Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Christmas Continues With The Unbelievables
Yes ... the holidays - and especially Christmastime - harbor some pretty treasured memories for The Unbelievables. It's not all about vanquishing the deeds of evil-doers and righting wrongs. Even the bad guys take a break every once in a while which gives Clark, Jeff and I time to indulge in a little Yuletide cheer.
Take the above picture for example. It was after we foiled James St. James (yes ... that James St. James) and his "3rd Worst World Domination Idea Ever" that we were able to toss an under-privileged kids affair in the mid-West back in the day. Here we're seen with Jeff and I on guitar, Clark hefting an accordion (who knew!) and the lovely Chula Vista on upright base. I remember Clark was hot to debut a few Christmas polkas. Being the fair gents Jeff and I are, we accommodated him to a fault. Of course we were skeptical at first (never having previously heard the songs), but Clark's short list proved a minor hit with the youngsters. (Little Jimmy at the bottom right of the photo was the only hold out and kept interrupting in the middle of each ditty shouting "Whatta rip off! I don't see any polka dots!" I think he was just jealous of the lot of us.)
And yes ... you better believe The Unbelievables have thrown some much-appreciated shindigs at retirement homes for the senior contingent. Here, Marcy Jeremiah is about to introduce us as we come out to put on a little skit about Misfit Toys (complete with props and in full regalia) but someone yelled "Fire!" and scattered half the crowd out of the cafeteria ... including the photographer. (The other half began clapping and asking for coffee refills.)
One of the weirdest things about the place was the salt and pepper shakers. You can see one on the table in the foreground - they were hollowed out deer antlers. Tip either the salt or the pepper a little too far and you could poke an eye out with the things.
You know ... the "black and white" years were some of the best for putting together an Unbelievables soirée. In the photo above somewhere in the Northwest at the "Mostly Boys Home Marching And Chowder Society," Jeff had the privilege of playing Santa. The highlight of the affair was when I asked if anyone would like to make him "fly like Santa does with this reindeer" and everyone enthusiastically propelled Jeff into the air and got him to crowd-surf from one end of the auditorium to the other. Good times, indeed.
A couple Unbelievables parties weren't without their controversies, however, and didn't completely go off as planned. (They can't all be legendary, you understand.) This one - for "Uncle Bill's Fiddle And Geetar Club" in Rapid City, South Dakota - was remembered for its dour tone. All the folks wanted to do was practice local folk tunes, never once warming to any Yuletide merriment. "We don't cater to outsiders much 'round these parts," Uncle Bill's cousin Jeb told us when we first got there "... so don't get all 'Let's-show-these-folks-how-it's-done-in-the-big-city' on us." Try as we might, we couldn't get a single "fa-la-la-la-la" or "Jingle Bells" out of the lot. It was all business: First, lunch with Spam and toast and sarsaparilla (the sarsaparilla was the epitome of these folks' excitement) followed by folk tunes, folk tunes and more folk tunes. One guy deviously tried injecting a fiddle ending that almost sounded Christmasy, but he was poked in the ribs with a bow by Great Aunt Flo in the daring white and green striped shirt. Clark and I felt so out of place as Santa and one of his elves (bottom left corner). It's a small wonder they even allowed us in the shot.
The above gathering was another we like to remind ourselves of from time to time. At one point in the history of our frolickous holiday traditions, it was necessary to curb the shenanigans and host a buttoned-down affair. We have Marissa Rapier to thank for that. It seems her "potty mouth" was becoming something of a deterrent to the traditional get-togethers and implementation of manners and mannerisms were the order of the day. The result is the staid, starched shindig "thrown" a few years back and seen here with Jeff presiding over "the festivities." He thought it best to sit directly across from Riss to keep tabs on any possible outbursts. Really, it was the fact she was required to dress smartly that did the trick in keeping her on the up and up. (Well ... that ... and the "Profanity Positively Forbidden" sign seen in the background.)
Oh, sure ... we can all laugh about it now, but at the time, she was a handful. Sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do. And the result? Everyone is the better for it.
Now ... everyone raise a glass of nog: Merry Christmas!