OCTOBER SURPRISE

Proctor's busting out all over this month, so let's blow our horn and then get on with the rest of the silly symphony.

I'm essaying several roles in the L.A. Theatreworks live radio production of "State Of The Union" (although Susan Lowenberg despairs that she was unaware of Melinda's return from the Rochester production of same or we'd be working together again!)

This show features John Schuck, Daikin Matthews, Ann Archer, Peggy Roeder, Tom Virtue and Lindsay Crouse (Crouse's daughter and Linsay's . . .?) and is slightly updated per the authors' suggestion.

Performances are at 8pm Wednesday, October 16 through Saturday 19 at the Doubletree Guest Quarters, 1707 Fourth Street in Santa Monica and tickets may be obtained by calling (310) 827-0889.

A science-fiction film "Menno's Mind" starring Bill "Rocketeer" Campbell, with Michael Dorn, Corbin Bernsen, Robert Vaughn (and me), directed by Jon Kroll and produced by Firesign friend Larry "Hot Shorts" Estes, will be screened at 4:30 and 9:30 on October 24th at Mann's Chinese Theater in Hollywood as part of the AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival.

And finally, now it can be told!

The secret project that I worked on with Peter Bergman much of last year, has now been released on an unrepentant public in an altered but unadulterated form as "PYST" -- a spoof of the legendary "MYST" game, available for 15,000 pysasters ($15.00 American) at your local vidmart or by calling 800-910-2696.

You can read all about it in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and numerous other toss sheets, or see a snazzy color repro of the snappy cover on page 12 of this week's Newsweek.

And now, the rest of the story . . .

 

DISCLAIM HER

As pointed out by Penn Jillette, who never lies, and various other magic friends, Houdini's wife's name was not Harriett but Bess -- and she died November 2, 1942 in Needles, California, aboard a train bound for New York.

Take the rest of the Hollywood Knickerbocker handbill from last time's issue with a grain of something, or a walnut in your martini.

 

EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS . . .

Silly quotes from actual consumer product packages and instructions, as sent to me by Martin Harris from Bloomington, Indiana:

On a bag of JONNY CAT cat litter -- "JONNY CAT is the best value for your money. A 20-pound bag of JONNY CAT contains 25% more litter than 16-pound bags, and 43% more than 14-pound bags!"

From a kid's Superman costume for Halloween (stitched into the cape's tag): "Warning: Use of This Device Does Not Enable Wearer To Fly."

From a Pop-Tart box -- "Warning: Pastry Filling May Be Hot When Heated."

From a hair blow-dryer instruction sheet : "Warning: Do Not Use While Sleeping."

On the package for Top Cog fan belts for automobiles: "Do not change the belt while the engine is running."

From a Boston Globe piece, during a 1973 summer heat wave describing ways to beat the heat -- "No. 1: Stay out of the direct rays of the sun."

Found on the inside of a pull top lid of a liquid radiator sealant: "Caution: DO NOT LICK LID."

Written on the back of one of those windshield things you put inside your car on sunny days: "DO NOT OPERATE VEHICLE WITH SCREEN IN PLACE."

From pp.6-9 of the Indigo PC Owners Manual: "Hardware Dos and Don'ts: Do not dangle the mouse by its cable or throw mouse at co-workers."

On a box of those cloth roller towels in a restroom: "Warning! Improper use may cause serious injury or death!"

 

WHAT'S THE SENSE OF IT. . .

In the latest "Madonna" issue of Vogue, which features a fascinating article about my Yale Scroll & Key buddy, eccentric photographer/artist Peter Beard -- there is an add for ATTAR perfumes from Isabell which presents next to a free sample, a full-page color graphic of a gorgeous orange ranuncula in full bloom.

As my gorgeous, red-haired, green-thumbed, "Garden of Sweden" wife points out -- the rauncula has no scent.

