Friday, February 09, 2018

ILL-USTRATED SONGS #42 - CELERY STALKS AT MIDNIGHT


Are you like me? Have you enjoyed going to record stores and thrift shops and pawed through 45's and 78's just looking for songs with oddball titles? 

Sometimes the result is SO delightful! Sometimes, er, the music doesn't quite live up to the intriguing title of the song. 

Saving you a fiverrrr, or more likely a nickel, your download below offers a very ordinary big band fox trot called "Celery Stalks at Midnight," with a soporific vocal from Doris Day. No, there's no vivid lyrics about being stalked by a celery, or having a bad dream that started out in a barnyard at sundown (and everybody scared me, and you scared me the most).

Will Bradley’s 1940 original, co-written with George Harris, at least had some kind of weird punchline. After the familiar "Jeepers Creepers" melody wore out its welcome, a band member (probably wiseass drummer Ray McKinley) shouts "Celery stalks along the highway!!" Which almost saves the song. Almost.

My semi-educated guess on this novelty-dance item, is that Will was influenced by the spate of comedy-horror movies popular in theaters, as well as "Inner Sanctum," "Murder at Midnight" and "Lights Out" radio stuff. The latter show scared people one night with the story of a chicken heart that began to grow in a lab and take over an entire city. So why couldn't celery start stalking?

With films, radio shows and mystery books about mad criminals stalking women...how about "Celery Stalks at Midnight?" How about if people back then felt like buying a new single, and simply browsed the new releases looking for an interesting title?

 Ah say, Celery! Stalks! Get it? That's a thigh-slapper, son! I keep tossin' em and you just side-step 'em! (Senator Claghorn anyone?) 

Fast forward 27 years, and we had "The Eggplant That Ate Chicago," which was just as un-amusing when I found it in some bargain bin or other. There's a sucker born every minute when it comes to glancing at a song title and needing to hear it.

It was only ONE year after the Bradley original that Carl Sigman added some insipid (but how tasty is celery) lyrics so that Doris Day could cover the tune. Then as now, how many people really listened to the words anyway? 

No, Doris was NOT singing hilarious lines about a nightmare she had after eating too much celery, or sitting on a stalk. She does offer a very swingin' Ella-type vocal here, as she glosses over the possibility of some kind of nightmare or witchcraft.

The post is really just an excuse to post a photo and, finally, after all these years, offer a backing track from Les Brown. After all, this is the self-proclaimed "blog of less renown." Here you can hear...Les Brown and The Band of Renown backing Doris...and her celery...

 Celery Celery Celery! Sapristi! Download or listen online. No "your adobe is out of date" conjobs, no spyway, no Zinfart password nonsense

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