Unbidden echoes of pop culture past

As the dogs and cat gathered around this morning while I doled out their breakfasts, I began to sing to myself.

“A horse is a horse, of course, of course, and no one can talk to a horse, of course, that is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mister Ed. Go right to the source and ask the horse, he’ll give you an answer that you’ll endorse … You’ve never heard of a talking horse? Well listen to this: [lower] I am Mister Ed!”

The animals looked up at me in anticipation, as if waiting for an explanation. I suppose, no, they were waiting for their food.

One wonders, though, why the theme song for a 1960s sitcom would pop into my head, and how I remembered the words. Some of those old themes refuse to die. (If I ever happen to say, “Fresh air!” Red is likely to respond “Times Square!” Look it up.)

The most amazing example of this phenomenon is the theme from a failed sitcom that eked through 26 episodes in the mid-60s before being mercifully canceled. I have experienced, on more than one occasion, saying to someone of a certain age “It’s about time!” and having them respond with song:

Then there was the time I started singing “Meet the Mets, meet the Mets, come on out and greet the Mets,” the theme song from the early New York Mets broadcasts, and discovered I still knew all the words, all the way through “from New – York – town!!!” It was preserved in my memory from 1962 – And then I went back into the living room and Red reminded me she had asked me to bring her a cup of coffee 45 seconds earlier.

Memory is an intriguing thing, and it’s fascinating how they pop up seemingly out of nowhere, like the Mr. Ed song. A generation before me, my mother might break out with, “Who knows – what evil – LURKS – in the hearts of men?” These are touchstones that linger in our minds, waiting for us to register and share them, perhaps to reassure and comfort another human being: “I was there, too. I remember those times.”

Time it was, and what a time it was, it was …

Published by WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, and an insistent cat. Author of Gladness is Infectious, 24 flashes, How to Play a Blue Guitar, A Bridge at Crossroads, Refuse to be Afraid, and A Scream of Consciousness.

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