There are many, many things I don’t have on my iPod. For example, I don’t have the Bozo album that I owned when I was a kid. I can’t recall much about it except it had something to do with making bitter batter better. Maybe the old clown was involved in some kind of pancake fiasco. That would be just like him.

Before long another record came along and replaced Bozo in my affections. It was A Day in the Life of a Dinosaur and it told the story of a young time traveler—a Terra Naut—who journeyed back to the age of reptiles. There he encountered an avuncular Brontosaurus named Bronty (imaginative, these dinosaurs), who sang songs about what it was like to be a huge prehistoric reptile with a brain the size of a walnut. I particularly remember the title song—a ditty about dinosaur eating disorders—and a ballad called “Pity the Poor Old Fossil.”

Phil Foster provided the voice of Bronty. For years I mistook him for Phil Harris, the voice of Baloo the Bear in The Jungle Book, and I was puzzled because I could not recognize a shred of Baloo in Bronty. (Turns out that Phil Foster was a comedian who later showed up on Laverne and Shirley.)

The record ends in a bloodbath. There’s a little foreshadowing in a song called “Crazy Mixed Up Allosaurus,” and sure ’nuff, the allosaurus (whose name, I presume, is Ally) finally snaps. “For God’s sake get out of there,” begs a voice from the Terra Naut’s mission control. The last three minutes of the album are nothing but blood-curdling screams and roars and Bronty’s frenzied cries of “Not the face! Not the face!” By the time it ended I was always in a fetal position under the couch, bug-eyed and shaking. My parents had to use a hot dog on a string to lure me out. But I’d always head right back to the record player and start the record all over again.

I understand that Werner Herzog is work on an adaptation, to be called Dino Man.

Okay, okay, I kid. In truth, I recall that the album ended with a poignant farewell between Bronty and the Terra Naut as the kid returned to his own time. Actually, I found that to be a little disturbing, too. Once the time traveler returned home, I figured, Bronty was not only dead but petrified. And I didn’t think there was any room in heaven for dinosaurs—not even ones that can sing.

I haven’t heard A Day in the Life of a Dinosaur in many, many years, but I would like give it a listen, just to see if anything remained of the grooves it once cut into my mind, or if they’ve all eroded away. A little web searching shows me that it is actually available on CD. No bonus tracks, though.

Another album from my youth is The Impossible Dream, the story of the 1967 Boston Red Sox, who made it all the way to the World Series before losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Seven. I grew up Maine, which is solid Red Sox country, although there was always a Yankee fan or two around to point out the team’s failures. For example, I got my hair cut at Pat’s Barbershop in downtown Augusta, and one of the barbers there was a Yankees fan. Pat’s was a classic old-time shop with a couple of hand-cranked chairs, a big plate-glass window that looked out on water street and a collection of magazines that always seemed to include a copy of Argosy with an article about Bigfoot. There were only two barbers there—Pat and the Yankees fan, who was a younger guy with a big grin and slicked-back hair. He would always make some comment about the Yankees as he cut my hair. I probably took it stoically. You should never argue with a guy holding scissors, anyway.

I was in second grade during the 1967 World Series and I distinctly remember that my elementary school piped one of the games, probably Game Seven, over the intercom during school. That summer, my parents had taken me on first visit to Fenway Park. It was a night game (a little Internet research shows me it must have been July 26, a Thursday night). We had seats in the bleachers. By the late innings my brother and I were falling asleep so we left with the game tied. My father had to listen to the end on the radio back at the hotel. (The Red Sox rallied to beat the California Angels in the bottom of the ninth.)

I still have my Impossible Dream album somewhere. It has includes plenty of snippets from the season’s radio broadcasts, plus some “poetry” intoned by announcer Ken Coleman. “They called them the Cardiac Kids,” is one line I remember. Also one about rookie pitcher Billy Rohr knocking on the door to the hall of fame. (Rohr carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning early in the season.) But the album’s highlight is the Carl Yastrzemski song. It went like this:

Carl Yastrzemski,
Carl Yastrzemski,
Carl Yastrzemski,
The man we call Yaz.
We love him!

It’s a song that Al Jolson could have belted out, down on one knee, arms outstretched. It demands to be sung through a megaphone—although anyone who actually did sing it through a megaphone would be inviting a terrible retribution. It was insidiously catchy, and I bet a lot of people in New England can probably sing it today, and once they start singing it I bet they can’t stop.

Despite the song, we did love Yaz. 1967 was the year that he won the American League’s batting triple crown (meaning he got the top RBIs, batting average and home runs). No one in baseball has done it since. Sometime after the season ended a truck with all of Yaz’s trophies went on a tour of New England. It made a stop at a mall parking lot in Augusta and all us residents trooped out to see what the great man had achieved. I remember seeing his gold glove and maybe a silver bat, too. As the song said, he was “the idol of Boston, Mass!” Augusta, Maine, too.

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