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Georgie, and Bonnie and Clyde, and me!


Back in the summer of 1968, my main source of entertainment and information was DC Comics. At that time, there were Superman, Action Comics, Supergirl, Superboy, and Adventure, in addition to a dizzying array of other publications. 

I wanted to fly. I wanted to do good deeds. I wanted to be invincible. The usual superhero nonsense. I wanted to be given a tickertape parade, while the triumphant concluding theme from the Adventures of Superman TV show played in the background.

But -- lacking that, I was willing to fancy myself as a LSB -- that's a Little Suburban Badass.

It didn't take much to stimulate my imagination in those pre-adolescent years of 1966-1970. The comic cover shown above was one I remember well. I even remember my delight at one panel of dialogue, in which one of Bonnie and Clyde's henchmen, having taken young Clark and Lana hostage, worries that "these brats could get kilt!" I entertained myself (and exasperated my friends) by running up and down the local vacant lot, dodging imaginary bullets, and reciting dialogue in the voices of different characters.

My parents were none too pleased when I started expressing my admiration for Bonnie and Clyde. I'm sure they imagined some of their respectable church-going neighbors or extended family members hearing some of this and scolding them for "not raising me right." They lectured me on how bad Bonnie and Clyde were, and actually had me promise that I'd "never, ever try to act like them!" Ah, such worriers my parents were.

And dad, whose work in the vending-machine industry enabled him to get me virtually any 45-RPM record I asked for, couldn't resist a spot of temptation. That summer, the movie Bonnie and Clyde, starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, was still playing in theatres a year after its release. I was mostly unaware that it even existed -- it was definitely not a movie for kids. My parents would never dream of going to see it. But my father knew of a record that had been cut as a tie-in with the film. Georgie Fame became a one-hit wonder with his single "Bonnie and Clyde." And I was soon the proud owner.

Now, if you're checking out the video, make note of the point about 57 seconds in. The lyric is:
"Reach for the sky!" sweet-talkin' Clyde would holler,
While Bonnie loaded dollars into the dewlap bag.

[cue sound of the tone-arm skipping noisily across the record, bringing the whole thing to a screeching halt]

The what bag?

I asked my father about it. It sounded sort of like "the jeweler bag," which would have made some sort of sense. "No," said Dad, "he's saying 'the burlap bag.'"

Hmm. Didn't sound like "burlap" to me. One of the delights of growing up in the 1960s was almost never having good enough sound quality on a radio or record player to accurately make out the words. This is where such delightful Mondegreens as "There's a bathroom on the right" were born.

"Bonnie and Clyde" wasn't the greatest record I ever heard. It was a novelty, and like most novelties, this one wore thin after awhile and I forgot about it.

Why I even started thinking about the silly song again this past week is a mystery, but it occurred to me that I could easily look up the lyrics (all hail the Internet) and find out what kind of bag Bonnie was loading those dollars into (or them dollars, if we're going to stay in the spirit of things here).

Which brought me to:

Unfortunately, when Georgie Fame wrote the words to the song, he got a word wrong. Instead of referring to a “burlap” bag, he used the word “dewlap”. 

You can read the whole thing on Yahoo Answers
So, once again, my dad was right all along.

Thanks, Dad, for the record, your patience, and the vocabulary lesson!


Vol-E said…
Having viewed the "Bonnie and Clyde" video for the first time myself as I wrote this post, I investigated further and discovered that Georgie Fame is not a one-hit wonder, after all, except perhaps in the context of 9-year-old girls from Long Island. Wikipedia informs us:

Fame is the only British pop star to have achieved three number one hits with his only Top 10 chart entries: "Yeh Yeh" in 1964, "Getaway" in 1966 and "The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde" in 1967.[2]

The one-time rock and roll tour musician, who had a string of 1960s hits, is still a popular performer, often working with contemporaries such as Van Morrison and Bill Wyman.[1]
What a delightful post! And it highlights exactly what the internet was invented for (besides cat memes, that is) - finding answers to those questions that have plagued us our entire lives.

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