#8: The Wild Ones-"Lord Love A Duck" theme song

Let's get back to the countdown of songs that manage to be MORE inappropriate for an Angels 7th inning stretch than the current self-aware disaster, The Foundations' "Build Me Up Buttercup". We're stuck with that song for the foreseeable future, but this countdown is here to remind you that it could always be worse.

The 8th entry on this countdown takes us back to 1966, and focuses on George Axelrod's cult comedy film Lord Love A Duck. Or more specifically, the movie's fun, rave-up of a theme song, and what connections it has to Angels fans, past and present. After the jump: The Wild Ones-"Lord Love A Duck".

 

A quick history/synopsis of the film: Based on the novel of the same name, Lord Love A Duck is a 1966  black comedy that sets out to lampoon almost everything that comes to mind when you think of the sunny, schmaltzy innocence and beach blanket antics usually associated with not only the youth at the time, but also Hollywood's hard-on for capitalizing off of it. The story centers around two high schoolers, played by Roddy McDowall and Tuesday Weld. Set in an unmentioned part of southern California, Weld's character is about to start her senior year at a new high school after her old one, where she was Ms. Popularity and Prom Queen, was torn down. A few days before the school year starts, she meets McDowall's character, who listens to her fears and hopes for the new year, and makes it his mission to see that all her wildest dreams come true. Naturally, her wildest dreams entail obtaining 12 cashmere sweaters(the prerequisite needed to be accepted by her new school's group of elite popular girls), gaining the adoration of the stereotypical, square jawed hunk, marrying said hunk, becoming a Hollywood star and ultimately having the hunky, young husband killed because his mother(played by a hilarious Ruth Gordon) wont allow a divorce. McDowall uses his unexplained super-intelligence and snake oil salesman tongue to make sure cute, little Barbara Ann(Weld) sees all these fantasies come true, via devilish and svengalian methods. That's the movie in an extremely small nutshell. Honestly, it's chock-a-block with jokes about everything and anything pertaining to the way southern California was perceived at the time, as well as some of the darkest, most irreverent humor I've ever seen.

Oh, and it has one of the best theme songs of all time, written by Neil Hefti(who wrote the iconic theme for the Batman television series, as well as the theme for The Odd Couple) and performed by The Wild Ones. Would the song work, though, as a 7th inning stretch song? I personally think it'd be a raucous good time, grooving to it at Angel Stadium with all the beautiful future/past beach bunnies. But the underbelly of the song and the film, the scathing and sardonic satire, is aimed squarely at Orange County and it's most sheepish and squarely unaware residents. The shadow this sentiment would cast over an Angels game gets it on the countdown rather easily, and again proves that "Buttercup" may not be that bad.

The movie portrays southern California as a bastion for the materialistic and voluntarily clueless. A place filled with people with progressive ideas that are never carried through correctly. A haven of rich, closet drunks policed by incompetent cops who would rather take the elevator to chase an on the lam murderer, rather than take the stairs. It gets a little closer to home, though. Our young female protagonist at one point takes a trip to Balboa for the weekend...because that's just where the cool, rich kids were going to be. Sound sort of familiar? We also get a scene which takes place at a drive-in church. Yep, a drive-in church, just like the one that was run by Robert Schuller and sat no more than a couple miles from Anaheim Stadium. That drive-in church eventually morphed into Crystal Cathedral, but the commentary at the time was more about the burgeoning fast food culture being applied to everything possible, of which Orange County was on the forefront. The movie was laughing at us about 30 years before most of the OC denizens would get the joke, and if played for the Halo's 7th inning stretch, that joke would continue to go unnoticed in a sort of cringe-worthy form of dramatic irony. We'd be making fun of ourselves, but on an extremely more personal level than the current 7th inning song does.

Oh, and the movie contains the following scene, in which Barbara Ann and her father go out to get her some of those cashmere sweaters she so badly desired. The result is one of the most awkwardly hilarious, and just plain wrong, scenes in the history of film. And just to save you the trouble of re-reading the previous sentence after you watch the clip, to make sure you understood it correctly, yes that's her father(some of you may recognize him as the creepy grandpa from Sixteen Candles). While an uproarious scene, the level of WTF is off the charts, and that alone would make the movie's theme song quite the uncomfortable affair if played at the Big A.

 

Of course, there's the song's lyrics, too. They wouldn't be doing the team any favors in the way of pumping up the team's egos, or making believers out of any of the fans in attendance. Here's a sampling of some of the lyrics:

"Lord love a duck, don't nobody care. So tired of swimming, and getting nowhere"

Or

"I've been swimming around, in this little old pond. All by myself, can't get me a swan. Hey pretty swan, wont you love me and stay? But one look at me, and they fly away"

See? Not necessarily a rousing declaration of our beloved team or their ability to do anything other than be losers. Quite the opposite, in fact. Again, though, that's sort of what we're stuck with right now, with "Build Me Up Buttercup", it's just that "Lord Love A Duck" delivers it on an epically wider and more needling scale. I think if you put together all of these elements, you get one horrific 7th inning stretch song for the Angels. But hey, it's still a pretty damn catchy song, and the movie is one I'd quickly recommend to any film fan out there (it's currently available on Netflix, streaming or dvd). It's easily one of my favorite movies from the 60's and my all-time favorite movie having to do with Orange County, replete with a theme song you'll be humming for days afterward.

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