It is with heartfelt sadness we at The Saturday Funnies grieve over the news that one of the genuinely funny men in Chattanooga’s glorious history of belly laughs, Luke Morin, died on Tuesday after living a life as full and happy as he so richly deserved. Luke lived for every moment and it is the endless memories of some of his world-class capers that will keep a smile on the faces of his many, many friends for as long as each shall live.
Luke discovered his own humor at an early age but when it was blended with some of the other true masters, such as those who have gone before like Billy Phillips, George Von Cannon, Dr. Jack Camp, Oop Smith, Guy Willingham and those still among us – Toto McGinness, Prescott Richter, Garnett Smith and Frank Fowler – oh mercy me, the priceless times that were simply sterling.
Luke’s crowd were gifted practical jokers and why we must save the best shenanigans for a “Celebration of Life” soon to come, “The Legend of the Lady and her Beehive” was one of his earliest adventures.
A couple of years after his Darlington years, Luke let it slip he’d wrangled a date with the “Miss North Alabama Poultry Queen.” Not only that, she’d agreed to drive almost two hours to meet our hero at the South Broad Krystal, which was just a skip and a jump from The Broad Street Drive-In Picture Show.
Unwittingly, Luke shared that it took two and a half angora goats to make the Queen’s sweater, this despite its plunging neckline, but – no! – her biggest claim was that her beehive hairdo, was said to be the biggest east of Arkansas. You’ve never seen such, it was said, and when she did her on-stage strut, the rumor had it her spike-heeled self was so tottery, the women in the crowd were scared she’d fall backwards she was carrying so much hairspray tonnage in her beehive while the men knew she’d fall forward due to her overly-ample chest. Everybody knew she’s never once seen her toes.
Luke had talked it up like P.T. Barnum so on the afternoon of the big day, a bunch of his confederates were laughing over what Luke’s debut into life with the glamorous types would be like. They were lounging around the Willingham pool when one said he’d passed the drive-in marque and that night’s feature was “The Return of the Batwoman,” and all the Lotharios rolled their eyes, knowing such boredom indicated the smooching would start earlier than usual.
Then somebody asked if bats didn’t have some kind of sonar or radar that kept them from banging into roofs or trees or rocks during the night. Calder, the font of knowledge, allowed that was true and then came the question, “Can they dodge poofed-up hair!” and everyone laughed but only too briefly. No, the crowd resembled a cluster of young Indian braves, all on the alert.
“Let’s get Dad’s duck boat, drive down to Haletown and slip into the bat cave… During the daytime the bats hang from the ceiling in the cave and you can pick ‘em like grapes if you’re wearing leather gloves … what say we get about a dozen and put in a croaker sack. When the bat woman screams, one of us can slip a hand underneath the speaker and turn it as loud as it will go.
“Then … we untie the knot in the sack and toss it into the dark inside of the car …. then all we gotta’ do is push hard again the outside of the doors of Mr. Morin’s car so they can be opened from the inside. Remember, too, boys … we got to slap the windows about every 15 seconds to keep the bats agitated.”
Can you believe Luke’s friends were this heinous? They were about nine in the big Chevy Suburban that watched for the rendezvous at the Krystal. About 8:30 dusk was begging to settle and comes our hero Luke. He stood in front of the plate-glass window, curling his jacket collar like the movie star Marlon Brando and, whew! he must have reached for his hip-pocket comb 17 times.
Soon the two-tone Thunderbird pulls in the lot -- aqua and pink – and while it was two or three years old, no doubt it had a purpose in show business. The Poultry Queen honked and waved, pulled into a parking space and, when he got out and stood still, parts of her kept moving. Her beehive hairdo, so help me, was as plumped and pooched so it was longer and fuller than the top half of her body – vertical or horizontally – makes no difference … it was that summer’s biggest natural wonder.
From what we could see she’s borrowed her little brother’s cut-off Levis, no telling how many shoe horns she’s used to get ‘em on, and she had on her signature rhinestone spiked heels under well-tanned and slick-lotioned legs (you remember that girl in ‘Cool Hand Luke’ that was washing her car?). I’m guessing the spikes added eight inches to her height but how would you ever measure? And don’t you think I could hardly wait to see her walk through the drive-in’s aptly named pea gravel to use the ladies’ room.
Casanova opened the passenger side of his sparkling chariot and off to the picture show the two did then go with smiles of effervescent Pepsodent. We decided to wait 10 more minutes, the lad holding the croaker sack cutting the silence. “These bats are beeping or something … it is making me a little nervous …” which resulted in such a new wave of hilarity that a “pit stop” at the Krystal was unavoidable.
None of the “Broad Street Raiders” had ever paid as much as what it took to get into the drive-in. In a big-body Suburban nobody can hide in the trunk. The ticket taker said he didn’t get discounts when he rented the movies “so I don’t give … I notice you don’t have any girls with you … ya’ll ain’t up to something, are ya?”
Well, the parking was about full, but luck handed us a spot on the very back row, one back and one down from Luke’s father car,” quickly tabbed “The Lincoln of Love.” We made it through the previews and the little jingle, “Let’s all meet at the concession stand.” No worries there … Luke had boasted loud and long about his prized picnic basket, with its chilled rose’, and soon the feature began.
We scouted the perimeter pretty well. There were two couples in a pickup that was parked backwards with the speaker attached to their cooler and there was no doubt we were deep into lover’s lane. Lots of windows fogged quickly, and soon giggles and squeals and a hardy laugh or two rent the darkness.
About two minutes until kickoff, came a voice. “We got this planed out well, four to each side of the car and the other to drape the windshield (which is terrorist lingo for “Never let the terrified get a glimpse of freedom”) but we ain’t talked about the escape.” Long pause, and then somebody offered, “The minute Luke manages to get through a door or a window, everybody haul it hard back to Suburban and we scratch off … Don’t tarry now, boys … Luke ain’t given none of us a ride home.”
One who attended Auburn was reminded, “One time I took this girl who was a barrel racer in county fairs to the drive-in in Opelika. When she got in the car she had her Bible and said she promised it would be between us in the front seat the whole time … ‘Bout an hour later we were in the backseat when she sang towards the heavens, “Momma, the Bible is right where I promised it would be … but here in the back seat it’s too late to turn back now!”
At the command, “Let’s make this happen,” the Broad Street Raiders crept low towards “The Lincoln of Love.” The bagman gave the croaker sack two healthy shakes to make sure the bats had time to turn on the radars, jerked out the knot, and hurriedly tossed “the package” into the passenger floor board, slamming the door. Our boy Luke yelps, ‘What is this!” Then he adds to the Poultry Queen, “I’m afraid somebody is playing a little joke on us …”
But, no … this buzzing sound starts inside the big Lincoln and there began the havoc. The two occupants have never seen a bat, needless to add several going warp speed. Understand, the car is completely dark but then we learned it’s true; the bat’s standard equipment does work well on bee-hived hairdos.
Luke commenced to cussing, loud, angry, ferocious words. But the poultry queen starts screaming beginning from her spiked rhinestones and reverberating through her entire body, and louder than a train’s horn. It was continuous, the decibels higher and higher. The shirtless guys in the pickup got there first, certain a murder was taking place. Here the scoundrels are on both sides of the car had become motionless … the drama instantly larger than their weekly allowance. The quick thinker in the group yells, “The doors are locked from the inside, we can’t get in!”
That’s when the second guy in the pickup truck shows up with a piece of firewood … a big log! … and shattered the passenger-side front window. As if on cue, the Raiders rush Luke: “Are you okay! Are you okay, buddy!” About six women are pulling much-relieved bats from the Poultry Queen’s hair and are amazed as each cave-dweller instantly darts away
The quick thinker says loudly, “Fellas … I think they got this … they don’t need us anymore,” and walks casually towards the Suburban. The others pick up on the ploy except for one moron, who is determined to apologize for his poor judgement. Just before he finished, a cast of blue lights roars into the hurriedly emptying drive-in.
