A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster
I wonder how many of us old geezers remember Vicki Dougan. A show of hands here – one, two, three… sadly, not that many. Vicki was a movie actress and model in the 50s and 60s but she isn’t remembered for her film roles or even her dozens of modeling gigs. She was the inspirational body for the cartoon sex bomb, Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. This film is one of the great movie classics comparable to Casablanca, Gone With the Wind and other treasures of the silver screen. That is all well and good, but Vicki is remembered by us connoisseurs of high fashion for wearing backless dresses cut so low she displayed a new cleavage.
Now why do I bring this up you may ask but probably didn’t? It’s because her lower back was the motivation for a song by the Limelighters in 1961 and it was the chorus of that inspirational masterpiece of folk music that woke me up in the middle of the night and hung around as an earworm until morning.
The hauntingly beautiful ‘Vicki, turn your back on me’ lyric echoed through the empty corridors of my mind for hours on end. Or should I say, her end echoed through – no I was right the first time. The worst part is not that I occasionally broke out in song, but I only remembered one line and that I’m sure became annoying for anyone unfortunate enough to be near me when the mood hit. Fortunately, through the wonders of Google I was able to find that musical treasure in its entirety. I still annoy people when I sing but now it makes a little more sense.
Aside from hearing this tribute to Vicki’s bottom for hours on end there are countless other snippets of songs running in my brain. I don’t know why I have been blessed with this vast collection of single lines from thousands of songs, poems, and dirty limericks. Just lucky I guess.
I suspect though that others may not appreciate this rare talent and cries of ‘put a sock in it’ are often heard from those not so gifted.
But back to Vicki’s bottom, well not Ms. Dougan’s bottom per se but bottoms in general. I suspect learned folks like psychiatrists, psychologists and other students of the mind have known for some time that the bottom has a certain attraction for members of the opposite sex and sometimes the same sex, but we won’t get into that. In fact that attraction shows up in many ways in jeans advertising. In Playboy magazine it shows up on every third page.
Bottoms often appear in the lyrics of popular music. Even Canada’s own, Anne Murray, sings about this fascination in her timeless rendition of that old classic I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter. ‘Kisses on the bottom, I’ll be glad I’ve got ‘em’ is in the very first verse. That seemed a bit kinky even to me, but what do I know about music.
I’m sure that bottoms are celebrated in many operas but my Italian and German is a bit rusty and I don’t know for sure. I do know years ago sopranos were often hired by the pound and some of them made a lot of money. I’m sure that very fact came up many times in the musical score. After one performance of Verdi’s Aida at the Met they had to rebuild the stage
Elizabethan scholars, of which I am one, were and still are, well aware of the bottom phenomenon. Even the Bard himself wrote about it in his tragedy. Julius Caesar. Marc Antony’s oration at Caesar’s funeral comes to mind.
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your rears. That’s odd! I just noticed the ‘r’ in ‘rears’ in my copy appears to have been added later in ballpoint pen.
I have watched the ladies bath scene in the movie version of Much Ado About Nothing seventeen, possibly eighteen, times and noticed there was much ado about something and that something was bottoms – but I digress.
seem to have drifted a long way from Vicki’s bottom, but what does it mean to
us, as Canadians, today? Not much really except that we like them, but to our
neighbours to the south bottoms mean far more. They actually went so far as to
put a blond wig on one and elect him President of the United States. (I don’t
plan on going down there in the foreseeable future).