Friday, October 29, 2010



I can honestly say that I NEVER would have expected the response we got to our little "Crazy Mixed-Up Song" piece the other day!!!

I considered this one to be more of a "throw-away" / "filler" piece, leading up to our regular "Helping Out Our Readers" Series ... but the response has been nothing short of PHENOMENAL!!! Nearly 50 emails before noon ... and more than twice that many more trickling in all night and the following day ... in fact, there were a couple more this morning! (I am always amazed by which material hits the "hot button" with our readers ... it just goes to prove that you NEVER know what's going to get a good reaction!)

MOST of them say pretty much the same thing ... so we've singled out a few of the more interesting exceptions ... and, the general consensus seems to be that we're probably MOST familiar with this song thanks to its inclusion as the closing piece on "Sing Along With Mitch" way back when. (We just lost Mitch Miller a couple of months ago ... how sad that he didn't get to see any of this reaction before he passed away!)

Anyway, today's column is devoted to all of our Web-Footed Friends!!!
(Lord love a duck!!!)

Read on ...

Hey Kent!
I remember that song! Not sure who did it but, if I remember correctly, the chorus was to the tune of a patriotic song, something about the Red, White and Blue. And for some reason, I can hear kazoos during the chorus.
Hmmm ... could be wrong, but ... you know, most of us are at the "CRS" age and what we DO "remember" isn't right anyway! LOL Have a great weekend! Sharon {TokeiTwo}

Listening to this, I now realize that "Crazy Mixed-Up Song" is not at all the song I thought you were looking for when you sent your initial email request. However, I may have some insight into the version that you remember. Could it be the Mitch Miller version? Mitch always ended his Sing Along With Mitch TV programs with "Be Kind to Your Web-Footed Friends" and, on the first Sing Along album, paired this with "Bell-Bottom Trousers" to close out side 2. That's where I remember hearing the chorus of "Crazy Mixed-Up Song."
Now if I could only figure out what song I had in mind when you first mentioned that title . . . Ed44

>>>Be kind to your web-footed friends
For a duck may be somebody's brother.
Be kind to the denizen of the swamp;
He's a dilly through and through.
[Alternate line: Where the weather's always damp]
You may think that this is the end,
Well it is. (Lee Hartsfield)

This part of the song was sung by Mitch Miller and the Gang on his show, and appears on the album "Sing Along With Mitch."

Hi Kent,
This song was sung at the end of every "Sing Along with Mitch" show in the 60's ... and since my Granny loved Mitch, and there was but one TV, I too had to watch Mitch! That's where I heard it ... for what it's worth!
Woody Johnson

Look at this link:
I remembered the "Crazy Mixed-Up Song" right away, too.
We used to have this Mitch Miller album, and I remember singing along to "Be Kind To Your Web Footed Friends" while marching around the living room.
Hope this helps.
Lol ... oh, I'd PAY to see video footage of THAT!!! (lol) Yep, if you grew up singing along with Mitch, it seems this one came back to you right away! (kk)

Weren't Peter Lind Hayes and Mary on some old panel shows like To Tell the Truth or Match Game or something like that? I know I know those names. Other than the "be kind to your web footed friends" part, I don't remember the rest of the song.
Sounds like Peter and Mary (who were husband and wife, by the way) were pretty much TV regulars in the '50's ... check out this Wikipedia entry:
Click here: Peter Lind Hayes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In addition to a couple of television series, Peter and Mary sang the original "See The USA in Your Chevrolet" jingle before Dinah Shore took it over in 1952. While they don't mention "To Tell The Truth", it appears that Peter Lind Hayes appeared on the original pilot of the TV Game Show "The Match Game" back in 1962.

And, here's a clip of them on "What's My Line" (where they were celebrity mystery guests)
Click here: YouTube - Peter Lind Hayes & Mary Healey--What's My Line (kk)

Peter Lind Hayes and Mary Healy are possibly best known for appearing on stage and in films circa the early 1950s. They're both in "The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T" with Hans Conreid and a Dr. Seuss screenplay, complete with a musical score. It's a curiosity you either love or despise, and I'm one of the ones who just loves it. PLH and MH play Tommy Rettig's parents - Hayes sings "Dream Stuff" as the custodian within the kid's dream. It got an embarrassed laugh from the 2002 audience at the Music Box Theatre. Check "Peter and Mary" out on imdb.
Click here: IMDb Search
Bob Rashkow

