Friday, February 2, 2018

Show Notes for HMOTD 050: Soul Suds

BIG REMINDER: Get those Listener Mail questions in to us ASAP for our penultimate episode! There's still time, despite what we said in our post-credits "blooper." Email before next Wednesday the 7th!

1:00 Hugh Wilson, RIP: As we said, three hours' notice was not enough time to do justice to the man who brought us WKRP, but rest assured, HMOTD 052 will take a deep dive into the man and his career.

2:23 "I learned the news of Hugh Wilson's passing... from Les Nessman." That's @WKRPQuotes on Twitter, well worth a follow!

4:50 "White guys drive like this..." It's true, it's true! We're so lame!

5:45 Big Guy Office Props: If I were to rank my Top 3 Big Guy Office Prop bits, it'd probably go: 3) inflatable raft, 2) Soul Suds standees, and 1) Apollo 11 rocket. But they're all so damn good. The one where he flings a desk drawer out the window is funny, but always makes me nervous about the people on the ground outside the Flimm Building.

5:59 Standee: I was hoping there'd be a really good Secret History of the Standee but I couldn't find much online. Although the Wikipedia entry has this lovely image from the Roaring 20s of some cartoon-y standees for a clothes shop.

[Rob: Here's an 80s CanCon anecdote for you: at some point in the early 1980s, my sister acquired a standee of pouty Canadian dreamboat Corey Hart, sunglasses and all. Long after her infatuation with Corey faded, he lurked in one corner of our rec room, giving people heart attacks when they came down the stairs.] [p.s. Holy heartthrob: the Corey hotline was real??!?]

7:39 Media/communication failures on WKRP: I mean, I guess we shouldn't be too surprised that a series about radio has so many plotlines that hinge on communications and how funny it is when they break down, but there's the episodes we mentioned in the episode, plus "An Explosive Affair," "Mike Fright," and of course tons of Les jokes ("killer lizzard," for one). I have a feeling either Rob or I could get a good Media Studies-type paper out of this.

14:13 Tom Sullivan: Hey, Tom Sullivan is from Boston and a Harvard graduate, not to mention a musician, screenwriter, and author! His memoir, If You Could See What I Hear, was released in 1975 and was adapted into a movie in 1982 starring Marc Singer, the Beastmaster himself, and Shari Belafonte!

Also, I wanted to mention, apropos of the mention Rob gave of the nameplate on Mr. Sherman's receptionist's desk, that Mr. Sherman has that classic 1980s executive toy, the Newton's Cradle, on his desk.

[Rob: Is it able-ist to wonder what appeal a Newton's Cradle would have to a blind person?]

14:50 "Handicapped": I want to give a sincere apology for using the term "handicapped" and not "disabled" or "person with disabilities" in this episode. As someone who grew up in the time period that this show depicts, it's awfully easy to slide back into outdated terminology, especially when you're watching a show that is set during that time. But honestly, that's no excuse, and I apologize unreservedly and will most certainly do my best to avoid this in the future.

21:48 The Metric Marvels! You see that '70s cartoon style I'm talking about here? It's very Schoolhouse Rock. I actually remember this PSA much better. Man, the late '70s really were a golden age of PSAs, weren't they? (BLATANT PLUGS IN LAST-EVER SHOW NOTES, AHEM)

[Rob: Here's a Canadian PSA from the same era, explaining what is obviously the most critical use of metric system: the difference between 3 cm, 30 cm, and 100 cm of snow. Note the little flying bug (snowball? will-o-the-wisp?) wearing the Canadian metrication logo as a hat. I'll bet this guy is the reason I remembered that logo as "adorable."]

23:26 French Revolution: So yes, the French Revolution not only gave us the awesome idea of chopping the heads off the monstrously wealthy, but they also gave us uniform units of measurement. Alas, decimal time did not take off, and neither did the Revolutionary calendar, as beautiful as it might be.

24:01 The British get the Prime Meridian: Rob was absolutely right. The trade was that France would recognize Greenwich (instead of Paris) as the Prime Meridian if the British signed onto the metric system. While the British technically did as early as 1884 recognize the meter, as Brexit has shown, it has never dislodged the mile and the yard in British hearts.

24:40 A cubic decimeter of water: I was right! A cubic decimeter of water simultaneously takes up one liter of volume and weighs on kilogram. Not bad for having my metric dreams crushed at the age of 8.

