(GK: Garrison Keillor, TR: Tim Russell, SS: Sue Scott, TK: Tom Keith)
GK: Time once again for Famous Celebrities (THEME)...where we talk up close and personal with famous men and women ordinarily protected from the public gaze by their p.r. lackeys and minions. Did you know that many celebrities come from small towns and that many of them performed on this show in the Talent from Towns Under Two Thousand contest? Well, it's true. How about you, Mr. President?
TR (BUSH): Who you talking to? If you're looking for------- Oh. Right. You looking for me?
GK: Talking to you, Mr. President.
TR (BUSH): Okay. Just startled me there for a minute.
GK: You were a contestant on our T-TUTT show years ago, you remember that?
TR (BUSH): That's right. Entered from Crawfordsville, Texas.
GK: So you entered from Crawfordsville and what was your talent?
TR (BUSH): Played the fiddle.
GK: What'd you play on the fiddle, Mr. President?
TR (BUSH): Only knew one tune. "Boil That Cole Slaw Down".
GK: "Boil That Cole Slaw Down"?
TR (BUSH): That's what it's called. "Boil That Cole Slaw Down". Old Texas tune.
GK: I believe that's "Bile Them Cabbage Down".
TR (BUSH): Whatever. Anyway, that was my tune. Had all these little pieces of tape on the fiddle so I knew where to put my fingers.
GK: How'd you come out in the contest, Mr. President?
TR (BUSH): I lost. By two votes. Said to myself, "I'm never going to let that happen to me again." And I didn't.
GK: Good. Thank you, Mr. President. Julia Child----- did you come from a small town, too?
TR (JULIA): Well! Back when I sang on your show, I was living in the Mississippi Delta and learning to play twelve-string guitar. It was a lovely little town called Yazoo Corner and I lived in a delightful sharecropper's shack where I learned to make a lovely possum en croute with chicken feet in balsamic vinegar.
GK: I remember you came on the show wearing coveralls and a blue workshirt.
TR (JULIA): Sang an old blues song, "Make Me A Cassoulet On Your Floor".
GK: Oh, right. Right. Henry Kissinger, you were in the Talent from Towns Under Two Thousand contest many years ago----
TR (KISSINGER): Indeed. Many years ago. I was living in Leonard, North Dakota.
GK: And I believe you sang a song, is that right?
TR (KISSINGER): I did. It was a song called "I Want To Be Loved By You".
GK: You still remember that song?
TR (KISSINGER): I do indeed. "I want to be loved by you, just you and nobody else but you, I want to be loved by you alone. Poop-Poop-a-doo."
TR (KISSINGER): That's right. "Poop-poop-a-doo."
GK: Thank you. Ted Koppel, you came from a small town in Wisconsin, as I recall.
TR (KOPPEL): My roots are in and around a small town in Wisconsin that you may or may not be familiar with but it's a town with a long and proud tradition of melted cheese which I'd have to say was a major part of my upbringing, and when people ask me, as they often do, about my particular style of news coverage --- or commentary, if you will --- news analysis, or interpretation, some might call it, though I think of it as news background, or an attempt to put the news into context ---- what was I talking about?
GK: When people ask you about your style....Anyway. And what did you do on the talent show, Mr. Koppel?
TR (KOPPEL): I played the Flight of the Bumblebee on the ocarina.
GK: I remember that. You played it rather slowly and you stopped several times to explain what you were doing.
TR (KOPPEL): Indeed. Would you like to know why I did that?
GK: No, I wouldn't. Thank you. Mr. Bob Dylan, you made your radio debut on our show, as I recall. What town were you living in?
TR (DYLAN): I was living in the monolithic biscuit dream, the prison cells of fellow schemers, dancing down the margarita midnight with a penny for your thoughts---
GK: You were living up in Shroeder, Minnesota, I believe---
TR (DYLAN): My life is just a shredded motor, slippery metal shavings of Egyptian hieroglyphics swimming in their slippers in the prune whip of my mind----
GK: And as I recall, Bob, you came on the show and sang a Rodgers & Hammerstein song ----
TR (DYLAN): OOOOOOOOOOOklahoma where the wind comes sweeping down the plain and the waving wheat can sure smell sweet when the mystic blizzard citizens of chicken gizzard innocence come jingle-jangling down the wistful ----
GK: Thank you, Bob. Thank you. Mr. Rogers, you made your debut on our Talent from Towns Under Two Thousand Show, as I recall.
TR (ROGERS): Yes, I did. I was living with Mother in a town called Weeping Cypress, Florida, and we operated a roadside stand where I sold cupcakes.
GK: And you were ten, twelve, years old?
TR (ROGERS): I was twenty-three. Yes, I was. And I saw the ad for your Talent Contest. And I thought, "I could take my puppets and I could crouch down behind the table and do funny voices just like I do for Mother after supper while she has her medicine." And then I thought, "No, people would think I'm weird. I'll go and sing Gershwin. So I did. Yes, I did."
GK: Do you remember what you sang?
TR (ROGERS): I got rhythm, I got music, I got my gal, who could ask for anything more? I got daisies, in green pastures, I got my gal, I like you just the way you are. Old man Trouble (TAPS) I don't mind him (TAPS), you won't find him (TAPS), round my door...
GK: Thank you, Mr. Rogers... (THEME) That's all the time we have for today's edition of Famous Celebrities.....and good luck to all of our contestants this year.
(c) 2001 by Garrison Keillor