I thought you'd find this link interesting. Crazy Mixed-Up Song was played in the 60s at the end of every show of Sing along with Mitch. Also, according to this link, it is a parody of this famous patriotic song, which had various versions including Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue!
The Wikipedia article says, in part ...
Many other sets of lyrics, patriotic and otherwise, have been written for the last strain. Two of the most widely known such sets begin with the words "Three cheers for the red white and blue" and "Be kind to your web-footed friends". The "web-footed friends" parody, was sung at the end of every episode of the popular 1960s TV series
Sing Along with Mitch[3]. It was recorded by Homer and Jethro in 1955 as "Crazy Mixed Up Song" [4]. It was also heard in the Tiny Toon Adventures episode Hollywood Plucky, and an episode of Sesame Street; these parody lyrics are themselves are well-known enough to have spawned many other parodies of their own.
Be kind to your web-footed friends
For a duck may be somebody's mother
Be kind to your friends in the swamp
Where the weather is very, very damp [pronounced to rhyme with "swamp"]
Now, you may think that this is the end...
WELL, IT IS! [abrupt cut to closing credits]
Alternate ending: Be kind to the camel in the zoo, Because his hump might be hiding your brother (this replaces the ending two lines.)
I did a YouTube search, figuring for sure that I would find an old "Sing Along With Mitch" television clip featuring the gang singing this off into the closing credits ... but no such luck. Meanwhile, Tom Diehl DID track down a copy of the Mitch Miller version that was included on the first "Sing Along With Mitch" album. However, our "web-footed friends" segment is barely even noticeable ... all of the emphasis is on the opening track of the medley "Bell-Bottom Trousers". Knowing that MY family was one of those who sang along with Mitch, this is most likely where I heard it growing up. Finding out that it's STILL being used (in Disney pieces, Sesame Street and the Tiny Toons Movie) absolutely blows me away!!! Who'd have EVER thought?!?!? (kk)

Seems like the Mitch Miller version didn't mention "Crazy Mixed Up Song" by that title but rather referred to it as "Be Kind To Your Web-Footed Firiends".... to me, that just isn't the same as the Homer and Jethro tune.
In fact, the album track is called "Bell Bottom Trousers / Be Kind To Your Web-Footed Friends".
Tom Diehl
If what everybody else is saying is true ... which is that Mitch regularly featured this at the close of his television program ... it may have simply been a familiar-feeling after-thought to take it on to the end of his "Bell Bottom Trousers" recording ... especially since that track was also closing his first album. (That'd be MY guess anyway!) Seems like most of the people writing in today best recognize this as "Be Kind To Your Web-Footed Friends". (kk)
>>>Be Kind To Your Web-Footed Firiends (Tom Diehl)
It's probably better known without my typo in it LOL
Tom D.

Hey Kent,
I believe that the writer of "A Crazy Mixed Up Song" is Charles Randolph Grean ("Quenton's Theme" the theme from the TV show, "Shadows of the Night").
Charles was A&R for RCA for many years and was noted for his novelty songs (and thus, a hero of mine). "Never Been Kissed". "The Thing".
He managed Bobby Darin early on and I believe he produced the Spike Jones recording of "By the Beautiful Sea" - And just WHAT are those musicians singing? Charles RIP. He was a good friend to me.
Paul Evans
It WAS co-written by Charles Randolph Grean (before he scored a Top Ten Hit with "Quentin's Theme" from "Dark Shadows" (starring Jonathin Frid as vampire Barnabas Collins !) Talk about your novelty tie-ins ... Grean was ALSO married to Betty Johnson, who scored another one of my childhood favorites, "The Little Blue Man"! (kk)

>>>Then I found this:

