When encountering tragic news, my first inclination is to cry, then reflect, then talk it out. The rest is up to time passing as life goes on. Nothing tragic has happened to me, at least not currently, but the news has really gotten me down this week. Just a lot of death, destruction, stupid decisions and moral outrage for seven days straight. These are desperate times for emotional well-being. The only salvation I can offer is: Tiny Tim.
If you're as old as I am, you may remember the media blitz that surrounded this true American original. In the groovy days of "Laugh-In" he was presented as kind of a hippie freak with his long hair and ukulele. But Tiny Tim was actually about something much more interesting. He was dedicated (OK, obsessed) with preserving lost musical history from the pre-electronic past. He researched songs that hadn't been heard for decades and he performed them for stoned audiences who thought he was one of them (he was actually a conservative, religious, scholarly guy).
He was a living jukebox of turn-of-the-century composition and his mania for performing was not only endearing, but kind of heroic. It takes a brave person to be absolutely himself, even if that self is waaaay outside the norm. And to dedicate himself to a craft that was so far in the past, that it was almost ghostly in form. So here's to you, Tiny Tim. Thanks for the memories.
On the Uncle Floyd Show
Someone in Australia gave Tiny Tim his own TV special. Here he performs Living In the Sunlight in his trademark falsetto.
A duet with himself.
His big hit, played for smirks.
This scene in Raymond Burr's "Ironside" show, pays tribute (albeit in thick-headed TV form) to Tiny Tim's early stage performances in NYC.