Sunday, July 19, 2009


It's summer, it's hot, and it's time for the 'quats.

Quat, in Chinese, means "orange." You can look up "cum" for yourself. The ancient fruit was unknown in the U.K. and U.S.A. till the 1850's, and didn't become even remotely popular till Florida and California were well settled and farmers were looking for new and novel citrus items to grow. You might remember W.C. Fields delighting in the name, selling them in his store in "It's A Gift."

Cliff Arquette ((December 28, 1905 – September 23, 1974) loved them, too. Yes, he was the grandfather of Rosanna and Patricia and David Arquette. Also the sex-changed Alexis (formerly Robert) whom you surely wanted to see pictured with Cliff. For most, he's best known as the genial rustic Charlie Weaver, wisecracking on "The Hollywood Squares" quiz show, but you can find some very funny material on him from earlier decades.

"Charlie Weaver" was a character Arquette developed after years of playing old-timers on radio (like "The Oldtimer" on the Fibber McGee and Molly show). He and partner Dave Willock had their own "Dave and Charlie" show for a while. In 1957, Cliff retired, figuring on spending his time curating a Civil War museum. But two years later, he heard Jack Paar ask the burning question, "Whatever became of Cliff Arquette," and from a guest spot he became a regular, bringing along "Letters from Mama." This was a convenient way for him to be funny without memorizing material.

"Letters from Mama" filled with rather bizarre jokes about denizens such as Leonard Box, Wallace Swine and Elsie Krack, became a hit novelty book, and he issued a record album, and album of songs. He was aided and abetted on this one by Charles Dant, who was the orchestra leader for "The Judy Canova Show," and later worked at RCA conducting the bands behind such diverse singers as Dennis Day and Ezio Pinza.

Cumquats can be preserved in syrup and kept all year-long, and now, thanks to the Internet, it can be "Cumquat Time" all year long, too. Or as long as the Rapidshare download doesn't expire. Do your part, and at least once a month, come by and download the song again.

It's CUMQUAT TIME in Mt. Idy
Update: Nov, 2011. Rapidshare's annoying "30 days without a download kills it" policy killed the original link. Since most of you got it in time, here's something else. It's Weaver's "HAPPY NEW YEAR" song

HAPPY NEW YEAR from Charlie Weaver


Anonymous said...

funny, I've never seen cumquat spelled that way before. I thought it was kumquat. So I looked it up, and the k spelling is preferred, though the c spelling is listed as acceptable. Anyway, interesting story.

Ill Folks said...

"Cumquat" may be the one favored by comedians.

It's spelled that way on the Weaver album, and in the W.C. Fields movie, his antagonist customer, desperate to place the order, actually spells it for him:

"C-U-M-Q-U-A-T-S! Quats! Quats!"
"Two quats?"

(At least that's how I remember the dialogue.)

At there's more of a division. You can buy "Cumquat Soap" from Mineral Care Spa, or "Cumquat Bath Foam" from MOR, but "Kumquat Syrup" from Boba Tea.

montysmusic said...

hi great site mate do you have the wurzels psychedelic track by chance..yes they did make one!
cheers phil

mim said...

Don't forget the line from "The Fantasticks": "You're standing in my KUMQUATS!"