Monday, March 31, 2008

Spring Has Arrived

I have several criteria for noting "Actual Spring" which doesn't include a calendar or the arrival of pollen. I know Spring's here when:

I take off my sweater, put on a t-shirt, go outside to plant flowers and the temperature literally drops 15 degrees in an hour....yet two days later, it will be 72 degrees once more.

The beloved Wisteria of my childhood decorates stands of trees like floral grapes..the scent making me a carefree 6 year old again.

My favorite radio station continues their time honored salute to the opening
of Baseball Season with Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?"


All of this, along with a front lawn full of cheerful robins, are harbingers of Spring. But the one which puts the spring in my step and still makes me giggle is "Who's on First?" I don't care how many times I've heard this routine, created by Abbott and Costello in 1937, it's still funny. If you live on Mars and have never heard this silly tribute to Baseball, it consists of Baseball Team Manager Abbott explaining the names of the players to Costello. The Manager explains they give ballplayers really strange names today....and he begins by explaining that "Who" is the First Baseman. A comedy of errors ensues.

Maybe it's the innocent tameness of the piece that makes it funny. Sure, it's probably boring to today's 30 second sound bite crowd, but for those of us who love words, it's funny to hear the simplest words turned into mass confusion. After all, we can do that any day of the week with words and it doesn't usually turn out funny. All I know is after listening to a round of "Who's on First, What's on Second and I Don't Know's on third", it will stick with me for the rest of the day.

If you want to watch a performance, try this YouTube link.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sShMA85pv8M

This is a link to a radio performance, along with the script.
http://www.phoenix5.org/humor/WhoOnFirst.html

Personally I prefer the radio version because it let's me use my imagination. I can envision Costello red faced and about to blow a gasket as Abbott continues to patiently repeat the names. As for me, anyone who says "I don't know" to me today, will receive a grin....because in my head, I will hear, "Third Base!"

1 comment:

Bonnie said...

Did you catch the Saturday night live show, years back, when they did an entire skit using only the word oh... two people interacted and had an conversation with that word simply by applying different inflections on the word. It was really good!