-- A newsletter of, about, and for
The Firesign Theatre...
...and their loyal fans
Four-Alarm FIRESIGNal #29
FALaFal is produced thrice yearly, in fire sign months (April, August and
December) for the members and dear friends of The Firesign Theatre, by
Elayne Wechsler-Chaput, who can be reached by "snail mail" at 1747 65th
Street, Brooklyn, NY 11204 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org,
ElayneWC@aol.com or email@example.com (first two addresses
preferred). Electronic FAlaFal is free of charge, and the hard copy
version costs $2; both versions are freely reproduceable. Printing and
mailing services were performed by Roger Snyder at The Print Shop;
EFAlaFal was organized by Jamie Schrumpf at Monrovia Communications;
thanks to Richard Arnold, Joey Cavalieri, Richard Fish, Phil Proctor, Cat
Simril Ishikawa, Chris Ward and our letter writers for their participation
No. 29 of 30 APRIL, 1996
[] THIS IS WORKER SPEAKING: Words from Elayne, Our Founder
[] RUMORS BEHIND THE NEWS: The latest on the 4 or 5 Crazy Guys
[] REVIEW: "Wings of the Termite," Reviewed by Cat Simril Ishikawa.
"The Lord's Prayer at the funeral of a Nazi novelist. Pastor Rod
Flash meets Rosebud. Strong allusions to equally Brecht-drenched
Fighting Clowns, but a more Punk Brecht, with musical skinheads and
many other melodies." Good Lord!
[] TAKEN APART, STACKED UP, AND LABELLED: All kinds of great
Firesignia that we know you'll just gotta have!
[] CAMPOON '96 PRESS RELEASE: "George Leroy Tirebiter, in exclusive
interviews for Radio Free Oz (at least one of which was conducted
by John Goodman) has announced his candidacy for President of the
United Snakes -- or President of the United States -- or both --
but not neither -- which ever comes first."
[] EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS WRONG: The Firesign Theatre Trivia Quiz #4
by Richard Arnold. Also: answers to Quiz #3!
[] POSTMARK: DEEP SPACE -- Letters to the Editor
[] SEE YOU ON THE FUNWAY... It's a wrap! Endnotes & stuff from
Jamie, Your Electronic Editor.
This Is Worker Speaking...
Apologies for the lateness of this issue, but I'm burnt out.
Again. It's like this - since I restarted this publication in 1993, my
interest in things Firesign has waxed and waned, but I can usually work up
enough enthusiasm right around publication time to enjoy putting together
what I consider to be a fairly interesting and informative newsletter.
I'm afraid that just didn't happen this time. It is hoped this issue is
*still* interesting and informative, but I would be lying to you if I said
the fun was still there for me. My interests now lie in other directions
- chief among them jump-starting my own writing career.
But I didn't want to abandon y'all just like that, so here's the
deal: Next issue, #30 (out in August), will be the last one emanating
from beautiful downtown Brooklyn. If you're reading the hard copy version
of this, you're probably already paid up through that issue (check your
mailing label - it'll either say "30" or "C" for "Complimentary"). There
will be an announcement next time as to what's specifically going to
happen to FAlaFal after I lay it to rest. But I *can* tell you this much
now: I think I'm leaving the whole kit and kaboodle in good hands, as
Firesign biographers FRED WIEBEL and CHRIS PALLADINO have volunteered to
pick up where I leave off - thanks, guys! Fred and/or Chris will no doubt
have further words to say on this matter in #30.
The Firesign Theatre will always have a place in my heart, my
ears, and my mind - and I certainly intend to continue participating in
the online newsgroup, I'm not disappearing off the face of the Earth -
but my apartment and my schedule need time for other things now. Thank
you for your continued support and understanding.
One of the "other things" toward which I've been working is a
freelance writing "career" in the anything-but-lucrative field of comic
books. Due to the fact that the 40-hour day I ordered *still* hasn't
arrived, I haven't made much leeway in writing any actual scripts yet,
but I've gotten to know lots of wonderful folks in the industry, many of
whom are Firesign Theatre fans - and not a few of whom had no idea that
this publication existed. One of them, Joey Cavalieri, is currently
editing the Superman family of books for DC Comics, and on a whim decided
to write and draw us a few Mark Time comic strips, which will run in this
issue, #30 and (I hope) Fred's and Chris' first FAlaFal (or whatever they
decide to call their version). At this point it would be too much of an
imposition on others to scan these strips for inclusion in our online
newsletter, so hard-copy subscribers get a nice little thank-you bonus
for their extra bucks! And much thanks to Joey as well.
Also herein you can find Cat Simril's review of a play in which
David and son Orson Ossman have performed; Richard Fish's chock-full-o-
news column; ads for various FT-related product in our "Taken Apart,
Stacked Up and Labelled" department; the opening salvo in Campoon '96; the
fourth quiz from Richard Arnold, as well as answers to Quiz #3; and our
mostly-online letters column. Hope it was worth the extra wait, and I
appreciate everyone's participation!
I have purchased 100 more sets of the Groucho Marx/John Lennon
Abkhazian postage stamps (with mylar sleeve), and am still selling them
for $10 each (ppd) to offset FAlaFal costs - please spread the word! In
fact, this is such a nifty picture that FAlaFal reader Tim Tuffield has
made t-shirts out of it, and sent me one! He's selling them for $18 each,
postage included, in large and extra-large sizes. I think the four-color
print is really beautiful, and I highly recommend you contact Tim at
541/994-5304 or E-mail him <firstname.lastname@example.org> to get one, or several!
Says Tim, "Perfect wear when strapping on the servo mitts to pit your
metal against common household appliances..."
