Rainbow ConnectionMay 20, 2009
I only sing two songs at karaoke and when I met the composer of one of those songs, you bet your britches that I told him that. I met the man who wrote “Rainbow Connection,” the song that opens the “Muppet Movie,” at the USA Film Festival. Now, I love this Dallas-based festival. I’ve never seen a bad film there, the staff are equally amazing and the guests are sometimes interesting. Because I’m friends with most of the staff, I enjoy volunteering with them and help out as much as possible. With this crew, there’s no telling who I’ll meet or where next I’ll eat. We all go to the Opening Day of the Texas State Fair together.
Exactly four weeks ago, I was doing my volunteering thing, taking tickets and guarding the door, when a short fellow with about nine in his entourage of staff, publicity people, etc. was escorted past me into the showing of “Phantom of the Paradise” (1974) which was filmed in Dallas. He was kind enough to say “hello” as he brushed by and one of the entourage pointed, “He wrote ‘Rainbow Connection!'” I was very excited.
Paul Williams has done a lot in career, including “Evergreen,” “We’ve Only Just Begun,” “Rainy Days And Mondays” and the theme to the “Love Boat”. Out of all his accomplishments, I am the most excited by one that a frog sings.
At the end of the movie, there was a short question/answer session with Paul Williams, moderated by Alonso Duralde. The festival bought Paul a cowboy hat to take with him and asked me to give it to him.
Someone in the audience asked what it was like to work with Jim Henson and Frank Oz about my song and he went into it a little. Here are some notes from memory:
- when you’re in a room collaborating with Jim Henson and Frank Oz, you’re really talking with four people – Jim, Frank, Kermit and Ms. Piggie
- How does a frog ride a bicycle? You teach him slowly
- when you move past through the clouds into the swamp and hear the words, “Why are there so many songs about rainbows and what’s on the other side?” you know this is a frog who thinks
- sometimes, he would find his lyrics in a half-awake state (I especially like this since it reminds me of a line from a Peter Pan movie)
- “Rainbow Connection” is about the questions in life, rather than the answers
Russell and I explained that we sing “Rainbow Connection” as a duet at the gay cowboy bar, The Round Up. Paul Williams laughed and gave us both a hug. It was an unexpected reaction. He said he recently heard the Seattle Men’s Chorus sing it, which he loved. How great would it have been for the three of us to sing it from the Parlor stage at The Round Up? I know better than to make this kind of request to a guest of the Festival.