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Tony Kornheiser

Speaking of Oscar and Company, How About the Mamas and Papas?

March 28, 2001|Tony Kornheiser

I hate the Oscar column. You hate the Oscar column. Everybody hates the Oscar column.

But it's tradition. Last year I didn't write it, and I got hundreds of letters protesting its absence. Here's a typical letter: "Your Oscar column stinks. You never see more than two of the nominated movies, and you make stupid wisecracks about the best actress category, to wit: 'Tact, shmact. Did you check out her casabas?' You're really an imbecile."

See, they love it!

I didn't see "Gladiator." Why bother? Heads are rolling like bowling balls on league night. Big deal. You see one head on a stick, you've seen 'em all. And the emperor wants to put the moves on his sister. But hey, it's only a movie, so it's not really his sister--and did you check out her casabas?

News item: "John Phillips, founder and creative force behind the spectacularly successful 1960s rock vocal group the Mamas and the Papas, died in Los Angeles. The Mamas and the Papas were best known for haunting, four-part harmony work on such songs as 'California Dreamin' ' and 'Creeque Alley,' which told the story of the founding of the group."

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Friday March 30, 2001 Home Edition Southern California Living Part E Page 3 View Desk 2 inches; 37 words Type of Material: Correction
Pop song--Tony Kornheiser's Wednesday column ("Speaking of Oscar and Company, How About the Mamas and Papas?") mistakenly said Barry McGuire wrote the '60s hit song "Eve of Destruction." Although he performed the song, it was written by Steve Barri and P.F. Sloan.

Everybody who was anybody in the mid-'60s L.A. folk rock scene was in "Creeque Alley": John Phillips and his waif wife, Michelle; the other Mamas and Papas, Denny Doherty and tubby Cass Elliot; Roger McGuinn of the Byrds; John Sebastian and Zal Yanovsky of the Lovin' Spoonful; Barry McGuire, who wrote and, um, "sang" the hideous "Eve of Destruction," with the line, "My blood's so mad, feels like coagulating." (Cole Porter, eat your heart out.)

You recall "Creeque Alley"?

John and Mitchy were getting kind of itchy just to leave the folk music behind.

Zal and Denny, working for a penny trying to get a fish on the line.

In a coffeehouse Sebastian sat and after every number they'd pass the hat.

McGuinn and McGuire just a-getting higher in L.A., you know where that's at.

And no one's getting fat except Mama Cass.

Most everyone listed is in their 60s now, except the ones who are dead. Have you taken a close look at Bob Dylan and Keith Richards recently? Those guys look like they not only felt like coagulating--they did it. John Phillips was 65 when he died. If he wrote "Creeque Alley" now, it'd be "Creak Alley."

John and Mitchy were getting kind of itchy to leave assisted living behind.

Zal and Denny couldn't count to tenny; took ginkgo pills to jump-start their minds.

In a body cast Sebastian sat; he'd broken both his legs, slipping on the bath mat.

McGuinn and McGuire had long ago retired, to Lauderdale, you know where that's at.

Everybody's at the early bird, except Mama Cass.

Clearly, the Rolling Stones are going to keep touring no matter how old they get. I dread the day they sing: "I can't get no satisfaction. I can't get no wheelchair traction. I might flip, I might slip, cut my lip, break my hip. . . ."

Bob Dylan looks like a shrunken head inside a great leather coat. It won't be long now until he starts singing,

How does it feel, to be fed oatmeal, to have your fruit all peeled, to lose your sense of feel, to use a safety seal?

Once upon a time, I felt so fine, wrote a real good rhyme, in my prime, didn't I?

People call, say I'm bound to fall, end up in a crawl, in the nursing home hall, my oh my.

I got osteoporosis now, my bones are fused.

Every five minutes I need a snooze.

I'm on Prozac now, I've got hostility to conceal.

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