#39








 

"To die will be an awfully great adventure." ~ J.M. Barrie

" The Captain & the Kid
                             *first published in Impossible Task

This poem connects with Elton John's episode of The Muppet Show! I identify most with the Muppet, Scooter, and it's no secret, in this episode, he is extremely excited to have Elton John as a guest star.

 

& I believe this might have been the first episode of The Muppet Show I ever saw.


& All the music and magic of Elton John, matched w/ that of the Muppets, made me think about J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. 

& You can catch Elton in many live performances wearing orange, just as he does in this episode of The Muppet Show. John sings "Crocodile Rock" in this episode, and of course, in Peter Pan, The Crocodile swallowed a clock and is after dear old Captain Hook.  Big Ben and the Jets connects with me because it reminds me of Hook's desire for a "glittering bauble" of fame.  The Jets remind me of Hook's dogs or Pan's lost boys.  Then, "Goodbye Yellowbrick Road" is the finale, and that song describes a misfit boy saying goodbye to fantasy.



& In the poem, a pocket watch reflects light watch skips and dances around the walls like a  "Tiny Dancer," or, yes, the tiny fairy, Tink.

& The golden watch and chain connects thematically, but also with the song "Any Old Iron," which is featured in this episode. That song also has meaning because Hook's hook was made of iron.

& “The Veterinarians’ Hospital” sketch is about dogs, which is perfect because of Porthouse & Nana & Hook's dogs in Barrie’s tale. "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" in this episode connects because Barrie always said Peter and the children were “heartless" ... dare I say, "cold hearted?"  Barrie’s play still has that mystery and magic, and it makes this episode all the more amazing to me. As I have gotten older, I have found my heart has grown for the character of Mr. Darling, my least favorite character as a child. Always enchanted by the fantastical island, he was my least favorite character as a child, but as I've gotten older and sadder, he became an inspiration for this piece. In most theatre productions, the actor of Mr. Darling would also play Captain Hook. A confused identity is expressed here, and I also purposefully use the pronoun “he” throughout my poem so that it is unclear if I am speaking about Mr. Darling, Hook, Pan, or another Lost Boy, hence forgetting "who he is playing." 


& If you watch this episode on DVD, Fozzie and Rowlf’s number, in actuality, belongs to Jaye P. Morgan’s episode.  It connects to her Muppoem (#44) because it is a song that can only be played as a duet, and the poem is a dialogue between two, and then Fozzie loses his hat, and well there’s the hat in that specific muppoem.  For some reason, in the DVD release of The Muppet Show’s Second Season, "Old Country Garden" is added to Elton John's.  It doesn’t belong, but this added to the whole mix because it reminded me of Kensington Gardens, where Peter Pan was born, and where a statue can be found of him, still to this day.


& Elton released an amazing album that was hardly publicized about called, The Captain and The Kid.  My heroes growing up, and still even today, are Jimmy Dean and Jim Henson.  J.M. Barrie was also called Jimmy.  In 1976, the year The Muppet Show came out, Jimmy Buffet re-released his song, "The Captain and The Kid." It was a tribute to his grandfather. I heard it for the first time right before the 28th of November, the first anniversary of my grandfather’s passing.  The title, of course, reminds me of Captain Hook and Peter Pan. There's even a play on the word "kid," as Pan was well known to ride a kid goat all around Neverland.

& I never thought I could tell a story as good as my grandfather was able to, and the building  that occurs during the act of expression can often say more than the final structure. If you tell a story, you can watch how it grows.  This poem was first worked through on two Peter Pan busses (my driver home was named Jim) traveling from New York to Massachusetts to be with his wife, my grandmother, on Thanksgiving, a year after his passing.  Thanksgiving is a nice holiday for my family, but of course, everyone knows that it stems from false facts in American history and the horrific genocide of Native Americans. Equally, if you read Peter Pan, Tiger Lily, named after the orange flower, is featured alongside many racist lines about Indians.  One of Elton John’s songs is "Indian Sunset."

& About identity and lack of knowing one's name, well, I am a middle child, just like the character of John in Barrie's story.  Elton John's name is a stage name created by himself.  Just like no one knows Captain Hook's real name, no one knows Elton John's real name—which is Reginald Kenneth Dwight.  He took the name Elton, from his bandmate, Elton Dean (who just so happens to share my birthday).  He took the name John, from his other bandmate, Long John Brady.  Long John Brady was nicknamed after Long John Silver, from Treasure Island.  Now, if you read Peter Pan, you will come to realize that Captain Hook was the only pirate Long John Silver ever feared! Even more, Captain James Hook was a student of Eton university...  Elton and Eton... I can’t make this stuff up.

& In this episode, my man Scooter shows a portrait of a man with "a touch of the feminine” (J.M. Barrie) looking much the same way Captain Hook does in Disney’s animated feature of Peter Pan.

& I was born in 1983, coincidentally, the term “Peter Pan Syndrome" was coined the same year. Barrie liked repetitions of three, and used them in his writing. So, I chose to write the poem as 10 stanzas with 3 lines each, making the line count 30, the age I wrote it. I actually had the thought at the time that I wanted to add more because I enjoyed writing it so much, but I knew nobody likes poems, never mind very long poems, and I let it be.

& Well, nine years later, one night in bed, I was tossing and turning trying to sleep, and randomly the poem came back to me, and I started fixating and creating new lines. I woke up the next day and added them to the piece. Sure enough, I ended up with 39 lines... which was... no joke, how old I was at the time... going through another mid-life crisis.

& "Crocodile Rock ('73)," "Goodbye Yellowbrick Road ('73)," "Bennie and The Jets ('73)," & "Don't Go Breaking My Heart ('76)," featured in this episode of TMS, were not the only songs of Elton John that are referenced in this poem. There's no doubt many other songs could be connected, but the songs actually considered that were included here are: 

('69) "Empty Sky" & "Skyline Pigeon,"

('70) "Ballad of a Well-Known Gun" & "Into The Old Man's Shoes"

('71) "Madman Across the Water," "Indian Sunset," & "Tiny Dancer"

('72) "Rocket Man" & "I Think I'm Going to Kill Myself"

('73) "Candle in the Wind," "Harmony," & "High Flying Bird"

('75) "Someone Saved My Life Tonight," "Bitter Fingers," & "Billy Bones and The White Bird"

('78) “Return to Paradise,” "Reverie,” “Song for Guy,” & "I Cry At Night"

('82) "Empty Garden"& "Spiteful Child"

('83) "I Guess That's Why They Call it The Blues" & "Whipping Boy"

('95) "Man"

('06) "The Captain and The Kid" & "I Must Have Lost It On the Wind"

('13) "Dream #1," "Dream #2," "Dream #3," "Oceans Away," "The Ballad of Blind Tom," & "The Diving Board."

& THEN, after I wrote this, I discovered a song from 2004 called "Peter's Song," which was written for the film Finding Neverland, but was never used. THEN, in 2020, he collaborated with Surfaces to make "Learn to Fly."


📙& just like that, 1/16/24, Elton is an EGOT📙

When are you going to come down? 

 🧡

When are you going to land?

 🧡

 This boy’s too young to be singing the blues...