Here for nothing but 1950s music cues? I understand. You can go here.

I fully admit I overreacted. “Couldn’t you have called?” my wife asked. “They take attendance.” Yes but, well - I wanted to make a point. That was it.

Yes, that was it.

She was in a hurry this morning and was almost out of the garage. I came down the tunnel: weren’t you going to say good bye?

I’m late.

I know, but we always say goodbye.

Okay goodbye

Text me when you get there.

I will.

Pedaling up the hill, another day ahead, another beautiful spring day. I thought of the way the cars come around the corner and winced. It’s those damned kids and the way they drive. They’re going to KILL SOMEONE someday.

Went back to the studio, and scanned and wrote. After I while I noticed something:

She hadn’t texted that she got to school.

Well, in all probability she was there. I knew she checked her phone between classes, and I sent a text: hello, remember? Time passed. Nothing. Annnd the harpies got their claws in. A combination familiar to parents: anger and worry. All I ask is a simple text. IS. THAT. So. HARD followed immediately by hit by a car I knew it I knew it I knew it

. . . and so after another text went unanswered, I did the only sensible thing. To prove a point. I drove to the school and called her out of class.

You may well say, my good man, aren’t we overreacting? I suppose. But also proving a point: do what you say you are going to do. You assure me you can get to distant school and promise you’ll text? Well then. She came to the office with a look of concern, and I said, in all truthfulness, with no particular rancor or anger:

“I had to leave a podcast with the Governor of Texas to make sure you got to school.”

Because I had. I said it was not the end of the world, but I wasn’t particularly happy, and maybe she should think of an apt consequence, ‘kay? Okay. Back to class.

She texted me later with Sorry sorry sorry and emoticons galore, and this is the point where you reiterate that hellfire does not await when you come home. I know the emotion of Dread that attends these things, and while it’s useful now and then I didn’t want to spoil her day and soak everything with that awful feeling you get when you know you screwed up, even for something small. Especially for something small.

I filed a column and did some research on the stadium, filed a column, went to the office and did a video interview with the dean of the U of M College of Design. Great fun. On the way home, tell-tale text message

Leaving now

Fine. Later:

Okay got lost again but I’m at the hill on 54th so I might be a little late

Sigh. Well, she made it home, and there was bereftitude. Not for the earlier incident, no: creative writing class was over and the amazingly cool teacher was Going Away Forever.


Plus, the 8th graders in the class would be Going Away to the other school.

“Everything’s changing,” she said, grabbing a cool drink from the fridge.

“Everything always does,” I said in a chipper voice. “Every day. Sometimes for worse and sometimes for better but mostly just because it does.”

She got out her phone and checked Instagram and was annoyed that someone who followed her, who she then followed, had unfollowed. But ah hah she had more likes on a picture than my last one. Twenty five? That’s sad.


Likes and Follows; seems so small. But that was the plot of our day.

How can you tell them? You can’t. How can you not know that one day “Leaving Now” will mean the opposite of “heading home”?

You can’t. But that day is not today, so you go to make sure.

The Governor of Texas will understand. He’s got kids too, and I’m sure they had the same rule.

You always say goodbye.






In case you’re joining us late, LISTEN is not some old-radio project with clip-art of a cathedral radio and clips of the Lone Ranger and the Shadow. It is a loosely-defined attempt to introduce modern audiences to the pleasures and peculiarities of a bygone medium. That’s all. On Friday I play sound cues gleaned from “The Couple Next Door” - and more about that in a moment. First:

This will sound so hayseed, at first, real Hee-Haw stuff, but it’s much better than that. (There was another “country” show with two yokels trading in misunderstanding and down-home misadventures; it’s unlistenable.) Lum & Abner, proprietors of a country store, were simply drawn but fully inhabited by their performers, and the humor avoided the corn and puns and slapstick of the era, infusing everything with a gentle affection that made it ineffably endearing.

Now. This clip will make no sense unless you realize that the guys who invented and played Lum & Abner also did a variety of other voices on the show. Occasionally a third actor would appear, but for the most part the other characters were just Chester Lauck and Norris Goff. The trick was to make it sound as if many characters were present simultaneously, and an old hand could switch the other voices on and off at will. But now and then - well. Sometimes switching from Grandpappy Spears to Lum didn’t go as smoothly as usual. In fact, at :34, Norris Goff forgot to switch for a few seconds.



At :41 you can hear the faintest trace of a smile in Goff's’s voice, and later on he mutters - in character - a sly admission that yes, he screwed that one up. My voice don't sound natural no ways. Sound more like Grandpap every day. That was completely on the fly.


Weekly "Couple" segment: In the morgue the other day I found the envelope for the show’s creator, Peg Lynch. (Whom you may know by now was the writer and performer of the show.) This TV writer got it:






It won't be heard locally.

Don't think she doesn't remember that, because she does.

BTW: the illustration is Will Jones, who wrote the "After Last Night" column for a very long time; I remember his bug in the Variety section when I started reading the Tribune in the 70s.

I know reporters don't write heds, but "Suds"? It wasn't a soap-opera.


Now, the clips. It’s possible they intended this to go past quick enough so no one had to time to say “hold on, it’s not Christmas.”




Sad-sack humiliated world-of-troubles music, and they really lay on the wah-wah trumpet.




I don’t think this is a repeat, but it’s possible; sometimes I think this is just one piece of music recombined in ways that approach alchemy. Just listen to the economy, though - the music should be happy but it’s not; it’s like a cheerful tune turned ominous and worried. And again the wah-wah-wah!




I should explain: things are going poorly for the Piper family; they have to move out of their house because they sold it, and the new one’s not ready. Friends who lived on a farm had offered to let them stay, but at the last moment they back out. Something came up! Oh I’m so sorry! Hence this:






From chipper circus-type music to something else to the assertion of authority:




One of the longer cues - a whole 14 seconds - with that recurring car-horn theme.




Annnnd it’s this week’s Downtown Busy City music:








Stylish, chic, glamorous: music for a car commercial, no?




Another ending snipped from a longer piece; I love how it peps up at :05.




It really is remarkable: Cue #90, and I don’t think I’ve heard any portion before.




Why don’t you give an episode a listen? You know the story: no place to put the furniture. Here’s the entire 14 minutes of a 1958 daily sitcom serial, including theme and commercials. First scene catches everyone up on what’s going on and it has a concession to the serial format - but Peg Lynch never had an announcer say "previously on," she worked the ongoing plot into the dialogue as economically as possible. The second scene puts you in the middle of everything that happened while you were listening to the commercial, I suppose.

The economy of these playlets is deceptively simple. Note the scene around 5:20 where the wife really tears into the husband - I mean, it’s brutal. (And funny.) She starts repeating herself. It’s not enough for her to say “You said the movers would be coming.” She doubles up on the “you said” in a way that makes any husband cringe a half a century later.

You’ll hear the music in context. And of course hats off to Alan Bunce, master of husbandly preening and explosive exasperation.




It stands alone - but if you'd been listening to the show for the last year, you would have picked up resonances from a dozen other episodes.

Suds, my arse.






That's it for today, I suppose. There's an update, but it's for completists only - a 6 MB map of te 1933-34 World's Fair. And a column at (scroll down to the columnist section) and other things here and there and LORD I think I have done my part for God and Country this week. Have a grand weekend, and I'll see you around.


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