GK: So many people write in and ask, How did you get into radio? That must be a fascinating story. ---- Actually nobody writes in and asks that, they ask, How long do you expect to keep on in radio? I should imagine you're thinking about retirement now. ------- Anyway, I got into radio by listening to the radio. We had a big Zenith radio with vacuum tubes that gave off heat and we used the radio to hatch eggs as we listened to our favorite shows ----- mine was......
TR (ON RADIO): -------THE HAND IN THE DARK .....(EERIE ORGAN) Over a century ago, an accident in a sawmill (SFX) cost young Dietrich Mueller his right hand (GK CRY OF HORROR) and ever since that night, the people of Forest Grove have had strange encounters late at night. (BREATHING)
SS: What is that, Jack?
FN: What is what?
SS: I feel a hand down at the foot of the bed.
FN: You're imagining things, Sally.
SS: There's someone or something here in the room with us.
You don't feel it? It---- the hand is coming under the covers. Oh Jack. What can I do?
FN: What do you want????? Who are you???? Why do you torture us????
SS: Where's your gun, Jack?
FN: It's in the bedside table.
SS: Hand it to me.
FN: Sally---- careful-----
SS: It's right here. Hand me the gun. Oh my gosh. I can feel it. Inches away. (SHE SCREAMS. GUNSHOT) Jack?
GK: There were friendly homespun shows too but we never listened to them. (FIDDLE)
TR: HOWDEEE friends and neighbors, once again it's the Zumbro River Valley Gang with another hour of good old-timey music and Gramps will be around with another Fireside Yarn but meanwhile (FADES) let's bring up Cousin Chuck and Aunti LouAnn with a good old song called, When The Roses Bloom In Blooming Prairie) ---- we had enough wholesomeness there on the farm, what we wanted was mystery......
SS: What happened to your hand, Jack?
FN: Don't look at it.
SS: There's hair growing on your palm.
FN: I'll put on a glove.
SS: I like it.
FN: You what?
SS: I like it.
FN: You like---being touched----by the hand of a wild beast???
SS: I like it.
FN: Sally---- you seem different ----
SS: Oh. (SHE HISSES) How?
GK: I worked my way up in radio. First I learned Morse Code (SFX) and then I learned semaphore code using signal flags (SFX) and then I joined the Plane Spotting Patrol, Boy Scouts on skis in northern Minnesota scanning the skies for Soviet missiles during the Cold War, and then Minnesota Public Radio hired me to turn on their transmitter in Collegeville.
TR: It freezes up on cold mornings so you need to build a fire in the transmitter shack and warm it and then you need to cup your hands around the oscillator and warm that and then pull the starter rope----- (PULL ROPE, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN, AND THEN ENGINE FIRES UP) --- like that. Think you can do that?
GK: Sure. But what do I do the rest of the time?
TR: You can do a show where you give the weather and play cheerful music and chuckle.
GK: You mean---- a wholesome family show?
TR: Yes. You seem like a good wholesome Minnesota lad. With a lot of chuckles in you.
GK: I was sort of hoping to do a late-night show in which I could be an insidious twisted person who brings his own darkness into the lives of innocent people and somehow evades the law.
TR: But why would you want to do that? Why wouldn't you want to bring sunshine and laughter into their lives?
Why? (STING, BRIDGE)
GK: And so I started doing this show, which I've now done for almost forty years, but late at night, when it was my job to turn the transmitter off----- I kept it on so I could be-----
(NIGHT SOUNDS) (ORGAN, SOFT AND INSIDIOUS)
TR: THE TAILGATER.
SS: What's wrong, Larry? Why do you keep looking in your rearview mirror?
FN: It's that guy behind me. Right up on the bumper.
SS: Pull over to the side of the road and let him pass.
FN: There's a deep ditch there---- (CAR HONKS, OFF)
SS: Why is he honking? Let him pass. Don't speed up, Larry. (CAR ACCEL) You're going too fast. What is wrong with him?? (STING)
GK: Heh heh heh heh. I'll show you. Don't get in my way. Put my headlights on high beam. (CAR SCREECH, OFF) That threw him. Ha ha ha ha. (HONKS) Get off the road, bozo. Okay, I'm coming around. (BIG ENGINE, REV, ACCEL) Move over, Gramps. (HONKS. CAR SCREECH, BIG EXPLOSION) Didn't see that tree, huh? Oh well. Sayonara, sucker. What we got next? A pickup truck with a trailer. Ha ha ha ha. (HONKS) (BRIDGE) More people listened to it than heard this show but we didn't such good ratings because when Nielsen did their surveys, nobody wanted to admit listening to THE TAILGATER. Or to the show that followed it.
FN: He lives alone in a small white house. Maybe he lives next door to you. People know him as a quiet, wellgroomed, polite man who is always kind to children and yet......he has a secret identity as......THE ICEMAN. (SFX, CAR GOES BY IN SNOW. ANOTHER CAR. BELL TOLLS).
GK: Nice and dark out so nobody can see my watering can. (WATER DRIBBLING) Heh heh heh heh. Water with black ink in it to make black ice. Should freeze up in about thirty seconds. Ahh. Here comes someone. (FOOTSTEPS IN THE SNOW) I'll just hide behind this tree. And try to wipe the big smile off my face.
SS (APPROACHING): Watch your step, Daddy. Could be slippery out.
TR (OLD): What a beautiful night. Look at those stars.
SS (OLD): Don't look at the stars, Daddy. Watch where you're going.
TR (OLD): Don't worry about me, honey. I've been walking on ice since you were---- (BIG CRY, FALL WITH A CRUNCH OF BONE) ----
(RUNNING FOOTSTEPS IN SNOW)
GK: Are you alright? What happened?
SS: It's my dad. He fell----
TR (OLD): I think it's my hip, honey.
GK: I'll call 9-1-1 on my cellphone.
SS: It's so lucky for us that you were right here to help.
GK: Yes. Fortuitous, isn't it. (DISTANT SIREN)
SS: It's odd, I don't see any ice. Where did you slip, Daddy---- was it back here---- (CRY, FALL, CRUNCH OF BONE)
GK: I hope the ambulance brings two gurneys. Otherwise you may have to share. (HE LAUGHS AN EVIL LAUGH)
(BRIDGE) People ask me, How long you going to keep on in radio? If only they knew. I get a strange satisfaction from it that is hard to explain. The Tailgater. The Iceman. And one of these days I'll start a new series. (BANGING OF SLEDHAMMER ON STEEL, FOUR BANGS)
TR: THE FUNDRAISER. When you least expected it, he was there. He was there and he wouldn't go away. Day after day, he kept coming after them. People tried turning off their radios but his voice stuck in their heads.
GK: If you value this listener-supported service, then now is the time to reach for the phone and make a membership pledge. I know you hate me and you loathe the thought of giving but if you don't, I am going to come to your house when you least expect it and I am going to find my way into your house. You've been letting us into your home for years and now I know the way. And I am going to slip my cold hand under the blankets and you will have a dream in which the dead come to get you but it won't be them. It will be me. (GUN HAMMER, COCKED) That's not a real gun. Public radio listeners don't have guns. You are at my mercy. (LAUGHS)
TR: .....coming soon to a station near you. (PIANO PLAYOFF)