Saturday 9: Purple People Eater (1958)
Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.
1) When actor Sheb Wooley brought this song to MGM Records, they initially rejected it, saying it just wasn’t the kind of thing they wanted to be associated with. Then executives discovered how popular the audition recording was with the 20-somethings in the office. MGM released it after all and it became a #1 hit. Tell us about a time you were glad you changed your mind about something.
Honestly, I can’t really think of much of anything at the moment!
2) This song has been so enduringly popular that in the 1970s, the Minnesota Vikings defensive line referred to themselves as the Purple People Eaters. What football team do you root for?
I don’t! I’m a hockey girl. I am a hardcore fan of the New York Rangers, closely followed by the Vegas Golden Knights.
3) The song was initially inspired by Sputnik, the satellite launched by the Soviet Union in 1958. In the 21st century, do you think space exploration is a worthwhile public investment? Or would you prefer governments spend that money here on earth?
I absolutely thing space exploration is important. The research and discoveries by NASA have changed the face of our lives in so many ways. There are so many things we have now that have come about as a result of space exploration. Like…
- cochlear implants
- scratch-resistant lenses
- insulin pumps
- solar cells
- fire-fighting equipment
- CAT scans
- baby formula
And the list goes on…
I also don’t think it needs to be an either/or situation. I just think it needs to be more equitably distributed. Especially with Elon Musk in the space game and footing so much of the bill.
4) The Purple People Eater is a visitor from another planet. When you imagine creatures from outer space, are they frightening or friendly?
I would imagine friendly and curious about our world. I know there are a lot of naysayers about the existence of alien life. And I’ll be honest… I find the assumption that we are the only intelligent life in the entire universe arrogant. Of course, I feel the same way about the claims that NASA is some kind of scam. But that’s another story.
5) This record was the biggest hit Sheb Wooley ever had. He was better known as an actor, costarring with Clint Eastwood on the 1950s TV show, Rawhide. What’s your favorite Clint Eastwood movie?
I don’t really have one. I did meet him once at the bar/restaurant he used to own in Carmel-By-the-Sea, California. The Hog’s Breath Inn.
6) Sheb and Clint remained buddies and appeared together decades later in The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976). Tell us about one of your longest-lasting friendships.
My friend Susan and I have known each other since kindergarten.
7) In 1958, when this song was popular, hula hoops were a national craze. Did you ever play with a hula hoop? If yes, were you good at it?
I used to be pretty good with one. I haven’t tried in years, though.
8) Also in 1958, Arnold Palmer won his first Masters Golf Tournament. When did you most recently play golf?
9) Random question: Do you believe women gossip more than men?
NOPE! I know a lot of dudes who gossip more than any woman I know!!