This week we return to the groovy world of Scopitones to sample the work of Danyel Gérard. Born in Paris to an Armenian father and an Italian mother, Gérard grew up mainly in Rio de Janeiro but eventually returned to France to begin his music career. This is one of his biggest hits, a French language cover of Pat Boone’s 1962 hit “Speedy Gonzales” here called “Le Petit Gonzales.”
That means “The Little Gonzales” for those of you who didn’t take French in high school.
Lots of groovy dancers to enjoy, but I find the song to be somewhat annoying. Maybe it’s the shrieking petit Gonzales.
Have a groovy weekend!
Groovy Friday extra!
If the French language version of this song doesn’t do it for you, here’s the Spanish language version performed by Mexican singer Manolo Muñoz, doing his best to be a one-man dance troupe. The song was a big hit for him too, but it was no less annoying.
By now you may be wondering about the Pat Boone original. To be honest, I’d never heard (nor heard of) this song before finding Gérard’s version. I wish I could say the same thing now. What a stupid song. I find this version even more annoying than the the other two versions with the added torture of understanding the lyrics. They’re pretty bad. The song was written and originally recorded by David Hess and obviously had nothing to do with the Warner Brothers cartoon character. Pat Boone wasn’t taking any chances there. Featured in his version is the voice of Speedy himself, the legendary Mel Blanc. That’s the only reason I can think of for why this song hit #6 on the Billboard pop chart. Listen at your own risk.
A postscript: Speedy has had his share of controversy through the years. Though they owned the rights to the entire Warner Brothers animation catalog, Cartoon Network decided in 2002 not to air Speedy’s films, feeling they were culturally insensitive. However, in Latin America, Speedy Gonzales is considered by many to be a cultural icon. He’s their Bugs Bunny, if you will, always outsmarting Sylvester the Cat, who Speedy refers to as “El Gringo Pussygato.” After a fan campaign to air his films, Cartoon Network reinstated Speedy to his rightful place in the Warner Brothers’ pantheon of animated stars.