My Scoop on Alley Oop
by Eva Pasco
Author of "Underlying Notes"
"There's a man in the funny papers we all know"--Alley Oop, the comic strip caveman created
by V.T. Hamlin in 1932. This Stone Age, though not stoned, Neanderthal was immortalized in 1960
through the screwball lyrics sung by the Hollywood Argyles-- really Gary Paxton with a
multitrack solo since he was already under contract with another label as "Flip" of "Skip and
Flip." Alley Oop oop oop oop oop...Well, this cat's name is a Alley Oop... This song
took a club to the English language with phrases such as: genuwine dinosaurah, a head fulla
hairuh, and grizzly bearuhs.
Nevertheless, I grew to appreciate this pop tune during my adolescence in the
Sixties. I'd add my own voice to the multitrack when it played on WICE, one of the two hip
local AM stations in Rhode Island at that time. My fondness for this song evolved from the
task of removing wallpaper from my bedroom walls in preparation for paint. Mind you, it wasn't the
odious task of inhaling noxious fumes from the solution my mother presoaked the walls with,
nor using my elbow grease for the tedious scraping that infused me with rebellion. I loved
the frilly rosebuds on pink background that enclosed my sanctuary. My sorrow
and resentment grew in proportion with the advance of bare plaster.
Then, as the week wore on and I begrudgingly scraped along, large blurred sooty letters
began to appear along the wall where my bureau stood: P - O - O....some sort of message left behind!
I picked up momentum to scrape away at the soggy remnants and soon uncovered the
comedic handiwork left behind by a plasterer: ALLEY OOP. My dismay over parting with my beloved
wallpaper receded with the excitement over this discovery. Adolescent disappointments are so
shortlived, making room for dreams and adventures. Alley Oop...He's the king of
the jungle jive... Ride, Daddy, ride