Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Robert Clary "Alouette"

I've mentioned before that I was a strangely adult-like small child.

In the past I've attributed it to things like being the oldest child in my family or the youngest child in the neighborhood, or being a very verbal child, or having parents that modeled an older-school behavior.

One thing that definitely played a role was TV, but I don't know if this is a cause or an effect.

Today, if my kids want to watch TV, there are endless choices.  Endless age-appropriate choices.  We have 4 PBS stations.  Plus DVDs.  Plus the internet and Netflix.  Our kids can watch kid shows.

When I was a kid, the choices were not so abundant.  And if there wasn't a kids show on TV, you watched something that wasn't a kids show.

Actually, most of my peers just went outside or to their rooms, and played.

But I loved TV of all kinds.

And thought I might have only been 7 or 8 or 9 years old, I spent hours and hours watching shows that were neither geared for my age-group, or even my decade.

The UHF channels in the afternoon would air series from the 60s that an elementary school kid in the 80s should have had no business watching.  But I loved shows like McHale's Navy and That Girl and Adam-12 and such.

I'm guessing a lot of the jokes and context and even plot sailed right over my head.  But I know I absorbed quite a bit, too.

Because when my 2nd grade teacher asked if anyone knew the song "Alouette," I said yes.

Here's why I know I was a "strangely adult-like child."

When my teacher seemed surprised that I knew the song and could sing it, she asked---pressed even---where I had heard it.

And I distinctly remember thinking that she had to think it was inappropriate and strange that suddenly the class discussion was about to be taken over by an 8 year old who was going to explain the plot-line of an episode of "Hogan's Heroes."  But explain I did, about how Lebeau (Robert Clary) was singing the song as part of a ruse to distract some Nazis during a prison camp talent show.

My teacher seemed unfazed (and now that I have a child in elementary school, I realize that teacher hear all kinds of embarrassing/inappropriate stuff from kids about things their parents do or say) by how the discussion had turned, and she went about teaching the class the song.

But I was keenly aware that most of my peers had no idea what I was talking about, and that once again, I was an 8-year old talking like---and to---an adult, not a kid.

Hear the song on Youtube.


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  2. That episode of Hogan's Hero's is my favorite because of how Lebeau sings the song. He physically turns into a bird as he interprets the song lyric. He almost looks like he will fly off stage. It is a great episode I will always remember.