Greenpoint, October, 2015

Friday, April 19, 2013

Junior Birdman

A real high line
Spring brings cleaning (or repainting) of the cables on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. To pass these guys tethered to the cables in their little gondolas inspires awe. More so on a windy day, which is practically every day on the VNB. Yesterday, for some reason, it put me in mind of a song we learned from our parents (or so I recall). I remember only these lines:

Up in the air Junior Birdman
Up in the air upside down.

I always believed there was one guy named Junior Birdman who could fly upside down. It turns out the Junior Birdmen of America was an organization founded in 1934 for boys interested in model airplanes. It was promoted by the Hearst newspapers. You can see on the Jr. Birdmen pin "Hearst Newspapers" across the wings (courtesy of the Vintage Kids Clubs Online Museum).

There were several versions of the group's theme, including the one below. The Junior Birdmen would perform actions as they sang, e.g., for "Up in the air," put their arms up; for "Junior Birdman, flap arms like a bird, and so on. It also lets aspiring Birdmen what they need to do to join: So save those boxtops!

Up in the air junior birdman
Up in the air upside down
Up in the air junior birdman
Keep your noses off the ground

When you hear the grand announcement
that your wings are made of tin.
Then you know that Junior Birdman,
has turned his box tops in.

For it takes: 5 box tops,
4 bottle bottoms,
3 coupons,
2 wrappers,
and one thin dime!

B-i-r-d, B-i-r-d, B-i-r-d-m-a-n
Birdman, Birdman, Birdman

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