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 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.

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

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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.”

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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.

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Sundays With Snyder - Number 21

If you’re a TV person, you know Lois Nettleton as the woman who responds to a shift in the earth’s orbit by perspiring heavily in “The Midnight Sun,” a Twilight Zone episode from 1961.

If you’re an old radio time radio person, you know Lois Nettleton as the third wife of Jean Shepherd. Or maybe from one of her roles on CBS Mystery Theater. Or Maybe from her endless list of TV guest shots. She was a charmer. Wish more of the interview was here; it’s joined in progress.

Included in the Lois Nettleton segment, at no extra charge – a Folgers commercial that channels Bruce Springsteen to sell coffee.

Included in the Nightside Hour – an incredible, thoroughly disgusting anti-drug commercial narrated from the coffin by “Debbie,” a dead teenager. Moral: don’t buy coke from anyone named Junior.

The Nightside Hour is a memorable one, because it marks the debut of a joke/prank, told/pulled by a listener, “Steve in Philadelphia,” which went on to become a running gag Tom Snyder used over and over ever after. It has to do with what a tuna hears.

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Sundays With Snyder - Number 20

This Sunday, we have an interview with Jack Haley Jr. about The Wizard of Oz. It’s joined in progress – Jack is talking about the ways in which CBS shortened the film’s running time for its yearly airings. It’s actually been posted here before, and is here simply because more of the same show has been found. Not more of Jack Haley Jr., but the hour that follows it.

This second hour begins at around 00:31 and is spent with the colorful and somewhat puzzling Mayor Joseph Alioto, who is  to San Francisco as Ed Koch is to New York City.

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Sundays With Snyder - Number 19

Tom’s first guest is an author who would not deny that his most famous book is rubbish.

William Rathje deploys a terrific sense of humor during his hour with Tom from July 21, 1992. as he discusses Rubbish!: The Archaeology of Garbage, his book first published in May of 1992 and reprinted in 2001. Rathje is an archeologist who digs into landfills and extracts garbage that has been buried for as long as 40 years. Bill admits that he and his crew don’t always use their facemasks, because “after ten or fifteen minutes, the smell goes away.”

That may be true, and no disrespect to Mr. Rathje, but maybe he and his compatriots should have kept those masks on. I can’t remember anyone coughing while on Tom’s show, but Rathje hacks his way throughout the entire interview, with one bout of coughing so serious-sounding that Tom playfully asks Bill if he’d like to have some oxygen brought in. I’m pleased to report that Mr. Rathje seems to still be alive and, presumably, well. That’s amazing; based the audio impression given by this program, you wouldn’t have given the guy six months.

Tom’s guest for the second hour (in an interview that’s nearly complete) is legendary CBS newsman Robert Trout. Trout began working in radio when announcers wore smocks and were selected, in part, on elocution, vocal timbre, and authoritative delivery. Trout’s final assignments were retrospective pieces for NPR, which probably had to make an exception to bring him on board. (I love and support NPR, but suspect they select male announcers based on level of affectation, inappropriate folksiness, wryness, and execution of thoughtful pauses/ability to convey mock surprise).

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Sundays With Snyder - Number 18

When a new kid plops down next to Tom in the sandbox, you can count on him to be welcoming and polite, even when he’s not completely thrilled with the new arrival.

Deborah Norville made the announcement that she would soon be added to the ABC radio sandbox on this day. The key achievement of Norville’s life seems to be her failure on the NBC “Today” television show, where her brief stint was bookended by the long and successful reigns of Jane Pauley, who preceded her, and Katie Couric, who followed her. For quite some time, she adopted the persona of the puzzled yet plucky underdog. (“What did I do wrong?”)

She lasted a year as an ABC radio host. Tom didn’t like her much, which is evident in the interview despite his statements to the contrary. Perhaps Norville is not as disingenuous as she sounds.

In the second hour, Tom is joined by Robin “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” Leach. A man who can be trusted, obviously.

For your information – let’s get this straight – there were hidden self-promotional motives in neither Norville’s tasteful People Magazine breast-feeding photo nor Leach’s graphic-but-also-tasteful presentation of a celebrity C-section. No further discussion, please, on these selfless acts that bring important information to the public. And let’s not even mention Tom’s TV show that featured a naked encounter group.

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Sundays With Snyder - Number 17

An hour (actually less, commercials have been removed) with Stephen Rebello, author of Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho. This is preceded by the end of an interview with Don Drysdale. This was a “Best Of” rebroadcast, which accounts for some of the unusual edits.

Why post the end of the Drysdale interview? Because the beginning might show up someday. That’s what happened with a previous program posted here with guest Anthea Disney, editor of TV Guide; that program will be updated shortly with the missing segment.

You can also see an old Tomorrow Show of TS with Hitch on YouTube.

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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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