Thanks to our wonderful printer, Roger Snyder, for volunteering to
do the labelling and bundling this issue in light of my time and energy
constraints. Obviously, FAlaFal parties are now a thing of the past, so
don't feel like you're missing anything, folks. And while donations are
always accepted gratefully, please don't send me any money for issues
beyond #30, because I'm not yet sure what Fred's and Chris' plans are, and
I don't want to have to worry about transferring funds. Hey, you'll find
out the story as soon as I do! Until then, onward! Enjoy.
Rumors Behind the News
by Richard Fish (More Sugar)
There is MUCH Firesign News from MORE SUGAR this time around -
heavy on the 40-weight, folks! Use your entrenching tools, and let's get
down to the nitty and the gritty:
LIVE WEBCAST! PHIL PROCTOR, PETER BERGMAN and DAVID OSSMAN will
be at the Toyota Comedy Festival in New York City on June 13-14, and are
scheduled to appear live on the World Wide Web! I suggest you search
around for "Toyota" and "Comedy" together, and if the search engine
returns anything else, contact Consumer Reports.
PHIL AUSTIN and David Ossman did another episode of "The Tick" in
early April in L.A. (not the entire group this time) and played an
oriental villain sans accent (Austin) and his sidekick, a gigantic tongue
(Ossman). Except that there was a lot of body-changing going on, and
David reports ending up as a Zebra. The whole Four or Five have been
asked back for the last episode of the season, and there are persistant
rumors about a TFT cartoon series. Nothing but rumors at this stage but
stay tuned, not every rumor will leave when you raise the rent...
TWO new Firesign Audio releases are in the works at once! One
will come from the archives, and the other will be newly written and
recorded. They'll both be released in September.
"THE PINK HOTEL BURNS DOWN" is going to be a compilation of
unreleased and very rare material from the archives. Don't yet have a
final list of everything, but included will be:
* The Pink Hotel Burns Down, produced as an interactive program
demo back about 12 years ago; never released.
* The very first extant recording of TFT, also never released on
tape; a radio broadcast from about 5 months after they started working
And more and more.... We'll have a complete list of things in
time for the next FAlaFal.
"A COMPANYON FOR ANYTHYNGE" is several things at once. It is an
addition and addendum to "Anythynge You Want To." The script, which has
been in prep for some time, now includes over 8000 words of hilarious
footnotes and fauxcademic controverses; this will be the textual basis.
The tape may end up being a CD-ROM demo! Phil Austin has put in a lot of
work on the script revisions -- all are having a ball with the concept --
and gets the bow for suggesting the audio version. Much of this project
is unclear at this time, but with a lot of hard work we'll make it
completely clean for your smoking pleasure by September.
Note that these two productions are the first new ones done since
the advent of The Internet. Fireheads alert: there exists a window for
input, and we're listening!
* Any items from the archives that you would particularly like to find
under your speakers in the morning?
* Any questions about Anythynge that you would particularly like
addressed, wrapped, sealed, stamped, mailed, or answered?
Send info to us at:
MORE SUGAR From The Firesign Theatre
611 Empire Mill Road
Bloomington IN 47401
or E-mail email@example.com
And please note that we make no promises about what might be used,
no promises of acknowledgement or anything, and considering the rapacity
of lawyers make no guarantees of any sort whatever, but we will try hard
to read anything you send and pass it along!
LODESTONE AUDIO THEATRE is the imprint you will be seeing in
bookstores this fall. Atrium Publishers group has picked up the mark, and
will be offering a line of products to the bookstore trade, including the
major book chains.
As mentioned above, The Firesign Theatre will have two titles in
this line; "The Pink Hotel Burns Down" will be out as a single-cassette
offering, and "Anythynge You Want To" will be expanded to a double-
cassette offering with the brand-new "companion" production included.
Into the bookstores!
Other titles in the line come from Norman Corwin, Jeff Green, Last
Minute Productions, Big Radio Productions, and others. Otherworld Media
will be releasing "Empire Of The Air" for the first time in this form, and
Proctor & Bergman will be releasing their hilarious "Power" radio series.
LodesTone is now seeking venture capital on a corporate or
The latest info on all this stuff is right here right now, but updates
will happen first on the LodesTone website. The URL for that is:
USA MEAN TIME is a sequel to HOW TIME FLYS, David Ossman's
step-out-front album from the '70's; it's written in episodes, intended to
take 15 of 'em, each about 10 minutes long, for possible radio
syndication; also projected as a double CD / double cassette release. All
4 Firesigns are looking forward to appearing in this one, but it's not on
the front burner just yet. The other new releases first, for one thing.
And the project is looking for venture capital; anybody interested ought
to get in touch with David, or with MORE SUGAR.
[Ed. Note: David also presented the first session of Jerry
Stearns' "Producing Live Radio Plays" course, running through early
May. Apologies to Jerry that we didn't go to press in time to publicize
this course; we know it was a grand success!]
THE MARK TIME AWARD for Best Science Fiction Audio Production will
be given out each year, starting at the next Minicon SF Convention. That
will be Easter Weekend, in Minneapolis. David Ossman, Jerry Stearns, and
Richard Fish announced the formation of the Academy for Science Fiction
Audio, and the new award, at this year's Minicon. A "Hall of Fame" will
also be inaugurated, with handsome brass plaques, bearing the handsome
visage of Mark Time himself, available to the winners. Input and comments
on this should be mailed to More Sugar or posted on the newsgroup or
David Ossman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jerry Stearns (email@example.com)
Richard Fish (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Some copies of TIME CAPSULES, a Mark Time cassette from
Otherworld, and the MARK TIME white-on-black T-Shirt, are left after
minicon, and will be available imminently (see separate ad).
