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A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor
25 Years of Pretty Good Radio
Bits, snapshots, and clips from the last 25 years
featuring excerpts from anniversary publications and recordings.
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A Reflection of 25 Years: Garrison Keillor on the Spirituality of Radio

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS people reach that milestone pretty regularly - but in the Darwinian world of radio broadcasting it's an eon, and the long life of "A Prairie Home Companion" is a real accomplishment, just like the World's Largest Ball of Twine. You keep on winding your twine, and it gets bigger and bigger, and pretty soon your home town erects a sign, "Home of Wilfred Sneed and His Twine Ball - 100 yds straight ahead on left," and I suppose you should feel some pride, but you should know that it was not for brilliance or sheer imagination that you accumulated this monstrosity. It was lack of imagination masquerading as perseverance. Most people would've tired of winding twine back when the ball was ten feet in diameter and taken up license-plate-collecting or joined a polka club or gone off on a bus tour of Civil War battlefields. But I am a horse, which you need to be in radio, I guess. You stay in harness and remain focused on the end of the row you are plowing - focus, in my case, on Saturday, and as your colleagues drop out of radio one by one and go into arts administration or public relations, and the creepy little guy who used to mix the show starts up an Internet company and takes it public for a couple hundred million, you plod up and down the rows whinnying, and suddenly one day, they present you with a plaque. It is a chunk of Lucite with the number 25 etched into it.

I have almost no memory of those twenty-five years because I'm on a weekly schedule. I can tell you about Thursday afternoon or Saturday morning, but I don't recall annual stuff, like 1982. On Friday, I write scripts, Friday night I rewrite them, Saturday we go on the air and stumble through the drill, I do my dance and sing my song, and do the News from Lake Wobegon, which is mostly about muskrats and pouring concrete and annuities and my boyhood pal Skippy and his hilarious mispronunciations, and meanwhile a white mist of powdered sugar falls around me from the doughnut of the stagehand on the catwalk above who is retying the sandbag hanging over my head, and now I have forgotten the end of the Skippy story so I wind it up, and there is a big commotion in the wings and a clatter of hooves as the Guy's Shoe Band rushes onstage and strikes up a tune and the stage manager brings me a note ("Go to Credits") and now I cannot remember the names of the guests I should thank, I can only remember the end of the Skippy story (he kept the chicken, whom he named Fred, in the garage, and gradually it became just like a member of the family), so the show peters out on a long drum solo and tepid applause, and I go back to the dressing room and weep bitter tears. Sunday morning I forget the whole thing. In this way, a man avoids melancholy and regret and stays forever young.

 
1974 A Auction
Autoharp
Autumn poem
1975 B Buster
Butch Thompson
Beebopareebop Rhubarb Pie
1976 C Café Boeuf
Cemetery
Cowboys
1977 D Dworsky
Drinks
Duct Tape
Deep Valley Bed
1978 E Elegance
Editing
English
1979 F Fear
Fitzgerald Theater
Fred Farrell
1980 G Greetings
Guy's Allstar Shoe Band
Gloria
1981 H Hotel Minnesota
Human Sacrifices
1982 I Ice Fishing
Iditarod
Irish Envy
1983 J Jason's Song
Julia Child
Jumper Cables
1984 K Keith
Ketchup
Kottke
1985 L

Lake Wobegon Trail
Limericks
Lodge
Loyalty

1986 M MacKenzie
Monologue
Mosquitoes
1987 N New Year's Eve Poem
Nouns
November
1988 O Odd
Only in America
1989 P

Parents
Powdermilk Biscuit Band

1990
1991
Q, R

Questions
Ringsak
Russell

1992 S Scott
Stein
1993 T

Thompson
Tschida

1994
1995
U,V Unforgettable
Violence
1996 W Water
Williams
1997
1998
1999
X,Y,Z X
Yelling
Zero
     

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Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

Available now»

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