April's Disgruntled Employee of the Month: Kerby Wheeler
Gary Newbrunswick: Congratulations, Kerby.
Kerby Wheeler: Thanks, Gary.
GN: How long have you been the official jingle writer for Amalgamated Humor?
KW: I was hired as the company's first jingle writer at the age of 26, that was 1938.
GN: Wow. You've been with the company a long time. What was the first jingle you wrote?
KW: To get a laugh that's a real bang-zoomer, Buy a gag from Amalgamated Humor!
GN: Yeah, that one's a classic. It must be hard coming up with lots of things to rhyme with "humor."
KW: Not at first it wasn't. There was: If you want a good gag, I've heard a rumor, The best ones to buy are from Amalgamated Humor! after that there was: If your gal's a real late bloomer, buy the inflatable brasserie from Amalgamated Humor! Then, I rhymed it with fumer, loomer, groomer, boomer, broomer...
KW: (continuing) ...doom and gloomer, voom-vroomer, and finally If you want to laugh so hard you'll cure that tumor, Buy a product from Amalgamated Humor! The surgeon general at the time came down on us for that one. Mr. White (the old Mr. White, rest in peace) suggested maybe it would be OK to rhyme the jingles with things other than the company name.
GN: Good idea.
KW: So then I came up with: For a gift that's cheap, but never tacky Get an Amalgamated Humor product, they're endorsed by Cap'n Wacky.
GN: Kind of a mouthful.
KW: Shut up.
GN: Sorry. So, were any of the eras you had to write in harder than any of the others?
KW: Well, they all presented different challenges. It wasn't easy to convince people they should be buying novelty items during World War II, but I tried my darndest.
GN: What was one of the jingles you wrote during that time?
KW: Take your mind off our boys over seas, Fighting Tojo or the lousy Nazis, Forgetting your sorrows - it's a breeze! Buy a dribble glass, it's sure to please.
GN: I imagine the late 60s/early 70s were also tough for you.
KW: Heck no, that was one of the easiest times to be a jingle writer.
GN: Really, I would have thought that would be a weird time for someone from an older generation.
KW: Well, it was weird, but easy to write for. I just copied that psychedelic nonsense that was all the rage at the time. Listen to this: Floating down raspberry highways, on a cloud made of monkeys and leeches, Nobody cries on a flashing orange elbow - Amalgamated Humor. That was the sort of thing. I just made that one up, I don't remember any of the stuff I wrote then, it was just a bunch of nonsense.
GN: Do you write other music, outside of our jingles?
KW: Well, I've tried to, but I've gotten so used to this short form it's hard for me to write anything longer. I tried to write and opera once, and the whole thing only came out to be three minutes and 29 seconds.
GN: You've had a long and great career with the company. Do you expect to have a lot more swell jingles coming up?
KW: No, I'll probably be dead soon.
GN: True enough.