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Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security

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Watch World War Three (On Pay TV): The Crown City Four [1960]

This bizarre parody of the genre of barbershop quartet vocalizing is a silly novelty song that anticipates the proliferation of cable television and the "living room war" of Vietnam and subsequent conflicts. When listening to this tune, the 1952 B-movie 'Invasion, U.S.A.' comes to mind because in this film the patrons of a New York City saloon actually do watch World War III on (albeit free) TV.

The Pasadena, California-based Crown City Four consisted of amateur crooners with full-time day jobs: Tom Wirick, tenor (who, when not performing with the group, was a publisher's representative), Jim Powell, lead (salesman), Jim Arnold, baritone (jewelry store owner) and Joe Borton, bass (supervisor with a telephone company). The quartet put out at least one other album: 'Smash Flops.'

The songs on 'Sing A Song Of Sickness' were from the twisted pens of Dick Sherman, an Academy Award winning Hollywood pop song writer (Best Song and Best Score for 1964's MARY POPPINS) and Milt Larsen, a television comedy writer/magician.

The impressive band that backed up the quartet included Sammy Weiss (drums), Red Callender (bass), Bill Pittman (guitar and banjo), Pete Candoli (trumpet), Bob Pring (trombone) and Lyle Ritz (tuba).

LYRICS/TRANSCRIPTION:
Watch World War Three (On Pay TV): The Crown City Four [1960]

Watch World War III on pay TV
Television can be such a thrill
Sitting home in your chair
Watch the boys over there
Charging across your TV screen
Getting blowen to smithereens

Watch World War III on pay TV
If you want to keep the kids at home
They'll be glued to their sets
Watching rockets and jets
Blowing up schools and factories
Putting an end to the birds and bees

It's worth every penny to tune in and see
Who wins the Emmy
At the ruins of the Academy
Watch World War III on pay TV
Before your television melts away

Think of the close-ups on the screen
Find a face you know
Isn't this better than Bishop Sheen?
Better than the Late, Late Show?
Watching the boys from your home town
Fighting whoever they are
Watching the cities falling down
It's greater than Jack Paar!

They're out setting up the cameras now
Though they don't know just where
Still they've got to prepare
Murrow's there to do his part
Waiting for the war to start

See the hydrogen bomb explode
As those mushrooms appear
You'll be sipping your beer
Zooming in with the Zoomar lens
Watching while the whole world ends

It's worth every penny
To tune in and see
Who wins the Emmy
At the ruins of the Academy
Watch World War III on pay TV
Before your television melts away
Before your television melts away

The Crown City Four [1960]
Watch World War Three (On Pay TV)
(Dick Sherman-Milt Larsen)
Pip 1901 'Sing A Song Of Sickness'

CATEGORY: SONGS: ATOMIC[ 2 | COMMENTS | May 10, 06 | 4:10 am ]

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