Friday, April 27, 2007

Just Lookin' out of The Window



And so the song went:

Just lookin' out of the window.
Watchin' the asphalt grow.
Thinkin' how it all looks hand-me-down.
Good Times...

The lyrics above are from the closing theme to Good Times, the popular 70s series about an African American family surviving in a housing project in inner-city Chicago. There's a beautiful melancholic feel to the tune that I've loved since I first set eyes on the series (before I started kindergarten). Watch a clip of it below (look for a mention of a young Jay Leno in the credits):



Good Times is commonly associated to eldest son J.J's popular catch phrase "Dy-no-mite!" but aside from the humour, it's also known for the humanity the writers and actors brought to the series. The fictional "Evans" family supported one another and struggled to survive amid poverty and the troubles of dynamic decade. For my part, I grew up with similar experiences living in a building complex where other immigrant families struggled to make a living. It was only a TV show but there was both sadness and hope in the characters, that touched me back then.

I suppose because it was my experience too. The characters were brown and poor. That hit me hard. I remember my parents struggling in those early days to make ends meet. I remember the building complex that I grew up in, especially the view outside my window. Lord, that view taught me so much about people and life. There were always people outside to be observed and studied. Parents, children, drunks, mischievous teens and so on, from all walks of life and in all colours and languages. That's why the opening and closing sequences from Good Times means so much to me, it was like looking out my window.

The 70s vibe was just incredible. To this day, I marvel at how people dressed, talked and styled their hair back then. The paintings by Ernie Barnes which were used throughout the series are mesmerizing and capture that essence beautifully:


"Sugar Shack" by Ernie Barnes


Watch the Opening sequence:




Or listen to it here via the audio version. Or simply sing along:

Opening Theme lyrics
Good Times.
Any time you meet a payment. - Good Times.
Any time you need a friend. - Good Times.
Any time you’re out from under.
Not getting hassled, not getting hustled.
Keepin’ your head above water,
Making a wave when you can.

Temporary lay offs. - Good Times.
Easy credit rip offs. - Good Times.
Scratchin’ and surviving. - Good Times.
Hangin in a chow line - Good Times.
Ain’t we lucky we got ‘em - Good Times.

Closing Theme lyrics
Mmmmmm
Just lookin' out of the window.
Watchin' the asphalt grow.
Thinkin' how it all looks hand-me-down.
Good Times, yeah, yeah Good Times

Keepin' your head above water
Makin' a wave when you can

Temporary lay offs. - Good Times.
Easy credit rip offs. - Good Times.
Ain't we lucky we got 'em - Good Times.

2 comments:

  1. Nice piece. Thanks for sharing. Greetings from Detroit !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading Kevin! Greetings from Toronto. :)

      Delete

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