Sam Phillips could fuck-up a two-car funeral - Jerry Lee Lewis
"Letterman's show was a late-night hipster paradise; showcasing the eccentrics and mocking their oddities, he augured reality TV. Irony was as comforting and old-fashioned as the couch from which the viewer lounged and laughed. My guess is that Sam was unfamiliar with Letterman and had been warned about David's potential to ridicule. Sam was wary, and he was accustomed to being in charge. What we get is a battle of producers – who is going to get what from whom. Because same was giving nothing, and certainly not going to prepare a bland TV dinner version of his achievements – dismissive, simplistic, generic."
- Robert Gordon "Memphis Rent Party"
Sam Phillips very drunk on David Letterman
"You gotta work for this a little while tonight, son"
Sam Phillips very drunk on David Letterman @chrisherrington highlighted this video in Commercial Appeal, "Robert Gordon digs deep with 'Memphis Rent Party" https://t.co/5AujnHiOqZ reviews Robert Gordon, who used it in his first chapter. march 9, 2018 https://t.co/72l3EfHATN— mrjyn (@mrjyn) January 18, 2019
@chrisherrington highlighted this video in The Commercial Appeal, "Robert Gordon digs deep with 'Memphis Rent Party" reviews Robert Gordon, who used it in his first chapter.
march 9, 2018
The most famous Memphis moment on "Late Night with David Letterman" came in 1982, when Jerry Lawler and Andy Kaufman took their little Memphis wrestling feud national.But the runner up, and perhaps just as compelling a piece of theater, came a few years later, when Sun Records founder Sam Phillips, fresh off induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, walked onto the set.Was this what many viewers saw:
A drunk old coot making a scene?
Or was it more complicated than that?
Phillips on Letterman is the first chapter in author Robert Gordon's new book "Memphis Rent Party."
Gordon wrote about the moment in the Oxford American in 1997, more than a decade after it happened, and adds new thoughts here, a pattern repeated throughout the book, a compilation of previous pieces (a few unpublished) with extensive new notes.I would say there's a tell here.
Note Phillips' alert, mischievous smile just before the show cuts to a shot over his shoulder and Phillips drawls:
From Bill Decker:
What is the story behind the expression two-car funeral?
In US English, it usually turns up the fuller form, couldn’t organize a two-car funeral. It’s a measure of utter incompetence.
Here’s an example from the Fresno Bee of February 2004: “When is the school board going to face the reality that the administration is incapable of organizing a two-car funeral?” Sometimes the verb is manage, as here in an issue of the Cincinnati Post in January 2005: “If Bill Frist’s performance as Senate majority leader the last few weeks is any indication, he would have trouble managing a two-car funeral let alone the vast U.S. government.”
Like most such slangy expressions, trying to tie down its origins is next to impossible. It became well enough known that it began to appear in newspapers around 1971; the earliest example I’ve come across appeared in a syndicated article in several US newspapers in February 1971: “The Saigon government at that point could not organize a two-car funeral.”
The expression was in fact a less serious accusation of incompetence than couldn’t organise a one-car funeral. The earliest example of that version I’ve found is from 1968: “Alas, the world is full of bunglers. Some of them are so good they can even mess up a one-car funeral.” That’s older than the first recorded example of two-car funeral and so may be the original.
The standard British equivalent, by the way, is the more forceful couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery.