Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - 46 - 13 Things That Made My Dad Laugh

My dad enjoyed a good laugh. He was an incurable impressionist, and every one of these following comedians were part of his personal repertoire of characters.

1 - Laurel and Hardy

Dad couldn't resist Stan Laurel's doomed attempts at just about everything.

2 - The Three Stooges

The Sitter Downers

I surely inherited my own love of slapstick from my dad...

3 - Gone With The Wind

Big Sam rescues Scarlett from shanty town, climbing in the buggy and saying, "Hoss, make tracks!"

This isn't a funny part of the film in the least, but that line was one of my dad's favorites. Whenever we needed to get somewhere fast, my dad would often say, "Hoss, make tracks!" just like Everett Brown did. And he'd laugh.

My dad often bought me Gone With The Wind memorabilia over the years. He knew how much I loved this powerful, gorgeous epic. For some reason, this movie always made us think of each other.

4 - Ernie Kovacs Nairobi Trio

Dad was a big fan of Ernie Kovacs' early comedy shows.

"Kocacs' off-the-wall style was extremely unorthodox in early television. He approached the medium as something totally new. While his contemporaries were treating TV as an extension of vaudeville stages, Kovacs was expanding the visible confines of the studio. His skits incorporated areas previously considered taboo, including dialogue with the camera crew, the audience, and forays into the studio corridor." - Frank J. Chorba, The Museum of Broadcast Communications

5 - Foghorn Leghorn

"I keep pitchin' 'em and you keep missin' 'em. Ya gotta keep your eye on the ball. Eye. Ball. I almost had a gag, son. Joke, that is."

6 - Cookie Monster

Like most parents, Dad had his own favorite Muppet - Cookie Monster. He quickly perfected his Cookie Monster impression, which strangely morphed into his own version: "Mmm! Mushroom soup!" Every time he sat down to his favorite soup, he would say that in Cookie Monster's voice.

7 - Blazing Saddles

This sequence was so unexpected, rather like the one that comes on the list at #10. Dad was a huge fan of westerns, slapstick, boxing and big dumb lugs. This scene with Mongo has it all.

8 - Puttin On The Ritz

Young Frankenstein

My dad was a good dancer, so this routine had him in stitches.

9 - The Blues Brothers

Jake and Elwood meet up with The Penguin

Dad went to Catholic school. The image of the nun hovering over them at the top of the stairwell had him in tears of laughter.

10 - Raiders of the Lost Ark

Dad loved this ode to 40's adventure flicks. But he wasn't prepared for the scene where Indy meets up with the scimitar-wielding tough guy. No one was.

When Indy wearily pulls out his gun and shoots him after a lengthy build-up to an out-matched showdown, the audience I was with must have laughed for about 10 minutes over this scene. And any time Dad talked about it over the years, he'd laugh all over again.

11 - A Christmas Story

Though he loved everything to do with this film, especially the narration by writer Jean Shepherd, my dad's favorite line from A Christmas Story was:

"In the heat of battle my father wove a tapestry of obscenities that as far as we know is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan."

12 - Seinfeld - Shrinkage

I'm not sure if Dad had a favorite character on Seinfeld or not. But he had several favorite moments, and the shrinkage episode ranked right up there.

13 - Muhammad Ali

My dad's all-time favorite impression was his Muhammad Ali. Over time he took on his own persona: Muhammad Normi.

Dad was a big boxing fan, and I used to watch boxing matches with him. Call me crazy, but I was a bloodthirsty little girl! I loved the awesome power of the boxers duking it out. Of course, when I was a girl in the late 60's and early 70's, when Ali was fighting, the matches were much more strategic and less gorey than they seem to be now. Dad would explain what each fighter was likely up to. Then we'd both go "Oh!" when our guy landed a good one.

Dad loved Ali not only for his unsurpassed fighting skill, but for his verbal sparring as The Greatest.

Here are some of the best of Ali's witty digs at his opponents:

"Joe Frazier is so ugly that when he cries, the tears turn around and go down the back of his head."

