DEAR JERRY:, On a recent (November) Monday Night Football game, during a lull in the action, Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth were making small talk.
Then Collinsworth said something that caused Michaels to sing the words "you're not a kid anymore." Nothing else was said about this, and they went on with the game.
Since then, I've been plagued with that five-word earworm. I'm sure it's from a popular song, but which one?
Connie Caliendo, Miami
DEAR CONNIE: Though I did not catch that broadcast, I strongly suspect the inspiration behind Al's crooning is "Bobby's Girl," a huge hit in 1962 for Marcie Blane (Seville 120).
"Bobby's Girl" earned Marcie a Gold Record Award, and peaked nationally at No. 2. On the final Cash Box chart of 1962, only the Tornadoes' "Telstar" kept Blane from being No. 1.
If Marcie Blane were watching the game, I would have loved to have seen her reaction when Al Michaels burst into a snippet of her famous tune.
DEAR JERRY: For the first time since last year, I played "A Christmas Gift for You From Phil Spector," the original 1963 LP (Philles 4005).
But unlike in Christmases past, I got intrigued by Darlene Love's recitation in the middle of "White Christmas."
She talks about being stuck in sunny Southern California, where a white Christmas is very unlikely.
Knowing the album was recorded in Los Angeles, did Phil Spector write those words for her to say?
Jason Murillo, Van Nuys, Calif.
DEAR JASON: As sure as there is smog in the L.A. basin, you can be certain that Phil Spector's fingerprints are on every one of his sessions, but Phil's involvement with Darlene's narrative was limited to it being his idea to include it, and where to place it. Except for some minor text changes, this "lost verse," as it is known, was part of the original "White Christmas," written in 1941 by Irving Berlin.
Shortly before Bing Crosby recorded the song for the film, "Holiday Inn," Berlin insisted that these seven lines be dropped:
The sun is shining
The grass is green
The orange and palm trees sway
There's never been such a day
In Beverly Hills, L.A.
But it's December the 24th
And I am longing to be up north
Spector moved the recitation from the beginning to the middle, over the instrumental bridge, and uses "In old L.A.," instead of "In Beverly Hills, L.A."
He also added one newly-created line to the end, making it:
And I am longing to be up north
So I can have my very own white Christmas
IZ ZAT SO? Though infrequently performed this way, these familiar artists recorded "White Christmas" beginning with the lost verse, just as originally written:
Robert Goulet (1963); Barbra Streisand (1967); Dean Martin (1977); Carpenters (1978); Neil Diamond (1992); Mel Torme (1992); Kathie Lee Gifford (1993); Marie Osmond (1994); Colin Raye (1996); Linda Ronstadt (2000); Crash Test Dummies (2002); Bette Midler (2006); and Libera, a London-based boy's choir that may have never been anywhere Beverly Hills (2011).
There is one ironic twist to this story, that can be explained best by Greg Garrison, Primetime Emmy-winning producer of the Dean Martin Show:
"Dean sang 'White Christmas' on the TV show in an episode titled 'Christmas in California.' The following week I was told by one of the crew that I had a phone call from Irving Berlin. I thought they were just kidding, or maybe it was one of the writers putting me on. But they insisted that Mr. Berlin was holding on the line asking for me.
"So when I picked up the phone, he said in a squeaky little voice (he was 89 at the time): 'Mr. Garrison, I want to tell you that I just loved your star, and the 'White Christmas' that Dean did on the show was the best version of that song that I have ever heard.'
"I told him that was wonderful to hear and that I would tell Dean, and he said 'oh please do, and thank you very much.'
"I did tell Dean and he was very touched."
I find it mind-boggling that Irving Berlin's favorite version of "White Christmas" is one of the very few that begins with the exact verse that he once demanded be dropped from the lyrics.