Friday, April 14, 2006

first thing you know

Perry Simon writes a great daily column (called Talk Topics) for radio professionals on In addition to that he sends out a weekly newsletter (called The Letter) to promote the column. In this week's Letter, Perry writes about one of his TV guilty pleasures, "The Big Joe Polka Show":

You want a portly old guy in garish accordion-themed polyesterish vests and ruffled shirts? You want a procession of dispirited-looking bands with names like "Walter Polszewski and His Southern North Dakota Polka Kings" performing songs like "The Who Overcooked The Kielbasa Polka"? You want video quality that looks like a Sony Handycam under water? You want the host wandering absentmindedly into the shot while puzzling over the next page of his script? You want action shots of an empty dance floor or someone pawing through a rack of polka dresses? You want television the way it was when I was a kid and they used to have polka shows on early weekend mornings? Big Joe is your man. It's so uncool, so cheesy, so beyond redeemable that, naturally, I love it. (And if you remember the Schmenge brothers sketches on "SCTV," this is the real thing and a thousand times more funny) Highly recommended. Set your TiVo now.

I need to confess a guilty pleasure. Lately I've been flipping on the TV during lunch to watch "The Beverly Hillbillies" on WBIR-TV. Yes, you read that correctly: "The Beverly Hillbillies." I grew up in the New York suburbs. Every afternoon my sisters and I would watch classic sitcom reruns like "Batman," "Gilligan's Island," "Bewitched," "The Addams Family," "F Troop," "The Beverly Hillbillies" and many more. The Clampetts were just another TV family, about as real to me as "The Munsters." Later in life I moved to Los Angeles and got to see some of the extravagance of Beverly Hills firsthand. I even had the good fortune to meet Buddy Ebsen but it wasn't as big a deal to me as meeting Adam West. The fourth anniversary of my move to Knoxville is ten days away. Living here has given me an appreciation for Jed, Granny, Jethro and Ellie May that I would have never developed in the big cities. It's understandable that cityfolk TV critics didn't care for the show when it premiered.

Within the past week, WBIR showed an episode with Mel Blanc as a cab driver who thought the Clampett mansion was a mental hospital and that Mr. Drysdale was the doctor. After Jethro gave Granny some unsuccessful driving lessons, the cab driver told a Beverly Hills cop that Jed believed himself to be Abe Lincoln. That was good stuff. In another episode, Granny was teaching Ellie May about "courtin' and sparkin'" with Mr. Drysdale's stepson. Granny said, "Honey, when I was a girl back in Tennessee, I set so many boy's hearts on fire that they took to callin' that neck of the woods the Smoky Mountains!" That line alone may be responsible for my new guilty TV pleasure.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, the link to the Polka Joe website was just what i'd hoped for after reading Perry's "so uncool, so cheesy, so beyond redeemable...I love it" comment!! plus, it was informative... good to know, with rampant American obesity issues, that "“Big Joe” has become the largest owner of polka music master tapes in the United States"... from the pic it doesn't look so bad. ha! fun lunch break; thanks Frank! ~ amy

Anonymous Pam Mc said...

I so love The Beverly Hillbillies....which leads me to a question, How did you end up here in East Tennessee and in Knoxville in particular?

Blogger Frank Murphy said...

Hi Pam,

I moved to Knoxville in 2002 to take a full time on-air job after several years of working as a radio producer. A morning show consultant thought of me when he was looking for someone who was the opposite of Phil Williams. They wanted to create an "Odd Couple" type show.

Thanks for reading,

Blogger Frank Murphy said...

Is it weird that I especially like the Hillbillies episodes featuring Sharon Tate as Janet Trego?


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