Ugly Bug Burl

What group of middle-aged adults doesn’t have an after-dinner discussion that eventually turns to Burl Ives? My wife and I went to a dinner party on Sunday night that was hosted by some friends from church. Sure enough, somebody made a reference to Burl and it wasn’t me.

One of the other guests sings in a barbershop quartet. He told us about the time his group auditioned for a play. The only time they could do the audition was during the Rossini Festival in downtown Knoxville. They found a quiet spot in the lobby of the Tennessee Theatre where they could sing for the director of the play.

The quartet was cast in the Morristown Theatre Guild’s production of “Summer Magic,” which was adapted from a 1963 live-action Disney movie. One memorable night, Richard M. Sherman attended the play and received the key to the city.

Most of us at the dinner party were unfamiliar with the film, which starred Hayley Mills and Burl Ives. When my wife found out that the movie included the song “The Ugly Bug Ball” I promised to see if we could find the film online.

Another guest at the party is a regular reader of my blog. He laughed and looked right at me when Burl’s name was mentioned. Knowing what he was thinking, I grabbed my phone and scrolled to the MP3s that are stored on its memory chip. I played my copy of “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” to which I had added the audio greeting below:

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