GK: Our sound effects man, Mr. Fred Newman, remembers those old days of radio, don't you?
FN: Sure do.
GK: Fred came in at the end of the Golden Age of radio, when radio was desperately competing with television, by putting on more and more violent shows like Timmy of the Jungle---- (JUNGLE DRUMS) And now.....Boston Brand Shredded Soybeans presents TIMMY OF THE JUNGLE----(JUNGLE BIRDS AND PRIMATES)
TR (TEEN): 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) Is that a tree branch? Or is that a snake? (HISS) Rex? Where'd you go, Rex? (LION) Oh oh. (CHORD)
GK: Timmy of the Jungle was responsible for a lot of us leaving the lights on at night all over the house. And then there was the Hap Harrison show....
(PULSING THEME. SPEEDING CAR, CORNERING AND SHIFTING UP)
GK (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----
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----
LC (OLD): Oh. A package for me?? For my birthday? How lovely----
FN: Wait! Don't touch that!
LC (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, you saved my life ----how can I ever thank you?
FN: We don't expect thanks, Mrs. Grady. We're the U.S. Post Office.
GK: Fred did all the sound effects for those shows, as they became more and more violent, trying to lure people back from television.....He did guys getting stuck in the back with a knife. (TR KNIFED, FALLS, DIES). Four or five times a week, on four or five different shows, Fred 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 enemy bombers and blew them 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 Fred could do, he could do bees (SFX) and cicadas (SFX) and a lawnsprinkler (SFX) ---- he could do great lawn sprinklers, he could do Japanese koto (SFX) and a tenor sax (SFX) and a chihuahua singing the doxology (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)
GK: And that’s why Fred came to public radio. Peaceful radio. Where Mennonites sit in a rocking chair on a porch (SFX) with a cat in their lap, playing a hymn on their zither (SFX) watching the birds at the bird feeder, and all is peace and contentment. And the only scary thing is the Mennonite teenager (FN PUNK: Hey, can I have the car tonight?
FN MOM: Where are you going, sweetheart?
FN PUNK: Going out.
MOM: Well, okay. Be sweet. CAR REV SQUEAL OF TIRES RACE AWAY)
(BIRDS. MEOW. ROCKER. LAWN SPRINKLER. )
GK: FRED NEWMAN.
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).