15 Sep 2014
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These YouTube Videos Will Make YouSmile

Pick yourself up and then put on a happy face.

I specifically asked that this column be posted on a Saturday, because if you are surfing the Net and checking out Patch on a Saturday, you may have some time to kill. This column is about killing time.

When I’m working late at night—or even in the middle of the afternoon—and feel headed into a foul mood, I’ll take a break and play one of these YouTube videos that put a smile on my face.

“Put on a Happy Face” is from Bye Bye Birdie but isn’t one of my favorites. (I just wanted to use that title in my sub-headline.)

I also used Jerome Kern’s Pick Yourself Up in the sub-headline. Pick Yourself Up was from a 1936 Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie, Swing Time.

Kern’s “The Way You look Tonight” is from the same movie and won the Academy Award for best song in 1936.

When I had a very stressful enforcement and regulator job outside of Washington, DC, I would often work late writing reports and doing research. To put me in a better frame of mind after all the other offices and cubicles became empty I’d put on Beegie Adair’s jazz trio’s Jerome Kern CD and all the tension of the day would vanish. Pick Yourself Up was the second cut on the CD. 

Seventy years after the movie Swing Time, there is a YouTube video of Diana Krall during a rehearsal doing Pick Yourself Up. I now have that one bookmarked.

The first YouTube video I ever bookmarked is not an obscure one. I think it has had over 26 million hits last I looked. It is a flash mob of professional dancers staged by Belgium national television at the Antwerp train station and involves train announcements suddenly stopping and Julie Andrews singing Do Re Mi from The Sound of Music. When someone first sent this to me there were times I would watch three or four times in a row. Half the fun was looking at the reactions from the morning commuters.  

I have one other flash mob video bookmarked that I just watch around Christmas. It is one of the more popular videos with 37 milion views of a flash mob choir doing the Hallelujah Chorus at a shopping center food court.

If you shop at the Schnucks’s Boars Head Deli, you'll know one of the ham products is called Black Forest. In 1965, German musical arranger Horst Jankowski had an instrumental hit in the U.S. called Walk in the Black Forest. 

So I go to a Schnucks store and when they ask me at the deli what I want, I’ll say, “I’d like to take a walk in the Black Forest,” making a reference to the Jankowski record. No one has ever indicated they know what I'm referring to.

Too bad. It was a fun song and could take your mind off Vietnam or Cardinals going from World Series champs to the second division in one year. A couple of years later, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass covered the song. 

I happened to find a vocal recording of Walk in the Black Forest by a German choral group. My last name is German, but I am really more aligned with my mother’s side of the family which is Scottish and Welsh. I have no idea what the words are to the song, but I found it fun to listen to it on a You Tube video by the Fischerchoir. I have been known to listen to this four or five times consecutively.

Then I found a YouTube version in English by jazz singer Salena Jones. Jones was born Joan Elizabeth Shaw, but took the stage name Salena as a tribute to singers Sarah Vaughn and Lena Horne. She had a number of albums in the '60s and '70s but was maybe better known in Europe than in the United States. This version is unique. 

I happened to stumble across a YouTube video of a German Mountain Band performing a tribute to Herb Alpert. This band had everything, English horns, bass horns, saxophones, clarinets plus trumpet and trombone sections. I have to say that their version is probably better than Alpert’s originals. However, I found other YouTube videos of the same band and wasn't impressed with their musical selections. But all the band’s members are clearly having a great time with Herb Alpert.

Finally, a friend of mine in Ireland sent me a video of a comedy sketch I think is from a German television program. The fact I don’t understand what they are saying does not take away from the comedy one bit with an iPad. Anytime someone gets on me about my computer skills, I forward this YouTube link to them. Maybe you’d like to use it too. 

So I hope I helped you kill some time at your computer—and put a smile on your face. Let a smile be your umbrella.

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