March 17, 2003

What it Was, was....

... And I don't know, friends, to this day what it was that they was a'doin' down thar! But I have studied about it. And I think that it's some kindly of a contest where they see which bunchful of them men can take that punkin' and run from one end of that cow pasture to the other, without either gettin' knocked down... or steppin' in somethin'!

It has been before my mind lately (influenced in no small degree by the Appalachian Identities course I'm taking) how southerners, Appalachians, rural folks in general... have been portrayed in the media as inbred bumpkins, simpletons, hicks, hillbillies. In this frame of mind, it came to me yesterday that Andy Griffith has certainly played a significant role in influencing American impressions about the rural south, going back to the early 50's. Matter of fact, he got his first big break into national attention with a satire he wrote from the perspective of a naive backwoods boy come to town, witnessing a football game for the first time. The piece was called "What it was, was football". (You can hear an very short clip of it here). And here, a Mad Magazine recount of the whole thing, with all the original script... what a hoot! Take a look.

In 1958, Griffith starred in "No Time for Sergeants" where Don Knotts appeared briefly for the first time with Griffith, and out of which spun the "Gomer Pile" show (and that's too bad, really, don't you think?)

Anywho... I uz a thinkin' it uz about time that we cum up with a new skit featurin' a politician who don't know nuthin 'bout nuthin, and see, he wanders into that United Nations building where thars lots more just like him, and commences to studyin' what it wuz that they wuzza doin' in thar. We cud call it "What it was, was International Diplomacy". I'm starting on the screenplay, now.

Posted by fred1st at March 17, 2003 12:50 PM | TrackBack
Comments

I remember I must have been about 8 years old when I first heard that Andy Griffith bit--some friend or other had the album (yes, vinyl!). I laughed so hard I cried. Thanks for reminding me of it.

Posted by: Debi at March 18, 2003 07:12 AM

I listened to it last night and today I'm at my son's house, also in the rain forest, looking for the words on the Internet. Can't find them. I plan to print a song book of those I listened to back in the '40s (and '50s), for my classmates.

Posted by: A. Van Kralingn Jr. at July 12, 2004 11:21 PM

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