Phil Proctor and his wife, the lovely and talented MELINDA
PETERSON, are starring on the stage right now! They've been cast in two
of the lead roles for the West Coast premiere of the play "New England" by
Richard Nelson. Phil has had a lot of stage experience, but hasn't
accepted a part over a long run for quite some time now, and is finding
the experience fun and exhilarating! Says Phil, "The show's going fine
with good but quirky reviews."
"New England" is being put on by the South Coast Repertory Theatre
in Costa Mesa, and started its run on April 12th, to go through May 12th.
The South Coast Rep is located at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa,
right across from the South Coast Plaza where many fine restaurants are
found. The box office opens at 10 AM and their phone number is: (714)
Phil advises to allow an hour's drive from L.A., and gives these
directions: go South on the 405/SanDiego Freeway, past the 73/55 freeways
exit; EXIT Bristol North, towards the Performing Arts Center. Turn RIGHT
onto Town Center Drive and then LEFT at the stop sign to the parking
garage. He also says "looking forward to seeing you after the show," so
if you go by all means send a note backstage and say hi!
Phil P has been a busy man lately, appearing in several CD-ROMs,
including "Normalcy" (where he did voices and I should not have set my
coffee cup down on my notes...) and "The Lighthouse" new from Sierra,
spooky and interactive, in which he plays "Jeremy Krick," and reports much
fun... Phil will also be appearing as the Government Inspector in a
Showtime sf movie "Menno's Mind," and is voicing the Son of the Red Skull
in an upcoming Spiderman, sez the rumor from an Often Reliable Source.
RADIO FREE OZ is being set up by Peter Bergman along with Ted
Bonnitt of 7th Planet Productions. It will be a 24-hour internet audio
feed, and will do a lot of comedy audio in short segments/modules; as
usual, the Firesign guys operate out in front; what kind of wave has a
cutting edge? Check for the latest out on the World Wide Web by doing a
search for "Radio Free Oz" or trying for "RFO.COM"
CEPHALOPOD PRODUCTIONS is Kevin Swan and Jason Cole, Fireheads and
producers of "The Apotheosis Saga." Kevin designed the LodesTone Catalog
last fall, and both attended the Midwest Radio Theatre Workshop with David
Ossman and Phil Proctor last October. They, along with Kevin's family,
Floyd the dog and a cat of many collars are heading for Bloomington,
Indiana, to join forces with LodesTone & MORE SUGAR. Aside from
considerable sales, audio, and graphics skills, they bring complete
web-design services to the mix.
[Richard's final note: SHANNON WILLIAMS is taking over the
LodesTone admin desk this month. He and his wife Christy are longtime
members of Last Minute Productions, and Shannon has been helping to
produce "The Purple Kiwi" and "The Adventures of Bob."
Wings of the Termite
Reviewed by Cat Simril Ishikawa
Driving down to Langley, Washington from Vancouver to see two
generations of Ossmen in a new play, four and a half hours through a
blizzard vicious enough to inspire a Dylan screed or free a boxer. Well,
this was a historical event. Orson and David Ossman together on stage,
for the first time (of many)? Orson was indeed angelic, saying the
Lord's Prayer at the funeral of a Nazi novelist. Pastor Rod Flash meets
Rosebud. Strong allusions to equally Brecht-drenched Fighting Clowns, but
a more Punk Brecht, with musical skinheads and many other melodies.
Didn't Proctor once play a singing Nazi? Goering around and around.
David's character is a spy, one of two with portable periscopes to
monitor the goings-on in Los Angeles Airport, where the dead novelist is
now alive, with animate puppets for friends. "I want to go back to my
roots, I want to be a tree again," says the dummy, one of many clever
lines. A surprising number seem to be of Firesign derivation. Violence
or violins? Storm clouds, you fuels. Ossman's best oration, an anti-oil
screed, sends me back to the Shell we call Life. The fire-refs never stop
but, like all this animal imagery, do they have any meaning? A collection
of words and images sliced out of firescripts into confetti as I Ching.
That's why he's so mean.
Tirebitten George is a character named Claw, unsure he isn't just
a character in the Nazi novelist's opus. Six characters in search of the
author of Mein Kampf, the comic book, as done by the cast of SNL? Bombs
announced instead of flights, and the funniest intermission call I've ever
heard: "This play will make an unscheduled stop in downtown Langley,
Washington for 15 minutes."
This is community theatre. The community filled the aisles, and
the stage. "Isn't that David Ossman?" asks a patron. "I remember that
voice from The Firesign Theatre. I used to listen to them all the time in
college." "Don't tell anyone. Then they'll know how old you are,"
answers his friend. "Did I tell you about that girl in one of my classes?
I found out her mother is 32! But I'm 32," he protests. Did he begin
listening when the Firesign Theatre started in 1966? Smart kid! "I don't
understand this play," complains a young man sitting in front of me.
"It's about termites. Everybody is a termite," his older neighbour
explains. Maybe that's it?!
Another key idea of the play is that WW2 was won by the side with
the best dance bands. Makes me think of pre-Islamic Arab armies led into
battle by their poets; the Dunne-Za people of the Peace River singing into
existance a trail to heaven, their topographical tones forming a
latticework of wonder; the Aboriginal songlines "stretching accross
continents and ages; that wherever men have trodden they have left a trail
of song" (Bruce Chatwin); indeed, a whole Levistrauss full of tuneful
I think of Ossman instead, playing Lear for Kurosawa, or Timeless
creations of his own imagination, instead of tirebitten tidbits at the end
of a tortuous road. It has stopped snowing when I drive home. I dry my
mukluks by the fire...
Taken Apart, Stacked Up and Labelled
More archival news and advertising from Fred Wiebel!
This issue we've devoted our archival column to ad space involving
some Firesign-related product. You've already read about LodesTone's
offerings in Richard's news column, and the "All Hail Marx/Lennon" stamps
and t-shirts in my editorial - here's what else is available!
