March 31, 2017

Saturday 9: Too Fat Polka

Too Fat Polka (1947)


Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.



1) Have you ever danced the polka?

Please....I'm from southwestern Pennsylvania (just a little southeast of Pittsburgh).  Back in the day folks around here were born doing the polka.  Every wedding reception worth it's salt featured a band that could play polkas as well as Top 40. I "officially" learned to polka in junior high when it was taught as part of the dance unit in gym...right along with square dancing and disco. We're not quite as ethnic these days, but you still might hear a polka at a good reception and our local radio station still has a polka show on Saturdays.

2) The centerpiece of a traditional Polish polka band is the accordion. The accordion is a substantial instrument. Have you ever tried to play it?

I have.  One of our neighbors when I was a kid was the accordion player and lead singer in an all female polka group called "The Polka Powderpuffs."  She let me give it a go.  She is also the one who let my toddler son try out the drum set in her basement and informed us he "wasn't just beating on them," alerting us to a gift to be nurtured.

3) The plump lady of this song cannot fit into the singer's car. How many passengers does your car comfortably seat?

Five.  Two up front and three in the backseat.

4) Would you like to lose a few pounds?

I'd like to lose more than a few.

5) In the long ago 1940s, this song was considered amusing. Do you think it's still funny today?

I've been hearing this song my whole life and never thought of it as funny.  I'm not offended by it or anything, it's just not my style of humor.  I suppose there are probably some who'd find it funny.

6) Arthur Godfrey, who recorded this song, was a popular radio and TV host from the 1930s to the 1970s. Before this week's Saturday 9, had you ever heard of him?

I've heard of him, but I don't think I ever watched his program.

7) One of his more popular radio shows was Talent Scouts. A 1940s-50s version of American Idol, this show gave previously unknown singers their first national exposure. Godfrey could point with pride to having helped discover Tony Bennett and Patsy Cline, but he made a mistake by rejecting Elvis Presley. Tell us about something you'd do differently if you could get a "do over."

Sticking to a musical theme...I'd go see Ricky Nelson with my mom.  Ricky was the teen idol that made my mom's heart beat quicker so she was excited when she came to visit us for the holidays back in 1985 Orlando and discovered he was playing a free concert in the park downtown.  She really wanted to go, but the rest of us made all kinds of excuses and talked her out of it....the crowds would be awful, it would be a drunken mess, she could go see him in comfort some other time, etc.  He died in a plane crash that New Year's Eve.  I've never heard the end of it.  So, yeah, I'd go back and go to the dang concert.

8) In 1953, Godfrey made news by having one of the nation's very first hip replacements. Have you ever been/would you be part of a clinical trial, either for a new drug or a new medical procedure?

Nope.  My dad, however, had one of the very earliest skin grafts when he burned his foot in the steel mill.  Doctors came from all over to observe his progress and his case was well documented in medical journals of the time, I'm told.
9) RANDOM QUESTION: You and a friend are shopping. She tries on an expensive sweater and enthusiastically asks what you think. You think it looks awful. Do you tell her the truth?

If she's a close friend, then yes, I'd probably let her know (gently) that it wasn't particularly flattering for her.


Thanks, as always, to Sam for creating the Saturday 9 each week.  Stop by and visit her to join in the fun or to find links to the other bloggers participating.



19 comments:

  1. Oh, Lord, how much do I love your answer to #2!

    And I found out, toward the end of her life, that my mother, too, had a crush on Ricky Nelson. During her last hospitalization, she raved about one of her doctors because he had "dark hair and blue eyes, just like Ricky Nelson!"

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    1. Just keep in mind that when it's asked did I try to play the accordion, that I have zero musical talent. It sounded like I was murdering a cat.

      Ricky must have been THE idol of the times.

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  2. How neat it all is, the accordion playing at your friends' house and your young son playing and not just beating the drums, and your dad's foot being so well cared for. Rickie Nelson had such beautiful eyes....sigh...

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    1. It is all pretty neat when I take time to consider it. And yes, Ricky Nelson did have beautiful eyes. His daughter has them...can't remember his sons well enough to say if they did.

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  3. So did you nurture your son's drumming talent?

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    1. We did. He had toy drums and then in elementary school when it came time for band we expected him to choose drums, but as you can imagine it's a very popular instrument so the teacher talked him into choosing to learn the trumpet because she didn't have many playing that. That went badly...he hated it and started skipping band (he was 9!). Skip ahead to high school and he signed himself up for band and took up the drums officially again. He was in marching band for a year, but left because he didn't like it. I think his problem is that he has never learned to read music. He plays totally by ear. He still has the drum set we got him and plays it. He's also self-taught himself electric bass, electric guitar, and he's trying on the banjo.

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    2. My son took lessons briefly, but he is self-taught too. Played in a band for 10 years and still, at 50, sits in from time to time when a band needs a drummer. Not a fun instrument to practice at home! Fortunately he also worked as the caretaker for the local theater, so could play there after hours.

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  4. I know what you mean in #1. Where I worked most of the people were Polish and every Christmas Party at work out came the accordion and 150 proof vodka. I remember them dropping a maraschino cherry in the vodka and watching it leave a pink stream behind as it slowly sank to the bottom of the bottle.

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    1. It's funny the little details our minds record.

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  5. I live near a Swedish Colony community (weird for Northern Maine, isn't it?) and have grown up listening to accordion music, too.

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    1. Swedes play the accordion??? I guess that's the new thing I've learned today!

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  6. Self-taught musicians are often better than those who play by rote. Your son can pick up stuff from youtube, too, if he wants. (And I hated this song and found it really offensive, but I didn't say that because I didn't want to offend our meme hostess.)

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    1. I don't know if he does that or just picks at it till he gets it. His dad and I are not fans of the fact that every time we go to visit he sits there and starts playing...loudly. It's impossible to have a conversation, especially for my husband who has a very difficult time hearing when there is a lot of noise, like in a crowd or a restaurant.

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  7. I've had to tell my daughter that certain things could look better on her. That is a hard thing for a mom to do.

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    1. If your daughter is anything like mine, she doesn't take your opinion well, either, even when she asks for it.

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  8. Our oldest son is/was a drummer. Polka is fun and a really good way to get some exercise! I saw Ricky Nelson in person at Hershey Park a whole bunch of years ago (probably 1984). He made my heart beat a little faster too! LOL

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  9. Not only is my hubby Polish (from south Chicago), but he remembered all the lyrics to this song before I played it! He admits to playing the accordion as a teen ... but an uncle played something called a Concertina. Ever hear of it?

    Fun post, Stacy!

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    1. I've heard of a concertina, but I don't think that I've ever heard one in person. I remembered some of the lyrics, too. It was a popular polka when I was a kid.

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