SFX, September 21, 2013

The Fitzgerald Theater

Saint Paul, MN


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GK: Our sound effects man Mr. Fred Newman grew up in Georgia and he had to leave because it was too loud (COON HOUNDS, SHOTGUN). Lot of hunters around and some of them used helicopters (CHOPPER, ROCKET BLASTS). And woodcutters in the woods (CHAINSAW) and the Baptists got wild sometimes (LOUD HALLELUJAH) and so Fred headed north to New York City but that didn't work out too well. (HORNS, SHOUTS) Crowded streets, and down under the streets, the subway (SUBWAY SEQ, LONG BRAKES, UNINTELLIGIBLE P.A.), and so Fred had his apartment soundproofed ---- carpenters came in (CIRCULAR SAW, HAMMERING) and they made the place as quiet as they could, and then a tap-dancer moved into the apartment above (TAPPING ABOVE CEILING) and Fred begged him to desist (FN: Please. Not after 10 p.m. Please. KNOCK ON DOOR. FN: Who is it? DOOR OPEN. DANCER: OH YEAH. I''LL DANCE WHEN I WANT TO, WHERE I WANT TO. GET IT?) So Fred moved to the suburbs and found out why the house was so cheap (JET GOES OVERHEAD), it was under the flight path to Newark International and his neighbor had a lawn mower (SFX) and a weed-whacker (SFX) and a hedge-trimmer (SFX) and the neighborhood was full of people with strange cellphone rings (DOGBARK, YOKEL LAUGH, BULB HORN, BELL, YELL "HEY....HEY.....HEY," HORSE WHINNY, LASER)

GK: ---- he went in for his physical and (HEART POUNDING) his blood pressure was very high, the aorta pounding (BLOOD SHOOTING THROUGH ARTERIES), so he was given a medication (POP) and put on bed rest on a farm in western Minnesota (COW). The cows were quiet. (WHISPERING MOO). His caregiver was quiet (LADY: How are we today?) So quiet you could hear an ant carrying a leaf (SFX). You could hear a grasshopper picking his teeth with a carpet tack (SFX) You could hear a praying mantis pray. (SFX) Fred spent six weeks out on the farm and when he came back to the show, his agent rewrote the contract so there wouldn't be anything louder than a cat's meow. No explosives, no firearms, no bellowing, no loud barks, no big machinery. No oil refineries blowing up. And that was fine. Little things bothered him. A beer can opening. (SFX, FRED SHUDDER) Feedback in the p.a. (SFX. FN: THAT'S IT, I'M OUT OF HERE.) We were afraid of losing Fred, we were all walking on eggshells (SFX). And then one Saturday, during the show (MORSE CODE BEEPS) a message came from Washington in secret code, that a meteorite was headed for earth ----- (SFX) Fred shook his head---- FN: I can't do it. Call NASA. Call the Air Force. ----- but with his X-ray vision (SFX) he saw that the meteorite was heading toward a YMCA camp in the mountains above Salt Lake City where two boys (PING PONG) were playing ping-pong under the pine trees and Fred's heart was touched and he alerted his dolphin pals in the Pacific (SFX) and they alerted a U.S. Navy submarine (SFX) and it put its periscope up and saw the shadow of the meteorite (SFX) and fired three Minuteman missiles (SFX) GK: ...and hit that piece of rock as it was entering Earth's atmosphere (SFX) and all those boys felt as they played (PING PONG) was a light cloud of ash falling around them (SFX) but Fred was near collapse

(HEART POUNDING). His heart was pounding. Atrial fibrillation big time. Got your beta blockers? (FN: Yep. PILLS RATTLE). Good. He had to go to the meditation room, and listen to Japanese koto music until he got stabilized. (SFX) And sit in the steam room. (SFX) And get a massage from Misty. (LADY: Just tell me if the pressure's too deep.) And he did his centering exercises. (SITAR, TABLA) And he's better now. And thank you for your cards and letters.

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).

Available now»

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