Tom Keith: SFX
Saturday, June 30, 2001
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(GK: Garrison Keillor; TK: Tom Keith; SS: Sue Scott: TR: Tim Russell; ER: Erica Rhodes)

GK: Our sound effects man, Tom Keith, has appeared at Tanglewood many times in the past…….you've heard him when the Boston Symphony Orchestra does Respighi's The Birds……. (SFX)…….or The Fountains of Rome (SFX)…….or Babar the Elephant (SFX) ……the thunderstorm in the Beethoven Sixth (SFX)……..Peter and the Wolf (HOWL), the Grand Canyon Suite (CLIP-CLOP HOOVES) and the Flight of the Bumblebee (BEE) and of course Schubert's Trout Quintet (FLOPPING FISH)………and when the Boston Pops did a suite from "Miss Saigon," he did the helicopter (SFX). So many works. Haydn's Symphony, "La Poule"….The Hen. (SFX) Haydn's Surprise Symphony………(PAUSE, THEN TK SHRIEK). But of course, his big gig is around the 4th of July when everybody does the 1812 Overture……….Tom does eighteen different 1812 Overtures over that weekend……..he does the Boston Symphony 1812 here at Tanglewood (CANNONS) and he races downtown (TIRES SCREECHING) to the Charles River Esplanade to do the Boston Pops 1812 (CANNONS) and then it's down to New York for their 1812 (CANNONS) and Wolf Trap near Washington for their 1812 (CANNONS) which includes a fly-over (JET FLYOVER) and heads for the Blossom Music Center in Cleveland and does their 1812 (CANNONS) and then there's Ravinia in Chicago (CANNONS) and many hours later he's at Hollywood Bowl (CANNONS) and then up to San Francisco, where they don't use cannons, they do it with dolphins (SFX) --- eighteen 1812 Overtures in one day, some with cannons (SFX) and others with howitzers (SFX), machine guns (SFX), laser guns (SFX), and rockets (SFX) and the one in San Francisco (DOLPHINS). And when he's done, Tom is exhausted (SFX), unable to talk, his throat is raw (SFX). He climbs aboard his private car on the Empire Builder (TRAIN WHISTLE, CHUGGING) and he goes back to his farm in Tomah, Wisconsin, (COWS) and tries to take it easy for awhile. It's a beautiful place, big white house, barn. (PIGS) Tom goes there to get away from his fame, to be himself. So many people just think of him in connection with explosives (SHUFFLE DECK OF CARDS), but Tom's real love is card tricks. (SHUFFLE) Tom does things with a deck of cards that no other magician can do. Unfortunately, when you're in radio, this doesn't add up to a lot. (RING, PICK UP)

TK: Yeah? Who?

GK: It's someone asking if he can do Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals in the fall.

TK: How much? Oh. ---- Let me think about it. (HANG UP)

GK: The Carnival of the Animals doesn't pay even a fraction of what the 1812 pays. The 1812 on the 4th of July is Tom's meal ticket. He tried to get out of the 1812 Overture business and earn a living making relaxation tapes (SURF) for use by masseuses and dentists, doing an hour of surf (SURF) or a northern Minnesota lake at sunset (LOON) and canoe paddles dripping (DRIPS, LOON), but you know something, there is a glut of relaxation tapes on the market, and meanwhile, there's a huge demand for the 1812 Overture, so this weekend, Tom will be back at work ----- at Tanglewood (CANNON), the Charles River Esplanade (ROCKETS), New York (CANNONS), Wolf Trap (EXPLOSION), Blossom Music Center (MACHINE GUN, HOWITZERS), Ravinia (BIG EXPLOSIONS), Hollywood Bowl (LASER GUNS), and San Francisco (DOLPHINS). Happy 4th of July, everybody. (ROCKETS)

© Garrison Keillor 2001

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).

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