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The Firesign Theatre 2000
The Reunion of the Firesign Theatre for the WEEKEND ALL THINGS CONSIDERED JANUARY 04, 1997 spot on the coming Millennium was a special treat for all FST fans. The show seemed like a revisit to old friends. And it was. The characters on the NPR show were straight out of the EveryThing you Know is Wrong record, albeit aged and advanced in their lives/careers.
The NPR show did however reintroduce a technic the FST used in the Firesign Chat record. That of 'microphone in hand', where one of the characters walks the town interviewing people. Here, in a short radio piece it fits right in. A ten minute radio spot doesn't allow for the developing of 'other worldliness' the FST are known for (though, it's carried over from the ETYKIW record). So the 'microphone in hand' technic works, to tie it all together.
We're led by reporter-esk Happy Harry Cox (Austin), syndicated seer and seeker, as he wanders the town, 'microphone in hand'.
He runs into:
We also here from:
The EveryThing you Know is Wrong gang has their worries about the year 2000 and address them in this wonderful little radio spot that has the Firesign in top form. The writing here is excellent and just as you'd expect from the FST guys after all those years.
What follows is the Transcript of the NPR FST 2000
DAVID OSSMAN in booming voice: Warning, the following program contains material of a frighteningly predictive nature.
PHILIP PROCTOR: Do not listen to this program if you do not believe in the amazing.
PETER BERGMAN: Beware, your brain may no longer be the boss.
HAPPY HARRY COX (Phil Austin): Hello seekers, I'm Happy Harry Cox, and I'm not so happy after all. I'm worried in fact, worried about the future. You've heard it, the millennium is coming upon us like a speeding locomotive and we're not even sure which track it's on.
PROCTOR: Hey, we don't even know when it began.
AUSTIN: Two thousand one, it starts.
PROCTOR: No, 2000, Nostradamus said
COX: Thank you boys, so today, we're going to take you on a journey of prediction, and although I can't predict where you're going, the one thing I do know is that you'll come back believing that everything you know is wrong.
FIRESIGN THEATRE as a group: About the future/future/future/future.
NARRATOR (Bergman): Heater, California, that sweltering little town out on the high low desert of that once-golden state. We're tracking Happy Harry Cox, syndicated seer and seeker, as he wanders the town, microphone in hand.
MAYOR ART HOLEFLAFFER (Ossman): Cox, what are you worried about?
COX: Here's our mayor, Art Holeflaffer. And mayor, I'm worried about the year 2000.
HOLEFLAFFER: You know, Harry, I don't think much of the future at all. It's just a bunch of numbers, it's like watching 100,000 miles come up on your speedometer, if you do too much celebrating, you're going to crash.
HOLEFLAFFER: What's the point?
COX: What are you saying, Art? Isn't the future as exciting as interesting as tomorrow itself?
HOLEFLAFFER: You kidding? Three is more exciting than two, huh? Two-thousand is more interesting, say, than 1999?
COX: Thank you very much...
HOLEFLAFFER: I think you ought to go back to broadcasting in the nude, Cox...
COX: No, no, no.
HOLEFLAFFER: It'd get your ratings up.
COX: No, uh, thanks, Mayor Holeflaffer.
NARRATOR (Bergman): Heater is nestled between the jaws of Hellmouth and Hooker, making up the tri-town area. On the wind-blown outskirts of Hellmouth, General Curtis Goatheart, "Rhett", is the commander of the abandoned Air force base.
GENERAL CURTIS GOATHEART (Proctor), "RHETT", COMMANDER OF ABANDONED AIR force BASE: (Sniffs) It's, it's lonely out here since we were phased out by the defense cutbacks, Harry.
CURTIS GOATHEART: But we've got some hope. We're turning the abandoned Air force base into an alien amusement park.
COX: Wow. You mean like, Ride the Wild Alien, the Tunnel of Alien Love?
CURTIS GOATHEART: No, no, rides for aliens. And because they all wear high heels, we have to redesign everything.
COX: I know, and those big eyes, you know, they look like featherless chickens to me.
CURTIS GOATHEART: Oh, not to me, have you ever taken a good look at Mickey Mouse?
COX: Mm. That's unsettling?
CURTIS GOATHEART: Well, I don't mind, as long as they don't settle in my house late at night, going through the medicine cabinets, Mrs. General Goatheart nearly croaked.
