Wednesday, January 29, 2020

4543 National Kazoo Day

Flash mob or a real kazoo chorus. Oh where is Toscanini when you need him?

It was yesterday, January 28th.  I bet you missed it. Maybe you never even heard of it.  But admit it: You have one stashed away in a drawer somewhere, or once did.

Maybe you stashed it away because it’s just a childhood toy.  Or maybe you’re intimidated by some of the Great Masters like… um… well, surely there have been some. And surely they were better at it than you or I.

No excuses!  

--Gee I had one years ago but some rat stole it off the piano in the bar while I was refreshing my drink.
--Gee, I feel stupid when the neighbors call and demand I stop running my leaf blower after 10 PM.  It’s not a leaf blower, it’s a respectable musical instrument.  It only sounds like a leaf blower.
--Gee the kids will think I’m an imbecile.
--And they’ll laugh at me.

Had big plans for the day.  Going to stand on a street corner. There was to be a collection hat at my feet.  I was going to take requests.  (Like “get off my corner” or “go back to the nuthouse you escaped from” or actual Kazoo-friendly songs.

The Flight of the Bumble Bee, the Minute Waltz, the first movement of Beethoven’s fifth, Take Me Out to the Ballgame, The National Anthem, Nola, Foggy Mountain Breakdown, the Salem Cigarette jingle, the Theme from M*A*S*H, the Teddybears’ Picnic.  All of them are great Kazoo songs.

I’ve been working on Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy” for a long time and it’s finally stage-ready. Well… streetcorner ready.

Seriously, people… the first kazoo was patented in the 1880s, but there’s strong geological evidence that it had already been around 40 years earlier.  So, this is no passing fad.

The first mass produced metal kazoos appeared in upstate New York in the early 1900s.  The factory remains in Eden NY which as a little southeast of Lake Erie where other tiny towns with names you probably never heard of exist in bucolic beauty and splendid isolation.  

They have a museum and what probably is the world’s largest retail store devoted entirely to kazoos.  But you can buy them on line for a couple of bucks. 

Or you can make your own, using a pocket comb and tissue paper. 

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2020

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