Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Song Title:
"Goodnight Binkie"
Artist: George Formby
Search Term: "Binkie"

George Formby was a musical comedian who was apparently hugely popular in England in the '30s and '40s. As my reactions to musical comedy generally range from disinterest to outright rage (PEOPLE DO NOT SPONTANEOUSLY BURST INTO ORNATELY CHOREOGRAPHED SONG), it's not surprising that I'd never previously heard of him, though for all I know my ignorance betrays a sizable gap in my pop-culture knowledge equivalent to never having caught wind of James Cagney or Doris Day. It really ain't my bag. The most interesting information I can find about him is that, according to Wikipedia, Formby accumulated a stable of odd catchphrases to rival Fred Willard's character in A Mighty Wind: "'It's turned out nice again!' as an opening line; 'Ooh, mother!' when escaping from trouble; and a timid 'Never touched me!' after losing a fistfight. ... George often exclaimed, 'Eeh! Well, I'll go to our house!' or, 'Mother!'"

This is a blandly pleasant lullaby Formby croons to Binkie Stuart in the 1936 comedy Keep Your Seats, Please. Though Formby was known for playing an unusual instrument known as a banjolele, this song has a more soporific music-box arrangement. One standout attribute: The creepy line "All good children go to heaven," besides forcing the nonsensical deployment of the only word lyricists ever use to rhyme with "heaven" ("Close your eyes while I count seven"), suggests a narrator who is primed to smother the innocent Binkie in his sleep in order to keep him from growing into a sinful, hellbound adult. I'll just go ahead and presume that's what happens in the film, since the poster accompanying its IMDB entry is enough to make me squirm with boredom.

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