That Familiar Cathode Buzz: So They Weren't Quite Stars...

Ask me why I am the way I am, and I don't have any creepy priests or abusive parents to whom I may point. OK, I did grow up watching and being obsessed with Richard Milhous Nixon, so he might count. Just like anyone, I faced my share of adversity, but overall, that really had little bearing on my shaping as a human-sized monster.

Nah! Like so many others, I was raised on and programmed by the popular media of whatever age it was. Some of it quite excellent by any measure, but mixed in with the excellent were far too many lame movies, too many idiot comic books, too much bad music and way, way, way too much horrible television as a child. Of course, each one of us subjected to such travesties remembers those wonders of our youth with a magical sheen glowing about the edges of each and every item, no matter how rotten they may now seem to modern eyes, even our own.

 

In the past year or so, I slapped a cassette copy (from the original cassette) of the Hudson Brothers second album, Hollywood Situation (released the same year as this show) into the cassette player in my brother Otis' car. Having heard it about a zillion times over the years (I would listen to it once or twice annually just for fun), I have grown quite accustomed to its lightly Beatle-esque, power pop charms, but my brother had not heard it in nearly thirty years. In fact, despite the fact we used to air-guitar along with it and wrote puppet shows around the songs as kids, he didn't remember it at all. Not even their biggest hit, So You Are A Star.

I was actually saddened by the whole affair, but I wasn't counting in the fact that I had subjected myself to it on a regular rotation in the intervening years, while Otis had basically been on the other end of a media blackout concerning the Hudsons. After all, they pretty much disappeared from view after their sole headlining feature film Hysterical (which I also own, by the way) flopped... until Bill's estranged daughter Kate hit it big in L.A. But at that time in my youth, in much the way that D. Boon spoke of punk rock and Bob Dylan, the Hudson Brothers were the Marx Brothers to me. Before I knew who the Marx Brothers were. Before I knew that the comedy I was watching on The Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show was mostly second, third and sometimes fourth-hand schtick lovingly borrowed from other comedians and acts, including the Marx Brothers.

And this was slightly before I realized how much I needed the Marx Brothers in my life. So the Hudson Brothers weren't quite stars. For me, they were moderately decent placeholders until the real thing came along...

[Notes: Murray Langston is much better known as The Unknown Comic, and the chief reason that "forever puppet-mad me" loved the show was Rod Hull and his amazing Emu. More on them at a later date...]

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