 

MORE DOLE-DRUMS

The following is a verbatim account of a segment of a Bob Dole appearance a week or so ago at a cotton cooperative in Bakersfield, California:

"My wife was here six days last week, and she'll be back next week, and she does an outstanding job. And when I'm elected, she will not be in charge of health care. Don't worry about it. Or in charge of anything else. (Muffled crowd gasp.) I didn't say that. It did sort of go through my mind. But she may have a little blood bank in the White House. But that's all right. We need it. It doesn't cost you anything. These days, it's not all you give at the White House - your blood. You have to give your file. I keep wondering if mine's down there. Or my dog. I got a dog named Leader. I'm not certain they've got a file on Leader. He's a schnauzer. I think he's been cleaned. We've had him checked by the vet but not by the FBI or the White House. He may be suspect, but in any event, we'll get into that later. Animal rights or something of that kind. But this is a very serious election."

 

FOLLOWING DOLE'S DRUMS?

DALLAS (Reuter) - A terminally ill Texan killed his cousin, wounded his step-daughter and then killed himself after becoming enraged over the nomination of Bob Dole as the Republican presidential candidate, police said Thursday. Ernest Comegys, 70, lost control as he watched the Republican convention in San Diego on television at his Dallas home Wednesday night. He went into his bedroom, grabbed a handgun and shot repeatedly at his cousin and step-daughter before killing himself with a single bullet to the head.

Police Sgt. Jim Chandler said Comegys was terminally ill with cancer and had been extremely depressed about the illness but was also enraged over Dole running for the White House. "He became very depressed and upset at what he had seen from the convention, so he got a gun and started shooting," Chandler said. He said it was not clear why Comegys was so angry about Dole's presidential bid but stressed the news from the Republican convention merely sparked him off.

 

MORE BOZOS

In response to Dole's Bozo comment as parroted here last issue, head Firehead (firehead@panix.com) Elayne Wechsler-Chaput says:

Larry Harmon came on the Tonight Show to respond. He said something like, "I've met Bill Clinton, I know Bill Clinton, and let me tell you, he's *NO* BOZO!"

I also heard a radio talk show today that interviewed Larry (Chairman Barney) Harmon who says that the history of the term "bozo" comes from a small 12th-century Italian kingdom. The king was named Bozzo -- and would be summoned by other kings to lift their spirits when they were depressed.

He added that he summed up Bozo in one word many years ago as "P.U.L.L." -- "Peace, Understanding, Love, and Laughter."

Yeah, Larry, pull this. . .

(You can E-Mail Elayne for a copy of the final issue of the official Firesign Theatre newsletter, Four-Alarm FIRESIGNal. and hear the REAL story of the origin of Bozo. . . )

 

EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS BROWN

Fruit a Freeze makes some really tasty fruit bars, no doubt about it. So recently, to celebrate my wife's return from back East, I bought "Fruit a freeze, dark chocolate dipped Cappuccino fruit bars", and guess what -- no fruit!

Here are the ingredients as listed: "Fruit Bar: Milk, sucrose, cream, modified starch, natural flavor, cellulose gum (prevents ice crystals), ground turmeric (a natural color). Chocolate Coating: Sugar, coconut oil, cocoa and cocoa processed with alkali, chocolate liquor, lecithin and vanilla."

We still ate the whole thing. . . even the stick.

 

THIS IS THE WORLD'S FINAL CHAIN-LETTER

(Forwarded to you for the first and last time by moi)

You have been sent a blessing. Those who have followed the instructions on this letter have received good fortune, as you will. The rewards of this letter supersede the promises of all other letters you may have received.

This is the final chain-letter you will ever send. It's instructions are simple: to receive the fortune that has graced those who have received this before you, follow these steps.

  1. Make nine unaltered copies of this note, and send each copy to a friend or stranger within nine days of receiving this. This completed, you will have received not only luck and positive karma, but you have been PERMANENTLY released from the obligation to send another chain-letter.

