SFX, September 28, 2013

The Fitzgerald Theater

Saint Paul, MN


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GK: Our SFX man Fred Newman was busy this summer. He felt bad about a sound effect he did on the show in June, a sound effect that some people felt was terribly vulgar (NAKED FAT PERSON SITTING ON MARBLE BENCH IN STEAM ROOM) which we didn't think was vulgar, it was supposed to be a man scooping out a rotten pumpkin to make a jack-o-lantern (SAME VULGAR SOUND), but other people heard something else—something unspeakable-- and a whole bunch of advertisers cancelled their ads (FN LADY: I can't believe what I heard on your show, that was disgusting) and Fred felt bad because we had to lay off a number of staff, because of this noise. (SAME VULGAR SOUND) He thought he could raise money by doing heroic stunts and he tried to set a new record for riding a unicycle nonstop across Kansas (SFX) and he went for two days straight and then he got distracted trying to check his email on his mobile phone (SFX) and he didn't see where he was going and he went down someone's driveway and a dog chased him (SFX) and he ran into a chicken coop (SFX) and all that effort was wasted. So he set out to waterski around Italy, which nobody had done before and he put together a crew of Basque sailors (SFX) and they ran the powerboat (SFX) and Fred skied behind and to keep up his spirits there was a bagpiper on the power boat (SFX) and Fred's pet orangutan Virgil (SFX) and they got halfway around Italy and one night Fred was skiing along in the dark (SFX) and he Googled himself (SFX) and it sort of broke his focus and his ski tip caught in the water (SFX) and down he went (SFX). It was bad luck but Fred was not discouraged.

GK: He set out to run 48 miles naked through Yellowstone Park while blindfolded, something nobody had done before (SFX) and it went well, he kept up a steady pace while following directions from the app on his mobile phone (FN LADY: In fifty yards, keep to the left and go through the grove of spruce) and he crossed busy highways (SFX) and ran past geysers erupting (SFX) and mineral springs (SFX) and almost made it 48 miles (FN LADY: Avoid the grizzly bear to your left, by picking up the pace) (ACCEL FOOTSTEPS) and three miles from the finish line, that mobile phone in his hand was too big a temptation and he texted his wife that he was almost there (SFX) and he ran into a tree (SFX). He lay unconscious —and the Park Police came out in a jeep (SFX) and put Fred under arrest (HANDCUFFS, FN COP: You have the right to remain silent)—and he spent the night in the clink (SFX), in a cell with a leaky water pipe (SFX) and was awakened by a floor waxer in the morning (SFX) and that gave Fred the idea to become the first man to walk a tightrope stretched between two adjacent low-flying DC-3s and he did that (SFX). Or he tried to. And then his phone rang (SFX) and he made the mistake of answering it and (FN FALLS)--luckily they were flying over the Great Salt Lake (SPLASH), and as he floated in the lake, waiting for a boat to come and get him, he looked up at the mountains and had another idea. (SFX) And one week later he stood on a mountain top (SFX) at the top of an 800-foot ski jump wearing a pair of roller skates, and holding a big kite, and he said his mantra (FN: Go big or go home. Go big or go home.) and he eased out onto the ramp, and down he went (SFX), down the incline, faster and faster (SFX), and then off the jump he went (SFX), flying under the kite, (SFX)----

GK: ...which found an updraft (SFX) and suddenly he was high in the air, up in the approach to the Salt Lake City airport (JET PASSING) and he poked a hole in the kite and began to descend, down to the altitude at which ducks were migrating south (SFX) and hummingbirds (SFX) and then lower and into a flock of a half-million Monarch butterflies (SFX) and he was surrounded by golden orange wings and was so moved by it that he pulled out his mobile phone and went on Facebook and ----- (TAPPING KEYS) FN: Here is a picture of Salt Lake City from 4000 feet in the air, where I am gliding now under a kite and having the most amazing experience of my entire------- (GOOSE WINGS, HONK UP CLOSE. FN FALLING, LONG CRY) and he crashed into the goose and lost the kite and he fell to earth and luckily for him the Mormons were holding a convention and they'd put up an enormous tent and (BOINGGGG) he landed on the tent and it was like a trampoline (SFX) and it catapulted him way up into the air, (SFX), and Fred was covered with feathers from colliding with that goose and when he fell on the tent for the third and last time (SFX) he looked sort of angelic and the Mormons took him in and venerated him (SFX) and put a prophet's robe on him and asked him to prophesy and all Fred could think of was---- FN: When the going gets tough, the tough get going. ---- and he won a MacArthur Fellowship and went to an ATM and got $500,000 (SFX), and that money is what kept our show on the air. So thank you, Fred Newman.

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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