They get a radio call there has been an attempted murder. The raiders finally got the Apostle Paul into the car, gave him stern orders to shut up no matter what next, but as the Suburban drove slowly towards the exit, a police cruiser cut in front and another in back. Luck shined again, because one in the big Chevy knew a good number of the police officers by related avocation. It was explained a funny prank had gone awry and, the long and short, the Broad Street Raiders were admonished to increase their good behavior. “Oh yes sir … yes sir!”
After not many years Luke came around to remember it as one the funniest moments and, trust me on this, there were many other pranks and magical moments down through the decades when Luke was not only on the winning side, he was more times than not the ring leader. Luke Morin, hear it from me, was an American classic, and he was evermore an original.
Farewell, old son, on smooth seas with forgiving winds, until our laughter can be shared once again. Luke, you were among the greatest ever, and you and I have known a bunch of the merriest, haven’t we? I can attest that when you left us Tuesday, you were very much at the top of our class. May I say thank you.
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THE CLOCKS THAT TICK IN HEAVEN
A man died and went to Heaven. As he stood in front of the Pearly Gates, he saw a huge wall of clocks behind him. He asked, "What are all those clocks for?"
St. Peter answered, "Those are Lie-Clocks. Everyone who has ever been on earth has a Lie-Clock. Every time you lie, the hands on your clock move."
"Oh", said the man. "Whose clock is that?" "That's Mother Teresa's", replied St. Peter. "The hands have never moved, indicating that she never told a lie."
"Incredible", said the man. "And whose clock is that one?" St. Peter responded, "That's Abraham Lincoln's clock. The hands have moved twice, telling us that Abraham told only two lies in his entire life."
"Where's Nancy Pelosi's clock?" asked the man.
St. Peter replied, "We're using it as a ceiling fan."
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VISIT YOUR UROLOGIST VIA TELEMEDICINE
My urologist’s office called today and explained that my scheduled appointment this afternoon would now be done over the phone due to the coronavirus quarantines. One hour before the scheduled teleconference, I was instructed (via email) to administer my own urine test. This home test is approved by AMA and FDA, and you also avoid those lab tests and costly co-pays that your doctors usually tell you to get.
Here are the directions:
Simply go outside and pee in the front yard.
If ants gather: DIABETES
If you pee on your feet: PROSTATE
If it smells like barbecue: CHOLESTEROL
If your wrist hurts through the process: OSTEOARTHRITIS
If you return to your house with your pants unzipped: ALZHEIMER'S
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THIS WEEK’S BEST VIDEOS
* -- There is a young black woman who has an Internet podcast, the JayyShow, that is a hoot. Some of her viewers enticed her to listen to a 1965 song by the Righteous Brothers, “Unchained Melody.” Watch her reaction to a song that is 55 years old. Priceless. CLICK HERE.
* -- Several weeks before the coronavirus drove us inside, a 12-year-old girl in Santa Monica, Ca., named Karolina Protsenko walked into the street and played the great Celine Dion hit by ear, “My Heart Will Go On.” Note this is without music, conductor … just this gentle girl’s ear. Think she may be a prodigy? This was on March 28 and, thus far, 9,237,150 have watched this. CLICK HERE.
* - One more Karolina. She did one of Elvis Presley’s songs – “Can’t Help Falling In Love” – this has been viewed over 10 million times. This was when she was 11 years old. CLICK HERE.
* -- With current events being what they are, please take a moment to hear the legendary Paul Harvey explain “A Policeman.” CLICK HERE.
* -- “God Only Knows” affirms why many Americans are getting the wrong information and are being suckered by the losers. CLICK HERE.