September 3, 2005
Garrison Keillor: It's Labor Day weekend in Minnesota and the geese are starting to head south big V-formations of them flying over (WINGS PASSING, HONKING OF GEESE) and sometimes two V formations team up to form a W (MORE WINGS PASSING, HONKING OF GEESE) Labor Day is when we celebrate the achievements of the American worker by eating grilled meat. The American worker has attained a standard of living that has inspired other countries to build factories and provide their people with the opportunity to work sixteen hour days for about fifteen dollars a week.
Our show comes to you from the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand built in 1909 to hold the crowds of people clamoring to see Dan Patch the champion harness-racing horse (WHINNY), and over the years people have come here to see high-wire acts and fire divers (SFX) and diving horses (SFX) and two men in an elephant suit walking a high wire---
Tim Russell: Ready?
Tom Keith: Ready.
TR: Go ahead.
TK: You're first.
TR: I am?
TK: I'm the tail.
TR: Oh. Okay.
TK: Don't look down.
TR: Here goes.
GK: And members of the famous Zachini family being shot out of cannons. (BIG CANNON) They were men of a very high caliber. It was a one-mile oval dirt track here and Barney Oldfield, the first man to drive a mile a minute, raced here (OLD RACE CAR) and "Wild Bill" Endicot and Sid Haugdahl, the "Norske Speed King" (NEWER BIGGER RACE CAR) and then Joie Chitwood's Auto Daredevils whose wife rode strapped to her husband's hood, head first, through a flaming wooden wall. (SFX) Joie could drive all the way around the track on two wheels and he'd drive at top speed and two wheels went up a ramp and the car rolled four, five, six, seven times, and he hopped out and waved to everybody. He was a big star, and in honor of all those great daredevils, Mr. Tom Keith is now going to climb to the top of the high tower and leap into this moistened sponge in the middle of this flock of chickens.
TK: Thank you and it's a great pleasure to be here at the fair. (HE IS INTERRUPTED HERE) As I look out across all these heppy faces, I can't help but be reminded of what my dad once said to me, He said
GK: Actually he isn't going to leap, it's a trap door he's standing on, so I just release the spring here (WHAP. TK LONG FALLING CRY. SPLAT. CHICKEN FLURRY.)
And he leaps to his feet, hands over his head Mr. Tom Keith.