Isn't Life Terrible

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bedazzled - Peter Cook and Dudley Moore - An Encyclopedic Post For Fans

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Monday, September 19, 2011


Laura Nyro

watching thoughts and emotions drift across her face like the shadows of broken clouds over a field of wheat.
Most expressive face, Seems to be reacting to her own lyrics or anticipating them. Losing herself as she crowds the piano and pushes roughness and abandon into her voice. At the end of "Save The Country," Nyro looks relieved, then happy, then worried. Like the song itself, which starts off as a frolic

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Isn't Life Terrible Has Moved!

This blog has moved.

All of the old posts - all of the new posts - all of the video and audio files are there.

Isn't Life Terrible can now be found at http://www.isntlifeterrible.com

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sundays With Snyder Number 28 - Our Gang's Spanky McFarland

After 27 consecutive weekly Sundays presenting Tom Snyder's The Radio Show, Isn't Life Terrible ran out of raw material (i.e., no more cassettes in the collection) and it appeared we had reached the end of the road.

But turn, if you would, toward St. Paul, Minnesota and tip your hat, send good karma, and make a toast with your very next Colortini to Bryan Olson, a Video Producer at Real Life Video who also saved tapes of Tom Snyder's Radio Show. Bryan kindly offered to share his programs with us, and he's put time and effort into getting them here in the proper format.

Bryan, speaking for all of us who appreciate good radio, great interviews, and the unique perspective and presence of Tom Snyder... we're in your debt.

The first program from Bryan's collection dates from May 30th, 1989, when Tom welcomed George "Spanky" McFarland, star of the Hal Roach (and later, MGM) Our Gang Comedies. (At right, a sad Spanky sports his signature chapeau in the company of fellow Hal Roach star Charley Chase). Spanky started his movie career at age three and appears in many of the Gang's best shorts as well as its only feature, General Spanky.

Bryan removed the commercials from the hour-long segment. It's priceless.

or download.

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Woody On The Eve Of "Annie Hall"

I enjoyed this hour-long interview with Woody from January of 1977 - thought you might, too. Hardly a concert, so the source - Wolfgang's Vault - is a bit surprising. They actually have quite a few interesting interviews available - primarily of musicians, but the occasional auteur sneaks in.

I'm always surprised by Woody's likes and dislikes among comedians: he likes Berle, but not Kovacs. He likes Bob Hope films, but - while he has a clinical appreciation for their brilliance, he's not captivated by Buster Keaton. And not a Lenny Bruce Fan, either.

This interview was recorded just before the completion and release of Annie Hall. Part 1 will play below; click "Play Entire Concert" [sic!] to go to the WV page to play part 2.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sundays With Snyder - Number 27

This 50 minute clip (actually two "Nightside" segments pasted together) answers some fundamental questions.

Would life truly be better if:

  • Frank Fontaine was still imitating disabled people for laughs?
  • TV characters occasionally announced they were leaving to use the bathroom?
  • We stopped making fun of truly ignorant, truly arrogant people who choose politics as their career?
  • Better if we sterilized our 16-year-olds? 
  • Better if Paul Simon stopped writing anti-christian songs that agitated the lunatic fringe? 
  • Better if ZipLoc bags were easier to use? 
  • Better if TV earthquake movies were more easily comprehensible to the blind? 
  • Better if retailers didn't project the "worst holiday season ever," like clockwork every Thanksgiving?
  • Better if Eve Arden were still with us? If Presidents made mistakes?
Remember: if our money becomes worthless... their investment becomes worth even more, because they could take the money they saved and put in in an envelope and forget about it until morning, when they would open it up to see what their share of the national debt would be.

Touche. Right On.

Sad to say, this could be the last TS post for awhile. If I find another horde of tapes, you can bet I'll put them up here. But I may be indisposed for a few weeks and in no condition to go horde-hunting. Until then - sleep tight, America.

or download.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sundays With Snyder - Number 26

A fascinating hour with Tim Phelps, one of the authors of Capitol Game, all about the Anita Hill - Clarence Thomas scandal which almost precluded Thomas's ascent to the Supreme Court. The interview is complete, and is followed by a partial hour of open phones.

or download.

