"Here at Theme Time Radio Hour we don't have time to give you all the facts, but we like to think that we can point you in the right direction to find them." ~ Bob Dylan
A fun, fact- and music-filled episode this week, in what's turned into what may arguably the best season of TTRH. Some trivia highlights from Cops & Robbers...
For the third time this season, TTRH abandoned the Ellen Barkin "Night in the Big City" intro, replacing it with...
Whenever the laws of any state are broken, a duly authorized organization swings into action.
It may be the called the State Police, State Troopers, Militia, the Rangers, or the Highway Patrol.
These are the stories of the men whose training, skill, and courage, have enforced and preserved our state laws.
You might need to be from my and Mr. D's generations to recognize that as the classic opening to the syndicated television series from the `50s, Highway Patrol, starring Broderick Crawford. But any American over the age of 40 can probably remember Crawford bellowing "10-4" into his microphone. The story goes that the California Highway Patrol, annoyed by the publicity the Los Angeles Police Department was getting thanks to Dragnet, sent their publicist to Hollywood to get the CHP its own show. Jack Webb was interested, but was tied up with another project, and a syndicator, ZIV Productions, picked up the show instead.
Highway Patrol was one of the most popular syndicated series of the era, a hit for ZIV Productions, which also brought Sea Hunt, Bat Masterson, and Ripcord to the small screen. Again, if you're of a certain age, you probably rushed home from school to catch all those shows on the tube.
You poor kids today don't know what you're missing.
Our Host: "I saw the oddest thing today. I was driving over to the Abernathy Building, and in the other lane was a woman. And while she was driving, she was also knitting! A policeman pulled up next to her, and she rolled down her window, and the policeman yelled, 'Pull over!'
She said, 'No, I'm knitting some socks.'"
...[and after playing Willie Walker's Dupree Blues]
Our Host: "... you're just getting that joke. That's what we call a 'way homer.' That means you get it on the way home... Where was I?"
Ricky Jay on Titanic Thompson
Our Host: "I ran into Ricky Jay. I asked him about his favorite con man. You're not going to believe this story."
Ricky Jay: "One of my favorite confidence men was Titanic Thompson - Alvin Clarence Thomas - he was a remarkable athlete..."
Jay goes on to relate one of the most famous stories about the colorful Titanic Thompson, master of the prop bet. Thompson was said to be the model for the Damon Runyon character, Sky Masterson, flawed hero of Guys and Dolls.
Thompson also liked to take promising and still-unknown golfers under his wing, teaming up with the young ringers to relieve opponents of their money. Among his apprentices was Ray Floyd, who Thompson once matched against a Tex-Mex kid from Dallas no one had ever heard of. That kid was Lee Trevino, who ended taking Thompson for $9,000.
The Line Up
Sticking with the crime and punishment theme, the closing credits were modified to the following...
You've been listening to Theme Time Radio Hour with Your Host, Commissioner Bob Dylan.
It's produced by Lieutenant Eddie Gordetsky.
And the Associate Producer is Sargent Nina Washington.
Continuity is courtesy Patrolman "Eats" Martin.
And the editor is Damien Rodriguez (undercover).
Supervising editor and the Officer of the Day is Rod Macomber.
The CSI Team is Diane Lapson, Bernie Bernstein, and additional research by our Usual Gang of Suspects.
Our Court Librarian is Robert Bower.
And Assignment Coordinator is Debbie Sweeney.
Special Thanks to The Brave Men and Women including Randy Ezratty, Coco Shinomiya, Samson's Diner, and Lee Abrams.
The Fred Gomez Carrasco corrido was courtesy of Chris Strachwitz and The Arhoolie Foundation. Check them out at Arhooloe Foundation dot org.
Studio Engineer is Tex Carbone.
This is recorded in Studio B of the historic Abernathy Building in the center of the crime scene. It's a Gray Water Park Production in association with Big Red Tree.
This is your announcer - always on the straight and narrow - Pierre Mancini, speaking.
Associate Producer Nina apparently either married (or divorced), as her last name changed from Fitzgerald to Washington in this episode. On the other hand, a detective might find it suspicious that Nina Fitzgerald-Washington is the third associate producer of TTRH, none of them seeming to last more than a season, and even her expanded name shares a common, ah, theme with her predecessors, Sonny Webster and Ben Rollins.
We leave it as an exercise for the criminologists among Dreamtime's readership.
"Pierre" also gives a special shout-out to Chris Strachwitz and The Arhoolie Foundation for providing TTRH with La Muerte De Fred Gomez Carrasco. Located on the Web at http://www.arhoolie.org/ the Arhoolie Foundation was established in 1995 "for the purpose of helping to document, present, and disseminate authentic traditional and regional vernacular music." Chris Strachwitz is the foundation's current President.
Fred Gomez Carrasco seems a fairly rare recording, written by a Salome Gutierrez and released by Los Socios De San Antonio as a 45 on the DLB label, probably in 19 and 74, as Carrasco's attempted breakout from the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville took place in late July of `74.
For me La Muerte De Fred Gomez Carrasco was the highlight of a great TTRH episode. Those interested in other recordings from Los Socios De San Antonio can find a discography at the Arhoolie Foundation.