Tiptoe Through The Tulips
By Mary Miller Cullins
On November 29th, 1996, while onstage at a club in Minneapolis, singer and ukulele player, Tiny Tim (Herbert Khaury) died of a heart attack. I was only four or five years old at that time, but I remember seeing Tiny Tim on a number of variety shows singing ‘Tiptoe Through The Tulips’. Staying up for Johnny Carson wasn’t an option at that age, so on December 17th, 1969, when he married Victoria Mae Budinger on The Tonight Show, unlike 30 million viewers, I missed the wedding. Ten thousand tulips were imported from Holland to decorate the set. The audience that night were all guests or family members of the bride and groom.
Tiny Tim was a camp, falsetto singer who became a celebrity “oddity” in the late 60′s early 70′s. He had long straggly hair and carried a ukelele wherever he went. His voice was so high some said he could call the neighborhood dogs when singing his signature song ‘Tiptoe Through The Tulips’. Surprisingly, the song reached #17 on the pop charts.
Tiny Tim had some quirks, but he was professional and gave it his all when performing. He knew how to make an audience smile. Tiny had one daughter, her name was Tulip. He was laid to rest with tulips. In his casket, he had a ukelele on his chest and a single mauve tulip. He was 64 years old when he died.
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