26:10 "You like Canadian late-20th century graphic design?" Yes. Yes, Rob I do.

28:15 Meet The Meters: Used copies are going for $40 on Amazon. I'm not ashamed to say I teared up a little seeing that cover. My goodness, what nostalgia. Basically the only books I used to take out of the library at this age were about math.

30:31 Old Skull: When Rob included this clip in the episode, I was floored. I'd forgotten all about the most punk of all hardcore '80s bands, Old Skull! Yes, three 10-year-old kids in the late '80s singing songs about how much Ronald Reagan fucking sucked. Sadly, the two brothers at the center of the band both died in the early '10s. The story of Old Skull always reminded me a bit of The Shaggs, too.

31:29 Madam C.J. Walker: Really, just an amazing story; Madam C.J. Walker is literally one of the world's first truly global brands, as Black beauticians across the Americas used her products and trusted the name (and face) on the packaging.

34:23 Afro Sheen/Frederick Douglass: Both Rob and I didn't remember clearly if this ad was real or a Robert Townsend/Eddie Murphy-era satire, but no, it's absolutely real and actually kind of awesome. Frederick Douglass is being recognized more and more.

[Rob: I can't get enough of the line, "I've been watching the progress of our people, and I'm quite familiar with the natural."]

35:31 Huey Lewis: I've had "Do You Believe In Love" stuck in my head all week, thanks Huey. Good song, GREAT dorky early '80s video. I bet that woman is like, "Hey, The News, get the hell out of my bedroom." But WKRP music maven Michael Rodriguez reminds us in this comment from our Facebook that only Sean Hopper of Clover went on to join the News.

39:41 Johnny/Hirsch: It's a great scene and a great pairing. What more can be said? It feels like Hesseman is finding Ian Wolfe to be a comedic brother-in-arms in that scene.

42:47 "It makes everything make sense." It's true! Whether the arc was planned out or not, kudos to Hugh and the writers to be able to stick the landing like this and explain away 4 years' worth of zany schemes and Mama's conniving.

49:44 News radio on AM: The all-news format began in the early '60s but really didn't take off until stations like 1010 WINS in New York changed format in 1965 and heavily branded their content with slogans like "You give us 22 minutes, we'll give you the world" and their famous use of the xylophone intro to Ib Glindemann's "Construction Site," memorably used in Goodfellas as news of the Lufthansa Heist comes over Henry Hill's radio.

51:12 "Another Merry Mixup": We talked about "Another Merry Mixup" back in HMOTD 045, and here's Jaime Weinman's article about it one more time. Hey, sincere thanks to Jaime Weinman for being one of our polestars throughout this podcast for WKRP lore, along with...

55:13 Michael Kassel: If you take your WKRP fandom seriously, you really should pick up a copy of Michael Kassel's America's Favorite Radio Station: WKRP In Cincinnati. Thank you so much, Michael Kassel, for all your hard work in interviewing the cast and crew.

1:06:32 "Leave it to Gordon." This quote about the show's cast and crew being a family shoots up to the top of my list of Gordon Jump's Being Adorably Kind list; I don't know how I'd rank Gordon Jump's Lasagna and Gordon Jump And His Wife Dancing Like Singin' In The Rain, but those are definitely my top 3.

1:07:59 Cheers: Boy that Cheers post-finale interview is just a horrible mess. I cringed like five times just listening to 45 seconds of it. I will tell you, though: people in Boston in 1993 were fucking INTO having the Cheers cast here in town. But the finale itself... I love that final couple of minutes, still, to this day.

1:12:45 "Life on Mars finale... just Google it": If you must know how the American version of Life on Mars ends, spoilers I guess.

1:14:00 Lincoln in the Bardo: I really need to read this book. I'm a George Saunders fan from way back and everything I've heard about this book has been exceedingly good.

[Rob: I liked it a lot: funny and sad and Saunders has a lot of fun with the language. I'm a sucker for faux 19th-century grandiloquence.]

1:20:14 Post-credits: As we said above, it's not too late to get your questions into us; we definitely would like a few more emails before next week! And hey, the Twitter tournament is heating up! We've got three regional rounds still going today and this weekend! We were too shaken up from having to end the podcast to look at a damn calendar. Oh well, it's a good blooper. :)

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