1968 Tiny Tim – Tip-Toe Thru The Tulips
Herbert Butros Khaury grew up in New York City and used the New York Public Library to study music history and records from the early 1900s. He also learned to play the guitar, the violin, and the mandolin. His focus became the ukulele, an instrument he became associated with for his entire professional career as a musician.
In the early fifties, he discovered he could sing with a high-pitched falsetto, and he began singing in clubs using myriad different names. When his singing routinely followed a midget act, his manager had him using the ironic nickname “Tiny Tim,” a name that stuck.
Tim appeared in the independent film You Are What You Eat, singing Cher’s part in a duet of I Got You Babe. On the strength of that appearance, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In cast him in their first ongoing episode in 1968. The combination of Tim’s singing and Dick Martin’s reactions made Tim an instant favorite with viewers.
Tim later sang his distinctive updating of the 1929 song, Tip-Toe Thru the Tulips. The novelty hit reached #17 on the Hot 100 and allowed Tim to spend the rest of his life performing his music.
Tim appeared on Laugh-In multiple times and that led to appearances on The Tonight Show. The wedding of Tim and 17 year-old Miss Vicki took place on the show in December 1969. The approximately 45 million viewers made up the highest rated talk show audience in history; over 85% of the people watching television during that time slot tuned in to the show.
Tim recorded an astonishing number of albums, but only reached the Hot 100 twice more with two singles that stalled at #95 and #85 in late 1968 and early 1969.
Many have praised Tim for his knowledge of music and his kindness and gentleness towards others. He married twice more, but always lived apart from his wives.
Tim died from a heart attack at age 64 in 1996.
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