retro-rabbit-hole (err, frog)

September 26, 2018
On a whim I bought the MP3 "Froggy's Lament", the second track from Bucker + Garcia's infamous "Pac-Man Fever" album Haven't heard it much since I had the LP as a kid, but it stuck with me.

The song is a very odd mashup with tons of references to Froggy the Gremlin from the old Andy's Gang TV Show - especially "Pluck Your Magic Twanger, Froggy". (The reference isn't quite coherent, since the singer's voice seems to be modelled on Froggy's but that quote is what the human host would say to Froggy...) The reference was almost lost on 80s kids, but now thanks to the Internet, I found this clip where outrageous Italian stereotype Pasta Fazooli is playing, low and behold, the tuba!

"Andy's Gang" is a pretty wacky compilation, full of odd cheap special effects, the squeals of delighted kids, and every ethnic stereotype it can get its hands on. Having just finished Zora Neale Hurston's "Mules and Men" and its study of African American folklore, I'm sort of fascinated by Froggy the Gremlin as a trickster figure. The shtick is him having these hypnotic powers, and he injects a comment or command into the human's story or lesson, and the human has to go with it - but just for a moment, and then they rage at Froggy for throwing a curveball into the narrative.