The Sound Effects Man and his Children
Saturday, March 22, 2008
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(GK: Garrison Keillor; SS: Sue Scott; TR: Tim Russell; FN: Fred Newmann)

(THEME)

GK: And now... THE SOUND EFFECTS MAN AND HIS CHILDREN....(MUSIC)

It isn't easy when you're a child to find out that other kids' daddies are doctors and lawyers and your daddy honks for a living. (HONKS) Other kids' daddies are saving lives and your daddy ---- (WOOFING, WHINNY. TRAFFIC PASSING, FAST. HORSES' HOOVES. STACCATO) --- your daddy is doing sound effects.

TR (TEEN): Dad?

FN: What? (DRIPPING)

TR (TEEN): What are you doing?

FN: (DRIPS) I'm practicing. (DRIPS)

TR (TEEN): Couldn't you do that somewhere else, Dad?

FN: What's the problem? (DRIPS)

TR (TEEN): I have friends coming over.

FN: So?

TR (TEEN): What am I supposed to tell them?

FN: Tell them this----- (BIRD SHRIEK)

TR (TEEN): Oh dad----- (MUSIC)

GK: He's a sound effects man, your daddy, one of the best in the business, if they need squirrels (SFX) or a cellphone (SFX) or a coffeemaker (SFX), or a flying elephant (ELEPHANT CRY, WINGS)---or a washing machine on the wash cycle (SFX) or the spin cycle (SFX). That's what your daddy does all day ---- and it's a dog eat dog world, sound effects (DOG FIGHT, DOG DEVOURED), it's a real rat race (RACING RATS), it's a jungle out there (JUNGLE BIRDS), and the things people ask you to do----

TR: I've got a tough one for you, Fred. We've got a chicken---

FN: Chicken, right----

TR: And he's carrying a boombox ----

FN: Chicken with a boombox, no problem----

TR: And he gets into a motorboat----

FN: Right. Gotcha.

TR: And he goes out to his submarine.

FN: The chicken has a submarine?

TR: He's stationed on a submarine.

FN: Sure---

TR: And he gets aboard the submarine and they have a fire drill.

FN: Right.

TR: But the chicken misunderstands.

FN: I see.

TR: He gets out a power drill and he drills right through the ship's hull and water comes in.

FN: Right.

TR: So he climbs up the ladder and out the hatch and stands on deck, and then he falls in the water and he's attacked by a shark with the hiccups.

FN: Good.

TR: And the chicken fights off the shark and an ocean liner is bearing down on him----

FN: Sure.

TR: And he's rescued just in time by dolphins.

FN: Fine. That's all?

TR: Think you can do it? (BRIDGE)

GK: Of course your dad can do it. He does the impossible every day. There's no sound he can't make.

SS (GIRL): Daddy?

FN: Daddy's busy right now, honey---- (CHICKEN, BOOMBOX, MOTORBOAT. GULLS. MOTORBOAT SLOWS. SUBMARINE COMMANDER ON P.A. CHICKEN CLIMBS ABOARD. DOWN LADDER. KLAXON, FIRE DRILL. RUNNING FOOTSTEPS, VOICES. POWER DRILL THROUGH METAL. GUSH OF WATER. CHICKEN SURPRISE. RUNNING CHICKEN. CHICKEN TOPSIDE IN HEAVY SEAS. SEASICK CHICKEN. CHICKEN FALLS IN WATER. SHARK WITH HICCUPS. SHARK ATTACK. CHICKEN FIGHT. BOAT HORN. DOLPHINS) There. What is it, honey?

SS (GIRL): Daddy, there's a bulldozer in the backyard and it's going to demolish our house.

FN: Not while I'm here it isn't. (RUNNING FOOTSTEPS, OPEN DOOR. BULLDOZER. "CUT IT OUT." BULLDOZER COUGHS, SPUTTERS, DIES.)

GK: That's your dad. He's ready for anything. Okay, so maybe it's embarrassing to have an adult in your house who's (SHEEP) doing animal sounds and other stuff that you'd rather not hear from a parent (BOINGING) --- but your dad is a hero. He can stand up to blizzards (BLIZZARD), lightning (THUNDER, LIGHTNING), zombies (ZOMBIE), killer bullfrogs (SFX), an attack by cropdusters (PLANE, LOW), cougars (COUGAR), vampire bats (BATS), heavy metal (METALLICA), feral Holsteins (DEMENTED COW)...all he needs is a lasso (SWINGING LASSO) and a laser gun (LASER) and his faithful dog Lassie (BARKS) and every so often a leather lash (WHIP) and his biker buddy, Lester (FN: Hi. MOTORCYCLE REV).

Next week is Sound Effects Week and next Sunday is Father's Day. And here in Washington D.C. all fathers in the sound effects business will be honored with a 21-gun salute (VOLLEY) and a flyover by the Blue Angels (A FORMATION OF JETS, LOW) and a bagpipe band (BAGPIPE) and at the end of the ceremony, by a moment of silence.

(DRIPPING)

© Garrison Keillor 2002

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

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