THE IDLE AMERICAN: Radio to the rescue

When one enjoys a musical comedy as much as we did recently on a trip to our hometown of Brownwood, mass laughter was a tonic. There’d been an almost sold-out crowd of some 300 at the Lyric Theatre, and the experience made the 140-mile drive commencing at 11 p.m. seem less daunting.

My wife and I enjoyed “The Addams Family Musical” to the max. We’ve never been more entertained. Opening in Chicago in 2009, the play is chock full of lines (I’ve never known how much a “chock” measures) grammar butchers like the late Casey Stengel and Yogi Berra would have loved.

This pair of baseballers was famous for garbling interviews and would have been right at home in the zany play where one character admitted being compulsive, but not until she’d thought about it for a while. …

Anyways, fresh memories from the play and old ones from yesteryear helped us stay mentally alert for the drive home that ended at 12:59 a.m.

Recalled were times when we enjoyed thigh-slapping humor far more often than now. I really miss such laughter and am afraid we’ve tossed aside the Biblical admonition that a merry heart doeth good like a medicine.

Coming to mind were goofs made on radio, and TV situation comedies where vignettes played out repeatedly that still elicited laughs, no matter how many times we heard them on radio or saw them on TV. Who can forget Lily Tomlin, the persimmon-lipped telephone operator on the weekly “Laugh In” TV show, and her question posed each time: “Is this the person to whom I am speaking?” …

Drive underway, I tuned in to satellite radio sports talk show. The interviewee was a professional baseball player who faces the decision of signing a multi-year baseball contract which will pay him hundreds of millions of dollars.

“I know I don’t need that much money, but maybe many of my ancestors will enjoy it,” he said.

Wow, I guess his answer qualifies for “paying it backwards.” …

I laughed for at least a dozen miles, withdrawing other funny moments for my memory bank, most of them sports related.

Forty-seven years have gone by since Thomas (Hollywood) Henderson rendered his clever description of Terry Bradshaw’s intelligence. “He couldn’t spell ‘cat’ if you spotted him the ‘c’ and the ‘t’,” he claimed prior to Super Bowl XIII.

And what about the baseballer who was an excellent switch-hitting batter? “Thank God, I’m amphibious,” he bragged. …

We must not leave out basketballers, of course.

When Jason Kidd, current Dallas Mavericks coach, was a Mavericks’ player, he vowed to work hard to improve on the previous dismal season.

“We’re going to turn things around here 360 degrees,” he said. …

Scanning the radio dial, I wondered if Radio Station KERF in Del Rio, TX, is still on the airwaves. With its broadcast tower across the Rio Grande River in Mexico, it had souped up power to cover much of the US.

Years ago, it featured 30-minute blocks of preachers, and each sermon was precisely timed. It was, uh, chopped off when 30 minutes had elapsed.

One night, a sermon ended with “All the medicine you’ll ever need is Jesus.” The next sermon began with a commercial stating, “Follow the label; avoid excessive use.” …

Just before arriving home at 12;59 a.m., the names of Jimmy and Eddye Farren came to mind.

They were well-known regionally in the 1950s and wound up owning our community’s second radio station, KEAN. Farm boys, they attended Hardin-Simmons University for one day, but joined up with the Harley Sadler tent show when it came to town. They were far better entertainers than grammarians. One day during a newscast, Eddye announced that it had been raining “interrmittently off and on in Brownwood.”

Okay, so I had a few “goofs” myself broadcasting sports during college years. One New Year’s Eve, I wished everyone a “Happy Newbury!”