The Late Movies: R.I.P., Slim Whitman

Wikimedia Commons / Wil-Helm Agency
Wikimedia Commons / Wil-Helm Agency / Wikimedia Commons / Wil-Helm Agency

Today we lost Slim Whitman, a country singer and yodeler whose music you've almost certainly heard -- even if it was only in the movies or on a late-night TV commercial. Tonight, let's recall a few of his best moments, in memory of the man born Ottis Dewey Whitman, Jr.

"Indian Love Call" in Mars Attacks

This is a major spoiler if you haven't seen the movie, so stop here if you don't want Tim Burton's Mars Attacks to be spoiled. Gone yet? Okay, good. In this scene, it's revealed that Whitman's rendition of "Indian Love Call" is humanity's only hope against alien invaders.

And here's a crackly, poppy recording of the full song straight from the vinyl:

Andy Kaufman and Whitman

Whitman performs "I Remember You" after an intro by Andy Kaufman.

"Rose Marie"

Whitman performs his 1955 hit "Rose Marie," which was a huge hit in the UK.

"That's How The Yodel Was Born"

Again, straight from the vinyl. "On the open prairie, just a-yodelin' a song!"

"Silver Haired Daddy of Mine"

A spot-on live performance, complete with rhinestone jacket.

"Tumbling Tumbleweeds"

You may remember this tune from The Big Lebowski, though the version in the film was performed by The Sons of the Pioneers in 1946. Here's Whitman's take on it.

"I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen"

Whitman recorded his rendition of this tune in 1957, but I know it best from the Star Trek episode "Naked Time" in which crewman Riley drunkenly sings a version from the Engineering deck.

TV Commercials

Whitman sold a lot of records in the 80s via direct marketing on TV. Here's a classic scrolling-list-of-hits example. "Use your credit card and save C.O.D. charges!"

"And now to fulfill the tremendous demand," we proudly offer another collection of his hits.