COX: You mean, they look like frogs?
CURTIS GOATHEART: They do?
NARRATOR(Bergman): And we found Sheriff Lugar Axehandle splitting posts for his mock-up of a new high-voltage border fence.
-Sound of Axe hitting tree-
SHERIFF LUGAR AXEHANDLE(Ossman): Well, I'll tell you what's going to be along here in the future.
AXEHANDLE: A fence. Keep out these Oregonians, Canucks, right now we see a guy in a wool hat in a July, yeah, we know what we got.
AXEHANDLE: These people are getting sophisticated, my friend. Picked one of them up with a quart of Napa Valley Cabernet, two loaves of olive hazelnut foccacio bread -- yeah, you'd be hard pressed to tell them from bonafide Californians that way.
-Sound of logs being split-
AXEHANDLE: Come down here, desert climate, these people breed like oysters. School boards got to spend money on, on ice hockey.
AXEHANDLE: Yeah, it just shows what happens when you can sell whiskey in the supermarket.
COX: You can?
AXEHANDLE: Get out of the way friend. Ah, geez.
NARRATOR(Bergman): In Hooker, on stage at the traditional native American Bingo Palace, Cox found famous clairvoyant Nino the Mindbender, the man purported to bend your mind like a spoon.
NINO THE MINDBENDER (Proctor): I can dig that. Oh, sorry Cox I, I've hit a blank wall, I can't see the future at all.
COX: Gosh, Nino. Is that because you're encased in a steel box?
NINO: What steel box... oh...
NINO: I forgot.
COX: Here, help you, there you go.
NINO: There's so much to remember when you're remembering the future. OK, let me try again. What I see, oh yeah -- oh, oh I see a bright future. Maybe a little too bright.
COX: Oh my gosh, you mean there's going to be an explosion?
NINO: No, it's, it's that, it's that spotlight! Turn off the spotlight!
Studio Hand (Bergman): Kill the firespot!
NINO: OK. Now I can see. A golden future.
NINO: Yeah, for me. Oh, Nino the Mindbender's going to make a whole lot of moolah. I'll be your, your cyberpsychic buddy, downloaded directly into your brain.
NINO: Just click on www.con.man.
COX: Nino, how can you be there and be here at the same time? I don't think you can be in two places at once.
NINO: Don't you get it? I'm going to be nowhere at all in the future. I'll be leaving my body and moving into cyberspace.
NINO: It's not just virtual reality man, it's real virtuosity.
COX: Now, the educated elite exists in Heater as everywhere else. We found Professor Gary T. Seeker of the Hellmouth Campus of Solid State University. And he's authored a book, "The Future, Look Out".
GARY T. SEEKER(Bergman): Well, here's the future as I see it, Cox.
COX: OK. OK.
SEEKER: Well, one, the name Sean will mysteriously drop off the list of ten most popular names for boys.
SEEKER: Second, people will wake up suddenly and stop smoking cigars.
SEEKER: And see, same-sex marriages between animals will be upheld by the Supreme Court if they're species that mate for life.
SEEKER: In other words, wolves and swans will be able to get benefits and file a joint tax return. Whereas sparrows and grasshoppers won't.
SEEKER: Now, there's family values for you.
COX: That's a future worth looking forward to. Wow. But professor, what's your take on the aliens?
SEEKER: Well, I like them scrambled easy up, light, with a little tabasco sauce.
SEEKER: They're among us, Cox. They're in our eggs.
COX: In my eggs?
SEEKER: They're in everybody's eggs.
COX: This is Happy Harry Cox. You know, I've always seen the future as a science fiction movie, everyone in togas or pajamas on incredibly flat floors, with stalactites made of plastic foam and the threat of an over-abiding master of some kind, whether it's just the big brain or, the big Mickey. Well, was I wrong?
FIRESIGN THEATRE as a group: Oh, for sure, absolutely.
COX: No, but if Professor Seeker is right, they're among us in the eggs. Witness the popularity of the show, the Eggs-Files.
PETER BERGMAN: Eggcrutiating.
PHILIP PROCTOR: Eggsactly.
COX: Well, all I know is that...
FIRESIGN THEATRE as a group: Everything you know is wrong!!
(the above transcript is the property of the Firesign Theatre and is printed with permission)
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