Sunday, June 09, 2013

JOSE CAN YOU SING? Jose Gonzalez-Gonzalez "TACOS FOR TWO"

Salsa replaced ketchup as America's favorite condiment. You're being asked to choose whether to continue in English or SPANISH when you use your ATM machine or call up 311 for a complaint. You go to a movie and can't understand the actress because it's Penelope Cruz. Telemundo beats NBC in the ratings. Half of Cuba is in Florida and areas of Manhattan are so Puerto Rican and Dominican it's hard to find a single store front with an English-speaking sign in the window. The Catholic church wisely chooses a new Pope from their best baby-making ethnicity. Wall Street cries for Argentina and the rest of Latin America. You watch Jimmy Kimmel's late night show and nobody's complaining that his sidekick Guillermo is a fat, ugly nasal-voiced stereotype of a Mexican because…men (and women!) who look like him now outnumber most everyone in California.

What do you do, amigo? Enjoy…TACOS FOR TWO.

Poor Jose Gonzalez-Gonzalez. He was a little ahead of his time. But maybe somebody will download this and add some Jenni Rivera beats or Thalia thump and his relatives will be making mucho dinero!

If you're a student of oddball novelty, that last name MIGHT seem familiar to you. Jose Gonzalez-Gonzalez. Wasn't he that comical deadpan guy who was a contestant on Groucho's "You Bet Your Life" show? Si?

NO. But…it was his brother, Pedro!

And aside from Desi Arnaz, he may have been one of the first Latino laugh-getters early TV audiences saw. After all, Mel Blanc ("Cy" the Mexican) and Bill Dana ("Jose Jimenez") were both Jewish. But let's not digress too mucho.

Pedro's appearance on Groucho's show led to a decent part-time career as a comic actor on TV and in films. All because of his ability to match Groucho's questions with cute, obstinate responses. Yeah, he had a redundant last name ( his father and mother were both named Gonzalez. ) He also had a brother Jose.

And it was Jose who gifted the family with one novelty single, the obscure but unforgivable…unforgettable, "Tacos for Two." Which does almost sound like some racist thing Spike Jones might've recorded to go with the awful Jewish and Asian dialect numbers that mar some of his compilation albums.

If the track makes you want more of Jose Gonzalez-Gonzalez you might find him in bad sitcoms ("Baileys of Balboa," "My Mother The Car") and as a stereotypical character in brief scenes in a few movies ("Herbie Goes Bananas" and as "Wetback" in a 1956 Lloyd Bridges movie called "Wetbacks.") Never deserting music, Jose could play bottles and pans as if they were xylophones and drum sets, and toured the country with his own stage shows, specializing in state fairs and conventions. He was a mainstay at the Los Angeles County Fair, the Monterey Fair and the State Fair in Sacramento, as well as Los Angeles' annual birthday extravaganzas and Cinco de Mayo celebrations in such places as Santa Ana's Centennial Regional Park. A bit part as a mariachi musician in Leslie Nielsen's 1991 "Naked Gun: The Smell of Fear" was Jose's last film credit. He died on December 15, 2000. Brother Pedro died February 6, 2006.

But he LIVES. Viva Jose Gonzalez-Gonzalez. It's time for…

JOSE Tacos for TWO

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