Monday, June 01, 2009
I'm working on - surprise! - a Theme Time Radio Hour book, As with Dreamtime, the focus is the stories behind the stories Our Host told on TTRH. For example, why Elvis wanted to be Dean Martin, How did Phil Silvers end up writing "Nancy with the Laughing Face," who really wrote "Rum and Coca-Cola" and so on.
I'm planning "Night Time in the Big City: Stories From Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour" as having three distinct sections... Dreams, Themes, and Schemes. "Dreams" will be the stories; "Themes," facts about the shows themselves, and "Schemes," background on how the show came to be and was put together.
The ongoing research has been fun. I've talked to a lot of interesting people and found out that as much as I think I know about TTRH, there's always more to learn.
One of the things that's become important to me is to keep the mystique of the Abernathy Building and Studio B intact, not least because the people who created the Big City put so much effort into developing that mystique. In some ways, it's always night. There's always a woman in red there smoking a cigarette on a balcony with the city spread below her. Soon she'll walk into the lobby of the Abernathy Buiilding, take the elevator up, go into Studio B.
As I've said before, the real Studio B exists only in the theater of the mind. You can probably see it as well as I can. Unchanged since the `50s, mike dangling down from the ceiling, two turntables framing the deejay's chair. Tex Carbone behind the glass, working at his sound panel. The lady in red in a separate sound booth, leaning into the microphone, huskily whispering out...
"It's Night in the Big City." And it begins again.
That's the real Studio B. But above you'll see a photo of its more mundane counterpoint, the other "Studio B" where most of the shows were final-edited and tweaked.
Where is it? You can do the legwork yourself... or wait for the book.