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Re: Bunkie

Posted by R. Berg on July 12, 2006

In Reply to: Re: "Is that your problem Bunky?" posted by Bob on July 11, 2006

: : "Is that your problem Bunky?" (Actually "Is that what's troublin you Bunky?" is a phrase from a mock radio commercial on the old Spike Jones records and radio show. Spike Jones was a crazily comedic orchestra leader specializing in auditory slapstick incorporating penny whistles, cowbells, coconut shells and a range of boingy sound effects into short musical joke pieces. The commercial was for some kind of snake-oily cure-all pills and started something like "Are you suffering from arthritis, lumbago, lame back, phlebitis, flatulence, headaches, and double vision? Is that what's troubling you Bunky? Well you need "bogus brand name".

: I believe you're confusing Spike Jones with "The Old Philosopher," whose novelty music numbers were in the style of (but twenty years after) Spike. See our Archives for more about it.
: I met Spike's daughter once. Lovely lady. She was trying to salvage Spike's estate: people were taking advantage of his Alzheimer's to take his copyrights and royalties. Sad end for a great and original comedian/musician.

The Old Philosopher developed his act while serving in the U.S. Navy, where "bunkie" was slang for "bunkmate," a sailor assigned to the same room as oneself. His "bunkie" recordings didn't imitate commercials. They were comedic pep talks for the deprived, the disoriented, the despondent, the dismal. Their punchline was "Never give up that ship!"