Click here: Music You (Possibly) Won't Hear Anyplace Else: Novel Novelties--Crazy Mixed Up Song, The Disorderly Orderly, Dragn ... Unfortunately the link to play this tune has since been disabled ... and I couldn't find an email address to contact Lee Hartsfeld (kk)
Well, FH Reader David Lewis tracked Lee down ... and I copied him in on today's posting. So imagine my surprise when I heard back from him earlier today!!! (kk)
Thanks! Interesting post.
I do have a more recent posting of the song at my blog (mp3 still active):
But I see you got a file from the master of novelties himself!
As for the version you heard growing up, I wouldn't be surprised if it's the Mitch Miller version. It's on one of the sing-along LPs (not sure which off the top of my head) and includes the chorus only.
"Be Kind to Your Web-Footed Friends" is the title.
I suspect that Charles Grean combined two songs to create "Crazy Mixed-Up Song." He was a very accomplished public-domain swiper, needless to say. He had a long association with Merv Griffin, producing Griffin's hits with the Freddy Martin Orchestra and writing at least one ("Never Been Kissed"). He produced (and, I think, arranged) Merv's classic Halloween single on Mercury, "House of Horrors," which is in one of my Halloween "slaylists" for this year.
(Apologies if you know all of this already!)
I'll get back to you with the Mitch LP title. It showed up on a couple best-ofs for Mitch, and I'll bet the farm it's on YouTube under "Be Kind to...."
Great to hear from you , Lee. The response to our recent posting blew me away. Amazing how many people remember this song! Hope you'll continue to drop in from time to time! (kk)

Have you checked with your parents / siblings about your source for Crazy Mixed Up Song? Maybe they used to play it when you were very young, so that it became a stealth memory for you. As one writer mentioned, it may have been in oral tradition for some time before ever being recorded, like Kumbaya. Or, maybe you had it on a Disney Golden Record when you were 4 and just don't recall it. I remember Disney records, in 78 rpm, one of which was a narration of the story "Treasure Island". Must have been 4 or 5 years old at the time, and I can still quote pieces of dialogue from it, but I don't ever remember actually putting it on the turntable.

Rick Barr
Unfortunately, that's the problem ... parents and siblings are all gone now ... "there's nobody left to ask". (You have NO idea how many times THAT'S been a problem for me these last few years!!!) Sadly, in that respect, I'm officially the end of the line!

What amazes me is how many OTHER people ALSO remembered hearing this song ... or, after reading of my quest, remembered some long-forgotten childhood memories of their own. I keep saying it and saying it ... Don't EVER Deny The Power Of Music ... there's just NOTHING else quite like it! (kk)

>>>I think the song was in summer-camp tradition before Grean & Javits wrote it down, though I have no proof of that. (Dr. Demento)
I never heard A Crazy Mixed-up Song on the radio or a recording, but when I became the Scout leader for my son's and daughter's troops, EVERY large gathering included the singing of this song, as well as a couple of other silly faves. It is still being sung here at scout meetings in the northeast. Maybe because we have so much water???? and ducks????
Shelley J. Sweet-Tufano

As a small child, I heard this with lyrics that began:Oh, don't kick that fly in the legCause it might be some little fly's motherIn fact, my mother sang it around the house. Now I'm wondering where she got it ...
David Lewis

Hi Kent --
I never had a reason to contact you before, because I never had anything I thought I could add to the voluminous amount of information that your readers seem to possess. However, your piece on "A Crazy Mixed-Up Song" piqued my interest.
I was born in 1942, so it came out just about when I was getting interested in music, and I specifically remember getting in front of my class and teaching the song to the students (we must have had a very lenient instructor).

Anyway, none of the versions that you featured was the one with which I was familiar, because none of them had the fourth line right (or at least the way I learned it). It was not "in the middle of the night" but, rather, "and it rained all day that night". When you think of it, it makes more sense that way because it makes less sense that way, if you get my drift. There were several other minor variations (a word here and there) but that was the most glaring difference.
Dick Adler
Lecanto FL

My father used to love to sing that "Crazy Mixed-Up Song" (though he had a somewhat different melody). I always assumed he and the other GI's he served with in the Aleutian Islands sang it in World War II.That would make it older than the versions you played, though. Can't say for sure.

-- Ron Smith
Sounds like this one's been around for damn near forever! And in any variety of lyric versions, too! (I've told this story before and NEVER had a response from anyone else who remembered the same thing ... but when "American Pie" first came out, this guy I used to work with got ALL pissed off because he says that he and his buddies used to sing the "Bye, bye, Miss American Pie ... drove my Chevy to the levy but the levy was dry" line for AGES at their old hunting lodge ... and I had every reason to believe him because

A) he wasn't at ALL a musical guy ...
and B) the song was literally BRAND NEW ... it had JUST come out on the radio. He seemed incensed that somebody could steal a familiar chorus like that and turn it into their own hit record ... and make money doing so!
Yet in ALL these years since (38 now since "American Pie" first hit the charts), I've never met or heard from one single person who could corroborate this story. When you consider all the attention Don McLean's Ode To Buddy Holly got at the time, I have ALWAYS wondered about the origins of this catchy chorus! (kk)