The FREDERICK C. WIEBEL, JR. FINE ARTS STUDIO
136 E. IRVIN AVE.
HAGERSTOWN, MD 21742-3430
is proud to present, for a limited time,
the following Firesign Theatre related items:
1) "A CASE OF IDENTITY: A REVIEW OF PHIL AUSTIN'S TALES OF
THE OLD DETECTIVE" - Review, bio, long interview, canary yellow
card stock cover, green pages.
18 PAGES ..................................................... $ 5.00
2) "THE EIGHT SHOES TRACK RECORD" (A FIRESIGN THEATRE DISCOGRAPHY)
The most comprehensive discography yet compiled (augmented by the
group), commercial, promo, radio releases, videos, fan tapes,
unreleased archives, 2 color pages of labels and jackets, with color
covers, ring bound, autographed.
92 PAGES...................................................... $20.00
3) "THE EIGHT SHOES TRACK RECORD" (A FIRESIGN THEATRE DISCOGRAPHY)
EDITION - The most comprehensive discography yet compiled (augmented by
the group), commercial, promo, radio releases, videos, fan tapes,
unreleased archives, ring bound color photos of labels and jackets,
20 COLOR PAGES with color covers, autographed.
112 PAGES..................................................... $40.00
4) "THE FIRESIGN THEATRE CHRONO-HISTOGRAPHY" - A timeline look at
careers of the individual members and group from 1936 to the present
compiled from all available sources, ring bound.
109 PAGES..................................................... $15.00
5) "BACKWARDS INTO THE FUTURE" (AN INTERACTIVE ROMP WITH THE FIRESIGN
THEATRE) LIMITED DELUXE EDITION (only 50 copies will be printed) -
Extensive interviews with THE FIRESIGN THEATRE done over the last year
about all aspects of their careers, discography, rare photos, collages,
color pages, imprinted with your name, autographed by the author, ring
bound, color cover.
200 PAGES..................................................... $35.00
[reserve your copies now, they're going fast, only 30 left, will be
printed individually, when the orders are filled, then that's it!!!]
6) DISCOVERIES / OUTRE MAGAZINE REPRINTS - Two articles on The Firesign
Theatre by Fred Wiebel, Jr. edited from "Backwards" with many photos,
colored cardstock covers, discography
21 PAGES...................................................... $ 5.00
Mail check or money order to the address above; for more information,
e-mail Mark Garland at Radiolaria@aol.com
SPECIAL MARK TIME! OFFER from
P.O. Box 566
Freeland, WA 98249
Otherworld Media has made up a consignment of tapes and T-shirts, for the
Minicon, and still has some stock left. Available until they're gone,
it's a package:
A MARK TIME T-Shirt, white design on a black shirt. The
air-helmet-encased visage of Commander Mark Time himself, Star Detective
of the Circumsolar Federation, gazes steadily out from the middle of your
chest. Only Large and Xtra-Large sizes are available.
And with the T-shirt, you get a copy of DAVID OSSMAN'S TIME
CAPSULES, a cassette tape containing:
Mark Time in "The Haunted Space Station" (a TFT performance)
Mark Time in "The Time Trap" (Phil Austin and David Ossman, live)
"Mr. Tirebiter's Time Machine" (a trip to 1938 with George)
"Time Capsules" - a live TFT performance from 1972
"Bozo's Big Bang" - the Creation Tale from Bozos, lovingly read by David
from Radio Movies, "Screen Test" with George Tirebiter
"Time Capsules" - performed by the Nameless Stone ensemble who shall
"Max Morgan, Crime Cabby" performed as part of "Calling All Ears" in
It's thirty bucks, plus three sheeping & hrundling. Send check or
money order to the address above!
Firesignia Available Exclusively from
P.O. Box 3540
Grand Rapids, MI 49501
DOWN UNDER DANGER: A Nick Danger Adventure (Written by and Starring Phil
Austin; 1994) - Nick tackles a case involving the disappearance of the
continent of Australia, a boxing kangaroo named Jojo and more Danger than
you can shake a fist at.
1 Cassette $ 9.50 ppd
THE GEORGE TIREBITER STORY, Chapter 1 aka Another Christmas Carol
(Written by and Starring David Ossman; 1989)
1 Cassette $ 8.95 ppd
RADIODAZE, featuring "The New Adventures of Mark Time," "Max
Crime Cabby" and "Young Tom Edison" (Written by and Starring David
1 Cassette $ 8.95 ppd
AN AUTOBOZOGRAPHICAL EVENING - A one-man show including Firesign video
bits and a special prepared version of "Poems for Two Voices" (Starring
David Ossman; 1986)
1 VHS Video $18.95 ppd
RADIOPLAY - A documentary on the making of a David Ossman radio show
(Starring David Ossman; 1989)
1 VHS Video $15.95 ppd
All programs produced by SPARKS MEDIA
Please make all checks payable to "Sparks"
Michigan residents add 6% sales tax
UPDATE: It looks like the Sparks produced Firesign related material will
finally be released on CD. "Radiodaze" and "Down Under Danger" are slated
for June of this year, with a Nov. '96 release date for "Another Christmas
Carol." The company (Pointe Entertainment) that has sent a contract
regarding this represents several CD labels. They are talking about
having Bruce Litz do the cover for "Danger" and working with DO for
possible liner notes re: the Tirebiter pieces. More news next time!
CAMPOON '96 PRESS RELEASE
George Leroy Tirebiter, in exclusive interviews for Radio Free Oz (at
least one of which was conducted by John Goodman) has announced his
candidacy for President of the United Snakes -- or President of the
United States -- or both -- but not neither -- which ever comes first.
