Sunday, April 24, 2011

"Let the Sun Shine In" - Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Sing

#33 in an occasional series of repressed 70's memories that turn out to be true.

Ask at least 5 people to name 10 memorable Flintstones Episodes.   This could replace the Good Times Drinking Game the cast plays in Reality Bites.

In the lists that are formed, nearly everyone will list the episode where Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm become singing sensations with their hit "Let the Sunshine In."  Becoming a singing sensation was a common thread in the Flintstones universe.  I recently experienced my "Modern Stone-Age Melodies" CD coming around in the CD rotation, so I could have written this entirely about "Listen to the Rockin' Bird," the Way-Outs, "The Twitch" or why Hoagy Carmichael was still relevant in syndication. 

Then I really listened to the lyrics of (Open up your Heart) Let the Sun Shine In.  And that's why we're here.

Let's get the plot uncovered -  It is called "No Biz like Show Biz," and kicks off Season 6, 1965.
I'll let take it from there:

Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm develop remarkable musical talent, which is exploited by teen impresario Eppy Brianstone. Soon the tots have no time to their fathers, which prompt Fred and Barney to kidnap them. After a frightening police chase, Fred awakens and realizes the whole episode has been a dream.

Would you like the Flintstones better without the puns?  I know I would.
Probably also on your results list are these Season 6 contributions: Stony Curtis, The Bewitched crossover, the dream where P&B get married, spouse swapping where the Boys and the Girls move in together, and more Gazoo than anyone needed (dumb-dumb). 

You should now ask your survey participants to sing the big hit.  G'head.  Ask 'em.  we'll wait.  They'll burst out the chorus -- in a high Chipmunky mix.  The verses may be lost to them -- buried under the bed with ventriloquist puppets, rubber bed sheets, and the PSA warnings of our upbringing.

The song that P&B sing, which became the closing credits for the show in that final season, were written by Stuart Hamblen, composer of cowboy tunes and Sunday School songs, and sometimes both at the same time. 

The lyrics are
Mommy told me something all little kids [or "a little kid"] should know
It was all about the devil and I've learned to hate him so
She said he causes trouble when you let him in the room
He will never ever leave you if your heart is filled with gloom

So let the sunshine in face it with a grin
Smilers never lose and frowners never win
So let the sunshine in face it with a grin
open up your heart and let the sunshine in

When you are unhappy the devil wears a grin
But oh! he starts to running when the light comes pouring in
I know he'll be unhappy 'cos I'll never wear a frown
Maybe if we keep on smiling he'll get tired of hanging round

So let the sunshine in...etc

If I forget to say my prayers the devil jumps with glee
But he feels so awful, awful when he sees me on my knee
So if you're full of trouble and you never seem to win
Just open up your heart and let the sunshine in 

What.  in the holy.... what.  Not since "If I should die before I wake" have children's verses been more chilling.

"Smilers never Lose, and Frowners never WIN."  My whole life I heard that as "Mothers never lose, and fathers never win."  Do with that whatever you like.

Through the strenuous research it takes for me to sit here on my bed, I have learned that "(Open up your Heart) Let the Sunshine In" had come and gone by 1965 -- it had made number 8 on the Billboard chart in 1959.  This is the equivalent of, say, Butterfly Kisses showing up on the Simpsons.  You're not sure if it's ironic, satirical, or just cheap.  The artists were his very own Sunday School singers, and yes, they are sped up to sound like little kids (who are cartoon rodents)

Most versions I found (and there were many more than I expected) used this lispy-toddler musical style, but you can find it recorded in a normal voice as well.  I have included several covers below.
Flintstones- wooziewoowoo
The Lancers - Andy Williamsy
The Flemming Fold  (despite the olde-tymy look, this is a recent rendition.  The Flemmings are available for hire)
Frente! - I would now like to hear Frente! versions of Smokey the Bear and I'm No Fool.

The robots at Wikipedia claim that the Flintstones episode used a different lyric, but I can not prove it.  These are the identical lyrics on my soundtrack CD, which started this exploration on a recent Saturday afternoon, and I find no other set of lyrics on the Internet -- the only resource I bother with anymore.

The last mystery unsolved, then, is... why is Pebbles wearing green?

And why isn't Ann-Margrock on my CD?   

1 comment:

  1. Hope it's okay to resurrect an old post, but I just heard that Frente version today and it brought back the memories. I definitely remember the Flintstones version having the Mothers/Fathers line instead of smilers and frowners. (May have been Mommies/Daddies, perhaps?) There are several versions of the clip on youtube, and all of them have smilers and frowners. However, see the comments below this one about this elusive line. We're not the only ones who remember it! :-)


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