Tom Keith - Old Time Radio
Saturday, March 22, 2008
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(GK: Garrison Keillor, SS: Sue Scott, TK: Tom Keith, TR: Tim Russell, RD: Rich Dworsky)

GK: Our sound effects man, Mr. Tom Keith, remembers those old days of radio, don't you?

 

TK: Sure do.

GK: Tom came in at the end of the Golden Age of radio, when radio was desperately trying to hold its audience against television, by putting on more and more violent shows like Timmy of the Jungle - (JUNGLE DRUMS)

TR (ANNOUNCER): And now ... Boston Brand Shredded Soybeans presents TIMMY OF THE JUNGLE - (JUNGLE BIRDS AND PRIMATES)

TK (BOY): It's so darned dark all of a sudden, Rex. (DOG WOOFS) I think we're lost! (CHORD) How come those giant birds are circling? (SHRILL BIRD CRIES) Rex? Where'd you go, Rex? (LION) Oh oh. (CHORD)

GK:

Shredded soybeans are nutritious
And they're also lots of fun.
Take a tip from Tim, you can count on him,
Shredded soybeans are No. 1.

 

GK: Timmy of the Jungle was responsible for a lot of us leaving the lights on at night all over the house. It was a big hit for awhile among little kids and so was the Hap Harrison show....

(PULSING THEME. SPEEDING CAR, CORNERING AND SHIFTING UP)

TR (ANNC): Once again it's time for HAP HARRISON, SPECIAL DELIVERY! Racing along the winding coastal highway (SFX CORNERING AND REVVING, GOING THROUGH GEARS) with the thousand-foot sheer drop to the surf below (SURF), it's postal deliveryman Hap Harrison, taking the mail through as fast as a man can travel - by car (CAR CORNERING), by aeroplane (PLANE DIVING), or by submarine (KLAXON) - it's Hap Harrison, brought to you by Carnival Brand Shredded Corn -

GK:

Shredded cornflakes every morning
For the best that you can be.
Take a tip from Hap, do not be a sap,
Shredded corn for energy.

 

The thing about Hap Harrison was that the special delivery packages he delivered were always explosives and he always discovered it at the last minute -

TK: Wait! Don't touch that! Down! (EXPLOSION)

GK: He'd bring a big birthday box to an old lady ...

SS (OLD LADY): Why thank you, sonny!

TK: Wait! No!

SS (OLD LADY): What are you doing? You're throwing my birthday package over the cliff down toward those giant oil tanks? (HUGE EXPLOSIONS, A SERIES OF THEM) Why, how can I ever thank you?

TK: We don't expect thanks, Mrs. Grady. We're the U.S. Post Office.

GK: Tom Keith did all the sound effects for those shows, as they became more and more violent, trying to lure people back from television ...

(THEME)

TR: Wagon trains moving west. Thousands of folks tryin to reach Oregon, California. We've got to improve the Oregon Trail. Got to make some big cuts through them mountains so folks don't wear out their horses.

TK: Guess we'd better get in touch with Jack.

TR (ANNC): And now ... we take you back to the thrilling days of the Old West and the adventures of JACK DANIELSON, DEMOLITION COWBOY (HORSE GALLOPING, TK WHOOPS ... THROWS DYNAMITE ... GALLOPING HORSE. TK: Giddup, Blaze. Let's go! ... EXPLOSIONS, AVALANCHE) brought to you by America's favorite breakfast treat, Bailey's Shredded Barley ...

GK:

Shredded barley is the cereal
For the cowboys in the west.
Take a tip from Jack, put em in your pack,
Shredded barley is the best. (HORSE WHINNY)

 

Tom Keith was so good at a lot of different sound effects like mixers (SFX) and chickens (SFX) and toilets flushing (SFX), but radio was desperate, there was no time for subtlety, and management wanted explosions. Either that or guys getting stuck in the back with a knife. (TK KNIFED, FALLS, DIES). Four or five times a week, on four or five different shows, Tom did a chopper (SFX) coming in low over the surf (SURF) and firing machine guns (SFX) at the enemy oil refinery which went up in a tremendous explosion (SFX) that sent a ball of fire thousands of feet into sky (REVERBERATING EXPLOSION). Sometimes the chopper (SFX) flew in low over the surf (SURF) and it sent out radio signals (SFX) that guided Navy-trained dolphins (DOLPHINS) who flipped a switch on the belt around their bellies (DOLPHINS) and fired rockets (SFX) at the enemy oil refinery and blew it up (SFX). It was nothing but explosions, day after day, and carnage (GUNS), and violence (THROWING KNIFE, HITS MAN, HE GROANS AND FALLS), and meanwhile there was so much more he could do, he could do sheep (SFX) and kittycats (SFX) and a lawn sprinkler (SFX) - he could do great lawn sprinkles, he could do a lawnmower (SFX) and a dog (SFX) and a leaking faucet (SFX) - he begged management for a chance to do a family show, something with pets and lawns, but no, no it was violence, nothing but violence - (CAR SPEEDING, GUNSHOTS) (THEME)

TR: When the forces of crime and cruelty rear their ugly heads, and honest citizens are terrorized (CRIES OF ALARM), local officers of the law have but one choice -

(TELEGRAPH KEY)

TK: Calling ... Dick Dixon ...(MUSIC)

TR: DICK DIXON, DUKE OF DESTRUCTION ... No matter how wily or powerful his enemies, DICK DIXON only knows one way of fighting them ... with maximum force!

(DIVE BOMBER, BOMBS DROPPING, EXPLOSIONS) ... Brought to you by Flanagan's Shredded Flax.

GK:

Shredded flax is just fantastic,
Gives you roughage to the max.
Take a tip from Dick, there is nothing quicker
Than a bowl of shredded flax.

 

(c) 1999 by Garrison Keillor

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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