Trippin’ Back to the '60s
A couple of weeks ago, my wife, son and I were visiting friends in Eugene, Ore. While strolling though the booths at the Eugene Saturday Market (http://www.eugenesaturdaymarket.org/, sort of a counterculture combination of musical acts, food booths and a wide assortment of vendors selling everything from tie-dyed T-shirts to fine art), our friend spotted Dick Smothers, the straight man in one of my all-time favorite comedy teams, the Smothers Brothers. When my brother and I were kids, we would listen to my parents’ Smothers Brothers albums over and over again, memorizing their routines. Of course, we were sure never to miss the "controversial" Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, which ran on CBS in the late 1960s.
Now, we were not alone in spotting Dick Smothers. Several others had also seen him, and he seemed quite cordial, just chatting with people and posing to have his picture taken with them. We patiently waited until the coast was clear and went up to him and introduced ourselves.
By sheer coincidence, a few months ago my son performed the Mason Williams hit instrumental "Classical Gas" at the Clark Center for the Performing Arts in Arroyo Grande, Calif. In addition to being a fantastic musician, Mason Williams was a comedy writer on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.
When my son told Dick about how he had played "Classical Gas," Dick mentioned that he had just had lunch with Mason last week (Mason lives in the area). Then Dick asked Andrew to reach into his backpack and write on a little notebook the URL address of where he could see Andrew’s performance. (Classical Gas - Andrew Rubin - YouTube)
Needless to say, Andrew was thrilled. We chatted for a few more minutes and then Dick treated us to a live performance (using a tom-tom he had just picked up from one of the vendors) of the famous Hamms Beer jingle "From the land of sky blue waters..." ( Hamms Beer Commercial - Vintage Black and White - YouTube).
Looking back now, it all makes perfect sense: the '60s feel of the Saturday Market, meeting '60s funnyman Dick Smothers, and of course, the Hamms Beer song, which I first heard in the '60s. It was like a quick trip back in time. If only I had brought the colorfully patched-up bell bottoms and macramé belt I wore back then, my time-traveling trip would have been complete. Yes, I still have the bell bottoms and belt, but for some strange reason the bell bottoms are a little tighter than they were back then and the belt isn’t as long as it used to be. Seems that if the '60s were a time for expanding the mind, the following decades were for expanding the waist
(Dick Smothers and Andrew Rubin 7-30-11)
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