Sundays With Snyder No. 30 - Jack Benny Clips

Every once in a while – or so it seems – Tom’s personal interests and hobbies Tom Snyder 1998were catered to by the guest-booking department on The Radio Show. It’s hard to imagine that radio network executives desperately wanted an hour of “The Best of Jack Benny,” but Tom did that show, and more than once, with able assistance from Marty Halperin of Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters. (Another show preserved by Bryan Olson – thanks!)

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Sundays With Snyder Number 29 - Jerry Lewis

Hey – we’re live again! And, depending on how you look at it, we’re either about 24 hours late… or six days early with this.

Jerry LewisOf course, at the moment, our post headlines are still too big, the pictures aren’t all in yet, and the rotating images in the header have nothing whatever to do with the content of this blog. But those aren’t reason enough to delay new posts.

It’s March 15, 1995 – Jerry Lewis’s 69th birthday, and he’s appearingĀ  on Broadway in Damn Yankees, which is damn ironic, because major league baseball has been closed down by a strike.

Hoist a colortini for Bryan Olson – this is from his collection of CBS shows.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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Sundays With Snyder - Number 15

It’s a slimefest! It’s a deathfest! It’s about as low as the Tom Snyder Radio Show would ever go! And somebody… let’s hope not Tom… thought the program was good enough for a rerun!

Gravelly-voiced John Austin (author of More Of Hollywood’s Unsolved Mysteries) rattles off the deaths and the dirt at breakneck speed. Seems he knew everyone and has the low-down on every Hollywood scandal and murder ever.

While I was listening, I was thinking, “Boy, I’ve already heard all of these, and I probably know this stuff as well as this guy does, but I wouldn’t talk about it in polite company, let alone on the radio.” At that moment, a caller asked which Hollywood star had a restaurant and was mixed up with the mob. Austin is at a complete loss. No idea. I’m here thinking “That guy is asking about Thelma Todd, her Sidewalk Cafe, and her unfortunate connection to Pat Di Cicco, connected in turn to Lucky Luciano’s mob. I guess I do know this stuff better than this guy does.”

Later in the show, Tom brings up Thelma Todd… and Austin has the whole story. He’s wrong, but he has the whole story.

P.S.: does Austin use a racial epithet just before one of the commercials?

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Sundays With Snyder - Number 14

May 1, 1992.

This is Tom Snyder’s Radio Show from the day after the worst of the riots. A semblance of order has been restored in Los Angeles and wild-eyed fears of country-wide “race warfare” seem to be diminishing.

At right: A cross section of wood with veneer finish. Caption: “Many man-made boards are ugly to look at and veneers (very thin layers of real wood) can be stuck to them to make them look solid…”

The country is left to reflect upon the durability and thickness of the veneer that makes civil society look solid… and how deep and how ugly it might be just below that surface.

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Sundays With Snyder - Number 13

April 30, 1992. I’ve been looking for this edition of The Radio Show for quite some time – and here it is.

Tom Snyder broadcasts live from Los Angeles as the city suffers through the violence and rioting that follows the acquittal of the policemen who beat Rodney King. If you don’t have a sense of what that day was like, you will after you hear this recording.

It is an historic Tom Snyder program, incredible in so many ways, not the least of which is Tom’s insight, compassion and ability to convey the horror of what’s taking place while remaining, as ever, the consummate host and reporter. Forget Tom’s Charles Manson interview, essentially just a freak show with a person who’s insane – this may be Tom Snyder’s most impressive achievement, as he works to make sense of a city gone insane.

This is history – a sad day in the history of the country – and  it happened less than twenty years ago. It is well worth your time.

As the program begins, the rioting is spreading throughout the city, phone lines are down, and Tom announces that he may have to end his broadcast prematurely and “send it back to New York.” What follows… seems unreal.

At the very end of Tom’s interview with one of the jurors is a bizarre moment of unbelievable, unintentional gallows humor which escapes both “Madam Juror” and Tom, though a caller later points it out. Listen carefully to the last sentence spoken by “Madam Juror.”

This is a partial program which contains the full first hour and the majority of the second hour, with most commercials and local segments deleted. I’ve left portions of newscasts in, as well as a few commercials which seem to provide unintentional oblique or ironic commentary.

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Sundays With Snyder - Number 12

Abortion. That’s the topic that begins this program, which offers much insight into Tom’s personal opinions upon religion and the notion of a secular state. Michelle McKeegan is the guest for the first hour, then phones, then tennis star Tracy Austin.

This is the program where I decided I had had enought of Mr. Bullock, so his commercial as heard here is not exactly as aired. This episode was broadcast at the time of the Republican convention in Houston. The guest for hour two is Rand LeBon, reporting for KLIF in Dallas, who’s in Houston covering the Republican National Convention.

Tom has a memorable problem pronouncing “Scud Stud” Arthur Kent’s name.

Tom announces that “The Radio Show” will end in November.

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