Taking over the top spot on the Surrealist Party ticket with the final
retirement of George Papoon, Tirebiter came out four-square for the
Party's main platform plank:
"One Organism, One Vote!"
He at once called upon Congress to extend the franchise to all the great
apes, and predicted that the hominid vote would sweep him into office.
Tirebiter pointed out that one of the three main platform planks of the
NSP has already been universally adopted. "The concept of One Person -
One Channel has come to pass by way of the Internet Webwork," he said, "
and I urge support of the Freedom of Communication it provides."
Veep George Tirebiter, thrown bodily out of his Washington D.C. office
soon after the election of his one-time Hollywood pal, Ronnie Reagan, has
completed a sentimental account of their friendship, "The Ronald Reagan
Murder Case," now available for publication.
The reanimation of the NSP is believed to have sprung from the recent
re-release of "The Firesign Theatre's Martian Space Party," a documentary
film of the first National Surrealist Convention in 1972. It was at that
epoch-making event, even as Nixxon embarked for Outer Space in the firm
embrace of Glutamoto the Cheese Monster, that the biosphere was
officially enfranchised. The classic film, lost for twenty years, (the
"final creative outburst of the Firesign Theatre's Golden Age" according
to knowledgeable insiders) is available for $15.95 plus shipping and
handling from More Sugar at 1-800-411-MIND.
All Surrealist Party members and fellow travellers are urged to rally
'round the cause, and proudly display the official Campaign Slogan:
NOT INSANE! IN '96
Everything You Know is Wrong: The Firesign Theatre Trivia Quiz #4
by Richard Arnold
This quiz is part of a contest sponsored by FAlaFal. See the rules in the
April 1995 issue on how you can enter, or visit the contest rules Web page
The deadline for submitting answers to these questions is July 1, 1996.
Entries for this quiz can be sent to Richard Arnold c/o this publication, by
e-mailing Richard at email@example.com, or by snail-mailing it to Richard at
1303 R Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009 (no phone calls, please).
All quizzes appearing in FAlaFal are excerpted from a quiz Richard is
developing for his World Wide Web page (http://www.clark.net/pub/rarnold).
The quiz in its entirety is being posted in installments after the
publication of these excerpts. Prizes will be determined by Richard, Elayne,
and/or the 4 or 5 at the end of the quiz.
Part Four: Questions from the album
"I THINK WE'RE ALL BOZOS ON THIS BUS"
81 points total
1. Complete this phrase: "Fighting's out of style, _______________________"
2. How did Clem describe his seat on his bus? (1)
3. What was Fudd's First Law of Opposition? (1)
4. Why does the longhair cross the road? (1)
5. What question did Clem ask of Dr. Memory that "broke the President?" (1)
6. What was Teslacle's Deviant to Fudd's Law? (1)
7. After whom was The Motor-Operated Pushover named? (1)
8. What instruction about the future does Clem's clone give Dr. Memory that
destroys the Future Fair? (1)
9. When he left the bus, where did Barney say he was going? (2)
10. In the Wall of Science exhibit, was the mythological origin of the Sun
and the Moon? (2)
11. How did Clem describe his mother? (2)
12. What substance did Clive and Chester use to test the Model Government? (2)
13. In what age did fish become obnoxious? (2)
14. Clem's clone is referred to by Dr. Memory with what term? (2)
15. In what year did Tom Teslacle and Dick Beddoes Motor-Operated Pushover? (2)
16. In what city did Sidney Fudd live? (2)
17. Who's future was being foretold by the Gypsy? (2)
18. On what street did Clem and Barney board the bus to the Future Fair? (3)
19. What other term did Clive and Chester use to describe the President? (3)
20. What time were the Chinese Fireworks scheduled to begin? (3)
21. Springhead was based on what famous person? (3)
22. The ride that features Springhead was inspired by what real-life
exhibit, and where is it located? (3)
23. How long had Dr. Memory been "awake" when Clem first accessed it? (3)
24. When Clem said he gave up his shoes, to what previous Firesign work was
he referring? (3)
25. How do we know that Clem confronted Deputy Dan? (3)
26. What was Clem's motivation for his actions at the Future Fair (as can
only be determined by listening to "I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus?") (3)
27. Mark Time appears in what other recorded work written by a member of the
Firesign Theatre? (4)
28. Lonesome Beet's advice to Clem that he could "Cut 'em off at the past"
was a reference to what other Firesign Theatre work? (4)
29. When the announcer said "(Here is) where Robot's Rules Don't Apply,"
was referring to a series of stories by what writer? (4)
30. What were the first words that were spoken over the bus' loudspeaker,
and to what was it a reference? (4)
31. According to Phil Proctor, what was the purported source of the
statement in Fudd's letter, "Quid Malmborg in Plano?" (4)
32. Two famous World Fairs provided much of the inspiration for the Future
Fair: in what cities did these World Fairs appear, and in what year? (4)
33. Dr. Memory was based on what famous program developed in the early
Part Three: Answers from the album
"DON'T CRUSH THAT DWARF, HAND ME THE PLIERS"
Congratulations to the winner of our third quiz, Patrick Murray!
