Friday, September 21, 2007

My Shameful Mistake

In a recent episode of Live Wire I made the assertion that Huckleberry Hound wore a vest. It was part of a bit in which I was promoting “The Oregon Vest Fest,” an event celebrating everybody’s favorite torso adornment. I claimed that Huckleberry Hound chose one article of clothing to wear and it was a vest, believing that celebrity endorsement really said something about vests. Gales of knee-slapping laughter followed the bit, in my memory, and subsequent jokes carried us all down a delightful comedic path and away from the whole notion of Huckleberry Hound in a vest.

That should have been the end of the story…a story I would never have even told because had it really ended there, those to whom the story would have been told might well have asked “That’s it? What the eff kind of story was that?”

Well here’s the tragic twist. A nagging sense of doubt led me to do a little research. It turns out Huckleberry Hound never wore a vest. He wore a bow tie and a straw hat.

Sure, he occasionally wore a costume. One Google image result had him posing as a sheriff, replete with a vest and tin star. But he also wore a Santa outfit, a lion tamer getup and a dress. I don’t know where I got the idea he wore a vest. I couldn’t easily find another vest-wearing cartoon character to blame for the confusion. Yogi Bear? Nope, necktie and a shabby fedora. Quick Draw McGraw? McNaw! Bandana and a 10 gallon hat. His alter ego El Kabong? El no. Zorro hat and cape. Top Cat? Well yeah, but who the hell remembers Top Cat? Nobody. The joke would have tanked.

While I feel terrible, I don’t feel 100% responsible for this situation. The audience validated the whole thing by laughing. As soon as that happened they were all accessories to the crime. None of the other writers caught the mistake in any of our meetings…and they’re usually pretty good about that kind of thing. I once wrote a sketch about a device that would convert stomach gurgles into infotainment voice overs by Pat O’Brien. Courtenay pointed out a very similar device depicted in an old SNL sketch…ouch! Since then I’ve seen similar device ideas on the Simpsons and elsewhere. I actually hope to see more, so I can point to more examples for my “collective unconscious” excus--er, argument. Speaking of Simpsons, the TV must have been on during one of my 11th hour sketch edits because a Nelson Muntz line (temporarily) found its way into the script, word for frickin word. (Hey, Nelson wears a vest! Damn!) Sean caught that one, and I think he looked at my sketches sideways for a while. I don’t blame him.

On each of these occasions I was ashamed and embarrassed. This time is no different. I want to apologize to our fans that still follow this blog…both of you…and I vow to be better in the future.
And I sincerely apologize to Huckleberry Hound’s family who may have been deeply hurt by all of this. He died in Vietnam of course but if I'm not mistaken his wife is still living and I think I heard his kids followed him into show business. H.H. Jr. played Eddie on Frasier and his daughter played the love interest in one of the Air Bud movies. I’m pretty sure.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

On the Road with Oregon Bounty and Bad Drivers

Back in August, Kate Sokoloff (Live Wire producer), fellow Faces For Radio Theater member Sean McGrath and I went on a big fat adventure through all seven regions of Oregon.

The trip was a collaboration between Live Wire and our totally-kickass-in-every-way sponsor, Travel Oregon. At each stop, we created a video blog (or vlog) introducing you to brewers, chefs, farmers, ranchers, and even the owner of an old-fashioned flour mill - all people who help create the amazing food, wine and beer that makes living in Oregon so damn tasty.

Greg Robeson, our experienced leader, showed us the way and Sean acted as his co-correspondent, utilizing his extensive journalism experience.* Videos will be up on the Oregon Bounty Website for a week starting September 27th- until then, check out this preview video to see the glory that is Sean McGrath. Oh, and I've posted a few photos as well.

Here are some of the lessons I learned along the way:
  1. If someone screams in their sleep, don't go in their room and check on them. Really, what are the odds that they're being murdered? Minuscule.
  2. The curry cheese torta from Rising Sun Farms is like crack cocaine for cheese lovers. Holy freakin' heck is that thing GOOD.
  3. Sean drives like a person who's not afraid to die.
  4. Kate drives like a person who's not afraid to kill everyone else in the car.
  5. 100-degree heat turns me into a giant pile of whine with a side of wussy pie.
You can read Greg's Blog here.

Sean ready for a fishing trip in Depoe Bay.

Flowers at Rising Sun Farms.

The Bend sky at dusk.

The well-worn bar at the Rainbow Cafe in Pendleton, est. 1893.

*3 months at the Columbia School of Journalism in Bogata. Unfortunately, Sean doesn't speak Spanish.