"I'm so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and got into bed before the room was dark."
('74 pre-fight build-up ahead of facing Foreman)

"I handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail. Only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick. I'm so mean I make medicine sick."
(before the 1974 Foreman fight)


Karina said...

"Cookie, cookie, cookie starts with C!" I love cookie monster! ;-) Your dad had a wonderful sense of humor, it seems!

Akelamalu said...

Oh you have some wonderful memories of your Dad Julia, sounds like he had a great sense of humour. x

Shelley Munro said...

What an awesome TT, Julia. I love the Blues Brothers - it always makes me laugh, and Indiana Jones LOL - that's such a great scene!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I can't even begin to imagine how much fun you must have had, growing up with a dad like that.

Julia Smith said...

Susan - my dad used to sit down in front of my sister or me so we could use his head like one of those hair-dresser Barbie things. We'd put every ponytail holder and barrett we had in his hair. If it made us happy, he was willing to look rather interesting, let's say...

Anonymous said...

Awwww, what precious memories of your dad -- he sounds like he was a wonderful man, with a great sense of humor! How the two of you must have loved to laugh together.

And I read your comment just above, about how he'd let you and your sister put ponytails and barrettes in his hair -- just precious. Now I'm going to be smiling the rest of the night. :) You were two lucky little girls to have been raised by such a sweetheart of a Daddy!

Anonymous said...

I'm having trouble getting a post to go through. Hopefully you don't end up with four of these.

I just wanted to thank you for coming by my TT and to tell you your dad sounds like he was great to grow up with. :)


Ann said...

Great list, you had some wonderful times with your dad. :)

pussreboots said...

I would have liked your Dad. He and I like many of the same things. Happy TT.

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Flowerpot said...

Your dad and mine would have had a lot in common Julia!

Dara Edmondson said...

That scene from Young Frankenstein gets me every time I see it. Your Dad had good taste.

No Nonsense Girl said...

cool TT Julia. :)
Have a great Friday!

Open Grove Claudia said...

My husband loves Foghorn leghorn. He quotes: "Kids these days. Don't even know how to tie down a pumpkin."

I also love that Indiana Jones scene. They say in the bonus material that Harrison Ford was wicked sick. When it came to this scene he was so beat that he came up with the solution rather than actually fight. Amazing how the best parts come on the fly.

Happy TT!

Darla said...

# 7 - 10 are some of my favorites, too.

Lesley said...

Your dad sounds like a great guy! If you've never heard the story about that scene from Raiders of the Lost Arc. You can check it out here... It's pretty darn amusing.

Julia Smith said...

Claudia - LOL! That's a good one!

Julia said...

Oh gosh, my dad laugh all the times when he watch The Three Stooges. He would just sit and laugh forever.

I on the other hand love a good laugh too. I love Seinfeld! It was one of my favorite show! Love Raiders of the Lost Ark too

Your dad must be fun to hang around with, you lucky to have dad like that :)

Happy Belated TTs

Amy Ruttan said...

That fight scene was because Harrison Ford had the runs. LOL!!

Blazing Saddles ... man what a risque movie. No the new sheriff is a NI--

Yeah my Dad loves that movie. SO much and Young Frankenstein. And so do I.

Jennifer McKenzie said...

I couldn't stand The Three Stooges until I married my husband.
My Dad loved Abbott and Costello and Bob Hope and Bing Crosby Road movies.
And "A Christmas Story" is HUGE in our house.

Toni said...

Oh, your dad and I could sit and watch A Christmas Story a thousand times. I *love* that movie. I'd be hard pressed to choose a favorite line, let alone scene. Actually, I have a favorite scene and it's quite serene. It's the one where the parents are sitting on the couch on Christmas night with only the tree lights on and it's snowing out the window. Ah, in that scene all is right with the world (but for that moment).

And I met Ali in Cleveland. What an incredible man he truly is.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post this is, i grinned and smiled all the way through, it's a portrait of your Dad in popular images/collage, which all together draw a lovely picture of what a man he must have been, full of life, love and humour, and Ali is without doubt one of the greatest champions modern sport has produced.