First up we have "Imagine That," which is a song I posted last year for the significant anniversaries of September 24th, but I'm posting it again as part of my year-long project today because it's one of my very favorite Ernie songs ever.
Okay, the next song, "Do De Rubber Duck" comes with a warning: It is one of the catchiest songs ever written. For better or worse, it will most likely stick with you for several hours, at least.
I can't explain why "Imagine That" initially made such an impression on me when I saw it as a small child, but it has stuck with me through the years, to the point that whenever I hear the phrase "imagine that" or any variation on the phrase "tip of the hat," I involuntarily start singing it, at least in my mind. There's something really transcendent about Jim Henson's vocal performance here; he really captures the pure, innocent wonder of childhood. Whether it's for that reason or because it's so evocative of my own childhood memories (or both) listening to this song just makes me feel safe and happy.
I really love Ernie's "knight in shining armor" costume, especially the color scheme. One thing about it that's kind of strange, though: It appears that nobody bothered to build him any legs, so he seems to be riding side-saddle. Or maybe there was a verse omitted from the song in which Ernie sings about imagining himself as a mutant breed of centaur.
Memory is a strange, selective thing. "Imagine That" is embedded deep in the inner core of my being ... always unforgettable, instantly recognizable, immediately evocative. By contrast, while I can now remember seeing "Do De Rubber Duck" during the '80s as well, that memory retrieval was a slow, uncertain process. At first, I wasn't even sure that it predated Jim Henson's death, but it does. One would think that seeing Ernie's feet would be pretty memorable, but no, apparently not.
In "Do De Rubber Duck," Ernie's bathtub seems to span the entire width of the room. How awesomely impractical, and vice versa.
I had some second thoughts about posting the latter song because its infectiousness is potentially dangerous. On the other hand, I love it so very, very much. It's so happy and so silly. And yet ... if I'm not mistaken (and I could very well be), it's in a minor key, which seems to me to lend it a kind of fragility, to suggest a dark side of sorrow just at the edge of the bright, joyful silliness. Enjoy the happy times with your friends in your giant bathtub, because the happy times may be as ephemeral as the soap bubbles that improbably launch themselves into the air and float around the room during your bubble bath.
Or maybe I'm just indulging in my own pretentiousness.