It's an hour-long TV documentary about the singer-songwriter Roger Miller, called, Roger Miller: King of the Road. I'm a big fan, so it was a treat to find and to see that it's so good. One of the treats is that there isn't a lot of video of Roger Miller on the Internet singing his own songs, and this is loaded with material.
Miller's career was an oddity: a bit under-the-wire with high bursts of huge success. He won 11 Grammys. and even won a Tony Award for writing the score to Big River, which itself won Best Musical, an adaptation of Huckleberry Finn. The documentary also notes that when Miller's song "King of the Road" received the Grammy for Song of the Year, it won over "Yesterday." The video includes him singing that, of course, along with "Husbands and Wives," "In the Summertime," "Dang Me" so many more.
It's got a terrific cast of characters,and among the people who participate in telling stories are Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Glen Campbell, Jimmy Dean and is narrated by Waylon Jennings.
And it's the stories that are the highlight here, why even people who don't know Roger Miller's work all that much might enjoy this. He was a unique, offbeat character, with an uncommon mind that often ended in some pretty funny tales and quips. (This was a guy, after all, who rhymed "purple" with "maple syruple.") As you might imagine, the documentary is largely praise, though keeps from being too much of a puff piece, since it doesn't overlook his drug problem or his challenging way of working.
But the best thing is being able to see videos of him performing.
If you just want to jump to a few highlights --
44:00 -- his son Dean Miller sings a wonderful Christmas song his dad wrote for him, "Little Toy Trains."
45:30 -- There's an extended nine-minute discussion of the musical Big River, and includes Roger Miller singing three of the songs. (On a personal level, it was fun for me because I saw the show in its pre-Broadway tryout at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, which they mention. Not the fact that I was there, of course...)
54:30 -- right after the Big River discussion, they go into the story behind his massive hit, "King of the Road" with a couple of very nice, live in-performance versions of the song edited together. They also play a short version of the number earlier in the film, and then play the original recording at the very end.