| Announcer: The Record Detective sits alone at the kitchen table in the squalor of his lonely third floor flat, an unlit cigarette stuck in the center of this morning's egg, dippy and cold, just like him. It'd been ages since he'd shared this scene sunny side up with a real woman, only the circular sirens he dreams of night and day. That was all about to change for our hero. The rays of fading daylight are peaking past the curtain that's risen on another episode, ripped from the tea-stained typewriter of The Record Detective.
Record Detective - I contemplated the moment, etched into the wallpapered pattern of my existence. Everything I'd ever wished for and gotten sat before me; all my conquests peering back at me with an unblinking stare, twelve inches high with curves in cardboard. My life didn't get any better than this, I thought, and I was right. Then the phone rang, piercing the moment like a pin from the past stuck in my behind. A voice on the other end inquired if I was the yuk-a-puck who'd placed the endless ads in the Yale campus paper inquiring about the early 60's musicals Phil Proctor vinylized with his buddy Peter Bergman while there; 'Tom Jones' and 'Booth Is Back In Town'. The mystery voice claimed he had them both and was passing through the area, tonight!
A few years back, I'd chanced upon a listing of these two records while flipping through 'Show Music on Record', required reading for a disc jockey like myself. Imagine my face as I discovered their existence on Carillion Records. I felt like 'Gary The Seeker' on a quest for the Holy Grail as I phoned my Beverly Hills pal Phil to ask about these previously unknown beauties.
Phil Proctor: "Peter and I went to Yale together. We met at what is known as the Yale Dramat, the Yale dramatic association, in 1958. Peter was at that time, in his extracurricular activities at least, a lyricist. He wrote two musicals that I ended up starring in at Yale. One was a musical adaptation of 'Tom Jones', which was about three or four years before the movie came out, that made the story so famous. Another one was called 'Booth Is Back In Town'. Both of these musicals were written by Austin Pendleton, and Peter Bergman wrote the lyrics for the songs for both. And that's how I got to know him and work with him professionally."
Record Detective: "Was 'Tom Jones' a live recording?"
Phil Proctor: "No, it was a special recording session. We did it on stage. Peter Hunt produced it, who is now a well known director and acting coach. Basically, it was just a recording with several microphones, but it was well done. Its a pretty good recording."
Record Detective: "What about 'Booth Is Back In Town'?"
Phil Proctor: "Same deal. The orchestra comes off a little rough, though. I remember the band being assembled to mimic 19th century theatre sounds, and the orchestrations by James Massingale are rather tricky. But what's a horn flub between friends? In the cast you'll also hear Macia Rodd (then Hagen) as Jenny Joanne, and she went on to star with Elliot Gould in Feiffer's 'Little Murders' among other films. We're still in contact as she acts and directs out here these days. By the way, film director John Badham played Mr. Page and now playwright Joanna Glass (drafted by director Leland Starnes from the Drama School) was Mary Ann Booth. Peter Hunt once again produced the recording. Austin ultimately adapted the book as a full length play, sans music, and I saw a staged reading starring Frank Langella as Junius Booth a few years ago at the Pasadena Playhouse. I missed the songs! Especially the 'Fireman's' number, which recreated a typical melodrama of the time in musical terms. I remember the play especially for using music and lyrics not only dramatically, but in inventive ways to relate the spirit and flavor of the time it happened in. Great fun."
Record Detective: There hadn't been this much excitement at the homestead since I scored an E-mail from Roger McGuinn about 'The Notorious Byrd Brothers' LP. I slipped on my overcoat and 50 cent Nick Danger hat to go to the truck stop where I'd arranged to meet the mystery caller, when a knock on the door sent me reeling over my own foot and headfirst into the plate of eggs on the kitchen table. With dripping face I opened the door in stunned silence as there before me was 'Beauty Foot', the nubile blonde honey from the Rescue Mission yard sale.
Beauty Foot: "Is that egg on your face, or are you just happy to see me?"
Record Detective: "Both," I said, as I instinctively traced a line straight to the floor to check out her perfect pink pedal pushers.
Beauty Foot: "Hey, I'm up here big guy, or did something drop other than your jaw?"
Record Detective: I shoved my tongue back in my yap, shook my eyes back in their sockets, and asked her what brought her here.
Beauty Foot: "You did! They sent all the widow lady's records over to the Mission to get rid of. Someone said they found a note pinned to her. I knew it had to be you."
Record Detective: "You didn't tell anybody did you?"
Beauty Foot: "No why?"
Record Detective: "Uh, --- never mind. What about the records?"
Beauty Foot: "Oh yeah, I mentioned you to my boss, the old bag with blue hair".
Record Detective: "Yeah?"
Beauty Foot: "She just mumbled something about 'it'd be a cold day in hell before you ever saw these records' and then she laughed hysterically. She hates you. Well anyhow, I've been thinking about you and I thought I'd come see you before I left".
Record Detective: "Going where?"
Beauty Foot: "I'm an exchange student at the Junior College. I leave for Greece tomorrow."
Record Detective: Just then she threw her arms around me and planted a big wet one on my lips, knocking my hat off my head and my heart for a loop. A part of my past unfolded like an accordion and her kisses tasted of sugar and --- raw egg. She slipped me a mint with her tongue and reached for a towel to wipe my face. "You're a Lifesaver", I said as she slipped off her sandals.
Beauty Foot: "What a place!", she said as she scanned the endless rows of vinyl that lined the apartment walls. "I love oldies --- and records too". She winked and kept looking through the records. "What do you like --- to listen to?"
Record Detective: "Oh, I like a lot of different stuff. I'm really into this comedy group, The Firesign Theatre".
Beauty Foot: "Oh yeah, I remember them. My dad had all their albums. He said he and his buddies used to 'Tune in, turn on, and listen to the Firesign'. Hah! Funny stuff ."
Record Detective: My palms perspired like pasty pork and my heart raced like a 33 RPM LP on 78 speed. I always knew I'd know I'd met the girl of my dreams when I found a fellow Firesign fan like me, and here she was thumbing thru the titles and tunes. I slid in beside her and pondered her pretty pink pods when all the sudden she looked me straight in the eye, leaned over and tongued my parting lips, taking back the mint still clinging to the roof of my mouth.
Beauty Foot: "Thanks for saving it for me."
Record Detective: Minutes slipped into an hours as her double entendres quickened my pulse and my peaked passioned quill. I wondered what a gorgeous gal like this saw in a disc dick like me. Her peepers eyed the answer, but all I could think to say was "Who do you like to listen to?".
Beauty Foot: "Oh, all the great male vocalists; David Cassidy, Barry Manilow, Tom Jones."
Record Detective: "OH SHIT, TOM JONES!! I completely forgot the stranger on the phone and his Proctor & Bergman rarities. I started for my coat, but Beauty Foot grabbed me and pressed her heaving bosom against my chest, pulling me to the floor in a frenzy of flailing arms and legs. She's playing to Little Elvis like the pied piper and all I can think about is the records I'm not gonna get. I'm talking dinner without dessert, pitching a tent without a pole, sanding furniture with a Brillo pad and no varnish. I fell asleep with her in my arms and visions of vinyl beauties dancing in my head.
Announcer: And so our knight awakened to an empty castle, the damsel and discs slipped through his pallid palms. All that was left of Beauty Foot was a note and a promise that she'd be back ---someday. She'd cleaned his plate and broke his heart. He sat down and plucked a cigarette from a pack sitting beside the ash tray on the kitchen table.