Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Other Bobby Sherman

As a preteen in the early 1970’s everyone knew Bobby Sherman.  He was the teenage idol that graced the covers of Tigerbeat. Several of my classmates in fourth grade,  I remember,  actually went to one of his concerts in New York.  He was as handsome as a magazine cover could be.

But I remember another Bobby Sherman who entertained me so much more than just that pretty face in “Here Comes the Brides.”   It was Robert Sherman of the Disney brother songwriting team of Sherman and Sherman.  

My favorite: “It’s a Small World.”

It's a world of laughter

A world of tears

It's a world of hopes

And a world of fears

There's so much that we share

That it's time we're aware

It's a small world after all

I remember this song dearly. I attended the 1965 World’s Fair in New York and one of the rides featured this song.  I also remember Michelangelo’s "Pieta" at the fair with the moving sidewalk and the shimmering silver backdrop with red and blue lights. But "It's a Small World" won me over way more than any classical piece of sculpture. The song had such on effect that at a Catholic Mass the following Sunday, when I didn't know the words to some hymn, I sung that song instead.

Memories like that you keep forever.  When at Disney World several years ago with my own children, I couldn’t go into the “It’s a Small World” attraction.  Real life animatronics with its stilted movement in no way compares to the smooth images in my once 3 year old mind's eye.

And who could forget "Mary Poppins?"   Who hasn’t from my generation tried to convince a parent to spike any medicine with a “Spoonful of Sugar?” Children’s flavored antibiotics make that song still come true today.

His songs were not only for children. In “Jolly Holiday” you get the romantic side of Mary Poppins and the gadabout Bert. Bert and Mary clearly had an underlying love story:

Oh, it's a jolly holiday
With you, Bert
Gentlemen like you are few
Though your just a diamond
In the rough, Bert
Underneath your blood is blue!

You'd never think of pressing
Your advantage
Forbearance is the hallmark
Of your creed
A lady needn't fear
When you are near
Your sweet gentility is crystal clear!
Oh, it's a jolly holiday with you, Bert
A jolly, jolly holiday with you!

 “The Jungle Book” and “Bedknobs and Broomsticks,” two other Sherman classics, marked even more events of my childhood.  “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” was a school field trip to Radio City Music Hall and “The Jungle Book” was a “Daddy only” night at a local movie palace called "Loew's" (pronounced "Lo-eee's" to the locals).

Mr. Robert M. Sherman died this week.  He was 86.  We seem to be losing all the greats lately.

With sadness and gratitude I read his obituary in the New York Times tonight.  

Rest in peace Mr. Sherman. Your  lines were not lost on this little girl who once sang to your brother’s music and who now appreciates your true poetry.

Words last.  Music does too.  Youth, especially the magazine cover-type, doesn't.

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