Sunday, April 14, 2013

Beach Boys (feat. John Stamos) -- "Forever" (1992)

If every word I said could make you laugh
I'd talk forever

(I'd talk forever even if none of the words I said made you laugh.  I just love to talk!)

I found out today that Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are not identical twins.  Quelle surprise!  Smack my ass and call me Sally!

Mary-Kate and Ashley today
Mary-Kate and Ashley are merely fraternal twins.  (Have you noticed it's always "Mary-Kate and Ashley" -- never "Ashley and Mary-Kate"?)

I say "merely" because I am the father of identical twin daughters, and something of a snob when it comes to twins.  (As far as I'm concerned, fraternal twins -- who represent over 70% of all twins born in the United States -- are just siblings who happened to be born at the same time.)

Mary-Kate and Ashley are best known for their portrayal of the youngest Tanner daughter, Michelle, on the wildly popular TV sitcom, Full House.

Mary-Kate or Ashley?
You remember that show's opening credits, which showed the characters as they picnicked in San Francisco's Alamo Square with the famous Victorian "painted ladies" in the background?  (A friend of mine was eliminated in our 4th-grade spelling bee because he didn't know there was a "k" in "picnicked."  I probably would have made the same error, but luck was a lady that day -- I didn't get that word to spell.)

The Full House cast picnicking
When I asked my kids what they wanted to do on our recent family trip to San Francisco, one of things they insisted on doing was visiting Alamo Square and seeing the Full House "painted ladies":

The Alamo Square "painted ladies" today
But I went them one better.  I researched the location of the house whose exterior was used to depict the Tanner home.  That house, which is located at 1709 Broderick Street, stood less than two blocks from the house we had rented for our vacation.  Here we are at chez Tanner:

A Full House pilgrimage
Note the metal railing that prevents casual visitors from mounting the brick steps.  I'm sure a lot of Full House fans used to walk right up on to the porch for a picture.

As you may know, it is relatively common to use twins to portray a young child in television shows and movies.  Child labor laws strictly limit the amount of time that children can spend on a set, so having twins who can share a role gives the producers a lot more flexibility.  

The producers of Full House didn't want viewers to know that Michelle was really two different girls, so the credits for the show indicated that Michelle was played by "Mary Kate Ashley Olsen":

The Olsen twins' mother almost took them off the show after its first season because she was concerned about them having a "normal" childhood.  Wikipedia explains how the situation was resolved:  "After a significant raise in salary from the show's producers, she agreed to let them continue."  (I'd want my kids to have a normal childhood, too -- but that's subject to change if you show me the money!)

Full House was required viewing in my house.  My daughters, who were born only four months after the Olsens, were huge fans of the show from a very early age.

Given that episodes of TV shows air some months after they are taped, watching Mary-Kate and Ashley growing up during the eight-year run of the sitcom was like watching my daughters grow up.  (Full House first aired in September 1987, when the Olsen twins were just over a year old, and my twins were not quite a year old.) 

When the Olsen twins and my twins were five or six years old, I found myself on a Los Angeles-Philadelphia flight with the Olsens' TV dad, Bob Saget.  While we were waiting for our luggage, I showed him a picture of my girls.  "If those Olsen twins ever get an attitude," I told him, "they can be replaced."

Me to Bob: "My twins are cuter than your twins"
One final note about Mary-Kate and Ashley.  Kanye West has written an almost infinite number of clever lyrics, but perhaps his best line ever is this brilliant bit of wordplay from "N*ggas in Paris" about Prince William's marriage to Kate Middleton: "I was him, I would have married Kate and Ashley." 

One of the other stars of Full House was John Stamos, who played Jesse Katsopolis, the uncle of the three Tanner girls.  (Uncle Jesse's sister -- who was the mother of the girls and also the wife of Saget's character, Danny Tanner -- had died in a car accident.)

Uncle Jesse is an Elvis Presley wannabe.  On the show, he fronts Jesse and the Rippers and later starts a new band, Hot Daddy and the Monkey Puppets.

In real life, Stamos (who was born John Philip Stamotopoulus) started playing drums at age four, and was playing small gigs with his band when he was 13.  He has performed live a number of times with the Beach Boys, and was the lead singer on the song "Forever," which was released in 1992 on the group's 27th studio album, Summer in Paradise.  ("Forever," which was written by Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson and his close friend, Gregg Jakobson, had originally appeared on the band's 1970 album, Sunflower.)

I don't think you can blame Stamos for this, but Summer in Paradise was the Beach Boys' biggest commercial and critical failure.  The album reportedly sold fewer than 10,000 copies.  (Brian Wilson had no role in the album.)

Stamos sang on the "Forever" music video, which was credited to Jesse and the Rippers.  Beach Boys Mike Love, Carl Wilson, and Bruce Johnston are shown singing harmony in that video:

Mike and Bruce guest-starred in a Full House episode and not only sang "Forever" with Uncle Jesse but also performed an abbreviated version of "Surfin' USA":

Stamos also sang the song in the Full House episode that featured Uncle Jesse's wedding ceremony.  As you might imagine, this scene is schmalz with a capital "S," but it is saved by two things: a series of adorable childhood photos of Stamos and the actress who plays his TV bride (Lori Loughlin) that is shown during the song, and the gospel choir that sings backup to Stamos:

Click here to buy the song from Amazon:

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