Music, memory and the periodic table of elementsMusic is a language all its own. The combination of words, melody and beat can get inside your head and take permanent residency. I know this to be true because I have lots of music stuck in my head.
By: Jill Pertler, Superior Telegram
Music is a language all its own. The combination of words, melody and beat can get inside your head and take permanent residency. I know this to be true because I have lots of music stuck in my head.
Like the song from the Flintstones. I probably couldn’t forget that one if my life depended on it:
“Flintstones. Meet the Flintstones. They’re a modern stone-age family…” (Go ahead and finish the rest if you want.)
Memory is a goofy thing. I studied the periodic table of elements in school. I worked diligently to learn all the symbols for the elements. I remember hydrogen, oxygen and maybe a couple more, but I’ve forgotten the rest.
The same can’t be said for the Flintstones lyrics. That little ditty is ingrained in my brain.
I find this interesting, curious and a little bit weird. Why do I remember something (trivial) I never set out to memorize, but forget (significant) information I worked to retain? More importantly, why do I (and I’m guessing you) remember so many songs from old TV shows?
To illustrate my point, I’ve put together a little quiz. I predict you’ll be humming in no time. (I’ve included a clue after each quote. Answers are at the end of this column. No peeking!)
I’ll start with an easy one: “Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale. A tale of a fateful trip…” (The Minnow)
“Who can turn the world on with her smile? Who can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?” (MTM)
“A horse is a horse, of course, of course. And no one can talk to a horse, of course. This is, of course, unless the horse is the famous...” (Wilbur)
“Hello world, hear the song that we’re singing. C’mon get happy!” (Psychedelic bus)
“Welcome back. Your dreams were your ticket out.” (A young John Travolta)
“Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. And they’re always glad you came.” (Norm!)
“Give us any chance we’ll take it. Give us any rule we’ll break it. We’re gonna make our dreams come true.” (Friends of the Fonz)
“They’re creepy and they’re kooky. Mysterious and spooky. Their all-together ooky…” (Morticia)
And, the final entry in our little quiz:
“Boy, the way Glen Miller played. Songs that made the hit parade. Guys like us, we had it made. Those were the days.” (Archie)
(Answers: Gilligan’s Island, Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mr. Ed, Partridge Family, Welcome Back Kotter, Cheers, Laverne and Shirley, The Addams Family and All in the Family)
How did you do? These shows were from the 1970s and 1980s, so your memories go back 30 or 40 years. Recalling a complete set of lyrics from decades ago is remarkable (not to mention a little embarrassing). I may not remember the periodic symbol for gold, but I admit — somewhat unwillingly — these tunes still feel fresh on my brain.
Perhaps there’s more than a good melody and catchy beat that has me looking back at the era with a rosy sense of nostalgia.
Archie and Edith had a point about the good old days. Television in the ‘70s and ‘80s was a period filled with strong family ties, when our fields were lush with green acres, all days were happy days with hardly any dark shadows. Back then, reality TV consisted of Ed Sullivan and Lawrence Welk and we didn’t think it at all odd, boring or even gong-worthy to watch middle-aged couples waltz to big band champagne music on a black and white screen.
As a kid, my Saturday evenings were reserved for one show: Carol Burnett. So, I’ll use her words to end my reminiscing: “I’m so glad we had this time together. To have a laugh or sing a song. Seems we just get started and before you know it, comes the time we have to say, ‘So long.’”
Jill Pertler, award-winning syndicated columnist and author of “The Do-It-Yourselfer’s Guide to Self-Syndication” is collecting fans on Facebook on her Slices of Life page. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit her website at http://marketing-by-design.home.mchsi.com.