Actually he needs no introduction, does he? Not to fans of odd novelties.
Barry’s first fame came with the dopey novelty tune “Nuttin’ for Christmas.” This bit of coy bleating sold a million copies in 1955, when Barry was just six. It was quite an irony that the kid was (and still is) Jewish. He didn’t quite duplicate his Yuletide success with his next MGM novelty item, “Rock Around Mother Goose.” And nobody was too thrilled with yet another: “Zoomah, The Santa Claus from Mars.” Or yet another: “How Do We Look to the Monkeys.”
Barry became one of the more ubiquitous of the precocious kid actors in sitcoms, and ten years after his “Nuttin’” success, won the admiration of critics via the Broadway/Film hit “A Thousand Clowns.” In that one, he seemed like a diminutive Woody Allen, with his overly verbal and intelligent comical attitude toward adults (including Jason Robards Jr.)
With his new film success, somebody thought he had the makings of a tween singing star. Brian Hyland's “Sealed with a Kiss” had hit the Top Ten three years earlier in 1962. Now? Maybe it could re-ignite the career of kid-novelty rocker Barry Gordon.
Obviously we know the answer. Still, it's not too dated, and the kid sort of tries for a Pitney approach, which leads to sincere high-pitched howls of puppy love. It's much more fun listening than his other single, "Yes Sir, That’s My Baby.”
Fans of “A Thousand Clowns” will recall that “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby” was strummed and sung by Gordon and Jason Robards Jr. way too often in the movie. A few years later, Gary Lewis got the cover version hit. And Barry Gordons days as a kid star were over.
My only contact with Gordon was when he was an adult and the President of the Screen Actors Guild. I asked him to look into the abuses on eBay, where photos of his members were being stolen and not only duped by 8x10 pirates, but used on t-shirts, mousepads, and in the adult section, Photoshopped onto porn bodies. His apathetic but perhaps legal-logical response was that the union was only in place to hassle the studios for more money and better working conditions, and everything else was up to individual actors and actresses. I countered that if he sent around a form for his members to sign, allowing SAG to remove these auctions and be authorized to sell approved photos or signed items, thousands upon thousands of dollars could be raised for the Motion Picture County Hospital (where retired, down-on-their-luck performers spend their final days). To be fair, I later wrote to another Screen Actors Guild president, Melissa "Little House" Gilbert, who shared Barry's lack of vision and utter stupidity.
Gordon ran for Congress as a Democrat, hosted leftist political talk shows on radio and on the Internet, and taught at California State University. "Sealed with a Kiss" is barely a blip on his impressive resume. But this IS the blog for blips!
The song also, on this Memorial Day Weekend, acknowledges the start of the humid season of hellish heat. It's a shitty time of year, and if there was a package to be sent to idiots who don't believe in climate change, I'd send them a pound of hot steaming shit. Sealed with a piss.
Barry Gordon SEALED WITH A KISS