Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Kingston Trio's Spurious Kangaroo

I was listening to the American Top 40 program from August 4, 1979 this past weekend when Casey Kasem came out with a helluva teaser. He said that coming up would be a song from a member of a famous trio who once had money stolen by a kangaroo in a sports coat. To which I said, "WHAT??!!"

This was a set-up for "Gold" by John Stewart, as Stewart was a one-time member of the Kingston Trio. I don't know if the tale originated with Stewart, but as Casey told it, the group was on an Australian tour when their vehicle struck a kangaroo. Thinking they had killed the animal, and feeling a bit strange from the tour, they had their manager dress the kangaroo in his hat and sports coat. As it turns out, the beast was merely stunned and hopped away...complete with the jacket holding the receipts from the previous night's concert!

It was a great story, too good to be true. And alas, that is exactly the case. Variations on this urban legend have been circulating since at least 1902. As I said, I don't know who supplied Casey Kasem with that imaginative fabrication, but it definitely livened up a late 70s broadcast with some unaccountable strangeness.

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