LET'S TIPTOE THROUGH THE TULIPS ONCE AGAIN!!!
That's exactly how I felt that wonderful warm & balmy evening of October 26, 1991. There I was, in line, clutching my ticket, waiting to get in the theatre. "It's Tiny Time!", I kept on saying to myself. (Remember MC Hammer was popular then) So it didn't seem so bad waiting outside. Tiny was a bit late, but when he arrived, there he was in the hallway of the theatre. I immediately blew some of those famous kisses like he throws, and he energetically threw me back some too!!! Ah yes, it was going to be a great night!!!
"Your friend is in town" my father had said to me one Sunday afternoon. "What?", I said. "Tiny Tim", and lo and behold, there was a huge article in the Springfield Newspaper, reporting that Tiny Tim had come to a hospital in the Northhampton area. He had serenaded the patients there, singing his songs. There was a photo accompanying the article at the time. I remember it was of an elderly man to whom the Tiny One was entertaining. He looked perplexed, but he must have been pleased. How many times do you have Tiny Tim singing to you in bed? Anyway, this article was the catalyst to pursue seeing him in person. I immediately went to the phone and called the local theater that was selling his tickets. I could pick up my tickets at the Suffield Village Cinemas in nearby Suffield, CT. After that, I called my girlfriend, Lisa, and persuade her to come with me to the concert. Tickets were only $10 at the time. How affordable for such great entertainment!
I then made a beeline to the Cinemas. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon. I remember driving by a wedding at a church. When I arrived at the theater, they brought me to an office where the tickets were being kept in a metal filing cabinet. I recall it being a big stack held by a rubber band. "Have you sold many tickets?" I asked. "Well" said the man, "we've had quite a few calls". I was so sure that they may have sold out. Happily, I drove back home. The concert was the following week. I couldn't wait. I just prayed for good weather for that day.
When the fateful concert day came, I picked up Lisa and off we went to Indian Orchard, Massachusetts, where the Grand Theater is. Now, this is a real old theatre folks! It was built around 1911, and they showed silent films there in the early days! It is an old building that sits in an old neighborhood. Actually, "Henry's Jewelry" store is right across the street, and they house the original Titanic museum in there! I had seen some second run movies at the Grand in the late 1970's, and it would close and open once again. Now I was back and happy that the place was in use!
Lisa and I waited outside. Like I stated, the weather was very warm and balmy for late October. We had a long wait. I had gotten there early to get a good parking space in the lot next to the theatre. I pictured thousands of people being there. So I was surprised that after an hour wait, only about a dozen people or so appeared. "Well, they can come and buy tickets before the performance", I thought to myself. Tiny finally came, but he must have entered through a back or side entrance, because all of a sudden, he was in the lobby! It still took some time for us to be let in the theatre, but finally the time came!!! Tiny gave us autographs first, before his performance. And while his fans may not have been legion, they certainly were loyal!!! Some young women came with old newspapers with articles about him. I remember the dates saying 1980 on top. And these were full newspapers, not just the clippings! One girl, if I can call her that, was constantly stroking Tiny Tim's hair, and she never let up! Do you know he never said one negative word to her. He just let her!! He just kept signing autographs, talking to people, and acting like nothing was happening!! What a guy! What patience! I thought it was a little invasive, but hey, who am I to judge?
When my time came, I was excited. I got my picture taken with him. I had brought my camera and I had Lisa snap the picture. It came out great! I have it in a small frame. I also purchased a black and white photo and had him autograph that. I was happy. You could say I was in my Tiny Glory!!
After all the autographs and pictures, it was time for the concert. We all marched down the aisles of the old theatre, including Tiny. His opening act was a young country western singer with her band. I believe her name was Robin Lynne. She was pretty good. She and her band must have entertained for an hour. Then Tiny Tim was next and he sang many songs, including his famous "Tip Toe Through the Tulips". Of course, it wouldn't be a Tiny Tim concert without that song!! Alot of fun was had by the lucky ones who made time for that concert.
We were told at intermission that we were welcomed to stay for the second show. I did stay, and sat in the very front row this time. A local TV station, Channel 40, WHYN, out of Springfield, Mass., came to take some film in the second show. It must have made the late news, but I wasn't home to see it. At the end of the evening, Tiny Tim was given a standing ovation. He deserved it.
I still have my autographed picture in an acrylic frame. And all the photos. I will always remember Tiny Tim as that way. Vivacious, and a happy icon for the troubled times of the late 1960's. A gracious person, who never said a bad word and was so kind to everyone that evening. Yes, October 26, 1991 will always be a great memory for me.
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