Friday, January 27, 2017

Show Notes for HMOTD 037: Imagine There's No Heaven

0:50 "Our traditional season wrap-up episode..." Still not too late to get your cards and letters in to us!

1:20 Steve Kampmann leaving: As we've mentioned before, he was sort of the Mark Brendanawicz of the Newhart cast, playing obnoxious cafĂ©-owner Kirk Devane for the first two seasons. Jaime Weinman has observed that Kirk had a few Herb Tarlek-esque traits and mannerisms; Kampmann was not above channeling his favorite WKRP character.

4:00 Jamaica as a tourist destination in the '80s: Jamaica went through intense political turmoil in the Hinge Years, but by the Reagan '80s, the "Come Back to Jamaica/Make it Jamaica Again" tourism campaign developed by ad giants Young & Rubicam was in full swing.

6:15 "Get to know me!" Anyone else reminded of Jon Lovitz when Hamilton Camp read this line?

9:37 John Matuszak: Yeah, definitely a sad story. This obituary is a pretty good summary of his reputation when he passed away (don't forget to click through to Page 2), and this longform piece immortalizes some of his rowdy exploits (this one's a 6-pager).

15:47 "Re-do 'For Love or Money'..." Here you can check out our look at Howard Hesseman knocking one out of the park with Julie Payne.

19:30 Ruth Silviera: Oooh, she played the female announcer voice in THX-1138! I wonder if anyone else from the Committee was hanging around with George Lucas back in the day. You know who was, though? HIRSCH!

20:50 "Michael Scarn, FBI!" Best improv artist ever.

25:20 Mickey: I can't believe I forgot both Justin's character name and the name of the great Larry Hankin! End-of-season podcast fugue state, obviously.

26:05 Travel agents, computers, and the 1980s: God bless the internet. There is an article on the history of travel agents that describes in great detail how computer access to flight bookings was slowly opened up to individual travel agents, which removed the stranglehold that the airlines had on the process. And from the "The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same" department, American Airlines even got in trouble for trying to manipulate SEO on the booking system they developed!

27:35 TripTiks and 17th century equivalents: The TripTik is still alive! But it's electronic now. I wish I still had some of those 1970s and '80s TripTiks to show y'all, but here's a couple of remembrances of them. This is the kind of stuff I get MASSIVE nostalgia about. Bespoke and handmade expressly for you.

The clever name "TripTik" of course comes from the medieval art form of the triptych, which was a fold-out set of three panels. And speaking of which, the map I was talking about on the podcast can be found here; it's John Ogilvy's Britannia, one of the first dedicated travel maps of Great Britain. Fun fact, former Python member and of-late historian Terry Jones posited that Ogilvy, a Catholic sympathizer, put the maps together to help a proto-Jacobite takeover of Britain in the 1670s at the hands of the recently-Restored Charles II. Jones's four-part BBC Wales series on the maps can be found here (1, 2, 3, 4). Maps are powerful, y'all.

28:10 Rob goes to look for America: [Rob: Oh man, what a great trip that was. Two months, 26 states, every oddball Death Car Museum and Concrete Folly and Mystery Spot we could find. And we found a lot, considering this was before Google Maps, or even Google: we tracked down all the places we were going to visit at our local public library! Ten years after the trip, I converted the zine into a blog (because it was the 2000s). That site is sadly defunct, but about 2/3 of the posts live on in the Cyrillic half-life of my old LiveJournal.]

33:45 Rob's Bowtie Theory: I really like this theory, that bowties are the cultural signifier of both tweedy conservatives and fey weaklings. Photographic proof exists.

35:53 "Imagine": We'll talk a lot about "Imagine" in this episode, and talk a lot about its outsized cultural influence, but here are the basic facts. Released in 1971 on the album of the same name, which was arguably a more mainstream production than Lennon's first solo album, the primal scream-influenced John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, "Imagine" later went on to bequeath its name on two movies, one made in 1972 full of home movie footage of Lennon and Ono, and one I saw repeatedly as a kid, released in 1988, at the height of late-'80s nostalgia for the late-'60s.

37:35 Richard Paul: Much like Edie McClurg's IMDB bio, Richard Paul's has the distinct whiff of being written by him (or someone close to him; Paul died in 1998), and it's pretty funny. Fun fact: he was actually a registered minister in the Universal Life Church (i.e., the church you can send away for a ministerial position from for a nominal fee). Good on him, and RIP.

