Friday, June 12, 2015

Show Notes for HMOTD 008: What Do You Want, The World?

4:40 "We get to see Johnny's apartment." Seriously, we need to have someone comb the dusty, fuzzy videotape of these two episodes and find the provenance of all of Johnny's artist and concert posters. There are a lot of weird-looking and Weird-looking portraits on his walls. I swear I saw Aleister Crowley somewhere in there.

5:40 "What you guys need... is hammocks!" Dan Castellaneta? The voice of Homer Simpson? Also an alum of Second City.

6:30 "He's got that great middle-American slob mentality." The "all-American slob" mentality finds its apotheosis in the early 80s in Rodney Dangerfield's Al Czervik and Randy Quaid's Cousin Eddie ("I don't know why they call this stuff Hamburger Helper. It does just fine by itself!")

7:25 "There's Herbert Jr." Figured out after this podcast that I'm just about the same age as Herb Jr. Sobering.

10:00 "Well, with your bad knee, Ed, you shouldn't throw anybody! It's true!" I smile every time I hear this minute and a half from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

13:20 The Pee-Wee Herman Show. If you've never watched the original Pee Wee special from the Groundlings, you really have to. And you should also check this oral history of the Groundlings which, yes, criminally leaves out Edie McClurg.

18:40 Plains, Trains, and Automobiles: Another classic Edie role in a John Hughes movie. Surprised to say, I had never seen this movie before this Thanksgiving and my (British) wife was UTTERLY scandalized.

20:50 "I came in on a regular call..." But the Hughes/McClurg collaboration all started on a random casting call. Check out the end of this Edie clip for a little of her Viola Spolin-inspired sentiments toward acting and improv.

22:10 "Did you notice on IMDB..." One of the best things about Edie's self-authored IMDB profile is her description of her portrayal of John Ehrlichman on her Kansas City NPR station's reading of the Nixon tape transcripts: "Thus did Edie contribute to the peaceful overthrow of the government of an unindicted co-conspirator." Sweet, chirpy, slightly dotty Midwestern women building America, indeed.

22:30 Edie McClurg/Paul Sills/Viola Spolin/Jane Addams: I'll just link to all four of these Wikipedia entries, along with Hull House, The Compass Players, The Second City, and The Groundlings.

25:15 "I think that the creative act must transform the one who is in it..." This documentary gives you a very good and deep look at Viola Spolin's influence on both improv and on psychodrama-related therapeutic action.

28:10 Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: I suppose Les liking Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is less random than we might initially think considering Les's dreams of flying and which eventually will come true, in a very Saint-Exupéry-ian biplane.

28:30 Terre des Hommes: Here's the skinny on Terre des Hommes being the inspiration for Expo 67. Saint-Exupéry spent some time in French Canada and America during World War II raising funds for Free French forces before his own disappearance in the air while at war in 1944.

29:30 [Rob:] I have to say, and I should have said this in the podcast, that all this stuff I say here about Canadian history and nationalism comes from my brilliant (American) wife, Lisa Faden, an education researcher who wrote her dissertation on history education in the United States and Canada. She identified the "Canada proves itself on the world stage" trope in her research and it's the sort of thing that's so true, once you see it you can't stop seeing it. But we do try to credit people when we discuss their ideas and it was not OK for me not to extend that to my own wife.

32:55 Expo 67: SO CUTE GUYS. Teach us about Canada, British Pathé!

[Edited to add: I forgot Mike asked me to include a link to The Northern Magus, one of a series of alternate Canadian histories I made up JESUS CHRIST TWELVE FREAKING YEARS AGO. In this one, Pierre Trudeau makes contact with eldritch forces at Expo '67. - Rob]

35:05 "There's one actual shot of an actual human baby..." I'm not going to be as delusional to think anyone from the original WKRP crew is listening to this podcast at the moment, but if you are? Someone please tell us why y'all didn't use infant stock sound in this episode?

36:40 The Wilhelm Scream. I love the story of the Wilhelm Scream. So inside baseball.

37:50 "Weisenheidel. Look for the smiling face of the Archduke Ferdinand on every bottle." No particular reason to call this out, I just think it's another classic underrated WKRP one-liner.

39:05 Hold The Line, by Toto: "I will turn to you, my brothers in Toto, to help me write a song so smooth and awesome that Rosanna Arquette will have no choice but to fuck my brains out."

40:45 "WKRP was shot on videotape..." Very interesting article on how the first WKRP DVD release was stymied sales-wise due to the music rights... and quite intriguing how people were throwing around Shout! Factory as a possible solution even as Fox was putting out the inferior Season 1 DVD.

43:05 "Do we want to explain the title of our podcast now?" The whole while we were debating whether or not we should explain Hold My Order, Terrible Dresser, all I could think of was that classic line from The Prisoner: "That would be telling."

44:40 We were a bunch of Pallies. One of my favorite Mr. Show sketches ever. Don't you tell me what to do, you little piece of [shoe].

48:20 Black Acting School! I can't explain how much of an injustice I find it that Robert Townsend didn't break bigger, especially after the pointed satire of Hollywood Shuffle. Granted, Townsend himself in 1987 was not trading in the most progressive views of women and gays, but he had a lot valuable to say as a black actor and comedian trying to break into Hollywood and not play a stereotype himself.

51:00 Tim and Tom. A lot of people of my parents' generation have a lot of fond memories of Tom Dreesen as a solo stand-up in his years after teaming up with Tim Reid, and this book, for which Tim and Tom did a press tour back in 2008 (including the Letterman clip heard on the podcast), is a fascinating read.

55:35 "It's like Archie Bunker." I think about Archie Bunker now and I want to again point people to Rick Perlstein's excellent book Nixonland, which breaks down the white blue-collar ethnic "silent majority" that Nixon and later Reagan yoked to victory on the backs of racist fears in the aftermath of the urban upheaval of 1965-1968. This article talks a little about the anxiety around people loving Archie Bunker for himself, not as a satire.


  1. The audio of Edie as Hermit Hattie is making me think of Deadwood/Robin Weigart's magnificent Calamity Jane. (nsfw)

    1. Hattie/Jane is my new OTP. Just chewing tobacco, whiskey, and Jeeps all over the place.

  2. The mention of Johnny's apartment reminds me that in a later episode he will have to vacate it and bunk with Bailey while it being fumigated for lizards. A bizarre line for a chuckle, but in a case of weird coincidence, this is not actually out of the realm of possibility in Cincinnati. Google Lazarus Lizards and enjoy. There was an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer a few years ago about the now abandoned Crosley Building (Powell Crosley coincidentally made a fortune in radio, owned the Reds, and built a weird little car). The Enquirer article mentioned that the Crosley building was "lizard infested".