Herbert Khaury arrived for rehearsal looking normal. His alter ego, Tiny Tim was well dressed, tall, normal build and spoke in a normal voice. The rehearsal was perfunctory, just the songs. No gags, no problems!
TT rarely closed the door unless he was actually dressing so it was that just before the show I saw him in his dressing room, stuffing wads of newspaper into the pockets of his suit. As I watched, he transformed himself from neat and trim to crumpled and pear shaped. That should have told me something but as you know, I can be a bit thick
I liked his one liners, like: ‘Never hit your grandma with a shovel. It makes a bad impression on her mind!’ But his signature song, ‘Tip Toe Through the Tulips’, was a bit infra dig for an aspiring jazz guitarist like myself, backing up pop stars while waiting for the big jazz gig that visited but never moved in.
During his first show, as he falsettoed through the repertoire, tossing his curls and casting his one-liners, I noticed his ukulele was out of tune. Not a lot, mind you, just enough to offend my precious jazz trained ears. So, during intermission I tuned it.
In the second show, his in-tune ukulele melded into the sound of Billy Burton's orchestra. He did cast me a glance so I smiled my acceptance of imagined gratitude.
After the show we were having a drink with the cast when his manager drew me aside. Expecting a thank you for tuning the ukulele, I was floored by what he said.
“Did you tune TT’s uke?”
He wasn’t smiling, so I put my face back into neutral and admitted I had.
“I know you meant well, but don’t do it again. He likes it out of tune!”