1. Pot-Buttered Groat Clusters (answer must be exact; alternate spellings
2. Hot Dog (will award 1 point if answer is "Food;" will give 2 points
both answers are given) (1)
3. Yuciapa Heap (1)
4. "Cut the soles off my shoes, sit in a tree, and learn to play the flute"
5. "Powerful gasoline, a clean windshield, and a shoeshine, over"
point if "over" is not included in the answer) (2)
6. Fred (2)
7. Mescaline (2)
8. UTV (2)
9. New Testament; Jesus; Satan or Peter (will accept a specific verse of
the New Testament, but only if the verse contains the quote "Get Thee Behind
Me;" if a specific verse is given, the third answer must be either Satan or
Peter, and must be correct; deduct 1 point if "The Bible" is the first
answer) (1 point for source; 1 point for quotation source; 1 point for
person to whom quote was spoken; 3 points total)
10. Nick Danger (3)
11. Paranoid Pictures (3)
12. "Marching to Praetoria" (3)
13. Hymn 1517; 1517 was the year Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses on the
door of the Wittenburg church, and the beginning of the Reformation (will
accept any wording of the second part of the answer if, in the opinion of
the judge, it conforms to the explanation given here) (2 points for each
answer; 4 points total)
14. "You Bet Your Life;" Groucho Marx (2 points for each answer;
15. Ralph Bunche (Nobel Peace Prize winner, 1950) and Ida Lupina (actress
and director) (will except alternate "claims to fame" if, in the opinion of
the judge, the answer demonstrates knowledge of the person) (1 point each
for names; 1 point each for their claim to fame; 4 points total)
16. Henry Aldrich (4)
17. Sgt. Sphincter of the Dirt Patrol (1)
18. Kill (1)
19. The Department of Redundancy Department and the Natural Guard (1/2 point
for each part; 1 point total)
20. Since 1400 (deduct 1 point if answer is "2000 years," but add
1/2 point if
"2000 years" and "Since 1400" are in the answer) (1)
21. "Heya Joe, who-a won-a the Second-a World-a War, you so smart?"
accept this answer without the attempt to imitate an oriental accent) (2)
22. "What are we going to do Lieutenant?" and "What do you mean
by that?" (1
point for each answer; 2 points total)
23. Killing pigs ain't kosher (2)
24. Mrs. Carolyn Preski (2)
25. Lieutenant Tirebiter, from "Parallel Hell" (deduct 2 points if
specific incarnation of Tirebiter is not identified) (3)
26. A Mural of the Little Guys; a portrait of Principal Poop, Barbara Bobo's
gym shorts; and a Red Hand (will accept any 3 of these) (1 point for each
answer; 3 points total)
27. Groucho Marx (3)
28. Actually, two lines were broken up this way. "I am changing with the
times" (George Tirebiter and Jerry Yarrow) and "I sold out" (Peorgie
Tirebiter and Hawaiian Sell Out Host) (will accept either pairs of answers,
as long as the characters match the quote) (1 point for first answer; 1
point each for the characters; 3 points total)
29. Streets in Los Angeles (will also accept Mexican governors of Alta,
California; 1 point bonus if both answers are given) (3)
30. The unoffical canine mascot of USC athletic teams in the 1940s (4)
31. "The Skin of Our Teeth;" Thorton Wilder (2 points for title;
for author; 4 points total)
32. A character in Hopi ritual (will award only 1 point if "Jughead from
Archie Comics" is given) (4)
33. "We'll be Heironymous Bosch in Jest a Minute, but Faust..." (4)
Total points possible for the quiz: 85, including 3 bonus points.
Postmark: Deep Space
I wanted to share with you one of those sublime experiences--the
kind where you suddenly realize, again, that Firesign is even more
inextricably interwoven into the collective semi-consciousness than you
ever realized. It happened while reading Malcom Muggeridge's CHRIST AND
THE MEDIA, where I came upon the following passage:
In the days when I used to look at television in the evening, it
quite often happened that I fell asleep. This, as I have
observed, is liable to happen to whole families: the set is in
full activity, and all the viewers sleeping--surely a parable
picture for our time. Once, sleeping before a television screen,
I woke up to find myself on it. The experience was quite
terrifying--like some awful nightmare to which only someone like
Edgar Allan Poe or Doestoevsky could do justice.
Or, need we say, Firesign? Perhaps we can forgive Muggeridge for
not knowing, since he was speaking these words in England in 1976. If he
were still alive, I'd love to get his reaction to the ol' George Tirebiter
story. I suspect he wouldn't care for it, but then Muggeridge's standards
were never of this world.
Say, did Firesign ever do a video presentation of DON'T CRUSH THAT
Live from Bob's Brazerko Internet Domain,
* * * * * * *
Elayne: February 22, 1996
I am blown away by all your efforts (thanks from a fan) and by the
quiz in this EFAlaFal - I always knew that the more educated you became,
the more stuff you "got" on the albums, but I didn't know that 4 years of
college and 3 years post-grad weren't nearly enough! I'm going to print
out the quiz, call a friend who has some dope and see how many questions
we can get - those that don't require another advanced degree. And take a
trip down memory lane. . .
Don't Crush that Dwarf was always one of my favorites - my husband
(who is 51 and British) never got into TFT, so his eyes kind of glaze over
when I meet a fellow fan and we sing the "Porgy Tirebiter" theme song.
As you suggested, I checked out the discography (Ritter's?) -
looks like I do have all of the group albums, but not all of the other
stuff (individual, Proctor/Bergman, etc.).
A sidelight that will amuse you: I am from the Midwest (Rush
Limbaugh's hometown, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, but don't tell anyone) and
went to summer camp in Colorado. My best friend from camp is from Altadena
(don't know where you are located, but in case you don't know, it's right
next to Pasadena). We started visiting each other after camp - one year I
would go to her house, the next year she would come to mine. I remember
going to the Presbyterian church in Pasadena with her family in the late
60's - probably around 67 or 68, and I remember Jeanne pointing to the
church basement and telling me about these weird guys who broadcast from
there and were becoming pretty famous for their off-the-wall comedy.
Little did I know - I heard my first Firesign album probably in
the early 70's, and didn't connect the events until much later when I read
about their origins. A near brush with the historic beginnings.
