Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Last year you solved someone's musical mystery by providing a list of the actual titles and artists of the break-in songs used in “The Flying Saucer,” by Buchanan & Goodman.

As a fan of break-ins and novelty recordings, I also appreciated that list. But now I have my own little mysteries that I'd like to throw at you.

During the 1960 presidential campaign, involving Richard Nixon and John Kennedy, a break-in spoofing the two candidates got quite a bit of radio play. It may have even been a Top 40 hit.

I didn't buy the record at the time, and I now have no idea who made it. It sure sounded like Buchanan & Goodman, but I'm not sure it is them.

Anyway, in one of the songs used to answer a reporter's question we hear just two words: “pardon me.”

Since most break-ins use well-known hits, it must not be too obscure. However, I have never once heard this recording in its entirety.

The only song I can think of that begins with “pardon me,” is “(Now and Then There's) A Fool Such As I,” which opens with “pardon me if I'm sentimental, when we say goodbye” — but that's by Elvis and this definitely is not him.

You can end my suffering by telling me about this very funny recording, and about “pardon me.”.
—Lewis Dundee, Decatur, Ala.

DEAR LEWIS: You by any chance related to Crocodile? Just wondering.

Though most of the novelty break-in records made are by Dickie Goodman, or the team of Buchanan & Goodman, the one tormenting you is not.

Titled “Report to the Nation, Parts 1 and 2,” it is credited to Winkly & Nutley, a pair of wacky reporters who parody the legendary NBC-TV news anchor team, (Chet) Huntley & (David) Brinkley.

In real life, Winkly & Nutley are Jim Stag and Bob Mitchell.

Obviously inspired by “The Flying Saucer,” their break-in effort is one of the very best ones of that genre that does NOT have Dickie Goodman's name on the label.

This record did indeed make the top hits surveys in many markets — charting quite high in some areas. For example, during the week of November 4-11, with election fever at its peak, “Report to the Nation” (MK 101) held the No. 15 position on the KRLA (Los Angeles) Top 30.

As for the two-word song clip of “pardon me,” it is just too obvious. The title really is “Pardon Me,” and it is one side of Billy Bland's follow-up to the Top 10 hit, “Let the Little Girl Dance.” The other side of “Pardon Me” is “You Were Born to Be Loved” (Old Town 1082).

I believe they actually use that response line twice in “Report to the Nation,” once in Part 1 and again in Part 2.

DEAR JERRY: Long ago, I had a 45 rpm that I think is titled “How Long Has It Been.” I have evidently lost the record, as well as any memory of the artist and exact title.

Can you refresh my memory, as well as tell me where to find it?
—M.J., Grandview, Ind.

DEAR M.J.: Where to find your memory — or the song?

“How Long Has It Been” is the record that began the career of one of my favorite country singers: Bobby Lewis. This Top 10 hit, from the summer of '66 (United Artists 50067) is one of a dozen fine tracks found on “The Best of Bobby Lewis” (United Artists 6770).

Worth mentioning is that this gentleman is a completely different singer than the Bobby Lewis who recorded tunes like “Tossin' and Turnin'” and “One Track Mind,” in the early '60s.

IZ ZAT SO? Dickie Goodman is widely recognized as the architect of the break-in record concept. For those wanting to know more about Goodman's life and zany career, with and without Bill Buchanan, I recommend “The King of Novelty — Dickie Goodman” (Xlibris Publications. In bookstores, or call 888-795-4274).

Lovingly yet honestly written by his son, Jon Goodman, it's a interesting and informative retrospective of the man Billboard calls the all-time No. 1 novelty-comedy recording artist.

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