GK: I've told this story so many times, I am sick of it. It's the story of how I started this show and frankly it's not that good a story. I wish it were, but it's not and I don't ever want to tell it again. But people insist on hearing it.

BAND: We love that story. Tell it again.

GK: You've heard it a hundred times.

BAND: The drummer hasn't heard it.

GK: He hasn't?


GK: Well, okay, but this is the last time. So----- I grew up in the Midwest, on a farm (BIG HORSE) and we raised chickens (CHICKENS) and pigs (SFX) and cows (SFX), Dad was Swedish (TR SWEDISH), Mother was, you know, a Mom (SS: How about I warm you up a bowl of milk and graham crackers and then we'll play Parcheesi?) ---- and I wish I could say it was Bogota and my dad was a blackjack dealer and my mother an Apache dancer (WEDDING SAMBA) and we lived above a casino and I learned how to stack a deck before I could read, but no----- I was born on a farm in Minnesota (EARNEST MARCH) and attended Lutheran church (SS: Okay, here we go then.) and went to grade school (ALL, AS KIDS: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America)...

GK: ...and I was in Boy Scouts (TR KID: A Boy Scout is ? Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind) and I sure wish it had been a little more interesting (TR KID: A Boy Scout is Devious, Secretive, Conniving, Cynical, In Your Face, Happy to stab you in the back) but no, I was a good kid (TR KID:Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.) And I got merit badges in woodworking (SAW) and sheep herding (SHEEP) and marksmanship (GUNSHOT) and hair styling (HAIRDRYER) and knife throwing (SFX) and poultry (SFX) and poetry (FN: Gild not these marble monuments with thy footprints nor disgrace thy fortune with the eyes of men) and pottery (SFX) and I needed one more badge to become a badger Scout so I chose radio and I got the Boy Scout band together and ---- LIVE FROM MY HOME, IT'S THE COMEDY CAVALCADE (QUIZ SHOW) ---- So: What goes ha, ha, ha, plop?

Someone laughing his head off. (RIMSHOT) Why do they have a piano player in the band? So they'll have a place to set their beer? (PIANO CLUNK) How long does it take to tune a string bass? Nobody's bothered to find out. (FLAT BASS NOTE) What's the difference between a southern zoo and a northern zoo? A southern zoo has a description of the animal on the front of the cage, along with a recipe. (RIMSHOT) THANKS, YOU'VE BEEN A GREAT AUDIENCE . (QUIZ SHOW OUT)

I gave the tape to my Scoutmaster (TR DEUTSCH) and next thing I knew, I had a phone call from New York. New York City. (BIG CITY)

TR (NYER): Kid, this is Hugh Mongous from the Fungus Among Us Broadcasting Corporation and I just got done listening to your audition tape and wow, Kid, I am sending you an all-expense paid bus ticket to Manhattan, because we got big plans for you. Oh yes. (PROFESSIONAL MAN IN LOVE)

GK: Me! Going to New York! (WOOF) All my life I'd listened to big radio shows originating from New York ----

TR: Live from Ansonia Station in New York, it's Rob Fisher and his High Society Orchestra (ELEGANT BEGUINE)

GK: I'd been a fan of his forever. A man who was born to wear black tie and tails. Rob Fisher, heir to the Fisher Automotive fortune, had run away from a life of fabulous wealth to pursue his love of music and dance. If only I could've auditioned for him and gotten a job singing torch songs in a tuxedo, but no ---- that's not how it happened. I got off the bus at the Port Authority (TR P.A. ECHOEY: Passaic, Paterson, Parsippany, Piscataway, Peapack, Point Pleasant) and I walked along West 43rd Street (METRO HUSTLE) past the bars and pizza joints and shops selling Chinese vases and walk-up psychics and the Oglalla Hotel and the Stephen Sondheim Theater where "Oklahoma" was playing and I wish I could say that (RUNNING FOOTSTEPS, FN: HEY, HEY) a man in a porkpie hat dashed out of the stage door and said----

FN: Hey, you----- listen ----- the curtain goes up in five minutes and Curly just passed out and you're his exact size----- can you sing his role?

GK: Can I??? Wow. (PIANO.....)


Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry

When I take you out in the surrey,

When I take you out in the surrey with the fringe on top!

Watch that fringe and see how it flutters

When I drive them high steppin' strutters.

Nosey folks'll peek through their shutters and their eyes will pop----(MUSIC STOPS) but that's not what happened. I went to Fungus Among Us Broadcasting on the 17th floor of the National Association Building east of Sixth Avenue----- Mr. Mongous was a big man in a triple-breasted suit and two-toned shoes and tinted glasses and when he shook my hand I could feel (CRUNCH) my legs go numb.