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sundays With Snyder - Number 25

Tuesday Jan 21, 1992.

In 1970, attorneys Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington filed suit in a U.S. District Court in Texas on behalf of Norma L. McCorvey (under the alias Jane Roe). This broadcast of The Tom Snyder Show features Sarah Weddington as the 20th anniversary of the still-controversial decision that legalized abortion approached. The story of McCorvey, who interrupted the confirmation hearing of Sonia Sotomayor as as part of an anti-abortion protest, is sad and startling.

In the second hour, actor Alan Rachins (L.A. Law) is interviewed (The recording ends slightly before the conclusion of the interview).

or download.

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Chris Elliottt Does Jay Leno On David Letterman

The post before this one has a Bob Elliott appearance on David Letterman. Bob Elliott occasionally did a pretty passable Peter Lorre impression - so here's a great clip of Bob's son Chris attempting to imitate another famous horror icon: Jay Leno.

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The Right Honorable Bob and Ray

Here's the audio from a 70's appearance on David Letterman's Late Night NBC series. Letterman mentions their recent Carnegie Hall appearances. I was at one of those shows and remember being stunned by the applause that greeted obscure character names. "With me is Dr. Daryl Dexter," Ray would say, and the audience would burst into wild applause... knowing full well that Dr. Daryl Dexter was "The Komodo Dragon Expert."

or download.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sundays With Snyder - Number 24

Aug 12, 1992. Jay Leno is involved in a dispute with another late night talk show host. The more things change...

An interview with Bernard Asbell, author of The Book of You, a compendium of curious and marginally interesting statistics. Following Mr. Asbell (who also wrote What They Know About You, which sounds like the exact same book) is an hour of open phones where nearly all callers sound like they're part of the crowd waiting outside the studio for Jerry Langford. I swear, one call after another, it is the night from radio talk show hell, and you can hear Tom struggle to make either sense or entertainment out of it. Tom's day didn't start well, apparently. Something's wrong, and it's not just that Tom's show was to be dropped by WABC-AM in New York. Tom is flustered. Tom gets the year wrong at one moment... and gets his own toll-free call-in number wrong shortly after that. He blames his busy day ("my mind is a bowl of guava jelly") but does not elaborate as to what might have happened. We once again hear - albeit briefly - about the charms of Snapple Lemonade and Wheat Thins. The breakfast of champions, folks.

or download.

Just discovered a nice appreciation of Tom that I hadn't seen before. Recommended if you're a fan.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Panel From The Last Mr. Magoo Comic Ever Published

I'm just sayin'.

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Incredibly, Lennon Was Also Murdered The Same Night

When you don't recognize the subject of your sentence, you say things you didn't mean to say.

Ad from the current issue of Rolling Stone.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sundays With Snyder - Number 23

From June 25, 1992. Stock up on Wheat Thins and Snapple Lemonade - here's Tom taking phone calls for about forty minutes.

Unemployed? Tom feels your pain. Conspiracy theorist? Somebody tell Ross Perot. Otherwise, Tom seems uncharacteristically crabby with callers. Maybe looking forward to his vacation. You might also cue up your copy of Harry Nilsson's "Nobody Cares About The Railroads Anymore."

or download.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sundays With Snyder - Number 22

Friday, 16 November 1990.

First, an quick interview with Michael Josephson, from The Institute for the Advancement of Ethics, who talks about Charles Keating and the "Keating 5" savings and loan scandal. Then some phone calls, including one from Tom's NYC co-worker and weatherman extraordinaire Dr. Frank Field... and one from "Harmonica Man."

Then, an interview with the daughter of the only comedian who appears in the Bogart classic Casablanca.

That would be Joan Benny, daughter of Jack Benny. Some radio clips from The Jack Benny Show are played, and as usual (sorry) the entire interview is not quite there.

What? You say you didn't know that Jack Benny appears in Casablanca? Well - and this is breaking news - his daughter thinks he does. The debate rages on at this very moment.

or download.

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