Retroist on his offer of a glass of Peeps Chocolate Milk or the fact that at the end of the night I decided to eat the leftover Easter candy but I’m having a hard time rolling out of bed and greeting Monday properly.
Thankfully if you are like me and overindulged yourself on Chocolate yesterday you can get that old grey matter functioning a little quicker thanks to the laughs provided by this 1973 clip from the Dean Martin Show featuring stand-up luminary and actor Rodney Dangerfield as well as Martin himself of course.
As mentioned in the Retroist’s Batman TV Podcast, Frank Gorshin was known for more than his fantastic performance as the Riddler, he was also a very talented impressionist. In this clip you’ll also get to catch him trading riddles with Dean Martin and performing his “The Riddler” song that just happened to be composed and arranged by none other than Mel Torme!
Thanks to ToonORama’s YouTube Channel we can catch Frank doing impressions of various actors tackling the roles of Batman and Robin from this 1966 episode of the Dean Martin Show.