TR: We've got a show for you, Wyler, that I think you're gonna love. Right up your alley. It's a daily show, five-minutes, called Home Maker's Almanac and you'd be talking about great bargains in produce and tips on stain removal and there'd be a Scripture Reading and you'd recite a homespun poem---- you know, some simple wisdom for the rural homemaker out there.

GK: Well, actually, Mr. Mongous, I was thinking more along the lines of interviewing luminaries of the Great White Way and getting the inside scoop on their lives of glamour and public acclaim.

TR: You? Broadway? Interviewing big stars??? You're from Minnesota. Oh that is rich. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. (LAUGHTER LOUDER, HELPLESS CHORTLING) (STING)

GK: Well, it was a thought. (CITY NOIR) And I left his office and stood in the hallway and the elevator came (DINGS) and there was a woman in rhinestone slacks, smoking a cigarette in a cigarette holder, with a small dog on a leash.

SS (JIGGS): Well? You getting on or not, mister? I don't have all day.

GK: My gosh, you're Jiggs Wahpeton, the Gal In The Know, famous gossip columnist for the New York Daily Mirror and regular panelist on What's My Line?

SS (JIGGS): Yeah, and who are you? Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater??? (SHE LAUGHS A HOARSE LAUGH)

GK: No, I'm Carson Wyler and I came to New York to audition for radio.

SS (JIGGS): You? Radio?? (HOARSE LAUGH) Listen, kid. The day you get into radio, turkeys are gonna fly.And I mean that sincerely. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. (SHE COUGHS, AND THEN STARTS TO CHOKE)

GK: And suddenly she was choking on her own words. (CHORD ONE)

GK: And she fell down on the floor of the elevator. (CHORD TWO)

And I knelt by her side and gave her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. (SFX, SUGGESTIVE SAX) And she opened her eyes. (CHORD THREE) And I wish I could say that she gave me the number of a famous producer who'd make my dreams a reality, but no.

SS (HARD, BITTER): Who are you? Get off me before I call the cops. Pervert. (SAX MISERY)


GK: I headed west on 43rd thinking I'd get back on a bus to Minnesota and then, I was just passing the Town Hall, when a woman stepped out of the door, (EXPLORING WOMEN) and she looked at me, and said:

HM: Hey.

GK: It was Joan Baez.

HM: I'm Joan Baez.

GK: I know.

HM: Are you from Minnesota?

GK: How did you know?

HM: Listen----- my boyfriend and I are supposed to do a concert and he's just lost his mind----- (ENTER TR DYLAN MUTTERING)

GK: What's wrong?

TR (DYLAN): Man, it's too many words!!! You know??? Why did I write so many words to a song???? I can't remember all that stuff. All jingle-jangling in my brain. (FADES MUTTERING)

HM: Can you take his place, Mister? Can you? I'm on in ten minutes.

GK: What could I say? She needed me. So----


Close your eyes, close your door

You don't have to worry any more

I'll be your baby tonight.

GK: I wish that's what happened. But what happened was....

HM: Hey.

GK: You're Joan Baez.

HM: I'm Nina Totenberg.

GK: Oh. You sort of look like Joan Baez.

HM: I look like Joan Baez like you look like Robert Mitchum.

GK: So what do you do?

HM: I cover the Supreme Court for NPR.

GK: Oh.

HM: You listen to public radio?

GK: My mother does, I don't.

HM: Then beat it. Scram. Get lost. (MR. TRACE)

GK: And just then a man appeared out of the shadows.

FN: Twyla?

GK: No, the name is Wyler.

FN: Oh. I thought you were Twyla Tharp, the famous choreographer.

GK: I get that a lot, but no, the name is Wyler. Carson Wyler.

FN: You haven't seen her around, have you?

GK: No. Just Nina Totenberg.

FN: Oh. Okay. Sorry to bother you.

GK: No problem. And then a woman came out of the shadows (MYCENAE)

SS (HUSKY): Mister? ----- do you have a few minutes?

GK: You're not going to try to sell me something, are you? Because if you are, let me tell you, I'm probably going to buy it, I'm from Minnesota, and I don't know how to say no to anybody.

SS (HUSKY): No, no----- just asking a favor. I'm Debbie Fisher, Rob Fisher's mom. His band is giving a concert in there and ---- there is one empty seat in the front row, and I just know that when he comes out on stage he is going to see that one empty seat and it's going to prey on his mind. Could you?

GK: You want me to go and occupy the seat?

SS (HUSKY): Please.

GK: So I did, and that's how I got into the business. As a seat holder. For Rob Fisher and his High Society Orchestra. Right here at the Town Hall. That seat right down there. (BAND FEATURE)