Ants In Your Pants

Hey blog world! When I was little, my favorite DJ was a monkey named Lickety Split! If you were a child (or parent of a child) in the 90’s in Canada, you should hopefully know who I’m talking about. For those of you who missed out and don’t know him, Lickety Split was the host of the Treehouse TV show Ants in Your Pants that ran from 1997-2004. Lickety was a puppet monkey who lived in a tree with his mom (who was talked about often and heard occasionally, but never seen) and three pesky little carpenter ants (who spoke only in rhyme).

Today I found a bunch of episodes of the show on YouTube and honestly I almost cried I was so happy! A piece of my childhood that I thought had been lost with the times had just been unearthed! I took a long walk down memory lane, watched a few episodes and shed a few tears, absolutely overjoyed to see one of my old favorite shows again!

The best way I can think of to describe it is MTV for preschoolers. Lickety had all kinds of adventures in his tree, trying to stay up late, playing with a tape recorder, pretending to be a pirate, and in-between all the treetop fun Lickety played all the coolest music videos for little kids!

I loved to count feathers and then rock out with Al Simmons and his collections! He’s so quirky and fun!

Going “Deep In The Jungle” with Joe Scruggs and singing nanny nanny boo boo to a puppet alligator was fun too! As was hearing about his romance in the Bahamas hilariously messed up by the “psychic singers”!

I’ll never forget how excited I would get every time Charlotte Diamond’s “The Laundry” came on! The exploding washing machine was my favorite part!

Kim and Jerry Brodey were one of my most favorite performers to watch on the show! I have their “Hats On, Hats Off” VHS and when I was little I watched it all the time! “Garbage, No, No,No” was my favorite. Back then, I loved it because of the music. It’s got a tropical island kind of groove to it, complete with steel drums! Now, I still love it because of the music, but now that I’m older, I appreciate the songs message a lot more. Don’t just drop your garbage wherever! You’ve got to put it in the can man!

The Magpies were another one of my favorites! For one thing, they had a keen sense of style. I loved their vests! They also were very versatile with their music. “Robert The Polar Bear” is a soothing a capella masterpiece! The three part harmony is fantastic! “He’s An Emotional Guy” is a whirlwind of fun! Again, I don’t know any names but the person playing Johnny Fink is incredible! He truly does put a lot of emotion into the performance! He plays out each one, even the two most difficult emotions expressed in the song, remorseful and overstimulated extremely well! The Irish jig near the end of the song is also really well done! I love every minute of that video! Fair warning though, if you choose to watch it it will get stuck in your head!

Another staple of my childhood was Judy and David! I never missed an episode of “Judy and David’s Boombox”! I found out recently that they are in fact still on the go and that makes my heart so happy! I think it’s wonderful that they are still performing and bringing fun and dancing to a new generation of kids! My most favorite of their videos on “Ants In Your Pants”, hands down is “Funky Teapot“! It’s the coolest! David’s rap is the best part!

John Lithgow is known mainly for his role in “Third Rock From The Sun”, but to us 90’s kids, he was a silly old man who big kids used to scare the heck out of! Back in the day, he was a children’s entertainer! His song “Big Kids” was one of the songs I looked most forward to hearing on “Ants in Your Pants”. Every time the show came on I’d hope Lickety would play it for me! If not, I’d settle for his rendition of “She’ll Be Comin’ Round The Mountain” which always cracked me up!

Michael Burgess, who played Jean Valjean in the Toronto production of “Les Misérables” (and sang with 16 other international Valjeans in the show’s 10th anniversary concert!) also was on “Ants In Your Pants” back in the day! He had a couple of music videos on the show. My favorite both visually and musically was “Star In My Eye“. The song itself is absolutely beautiful and I really liked that the video was shot on a beach as he played with his children.

While I loved many music videos on “Ants In Your Pants”, there were some videos that I wasn’t the fondest of. One of them was “Aram Sam Sam” by Dutch Robinson. For some reason, it frightened me! I’d scream and run for my mom/dad and ask them to help me change the channel. I watched it again today and wondered what in the world I was so scared of! “The Shark” by Sandra Beech produced the same reaction! After re-watching that one, I’m not scared of it anymore either. Now, I actually think it kind of funny, especially the ending. Douglas John’s “Ug A Bug” was just plain creepy! Especially at the start and end of the video when his face is on the old sepia colored picture of one of his ancestors and is looking around. Yikes! The creepiness factor has not lowered any! Still when I watch “Ants In Your Pants” on YouTube I skip past that one! Some of the songs were rather annoying. “Trucks Everywhere” is one. The repetitiveness, cheesy truck puns and overacting of the singer (Doug Barr) just really annoy the heck out of me! I don’t remember if that’s how I felt about that song when I was little, but rediscovering it now, all I have to say is, to quote the song, “Oh dear, let’s get out of here!”… and listen to Doug’s better song “Dinosaur Chomp“!

I had such a wonderful, magical afternoon today revisiting the childhood gem that was “Ants In Your Pants”! If you would like to share “Ants In Your Pants” with any children in your life, relive your old memories or experience the show for the first time, the Lickety Split YouTube channel is the perfect place to go! You’ll find full episodes and music videos from the show!

Do you remember “Ants In Your Pants”? What was your favorite music video from the show? Tell me in the comments!



