The Nairobi Trio, three actors, dressed as gorillas, mechanically miming to music like wind-up toys, were a staple of the Ernie Kovac Show, which aired on American Television in the 1950's.
Last week The elderly manager of the Nairobi Trio, Miklos Molnar, got a phone call from the white house chief of protocol, Matzoh Heppelwhite. The call was both surprising and surreal, in that it was forty-some years after the trio had broken up.
"I had long since given up hope that the "Trio" would ever play again." said Mr. Molnar. "What, with the death of one founding member, and the advanced senility of another, I wasn't even sure I could get the group together again. Still an invitation from the White House is not so easily refused."
Meanwhile on the other side of the world, the Nairobi Trio, New Zealand's favourite jazz band, eagerly waited for an invitation from Barrack Obama to perform at the White House after he was elected. A promise he had made to the band during his presidential campaign, when they helped calm a hostile crowd during an Obama appearance in Alaska.
"It was getting so that their manager was sleeping by the phone, waiting for the call from the White House." said a source close to the New Zealand group. "The whole band was on pins and needles!"
"The group had scattered since the break up." said Mr. Molnar. Poor Ernie died young and I've had a hard time finding a replacement." There was also the matter of band member David White's senility. "During one rehearsal he took a baseball bat to the guy who was supposed to be Ernie's replacement. Two down and I was running out of options! Then I found Gilbert."
Stronger than the other two members combined, the man known only as "Gilbert" was a quick study. His previous employment, as an exhibit manager at the Bronx Zoo, meant that he knew a thing or two about entertaining large crowds. "What a find he was! Good looks, talent, the works!" exclaimed Mr. Molnar. "Suddenly, we were back in business!"
At the White House, Chief of Protocal,,Matzoh Heppelwhite, was preparing for a visit from a delegation from Kenya. The band invitation was just one of many details he had forgotten to attend to or had put off on his staff. When he went over the itinerary one last time, he was delighted to discover that someone had finally booked the Nairobi Trio. Thinking the president's promise to the New Zealand band had been fulfilled, he scratched it off his "To do" list.
The Kenyan delegation arrived on schedule and entered the East Room at the White House with great pomp. The dinner was served and the tables cleared. Then the band made it's entrance to audible gasps, followed by embarrassed silence.
It's not easy to ignore three men dressed as gorillas and wearing trench coats.
Despite the awkward entrance, the trio went right into their signature tune: "Solfeggio" by Robert Maxwell. The Kenyan delegation rose and walked out in protest. Mr. Obama tried his best to coax them back, but to no avail.
It was at this point in time that The Nairobi Trio from New Zealand arrived, having endured the twenty three hour flight to the U.S., only to find that their instruments had been misplaced and somebody else was playing in their stead.
To be Continued...
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