Tom Keith: Radio Violence
Saturday, March 4, 2000
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(GK: Garrison Keillor, SS: Sue Scott, TK: Tom Keith, TR: Tim Russell, RD: Rich Dworsky)

Coming to Ireland, we've had to put our sound-effects man, Mr. Tom Keith, under certain restrictions because we're doing the show from the studios of Radio Ireland and people here are not so tolerant of violence on the radio as the U.S. is. There are stricter standards in this country, and for example, throwing a man in a brown suit off a cliff into shark-infested waters-which is one of Tom Keith's specialties---is not done on Irish radio, and I'm sure you can see why if we play you a little bit of this tape of ---(FOOTSTEPS, SLOW)---that's the guy walking over to the edge---(TK WHISTLING) he has no idea what's about to happen to him --- he opens up a beer (POP TOP CAN) --- he lights a cigarette (LIGHTER, EXHALE) --- let me fast forward here (FAST FORWARD. STOP. WATER FROTHING FROM SHARKS) ---- whoops, that's the shark attack --- let me back up a little (REWIND, STOP. SLOW SPEED HUMAN SPEECH) ---wrong speed. Sorry. (CLICK) Here it is. (TK: No---No--- no,no ---don't---no---not---TR CRY FALLING AND SPLASH. WATER FROTHING FROM SHARKS) And there he is, being eaten by vicious sharks.

Irish radio does allow scene of violence if they take place in the context of classical myth. For example, the Greek myth where the guy is tied to a rock and the birds come and peck out his liver. We could do that on Irish radio, because it's classical. (BIRD CAWING, APPROACHING)

TK: (GUY RISING PROTEST….TERROR) No! No! Not my liver!….(THEN A SCREAM)

But we didn't really have a use for that on the show today, so we're not going to use it. The Irish are opposed to violence on the radio because they know it's so much more real than violence on TV. On TV, it's on a little screen, it's miniature, it's harmless, but radio takes place inside you head and what's in your head is immense. For example, this dentist who is working inside your head.

TK: Okay. (CLINK OF TOOLS) I don't think we need any Novocain here. Just a little one. Only take a minute. Here we go. (DRILL) You okay? Good? (DRILL HIGHER PITCH, DRILL SLIPS, BIG SQUISH) Oh my gosh. I'm sorry. Went right through the roof of your mouth there. (DRIPS) Kind of a mess. (DRIPS) Boy that's a first for me. ---Hey, Diane, you want to come clean this up?---You okay? Here. Let me give you some oxygen. (RESPIRATOR)

A scene like that can cause our listeners to put off dental work until their teeth turn into little black stumps, and that's why Irish radio asked that we not do it here in their studios, so we won't, and neither are we going to do a script in which a meteoroid is heading straight for the Earth. Because it's just too darned scary.

We do have some fairly minor violent stuff coming up on the show, though, and let me just summarize it so you can decide if your children are mature enough to listen to this or not. We do have a thunderstorm (THUNDER, LIGHTNING) and it touches off an avalanche (AVALANCHE) that sweeps down the mountain toward the little boy Timmy (TK: Help! Help!) and his kitty cat (MEOW) and the avalanche just misses him (TK: Yikes!) (AVALANCHE PASSES) and giant boulders hit the gas tanks (EXPLOSIONS) and sets off a huge fire (SIRENS) that warms up the dinosaur eggs (CRACKING) in the ground and these mutant monsters (MONSTER) as big as skyscrapers rise up from the earth's crust and terrorize the village (DISTANT CRIES OF TERROR) and dive bombers have to be brought in (DIVE SFX) to launch cruise missiles (MISSILE FLIGHT) but the dinosaurs catch the missiles in their hands (MONSTER) and throw them into the sea and they explode underwater (UNDERWATER EXPLOSIONS) and the submarine Nautilus is damaged --- (TK: We're taking on water, sir!) (KLAXON) (TK: Take it up!) (SPLASH OF SUB SURFACING)---and through the periscope he sees---(TK: Oh my gosh!!!) --- (METEOROID) boy, that is a meteoroid and it is heading straight for the Earth (PANICKY CRIES) and they aim the bow torpedo tubes up and launch nuclear warheads (ROCKET THRUSTS) that hit the meteor (BIG EXPLOSION) and deflect it so it hits the dinosaurs (DINOS, EXPLOSION) and it sets off a rockslide and it's heading for Timmy (TK: Help. Help!) (AVALANCHE) and in comes the rescue chopper (CHOPPER) and lifts him out (CHOPPER)---but where is the kitty cat? (MEOW) and Timmy looks out (CHOPPER) the open door of the chopper and sees his cat and he ties a bungee cord to his ankle and (BOY LEAPS) he jumps out the door and he grabs the cat (MEOW) and bounces back (BOINNGGG) into the air just as the train passes (TRAIN FAST, GOING PAST), but that's all. Nothing worse than that. Our sound effect man Tom Keith.

 

(c) 2000 by Garrison Keillor

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

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