* * * * * * *
Dear Elayne: March 8, 1996
Although I'm new to the list, I haven't heard any FT in the past
12 to 13 years. Being in the Navy, I haven't been in the States and very
few of my friends know FT at all! In fact, quoting some FT in an official
log in 1978 (in Portugal) enabled me to find other fans (Waiting for the
Thanks for doing what you are doing. Don't give up hope. Maybe
the guys will become fabulously famous (uh, maybe we don't want that as
then they might become mainstream and, possibly, not funny), and we will
all have zillion of new routines to memorize!!!!!
Sincerely, Bob - I spell my name "boB!"
* * * * * * *
Hi Elayne, March 11, 1996
After being subjected to public television pledge week, your
low-key request for letters is quite relieving. Where to start?
Before the Beginning, there was this Turtle. And the Turtle was
alone....oops, wrong beginning. Way back in the 70s, my older brother
bought the Dear Friends album. But since he never paid much attention to
me, I only caught portions of it here and there. However, I got hooked
enough to buy my first FT album, HCYB! Needless to say, the combination
of Nick Danger and Ralph's Yucatan Blue made for many interesting daze and
knights of imagining ourselves in an aviary, stunting trees (whatever that
One particularly boring night working at the Holiday Inn, my
friend Kevin and I decided to write the entire Nick Danger script from
memory! It took most of the 8 hour shift to agree on the exact words and
then type them on the IBM Selectric (this was the 70s, remember?) I don't
remember just how many people we shooed away from the front desk while
doing this, but it was well worth it (in our opinion, anyway). This was
all before we ever heard of the Big Mystery Joke Book, mind you. Later,
we matched the two scripts and were amazed at how well we did (misspelled
Pachtuli and that's it!).
I've been trying to think about why all my FT experiences seem to
involve the use of illicit drugs. I hate to think that I only find them
funny stoned and I have to answer that with a resounding "No" since I'm a
respectable professional and would never have smoked dope then or now.
But if I DID, it would probably have been the drug's mellowing effect that
allowed me to just lay back and take in everything that was going on.
Besides, when do any of us have enough time to sit around for 60
uninterrupted minutes to enjoy the 4 or 5 guys? We could all use
Catherwood's time machine, eh?
Lastly, my daughters have heard me listening to Dear Friends,
Bozos, etc. as well as the many WAV files on the computer, so it is not
unusual to hear one of them say "Let's get outta this mud!" when they want
to leave. It is an encouraging development.
Shoes for Industry! Steve Germano
* * * * * * *
Dear Elayne: March 28, 1996
My first brief exposure to the Firesign Theatre must have occurred
some time around 1974-1975. Someone at Rose-Hulman Institute of
Technology (formerly Rose Polytechnic Institute) in Terre Haute, Indiana
was selling some used LPs. On the list was ALL HAIL MARX AND LENNON. I
now recognize that this was actually the Firesign Theatre's HOW CAN YOU BE
IN TWO PLACES AT ONCE WHEN YOU'RE NOT ANYWHERE AT ALL? (ZOSO was also on
the list; it is the Led Zeppelin album sometimes referred to as RUNES or
THEIR FOURTH.) Unfortunately, I wasn't intrigued enough to seek out HOW
CAN YOU BE ETC. for a listen.
I spent only my freshman year at RHIT, then I went to Indiana
State University, also in Terre Haute. The school's TV service showed
"The Goodies," something else interesting that I can't recall (possibly
done by high school students in South Bend or Fort Wayne, IN--does anyone
know?), something with "Chicken" in the title that *may* have come from
Harvard,and Firesign Theatre's EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS WRONG.
For about a year--1979 to 1980--I was a disc jockey at WAXI-FM in
Parke County, Indiana. I found I THINK WE'RE ALL BOZOS ON THIS BUS at the
Vigo County (Indiana) Library, but I was a little too uptight at the time
to fully appreciate the Firesign Theatre's surreal humor. However, I did
record the title sentence onto a cart (tape cartridge) to play on the air
when the mood struck me. (I also played snippets from Monty Python and
Steve Martin.) The stuff about deflating shoes and "squeeze the wheeze"
stuck with me.
I lived in Oregon from 1980 to 1986. Someone at work (Lane
Community College in Eugene, OR) had also seen EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS
WRONG, or maybe she had the album.
Since August 1986 I've been living in Melbourne, Florida.
This year I saw SHOES FOR INDUSTRY! (Best of Firesign Theatre) at
a record (oops, make that "CD and cassette") store, which prompted me to
look at everything related to the Firesign Theatre that I could find on
the WorldWideWeb--including the fine zine EFAlaFal. I went back and
bought SHOES FOR INDUSTRY! and entered the third FT quiz. Since I've only
heard part of DON'T CRUSH THAT DWARF, HAND ME THE PLIERS on SHOES FOR
INDUSTRY!, about the only answer I got was "Sit in a tree, cut the soles
off my shoes, and learn to play the flute." At a Mensa (my wife is a
member) games party, I started discussing FT with another couple, and a
few weeks later they gave me vinyl versions of WAITING FOR THE ELECTRICIAN
OR SOMEONE LIKE HIM, I THINK WE'RE ALL BOZOS ON THIS BUS, AND DEAR
FRIENDS. The couple had replaced these with CDs. WAITING and BOZOS must
have received heavy play (or maybe they were returned for regrooving), but
the sound quality on DEAR FRIENDS is pretty good.
I also recently purchased a used copy of NICK DANGER: THE CASE OF
THE MISSING YOLKS at a video rental center, and I looked up the article in
People magazine about Austin, Proctor, Bergman, and Ossman, and that
pretty well sums up the impact of the Firesign Theatre on my life, except
that I look forward to reading future issues of FAlaFal and buying FT
books and CDs (when my finances permit)!
