There’s an old Woody Allen routine about being selected to be the spokesman for a vodka brand. In it, he consults with his rabbi about the ethics of advertising a product he doesn’t use and finally decides not to do it. Later, he finds his rabbi is the new spokesman for the vodka. It’s a good routine. But a couple of years before that, Bob Dylan told the same joke in his song “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” off Blonde on Blonde.
I thought we would revisit the song today, since I see that my Bob Dylan page is filled with broken links.
The song is straight 12-bar blues — never wavering from the formula. So as is usually the case with Dylan, the focus is on the lyrics. It takes the form of a man trying to woo a women who wears a leopard-skin pill-box hat. There seems to be some sexual significance to the hat given that at the end he is upset that the doctor is wearing it. It at least seems to imply that with the hat on, the woman is dressed.
I most associate the song with Andrea Martin’s character Edith Prickley on SCTV. In fact, I was probably introduced to the character before I ever heard the song. Of course, she didn’t wear a pillbox hat, but it was close enough. I tend to think the character was based in part on the song.