To kick off this year I bring you Apology at Bedtime - the 1963 45 from one Dick Whittinghill, US singer, radio DJ, actor and voiceover artist - in all its winsome, sickly niceness. The sad tale of a father’s regrets, Apology at Bedtime is a maudlin little ditty, intoned over a deathly instrumental backing in which Whittinghill lists the many, many occasions on which he lost his temper and humiliated his young son - usually without reason. I know that not everyone will agree with me, but I think that it’s a nasty record: a feeble act of contrition from a bully of a father masquerading as a sweet tale of paternal love and forgiveness.
It wasn’t that I didn’t love you
It was that I was expecting too much of youth
I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own age
And son, I am sorry
Born in Montana in 1913, Whittinghill’s early music career included being a member of The Pied Pipers, a vocal group which sang with Tommy Dorsey's big band. For three decades, beginning in 1950, Whittinghill was the popular morning disc jockey at KMPC in Los Angeles. Among the features of his program were the "story records," sent in by listeners, in which a short anecdote was completed with a line from a song. For example, the spider told Little Miss Muffet, "You can keep the curds but give me all the whey. Whitinghill would then play Frank Sinatra's song All the Way.
In 1965 he issued the album The Square, which included Apology at Bedtime as well as the 45s B-side Musings of a Father, the saccharine saga of life in a typical 60s American home. The title track was also issued as a single and scraped in to the Record World top 200 charts at number 144. The actor Jackie Gleason had previously recorded a version of Apology at Bedtime (and issued it as a killer twofer, backed with To A Sleeping Princess) on Capitol. Whittinghill’s discs were issued by Dot, home – of course – of our old friend Pat Boone.
Whittinghill, who appeared in several Hollywood movies (including Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter) would go on to have a successful TV career, appearing in several episodes of Perry Mason and Dragnet as well as in Lassie, Bonanza and many, many others. He passed away, aged 87, in January 2001.