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July 18 - 24, 2001

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Happy Birthdays

We celebrate the birthdays of two comic geniuses: Albert Brooks (July 22, 1947) and Peter Schickele (July 17, 1945).

Selection Source Performer(s) Comments
Comic, author, actor and filmmaker Albert Brooks was born Albert Einstein (!) on July 22nd, 1947, the son of dialect comic Harry Einstein (a.k.a. “Parkyakarkus”). He began appearing as a stand-up comic in the 1969, first as a warm-up act for stars like Neil Diamond and later as a headliner in his own right. His only two LPs, Comedy Minus One (1973) and A Star is Bought (1975) are long out of print. He went on to appear as an actor in various television shows but his career took a major turn when Lorne Michaels invited him to be the resident filmmaker on a new show, Saturday Night, later Saturday Night Live. Brooks’ first feature film was Real Life (1979), a parody of “Loud Family”-style documentaries. Since then he has written, acted in, and directed numerous films, and his voice is often heard on The Simpsons. Find out more at
A Phone Call to Americans A Star is Bought (1975) Albert Brooks A typically surreal send-up of the national festival of self-congratulation that sprang up around the USA’s Bicentennial in 1975-76.
Memoirs of an Opening Act, Part 1 Comedy Minus One (1973) Albert Brooks Brooks talks about opening for Neil Diamond and others.
Near the Beginning A Star is Bought (1975) Albert Brooks, Charley Van Dyke, Peter Tork, Mickey Dolenz The concept behind A Star is Bought: Brooks can’t get any air play, so he has produced an LP on which each cut is tailored to a different radio market. In fact, this allows him to make fun of different types of radio, often in ingenious if sometimes oblique ways. The LP is co-written and produced with satirist Harry Shearer.
Party From Outer Space A Star is Bought (1975) Albert Brooks A parody of “hit tune” novelty numbers like Buchanan and Goodman’s “Flying Saucer” (1956). The "phony hits" are written by Brooks and performed by guest artists like Linda Ronstadt, Harry Nilsson and Alice Cooper.
In the Middle A Star is Bought (1975) Albert Brooks, Charley Van Dyke, Bill Ballance Brooks’ talk radio marketing campaign explained.
Phone Calls From Americans A Star is Bought (1975) Albert Brooks Brooks’ talk radio parody. DJ types (including yours truly) have been known to have fun with this by simply playing it, without introduction, after a PSA or other break.
Call This Cut 3 Side 2 A Star is Bought (1975) Albert Brooks, Charley Van Dyke, David Geffen The next cut is supposedly targeted at the “underground FM” audience. The closest thing to that today would be community radio – like the station that produces this show, KDHX.
Englishman-German-Jew Blues A Star is Bought (1975) Albert Brooks, Albert King Brooks “jams” with blues great Albert King. Really.
Peter Schickele was born July 17, 1935, in Ames, Iowa. With his father, an agricultural economist, his mother, a physicist, and a younger brother, David (who is now a filmmaker), he grew up in Ames, Washington, DC, and Fargo, North Dakota. Although a prolific composer of “serious” music for the stage, concert hall, television, films and radio, Schickele is best known as his comic alter-ego, Professor Peter Schickele of the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople, professional “musicalologist” and “discoverer” of the works of the last and least of Johann Sebastian Bach’s many sons, P.D.Q. Bach. He also produces a wildly eclectic and highly informative public radio show, The Schickele Mix; see for details.
Do You Suffer? P.D.Q. Bach on the Air (1967) John Ferrante, counter-tenor; I Virtuosi di Hoople conducted by Peter Schickele A commercial in the Baroque style. P.D.Q. Bach on the Air pokes fun and inept noncommercial FM radio in the form of selections from the broadcast day of fictional station WOOF in Hoople, North Dakota.
New Horizons in Musical Appreciation P.D.Q. Bach on the Air (1967) Peter Schickele, Bob Dennis Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 as a sporting event; a Schickele classic!
1712 Overture 1712 Overture and Other Musical Assaults (1989) Greater Hoople Area Off-Season Philharmonic conducted by “Walter Bruno” (Schickele) As the title implies, a send-up of Tchaikovsky’s grandiose 1812 Festival Overture, especially the “sonic spectacular” recordings of it that have hit the market in recent years.
Allegro from Eine Kleine Nichtmusik Portrait of P.D.Q. Bach (1977) New York Pick-Up Ensemble conducted by Peter Schickele Eine Kleine Nichtmusik is Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik with a truly amazing number of other composers’ themes woven in.

Acronyms and other mysteries defined:

OC: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Cast recording of a Broadway show, along with the date.

OS: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Soundtrack recording of a film, TV show, etc.

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