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MMD > Archives > May 2000 > 2000.05.01 > 04Prev  Next

Music Box from Clothes Dryer "How Dry I Am"
By Mark Kinsler

That music box that plays "How Dry I Am" at the end of the drying cycle
in a Westinghouse clothes dryer seems to me to be perhaps the essential,
concentrated, triple-distilled essence of the 1950's.

The song, like a great deal of 1950's suburban culture, refers to
alcohol consumption.  You could (and still can, at Spencer Gifts) buy a
little music box with the same tune set into the base of a sculpture of
a drunk holding onto a lamp post.  The figure of the drunk is
reminiscent of, if not inspired by, a skit done on television by Red
Skelton.  Jackie Gleason also specialized in this sort of routine.
Everyone in 1955 thought it was hysterical.

Everyone drank a lot then.  Everyone smoked.  Nobody wore seat belts
because there weren't any.

The question of whether we've improved as a people since those careless
days is left as an exercise for the student.

M Kinsler

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Home of the "How Things Work" engineering program for adults and kids.

(Message sent Mon 1 May 2000, 23:09:40 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Am, Box, Clothes, Dry, Dryer, How, I, Music

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