     

  2. Never heed another chain-letter. By sending this letter you have already incurred the fortune promised by all future letters you will receive.

Ignore or DESTROY all future chain-letters that you come in contact with. TO SEND ANOTHER CHAIN-LETTER IS TO BREAK THE GIFT GIVEN YOU BY THIS LETTER.

If you have already received and sent this letter, and you are receiving it again, DESTROY THIS COPY. This letter will circle the globe, freeing its recipients from the need to send future chain-letters, and, its task completed, will eventually destroy itself in the same manner.

Not sending this letter CURSES YOU WITH ILL-FORTUNE that is the dark mirror of the good fortune you could have received. To ignore this letter is to receive the bad luck or ill-fortune mentioned in all future chain letters you will receive.

Only those who follow the instructions above will receive the double blessing of luck and freedom from all future chain-letters. Just as sending it blessed you with the luck of all chain letters, not sending it curses you with the misfortune. Sending another chain letter after this one brings the same misfortune as well.

THIS IS THE WORLD'S FINAL CHAIN-LETTER.

 

GIANT RATS OF MANHATTAN?

In the latest issue of the New Yorker is an announcement for the first National Rat and Mouse Show to be held at the cafeteria of Richard Green High School on the Upper East side. (An unfortunate choice of venue, don't you think?) Anyway, this "United Nations of rodents" will be judged for breeding as well as personality, such as "cutest mouse, most laid-back rat," etc.

Sparkling, bubbly Debra Jane Seltzer, the show's organizer, points out that "Rats are like dogs, they're affectionate. Mice are more like tropical fish. They're skittish, they come in lots of colors, [and] you watch them in a tank. But rats are something you can handle and hang with."

And eat. They taste like chicken.

 

FUN FACTS

Also from the Nude Yorker, in reviews of books about the R.M.S. Titanic. Do you know what the "R.M.S." stands for?

Answer next issue -- not!

It's short for "Royal Mail Steamer."

Or was it -- "Ready Made Sinker"?

 

WHAT IS REALITY?

And lastly, before I disappear into the 40s where I came from, in a week where Attorney General Dan Lungren attacked Trudeau's cartoon character Zonker for promoting pro-cannabis Prop 215:

We're busting militia groups right (and left?) because although we defeated the Reds, we're still fighting the red-necks?

Bob Dylan's anti-establishment anthem "The Time's they Are A Changin"" was used in a tv spot for a Canadian bank (predicted and parodied by Proctor & Bergman 4 or 5 years ago!).

A real-life shoplifter tried to surrender to real-life tv cops Richard Belzer and Clark Johnson of "Homicide: Life on the Streets" while they were filming on Baltimore's real-life streets.

In an L.A. Times article by John-Thor Dahlburg about the detrimental effect of the new fundamentalist militia rule on Afghan hospital care ("How am I supposed to operate with a beard down to here?") the caption under a photo reads:

"Near Kabul, a Taliban tank gunner prepares to destroy beer and brandy in a show of Islamic purity." (Sounds like a job for the American military to me.)

A non-union Pasadena production of the Depression Days Musical "42nd Street" contains the following dialogue:

"You're going to work 12 hours a day and seven days a week . . . on your way to glory and 32 bucks a week." L.A. Times reviewer F. Kathleen Foley added " -- we're momentarily at a loss whether this is a speech from the musical or a manifesto from the curent management."

It was announced that the beloved but late George Burns will star post-humorously in a sequel to "Oh, God" called "The Best Man" reprising his role as God -- "via voice impersonations and computer re-creations."

Incidentally, listed among G.B.'s items recently auctioned off in Beverly Hills, is "an 18th-century ormolu-mounted Kingwood parquetry commode" sold for more than $11,000."

Bathroom humor?

 

Your Absurdist Deviant,
Phil "Keep Me Honest" Proctor

 

Published 10/13/96

 


PLANET PROCTOR
1996/2002 by Phil Proctor