Friday, August 26, 2011

Far Out

I was right: the library had that Roger Miller article by Charles Portis. In fact, they seem to have every SATURDAY EVENING POST from 1911 to 1978, the original magazines, bound together several to a volume. But they wouldn't let me check out the 1966 collection containing the Charles Portis article. So I had to rush through it in the minutes before class. I managed to scribble down a few random quotations. The article isn't really about Roger Miller. It's about the city of Nashville as a center of country music production, but Miller is used throughout as a contrast to the more hidebound country music establishment. "I don't know what I am," he says. And then he says, "Scooby doo." That's a quote! Anticipating the cartoon dog by several years, I might add. In the third paragraph, Portis calls him "the antic poet who was too far out to have any success on the Opry itself." But one day Roger Miller walks into Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, where he used to play for free because no one else would have him, with a quarter of a million dollars in his pocket - two checks. A moment of triumph! The staff at Tootsie's is happy for him. Portis visits the offices of a couple of songwriters named Burch and Crutchfield. They have just finished a number called "Push My Love Button," but decide it's too "raunchy" for any of their usual country clientele. Ann-Margret's name comes up as a possibility. "Does she sing?" one of them asks. "'Hell, naw,' says somebody, 'but she makes records.'"