Sunday, November 11, 2007

Mini-Drag Show: "The Monkeys Have No Tails in Pago Pago"

A few years ago I found this song in a radio broadcast from 1939, as part of pre-fame Arthur Godfrey's morning program. The sound quality was poor and it was jumpy and weird, but with some tender loving care I restored it to a listenable state.

But I wasn't just content to listen to it all by myself, I had to inflict it on others! I've performed it twice -- once in Guelph, once at Club Renaissance -- and both times I've been greeted by blank stares of incomprehension.

For the last two weeks I've been storyboarding, planning, and fiddling with my digital camera, and here's my second "mini-drag show" experiment. It's awfully hard to turn my living room into a jungle, I had some sync problems with iMovie (exacerbated by YouTube's tendency to go out-of-sync anyway), and the lighting is certainly wonky, but I think I might be on to something here...



I wish I knew who performed this song, but there's scant information about it online. A more popular version is slightly better known, called "The Monkeys Have No Tails in Zamboanga." You can even hear Beaver Cleaver singing it in one of the first season episodes of "Leave it to Beaver."

12 comments:

dakiwiboid said...

How totally cute!

Hilda said...

You, I love!

More! More! Your adoring public wants more!

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Cute is the ONLY way this song could be done! :)

Now that I know a bit more of what my setup is capable of, I can plan a few more things out...stay tuned!

Jenn said...

It's actually quite a catchy tune. Would you want a clean original of the song if you could find it?

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Absolutely! My recording is (I think) missing the first little chunk, and it still sounds a bit brittle. Though it did come from an .mp3 recording of a vinyl recording of a radio broadcast from seventy years ago, so that's not surprising. :)

It's incredibly catchy. I've heard it about fifty times while making this video, and I still enjoy the song. There's a thirty-second instrumental break that I removed from the middle, so there's even more to love if you hear the whole thing.

Sadly, when people go to see drag shows, the majority doesn't go to see this sort of thing.

Eli said...

YES. That was adorable. Special thumbs up for the "maid" and "newsreader" moments.

mcmonkey said...

Curse you and your totally awesome and sickeningly catchy monkey song.

And, yeah, the newsreader bit was keen.

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Oh yes, give me a feather duster and I won't necessarily DUST with it, but I WILL happily use it as a prop.

VanillaJ said...

Hey! That's not a Cher song! You're not impersonating Britney Spears! This is the craziest drag show EVER.

Muffy St. Bernard said...

If I could turn back time,
if I could find a way,
I would do songs people know at the drag show,
and they'd stay...

Anonymous said...

THE MONKEYS HAVE NO TAILS IN PAGO PAGO Milt Herth Trio DECCA 2964A

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Are you sure? Milt Herth was a noted organist, and I can't hear any organ in there.

Plus I can't find any record of a female singer associated with the group, though maybe I'm looking in the wrong places.