Thursday, October 18, 2007
When Johnson Met Harryhausen
The day I met Ray Harryhausen in Richmond was a momentous occasion in my life for many reasons. The first reason is pretty obvious, I got to meet Ray Harryhausen! The other reasons are known to but a few . . . until now.
On this day, my friends and I wandered into a joke and novelty store called The World of Mirth. While browsing the store a song came on. It was "Hanky Panky" by Tommy James and the Shondells. For those of you who aren't familiar with the song, the chorus goes "my baby does the hanky panky." Typical of the times, it purported to be a song about a dance but was, in fact, a thinly veiled metaphor for sexual activity. In the 60's, bands couldn't just come right out and say what they wanted. Well, upon hearing this song, a creative thought entered my mind like a bolt of lightning on a metal roof. It was as if the heaven's themselves opened up and poured inspiration into the empty vessel known as my mind. The idea was so forthright that it instantly came from my mouth . . . "My Leeman Does the Hanky Panky!" I sang it as if those were the words intended all along by the writers, and perhaps they were. Leeman is known for his bedroom prowess and so adding his name to this classic song seemed as right as rain. Since that day, the Leeman version has gone on to be a classic amongst those who have had the privlidge of hearing it. If only Leeman had been there to witness the birth of his song.
This day also was highlighted by my ears hearing two monumental phrases for the first time. After hearing them, it was as if I had been born a deaf man and was now hearing for the first time. Before we left Portsmouth we stopped at a local 7-11. As my friend Craig exited the Jeep SUV, I asked him what he was going in the store to purchase, as Rob was pumping and buying the gas. He responded with one word . . . "provisions." For those of you unaware, provisions are snacks easily procured at convenience stores nationwide. Examples would be items such as Slim Jims, potato chips, Little Debbies, Goobers, et al. That was an educational experience for me as I had never known the true meaning of that word until that very moment.
The other phrase that fell on my ears that day was to become one of the all-time great catch phrases in human history. We stopped at another 7-11 prior to returning to Portsmouth. Once again, Craig got out to go into the store. I asked him what he was getting and he said . . . "Antacids Brother!" My life has never been the same.
I have saved the best story for last. Stay tuned for the next installment . . . Trundling.