* * * * * * *
Dear Elayne and firenze, April 8, 1996
Just a quick Enote to emote some thanx for years of tasty falafal-
I will certainly send a contribution to help allay the fizzical and
emotional costs of pubication, as soon as this year's crop is in, or turned
inside out (if questioned, I will deny that I said that, or anything else,
including this. Paranoia's unfortunately coming back into fascion). While
I appreciate the updates and reminiscences of cerebral glories of the
firesign past (or was it the future?), I would like to think that the main
influence of the FOFCG was not diversional entertainment, but inspiration
own. I'm working on it (nobody's working 'cept me, and I'm gettin' tired
of these geeks a-squawkin' at me), so here's hoping that Campoon '96 and
the other inanities of modern life send you over the top, not the edge.
PS: I prefer "Fireplugs" to "Fireheads" esp. as I am still the
"Head" of the Athletic Department, plugging away as a furniture maker
(helping Porcelain make the bed). Merdre!
Best, Tom Homer
* * * * * * *
Lo Elayne, April 15, 1996
Coming into work tonight, I kept seeing Philip Austin in my
mind. Wearing a sport coat in a condemned plaid pattern, with black
lapels, voice a little raspy, as a manic TV weatherman. I hear his voice
going along about a whoomping bit low off the coast. "And it's coming
for ya baby!" Yow!
I did see the "Tick in Las Vegas." The boys had some good bits,
including the aforementioned Mr. Austin as a combination fishmonger,
conspiracy addict and caffeine freak ("Howmanycupsacoffeecanamandrink?").
The followin week was, I guess, the retirement home story. I was waiting
for Austin/Ossman, I found instead Mr. Bergman as Terry, the son of the
Terror. Highly excellent.
I'm sorry to hear you're thinking of getting out of doing the
Firesignal. Maybe it's me. I subscribed to The Job Bob Report and Joe
Bob Briggs stopped doing it recently. He claims he'll be back. I hope
so. Like many of your readers, finding groups you'd like to and are able
to clone with is not easy. I don't think too many of your readers could
get behind having to do something they don't want to (except fro that
little guy in the back with waffle eyes). Whatever you decide to do, my
blessing is available, if it's not doing someone's birthday party...
All the best, whatever your future holds.
Thanx, ED WESTON
Port Orchard, WA
* * * * * * *
Things are going rather slowly here in the rich cultural vacuum of
Hagerstown, MD and I try to keep myself busy. I recently did a local radio
interview about my Firesign books with Mark Garland for his Radiolaria
program. He's the guy who lent me this computer and helped finance the
photographs for the book. We're supposed to go into the TV studio at
Antietam Cable for the first video version of his show and do a 10 minute
segment on the books. Its going to be broadcast on cable access TV here
and in Santa Monica, CA, home of Peter Bergman, on "Can't Understand
Normal Thinking" community access cable show run by Mark's cousin. Anyone
interested in airing it can contact Mark through his E-Mail address:
RADIOLARIA @ AOL.COM.
I haven't heard from the guys lately, but I just mailed out their
copies of all of the books, thanks to funding from Chris Palladino. I've
kind of put my Firesign Project on the back burner while I'm working on
another monster of a project being an article and booklet on the 1910
movie version of Edison's "Frankenstein", in honor of Mary Shelley's
Bicentennial and the 150th anniversary of Edison's birth, both in 1997.
Proceeds from the profits are going to be donated to the Edison Birthplace
Museum in Milan, Ohio. There's sort of an Firesign / Edison connection
through the Young Tom Edison club a few years ago. Anyone interested can
I finally sniffed out a copy of Phil Austin's "Duckman" 45 by The
Buddies on Decca Records and it is extremely funny, and one of my favorite
discs. It really is a precursor to Firesign, and displays a lot of things
That's all for now, back into my cave!!!
See You on the Funway!
It's funny, sometimes, how the flow of the universe works. In the days
before Elayne sent me the files for EFAlaFal #29, I was considering giving up
the newsletter. Not for lack of interest -- though I am probably
the least involved, Firesign-wise, of all the people who help to produce the
newsletter -- but because of the demands on my time. Besides my business
of technical writing and communication consulting, I am now teaching several
classes a year on computers and the Internet at the local community college.
Also, our youngest child has been diagnosed with a learning disorder -- he's
3 1/2 and still doesn't speak beyond one or two words, and is prone to temper
tantrums -- and the special classes and increased attention he requires just
makes volunteering to do this newsletter less and less justifiable.
So there I was, all set to gently break it to Elayne that #30 was going to
my last EFAlaFal, and she beats me to the punch and announces her own
Now there is no doubt about whose leaving would cause more problems; Elayne
writes this baby, and I'm just the data-entry guy. Oh sure, I put the Web
version together -- but anyone with the text files, a good HTML editor, and
a little imagination could do as well. I'm certainly no artist.
Now here's the place where I put out a Call For A Volunteer Replacement;
someone who is willing to step in and take over for me in the tri-annual
editing of EFALaFal. There must be someone out there who's been reading this
and thinking, "Jeez, this guy's a hack! I could do that better after
finishing off a six-pack of Elephant Malt Liquor," and who is now willing to
step up and Take His/Her Best Shot.
It's really not that hard to do, and there is a certain amount of egofeed in
being able to say that you're "the editor" of the electronic Firesign Theatre
newsletter. (But I do have to say it's never gotten me a free beer
anywhere.) We all take it where we can get it, eh?
So I'm going to make it a contest: send me 25 words or less explaining why
YOU should be the next Electronic Editor of EFAlaFal. Elayne and I will
confer to select a winner, who will have to get together with the new writers
and figure out how they want to arrange things.
It's been fun, but it's time to move on. At least there's still #30 to do,
so I'll See You On The Funway one more time.
Have a great summer