42:05 Hoodlum Rap: Here's part 2 of our Season 1 wrap-up, which includes Rob's rumination on a Season 5 or 6 episode of WKRP where Venus has to deal with a young punk named... Ad-Rock.

44:05 Hugh Wilson vs. Jerry Falwell: Here's the quote from Michael Kassel's book America's Favorite Radio Station:
"Those bastards---they put us on their list," recalled Wilson. "...a show that had too much sex and too much violence. So I wrote this guy---Reverend 'Jerk-off' down in Mississippi or wherever...See, I'm from the south and I grew up knowing these guys were bad cats because before the issue was abortion and all it was 'Catholics' and 'N------,' you know? I mean, they've always got something---The most anti-Christian group I've ever run into.
"Anyhow, they were very powerful at the time and they put us on this list, so I wrote this guy, this Moral Majority guy, and I said, 'I'd like to know why I'm on this list?'
"He didn't write back. I called him a couple of times with no reply, so I said, 'To hell with it. I'm going to do a show about it. But I'm not going to make it---I'm not just gonna create a straw dog and burn him down. I'm going to research this and listen to him and let him state the argument. But, then, definitely in the end, show why they're dangerous."
45:45 The American Family Association: I mixed up Donald Wildmon with various Catholic watchdog groups of the time. Fun fact: the old school Catholic Legion of Decency, who'd acted as a foil to the motion picture industry throughout most of the 20th century, had actually just shut down in 1980, just in time for Evangelicals to largely carry the torch of censorship.

47:30 "They want to get a few guppies before they go after the big whale." Boy, again, if this isn't the watchword of the extreme right-wing these days, picking on the weak but being afraid of concerted solidarity...

49:30 John Lennon's assassination in 1980: I'm not sure if I need to remind the TV obsessives among our listenership that most of America found out John Lennon had been shot on Monday Night Football from Howard Cosell, who'd, a few years earlier, introduced Lennon to the sport of American football.

50:35 Quantum Leap: The episode is "The Leap Home, Part 1," where Sam Beckett leaps into his own teenage self to put his family's lives right before his brother dies in Vietnam. This article talks about "Imagine"'s journey from shocking to mawkish and blames Quantum Leap, in part, for this transition.

52:20 "Imagine"'s power in 1970 and in 1981: The U.S. vs. John Lennon is a fantastic film which you should definitely check out; it covers Lennon's persecution by the U.S. government, notably the CIA, not the FBI.

57:05 Mainline Protestantism: We've mentioned Arthur's membership in a Mainline Protestant church again and again on the podcast; I believe he was supposed to be Presbyterian? That Wikipedia entry for Mainline Protestantism, by the way, hits you over the head with its rapid decline over and over again: but even the most recent data continues to bear that out.

57:55 Gordon Jump and Mormonism: Erratum on my part: Gordon Jump was already a Mormon in 1981, and had been for over a decade. In fact, he'd starred in some Mormon educational films, the titles of which are damned intriguing; some of the Mormon films he starred in include: Marriage- What Kind For You?, When Thou Art Converted, Pioneers In Petticoats, and What About Thad? He also played the Apostle Peter in a "temple ceremony" film, which just gets my Weird Mormonism feelers twitching.

59:03 "The next witness will be Mr. Frank Zappa." While in our Monday Post we said that John Denver was the secret weapon of the music industry's witnesses, it's definitely Frank who brings the biggest guns to the fight. Gotta say, there's a little bit of misogyny in Zappa's comments to Mrs. Gore and Mrs. Baker, but, you know, that's Frank. He's not one for the politically correct niceties.

[Rob: We could've said a lot more about the PMRC hearings, but that oral history Mike linked to on Monday is great, from the marvellous photo at the top of "Mrs. Gore" and "Mrs. Baker" on down. I watched a bunch of the clips this week and continue to think John Denver was the most effective witness, but Zappa's mansplaining offered the best soundbites for the podcast. Plus how could I ever face Adam again if I gave up the opportunity to use a clip of Frank Zappa? As for Dee Snider, well, it's fun to see his big 80s hair square off against Tipper & Susan's big 80s hair, and he's more articulate than the "We're Not Gonna Take It" video might lead you to expect. It could've been worse: apparently there was some talk of having Motley Crue's Vince Neil in his slot. They might have outlawed rock music entirely.]

1:03:30 Clear Channel list: Here's the Clear Channel list of songs not to be played after 9/11, and incidentally here's the PMRC Filthy Fifteen, which I didn't link to in the Monday post. I should mention our buddies at the Beyond Yacht Rock podcast did a whole episode on "Rock Bans" which is well worth a listen if you miss 2 Live Crew.

