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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Kodak’s 1960s’ “Turn Around” Commercial
By Nicholas Stix

Via ghfowler, with a tip ‘o the hat to Lyrr’s Blog.

This is a classic 1960s’ Kodak ad, which I vaguely recall from my childhood. I always appreciated the song’s beauty, but now that I have a son growing up and almost as tall as me, I find the music and pictures even more poignant.

The song, “Where are You Going?” was written by Malvina Reynolds and Alan Greene. Officially, Harry Belafonte is also credited, but according to Charles H. Smith and Nancy Schimmel, Reynolds maintained that Belafonte’s involvement was limited to misunderstanding the original lyrics, which spoke of “Little sunsuits and petticoats.”

When Harry Belafonte recorded the song, he sang “Little dirndls and petticoats” instead of “Little sunsuits and petticoats,” saying that you don’t wear petticoats with sunsuits. “I wasn’t thinking of wearing,” said Malvina. “I was thinking of ironing.” Since dirndls aren’t popular any more, people may want to revert to the original line.

G.H. Fowler believes that the singer is Ed Ames; commenter 1964inahlee1968 argues that the singer is someone else bearing vocal similarities to Ames.



I recently heard a stunning version sung by the late Rosemary Clooney, on Jonathan Schwartz’ weekend show on NPR’s New York City station, WNYC, at 93.9 FM.

The media were no less ruthless in 1960 than they are now, but at least then, they understood the importance of at least projecting the image of decency. As La Rochefoucald said, “Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.” But under racial socialism, vice is a free rider, and has kicked virtue off the latter’s own bus. Knowledge of this state of affairs takes the commercial beyond an occasion for nostalgia and poignancy, to an occasion for grieving.


Where are You Going?
Music by Alan Greene
Lyrics by Malvina Reynolds
(Version sung by Harry Belafonte and the singer in the Kodak commercial.)

Where are you going, my little one, little one,
Where are you going, my baby, my own?
Turn around and you're two,
Turn around and you're four,
Turn around and you're a young girl going out of my door.

Turn around, turn around,
Turn around and you're a young girl going out of my door.

Where are you going, my little one, little one,
Little dirndls and petticoats, where have you gone?
Turn around and you're tiny,
Turn around and you're grown,
Turn around and you're a young wife with babes of your own.

Turn around, turn around,
Turn around and you're a young wife with babes of your own.


Malvina Reynolds’s Original Version
(Note that it has verses for a son and a daughter.)

Where are you going, my little one, little one,
Where are you going, my sonny, my own?
Turn around and you’re two,
Turn around and you’re four,
Turn around and you’re a young man going out of my door.

Where are you going, my little one, little one,
Little sunsuits and petticoats, where have you gone?
Turn around and you’re tiny,
Turn around and you’re grown,
Turn around and you’re a young wife with babes of your own.

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