Best Spirit Moments: Offstage

Hey blog world! Not only do I have lots of wonderful memories of the Spirit of NL shows I’ve seen, but lots of amazing things have happened away from the stage as well!

On my first day ever working at Spirit, Evan Smith, who by the way is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, showed me around the downstairs area of Spirit. I’d only ever been down there to use the washroom, I’d never seen what was behind the many other doors. Evan showed me the prop closet, boardroom, and my favorite stop on the tour, the costume room! It was so cool!

Last year, I went to Spirit to film some of their rehearsal of the Christmas show “Three Wise Men and Other Christmas Miracles” and interview some of the cast. I decided to talk to John Williams as he was a fresh face at Spirit and thought it would be interesting to get the perspective of the newest member. We got to the Screech Room, sat down at a table and dad turned the camera on. I looked at it and said “I’m here in the Screech Room with…” my mind went blank! At that moment this is what was happening inside my brain. I stared blankly at the camera for a minute then said “Holy cow! I forgot your name!” and turned beet red! John had a good laugh out of it, he reintroduced himself and we tried again. I look back and laugh at it now too, but I was super embarrassed when it happened!

Darrell Tulk is a former chef at Spirit. He had great taste in music! He loves classic rock and his favorite band is the Rolling Stones. He’s even got their logo tattooed on his arm! When he’d be in the kitchen cooking the meal for the show that night, he’d turn on K-Rock and sing along with all the songs they played! I used to love listening to him. He had a good voice!

After work one day, Kathie Hicks (the COO of Spirit) and I went into the kitchen and made black bean chocolate cupcakes. It was a lot of fun! I had never made cupcakes like that before, I didn’t even know black beans could be a substitute for flour! I tried one when they had cooled off and it was yummy! I learned something new, tried a new food and got to do it all with a person I really like. It was a good day.

In 2015, I went to see Spirit of Newfoundland’s Christmas show “Three Wise Men (And Other Christmas Miracles)” and I brought something special for the cast. I made edible lumps of coal and Christmas cards for them! Before the show, I popped into the bar to give them their little treats. Just before I was about to leave, the cast got in a circle for their pre-show pep talk.  Peter outstretched his hand and said, “Leah, come join our circle!” I couldn’t believe what I had just heard! It’s a right of passage at Spirit to be included in the circle! I was honored! We stood together, talked about the show and the cast gave each other some encouragement and a pep talk. At the end we all shouted “Hard tickets!” That was one of the most unforgettable nights of my life!

My boyfriend Glen and I love the card game “Exploding Kittens”. We were introduced to the game at our Church youth group and we got hooked! I bought it on Amazon and Glen and I play it every chance we get. One night, we went to see “ABBA: Gotta Get The Scoop”, which by the way is my favorite Spirit show, and I just so happened to have the game in my purse. At the end of the night, we decided to sit in the Screech Room and have a game while we waited for dad. We invited Peter to join in and he did! He found it hard to catch on to the game, but he tried his best! Glen and I had fun teaching him how to play.

Last summer, we started offering New Amsterdam Peach Vodka in our bar. To celebrate the new arrival, we did a live stream on Facebook and threw a fancy hat party! Hats

In 2015, the Ennis Sisters performed onstage at Spirit of Newfoundland as part of “A Paperboy’s Blues Night”, a fundraiser to turn Kevin Lewis’s memoir into a play. My dad and I went to the show together. We are huge fans of the girls and one of their songs in particular has a very special meaning to the two of us. When I was a baby, the doctors found what they had thought was fluid on my brain. They prepared my parents for the worst. They didn’t know if I was going to live or die. After further tests, they told my parents there was good news and bad. The good news, there was no fluid on my brain. The bad news, a piece of my brain was missing, the Corpus Callosum, a wide band of fibres that connects the left and right side of my brain and facilitates communication between both sides. This was something they’d never seen before and because this was their very first experienced case, they didn’t know anything about it and again were not sure if I would live or die. My Dad heard “If Anything Happened To You” by the Ennis Sisters on the radio one day and he just broke down crying. He sang that song to me every day. During the intermission of “A Paperboy’s Blues Night” I actually got to meet Karen, Maureen and Teresa! They are such sweet girls! It was such an honor to meet them and tell them my story!

My boyfriend and I have a special anniversary tradition. To celebrate our special day, we take in the Christmas luncheon at Spirit of Newfoundland. Last year, Glen made a special request to Peter, asking him to sing “Jingle Bells”. Peter forgot to do so. After the show, Glen told Peter that he forgot. To make it up to Glen, he said “Come in the Screech Room, we’ll do it now!” We all had so much fun and sounded great together!

One day as I was working, local actress and singer Julia Halfyard came in with her children Estelle and Seth. While she attended to some business I got to watch them! We played with bubbles, talked about Mermaids and I read them a story I wrote! That was one of my favorite days at work that summer!

Last summer, to help raise money for the Masonic Temple Restoration Fund, I started selling my artwork. By August, I had collected $160! On my last day of work, I presented the check to Kathie Hicks (the COO), Paul Bugge (the general manager) and Peter Halley (the president and artistic director). I was overjoyed to be able to give them that much money to help fix up the Temple. Spirit of Newfoundland and the Masonic Temple mean the world to me! The cast and staff of Spirit are my second family and the Temple is my second home.

Congratulations on 20 years Spirit of Newfoundland! Here’s to many more years of making memories!