(I should also plug the recent Billy Joel point/counterpoint that I did for the Beyond Yacht Rock Captain's Blog where I took the, yes, PRO-Billy Joel position, and vinyl-hearted vixen and author of The Big Rewind, Libby Cudmore, took a very forceful ANTI- side. Watch Twitter tomorrow night, kids, for a rematch live on Libby's #RecordSaturday hashtag!)

1:05:13 Harvey Green: This scene, yeah, I'd completely forgotten. Breaks my heart just thinking about it now. Poor Harvey, and poor Arthur. I kinda wish they had gone off to Florida to fish. Here's Ralph Manza's IMDB, what a career!

1:05:44 Morality of boycotts: Here's a conservative take on boycotts from The American Spectator of the ilk I was referencing on the podcast, and here's a tale of American hero Rosa Parks very thoughtfully taking control of her economic and social destiny with a concerted show of solidarity through a complete economic boycott. I'll let you all judge the morality of either argument.

1:07:23 Direct mail: The innovator in conservative direct mail was Richard Viguerie, who began his campaigns in the 1960s. Often further to the right than mainstream Republicans like Gerald Ford, he sought the nomination in 1976 of the American Independent Party, who ran Lester Maddox in 1976. Of course, direct mail has always been a way for everyone on the right to keep in touch with each other, from mainstream Republicans to Birchers and Klansmen... rather like the internet is today. Also? Viguerie is cited as one of the founders of? The Moral Majority.

1:08:13 Left-Wing Cereal Giant: Kellogg's history is part of the history of the religious health movements of the Gilded Age in America, which makes the claim of "Left-Wing Cereal Giant" so funny in historical context. Kellogg's was founded by Will Keith Kellogg whose brother John Harvey Kellogg founded the Battle Creek Sanitarium, which, of course, preached and promoted health through hydrotherapy, enemas, and corn flakes. Remember, corn flakes are good at keepin' down the urges. We talked about Battle Creek, Michigan briefly in the episode with Les's Sneaky Snooper.

1:09:57 "Once They Banned Imagine": [Rob: This is the Drive-By Truckers, from their 2016 album, American Band. DBT has been one of my favorites for years; American Band is a raw, unhappy album, stripped down and probably the most directly political record they've ever done. It's great. "Once They Banned Imagine" is, of course, about 9/11 and after, and the Clear Channel memo "banning" "Imagine" and many other songs at that time. In this review/interview, DBT's Mike Cooley says, "I couldn't get my head around the notion that 'Imagine' was on the list, that it was something we didn't need to hear at a time when it was exactly what we needed to hear." I love how the song gently evokes Lennon's "Imagine," and also the way it plays (at least this is how I read it) with the whole dysfunctional generational tangle of World War II, Vietnam, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq: "Since the big one ended we'd been mostly pretending / We'd have had the same gumption and grit ... But once they banned 'Imagine' it became the same old war its always been."]

1:11:15 We Teach Diabetes Survival: [Rob: Context: in the last episode of the podcast, we (ok, mostly me) were wondering about a poster in the bullpen that says "We Teach Diabetes Survival." Some weird conceptual New Wave album title? Apparently not.]

In the aftermath of Mary Tyler Moore's death this week, I have to imagine... was this poster's prominent spot on the WKRP set an edict from MTM herself? She was, as you may remember, a person who'd lived the vast majority of her life with Type 1 diabetes but didn't go public until 1984. So was this a sly way of MTM herself advocating for diabetes research and support before she was ready to do so publicly? Interesting to think about.

1:11:34 "What are you doing?" "Playing computer baseball." This was a delight to talk about. I've covered most of the toys I mention in this segment on my old blog, Renfusa, but you really do need to read about Simon's debut at Studio 54. It's absolutely demented. I kept looking for promo shots of this Simon launch party for that night at the club but all I could find was... a photo of Abe Vigoda and his wife heading in. Abe Vigoda, the computer game Simon, and Studio 54 all coming together is as good a way to end this season as anything!


  1. During your research of the Senatorial hearings on rock music and the PMRC, did you happen to come across the made-for-VH1 movie on the subject? (Or did you find it and think it best to never, ever bring it up?)

  2. In addition to watching The US vs John Lennon, I think podcast listeners should also tune in to a doc that's now on Netflix: Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in his own words. There's some good PMRC stuff in there as well as many scenes of Frank just trying to be an artist in the plastic world of the business of rock and roll.