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I Want To Be Peter Lorre

Words and Music: © 1988 by Tom Smith
It surprises me how popular this song is with little kids, most of whom have never even heard of Peter Lorre. I am not surprised at the song's staying power; all I really have to do is keep Lines 3-6 up to date, and God knows that's easy enough these days. The really frightening part is that I don't have to revise them for years at a time. For those who care, my vocalization of Peter Lorre is based on that of Paul Frees, which you can hear on the classic Spike Jones recording of "My Old Flame". ("I can't even think of her name... wh- wh- WHAT WAS HER NAME!? DORIS! CHLOE! MANNY! MOE! JACK! -- No, it couldn't have been Moe..."')

The curse of my existence is the "heroes" (or, if you like, just "movies") that I see,
And I can't do much for them not doing very much for me.
I can't identify with Magnum, P or I --
Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, and Michael Douglas leave me bored.

Mel Gibson is too rugged, Matthew Broderick's too cute,
Clint Eastwood is so cocky, I could punch him in the snoot.
No, I'll look back in time to a gentleman sublime,
Whose wit and style are seldom mentioned --
(in Lorre voice)
-- But never failed to attract attention!

When I grow up, I want to be Peter Lorre,
I want to snivel and sneer in a nasal whine.
I want to cring and curse, and maybe threaten worse --
(in Lorre Voice)
-- And if that doesn't work, I've got a laugh that'll petrify your spine!

Who wants to be a handsome, stuffy playboy?
Who wants to face the bad guys all alone?
The last thing that I need is to be a romantic lead,
I want to grow up to be Peter Lorre and steal the girl for my own!

When I grow up, I want to be Peter Lorre,
I'll tell Nemo where Kirk Douglas went to hide.
(in Lorre voice)
Now, I didn't mind old Kirk, but Ned Land was such a jerk,
And between a mad scientist and a jock, who would you want on
your side?

I want to sell the Bird to Sydney Greenstreet,
I want to cheat with Vincent Price's wife,
And if I want more kicks, I'll make Mister Moto flicks,
I want to grow up to be Peter Lorre and have A Wonderful Life!
(in Lorre voice)
I could've starred in that, too!

(in Lorre voice)
When I grow up, I want to be Peter Lorre,
I'll stalk the streets of Dusseldorf and Pairee,
Waiting for some dame who has no sense of shame
To foolishly make that one mistake and hang around with me.

I want to whistle music from old operas
As I am slowly strangling some pre-teen,
I long for days gone by,
(in Lorre voice)
And that winking, blinking eye,
I want to grow up to be Peter Lorre,
You pretty boys are gonna be sorry,
I'll be the best Peter Lorre you've ever seen!
-- Is it too late to audition for "Gollum"?

Recent versions of Lines 3-6:

Keanu Reeves is one big faker --
They still give work to Joe Don Baker?
Jean-Dolph Seagal-enegger keeps on cranking out those thrill-'ems,
Bruce Willis has one problem: he appears in all his fil-ums.

The basic plotting's poor -- there are mammals in Dinosaur;
Thanks to Hubbard, Travolta's dressed in KISS boots and dredlocks while tongued by Preston.
There's ersatz Woody Allen, doing ersatz Raymond Chandler;
Grab Tom Green by the ankles, and use him on Adam Sandler....

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