Airdate – Jan 09, 2022
At the end of the 1940s, saxophonist Joe Reisman gave up his career as a musician to reinvest his talents as an arranger and producer for the Hollywood studios. This led him to accompanying Patti Page on “The Tennessee Waltz,” “Mockingbird Hill,” and “How Much Is That Doggie In the Window” and Perry Como on “Papa Loves Mambo” and “Catch A Falling Star.”
In the late 50s and early 60s you could find Reisman working at RCA Victor and Roulette Records. It was at Roulette that Reisman provided the orchestral arrangements for a music/comedy trio from Waterbury, Connecticut whose style was similar to the Los Angeles-based Four Preps.
The Waterbury boys had all attended the University of Connecticut and, in 1952, decided to form a comedy group that also sang songs. They were originally known as the Nitwits. After 5 years of touring in the U.S. and Canada, the boys shifted their focus from comedy to being primarily a vocal group with comedic bantering in between songs.
That change proved to be fruitful as they signed on with Roulette Records in 1957, becoming the label’s first vocal group. A vocal group with a new name.
Their blend of solid harmonies and humor, ala the Four Preps, was well received by the youth of the day and they would wind up on the Billboard Hot 100 ten times from the 1958 – 1962, a period often referred to as the last five years of innocence in America.
Their 5th release to make it onto the pop charts was a novelty record about cars that got constant airplay. It went to #4. It was the classic tortoise and hare story featuring a Cadillac and an annoying Nash Rambler. The song was “Beep Beep.” Thanks to a BBC directive that prohibited the use of brand names in song, a European version was recorded replacing the ‘Cadillac’ and ‘Nash Rambler’ with ‘limousine’ and ‘bubble car’. The group, of course, was the Playmates.
So what about Joe Reisman? Well, he came on the scene in 1959 and orchestrated three of the Playmate’s charted records. The first was “What Is Love?” which went to #15 on the charts, followed in 1960 by “Wait For Me”, a song which could be best described as the antithesis to the Poni-tails’ 1958 hit “Born Too Late.”
The third and last record orchestrated by Reisman made it onto the charts in March of 1961. Rarely heard today it is a story of a school boy who remains positive that he will be with a certain girl one day, even though she continues to snub him.
Back in our school days it was not uncommon for boys to refer to these type of girls who played hard to get as “Little Miss Stuck-Up,” this week’s Tom Locke moment in time.
YouTube video of this song: