Meanwhile, we owe Eric Reynolds a debt of gratitude so profound that we scare know how to begin to repay it.

You see, for years and years we have been haunted by these words:

“You never could deposit
An elephant in a closet,
And you never could squeeze his knees in under your bunk.
I’m open to suggestions
And asking silly questions,
Could an elephant hide inside an elephant’s trunk?

They were contained on the one of our old Golden Records, in a ditty known as “Where can you hide an elephant?” We considered it a fitting bookend to the longer, more operatic “We have lost two little elephants?” from the BABAR 7 inch. Hoping for a career in turntabilism long before it had a name, we would play these recordings — meant to be heard at 33 or 45 rpm for those who remember such things–at 78 or even 16 1/2 rpm…with always fascinating results.

We came from a very tolerant family.

Anyway, thanks to Eric and the FLOG blog, which has no permalinks at the moment, we now know that this was originally part of a TERR’BLE THOMPSON musical, only now restored on the Fantagraphics website. (TERR’BLE THOMPSON is an early comic strip, recently reprinted, by comics master and Tom Terrific creator Gene Deitch,) “Elephant” was released as part of the “Puff, The Magic Dragon” album and Eric has helpfully posted an mp3 which we downloaded and put on our iPod so fast it would make your head spin. The entire story of the musical is in the book, which we’ll have to dig up at the office tomorrow to find out the whole story.

As a sidenote, the record label lists the singers as the “Sandpiper Singers” whose numbers include Art Carney, later to be known as Ed Norton on THE HONEYMOONERS. We always imagined it was Norton’s voice we heard saying the bit about the elephant in the closet, but we’re not sure. Also, the band is led by Mitch Miller, explaining the crisp cues and jaunty transitions that so entranced us as kids. Look, we weren’t ENTIRELY goofy–we knew good music when we heard it!

NOW, if we could just find that Babar record…


  1. I still don’t understand who this “we” is that you keep referring to — are you schizophrenic? It’s very troubling to read.

  2. Hi Heidi-

    You’re welcome to lavash some of your profound gratitude on me too because I was the one who unearthed the song and brought it to Gene and Eric’s attention. It’s hard to make out in the picture (which I took), but the cover actually lists the song as “When I See an Elephant Fly” in error. I’m certain Art Carney was the voice in question.

    The song is by the great songwriting team of Alec Wilder and Marshall Barer, who wrote hundreds of children’s and popular songs. If you had the LP you might also remember the excellent “Roly-Poly Man In the Moon,” another Wilder-Barer composition which can be found here http://wilderworld.podomatic.com/entry/2007-01-06T21_39_07-08_00

    I’m glad you enjoyed it!


  3. Hey…That Babar 7″ is my favorite kiddie record…”We Have Lost 2 Little Elephants b/w The Big Gray Elephant Team. I’ve got two copies of it (both adult acquisitions ’cause I lent out my childhood one and it disappeared). I just love the singer’s big bombastic voice…so full, so rich, so fab. Some day, when I figure out how to digitize it, I’ll send you one.

  4. the album this song is on, is one of my favorites from my childhood. if ANYONE knows there i can get a digital version of this album, PLEASE PLEASE let me know so i can have a copy for my children….