Wednesday, January 7, 2015

TMFW 70 - Dottie: Half Man (and More)

[NOTE - I went back and forth on today's entry, thinking perhaps that I would skip it because it is pointless and trivial.  But then I remembered - TMFW was created to be pointless and trivial.  You get what you pay for, here.]
Just about every kid who grew up in the age of cable TV and VCRs has a selection of movies that, after having watched them over and over again in their youth, they can quote almost verbatim.  Near the top of my list - somewhere in the area of The Goonies and Rocky IV - is Tim Burton's feature-length directorial debut: Pee-wee's Big Adventure.  I loved all things Pee-wee when I was a kid, and other than the fast-forward-through-them dream sequences, the movie holds up quite nicely.
Since Pee-wee's Big Adventure, Pee-wee's own career arc is well-known.  He hosted 5 seasons of a Saturday morning TV show, starred in a movie sequel, got busted in Sarasota at an XXX theater, made his triumphant return at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards, and most recently took his act to Broadway (and then to an accompanying HBO special).
But what about Dottie?  You remember her as the Chuck's Bike-o-Rama employee, lover of drive-ins, caretaker of Pee-wee's dog Speck, and person who Pee-wee warns about "getting mixed up with a guy like [him]."  Where has she been? 
As it turns out, she's been all over the place.  You just haven't seen her.  Shortly after starring as Dottie, Elizabeth "EG" Daily started a successful career in voice acting.  She has over 100 credits as a voice actor, including most famously Tommy Pickles (the star of Rugrats), Buttercup from The PowerPuff Girls, and Babe the pig in her (?) second film Babe: Pig in the City.  
Her voice acting career leads us to today's TMFW: Daily did the singing for the "half man" in the Two and a Half Men theme song.  (Warning: that song has a tendency to bounce around your head for awhile.)  I have seen that intro a number of times and assumed it was actually the kid singing, so credit to Dottie for fooling me.  
The next time you are bouncing around basic cable and encounter the show, take pride in knowing this bit of indispensable knowledge.
BONUS FACT:  Though less exotic than singing a young boy's part in a TV theme song, E.G. Daily's music business experience is actually quite a bit deeper than her Two and a Half Men credit.  In 1986, shortly after playing Dottie, she signed with A&M Records. While with A&M, she released two albums.  Wild Child featured the Tiffany/Debbie Gibsonesque pop synth song  "Say It, Say It," which hit number 70 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on the dance chart.  Her follow-up Lace Around the World featured "Some People," which made number 33 on the dance chart.
BONUS FACT 1.5:  In 2013, long after she'd made her success with Rugrats and The PowerPuff Girls, and more than 25 years after her major label debut, Daily was a contestant on the fifth season of NBC's singing contest The Voice.  She made Blake Shelton's team but didn't reach the finals.
BONUS FACT 2:  Today's fact was inspired by the death last month of Christine Cavanaugh, who voiced Babe the Pig in the first Babe movie, Chuckie Finster on Rugrats, Dexter on Dexter's Laboratory, and a wide variety of other characters.  She was 51.
BONUS FACT 3:  Pre- Pee-wee, Paul Reubens was a two-time contestant on TMFW-favorite The Gong Show.  First, in 1977 he was part of a wonderfully-odd-but-delightful duo called "Betty and Eddie's Sensational Sound Effects" (straight 10s from the judges!).  In 1979, he was part of a duo called "Suave and Debonair" (another perfect 30!).  
BONUS FACT 3.5:  Reubens' partner in "Suave and Debonair" was John Paragon, who later worked with Pee-wee as Jambi the Genie on Pee-wee's Playhouse.  You can watch the entirety of Pee-wee's Playhouse on Netflix; it is just great.  Mecca lecca hi, mecca hiney ho.
BONUS FACT 4: Most workdays, I ride a Divvy bikeshare bike across the Chicago Loop between my office and the train station.  When I am in a hurry and pedaling the heavy bike through traffic like a maniac, I often do it with Danny Elfman's excellent "Breakfast Machine" song from Pee-wee's Big Adventure going through my head.

1 comment:

  1. I found this post to be quite enjoyable.

    It made me think of two other (non-music-related) things that Paul Reubens can take credit for: hosting what has to be one of the top two or three funniest game shows ever aired, "You Don't Know Jack", and what has to be the longest and funniest movie death ever filmed, in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and then again after the end credits).