21 September 2010

When Liberace Winks at Bobby Gimby

When Liberace Winks at Me
Bobby Gimby and Johnny Wayne
Toronto: BMI Canada, 1954

One day I'm arguing with a friend that earlier times weren't necessarily "more innocent times", the next I come across this sheet music in a local shop.

Gimby was the first musician I could name. His "Ca-na-da" took root in my four-year-old brain and, like all good commercial jingles, has proven to be a hardy perennial.

And make no mistake, "Ca-na-da" was a commercial jingle; something to sell the centennial.

"Respectfully dedicated to LIBERACE, America's favorite performer", "When Liberace Winks at Me" is just as catchy. I found it here in this "Liberace Medley". The song begins at 6:49, but you'll want to see the whole thing.

Dear "Fan Club President",
I'm dropping you this line,
I'm sorry to have to tell you
I really must resign.

I've found another idol,
He's as charming as can be,
I really can't describe
The strange effect he has on me

I start to shake,
I start to shiver,
Every fibre in me really starts to quiver.
It's a feeling very close to ecstacy.
That's what happens when Liberace winks at me.

You can't compare his charming manner
With an ordinary Jerry, Joe or Jim.
And when he sits there at the piana
No one can hold a candelabra to him.

I never work,
Just dilly dally,
Since I fell under the spell of this Svengally,
I just sit there spellbound facing my T.V.
That's what happens when Liberace winks at me.

I start to blush,
I start to stammer,
And my pulses start a pounding like a hammer.
I'm bewitched as any fool can plainly see.
That's what happens when Liberace winks at me.

It's really very, very simple,
'cause he makes me feel just like a royal queen.
And when he winks and shows that dimple,
I start to hug and kiss my television screen.

I go beserk,
I start to tingle,
And I'm so gosh darned glad that I'm still single.
When he drops that eyelid, I just shout WOE-EE!!
That's what happens when Liberace winks at me.

I start to whirl,
I'm getting dizzy,
I'm in a haze, I'm in a haze, I'm in a tizzy
I'm a victim of a strange new sorcery.
That's what happens when Liberace winks at me.
International readers and those too young to have been exposed to "Ca-na-da" may be interested in the clip below, which was shot one chilly spring day at Expo 67. A 48-year-old man in robes, dubbed "The Pied Piper of Canada", leading skipping schoolchildren in song...

Seems like a more innocent time.

Trivia: "When Liberace Winks at Me" was one of several songs Gimby wrote with comedian Johnny Wayne (of Wayne and Schuster). The Canadian Encyclopedia tells us that they had their greatest success with something called "The Cricket Song" (1956) , recorded by Ray Bolger.

Q: How many times can I mention Bobby Gimby in one month?
A: Two.


  1. Wayne and Gimby and Liberace. If you can't smile after seeing this trio you're in trouble.

    I see the Liberace museum in Las Vegas has closed. I saw it 30 years ago and it was a very sad museum. Can't believe it lasted until 2010. My aunt loved Liberace - pulled me to one of his concerts in 1960s Sudbury. Also went to Expo67 with her and the family - much better memories there.

  2. When Liberace winks at Gimby - or anyone else - turn around and just walk away, Renée.

    Wayne and Schuster, Canada's gift to Ed Sullivan. Better than Morecombe and Wise - Sullivan's British comedy import.

  3. bowdler, the closure of the Liberace Museum robs me of the only reason I had to even consider visiting Las Vegas. Just as well, from what you've said I'd probably have been disappointed. I, too, have fond memories of Expo, though they are a bit hazy.

    Steve, after posting I happened to notice that the back of "When Liberace Winks at Me" features an excerpt of "Would It Be Wrong?".

    "Successfully Recorded By Guy Lombardo And His Orchestra On Decca Records", it says. Does this mean they screwed it up with Columbia?

  4. Does anyone know who the girl singing "When Liberace Winks at Me" in the video was? She's gorgeous.

  5. I've been wondering the same thing. All I can say with any certainty is that she is not Libby Morris, the girl whose photo graces the sheet music (and who recorded the song for Toronto's Alvina Records).

  6. YouTube's crowd intelligence had the answer: Peggy King.

  7. I spent some time yesterday on her website, and I was truly impressed. She was, and still is, a remarkable figure.

  8. how can i get a copy of this sheet music..i can't find it anywhere and really want to sing it in my act!

    1. Paige,

      Email me: brianjohnbusby [at] gmail.com. I'll send you a scan.

  9. Happy to announce that remakes of both the song and the museum are in the works. #liberacemuseum or liberace (dot) org.

    1. Good news! Here's hoping that this little piece of Canadiana will feature.