Monday, May 9, 2011

Jim Backus: "The Dirty Old Man" (1974)

I got this one as the repackage CD called The Comedy Classics from ITP Records' site in summer of 2010. It had originally been released on Dore as The Dirty Old Man in 1974 or so; it is apparently pretty rare and hard-to-find, as I have never seen it on vinyl anywhere. I also didn't know that H&L had written the material for it, and actually appear here and there alongside Jim Backus himself, so that reason alone was why I had to get myself a copy!

The recording sounds like the same recording sessions from The Weird Kingdom, and are accompanied by fellow voice actress Jane Webb during a number of the routines, appearing as a maid, a ditzy TV-repair customer, and a nurse. Backus sometimes sets up the listener for the following vignette, or the routines start off straightaway.

H&L appear with him on the opening cut, "That's Rich", featuring Thornton Updike, a sort of early prototype for Thurston Howell III, whose son comes home with his friend, none other than Bruiser LaRue. Following this is the title track, with a rich old playboy who gets a kick out of calling ladies on the phone and making obscene phone calls, complete with off-the-wall sound effects (shades of "Obscene Phone Bust"). The next cut, "TV Repairman", features Ron Landry as an angered neighbor bothered by the repairman, who sounds a lot like Mr. Magoo; when he finally finds the right customer, they engage in a nonstop barrage of TV show title references. A little corny, but also very clever. The following cut "Frigid" is about a guy in the hotel room next door who's whispering sweet nothings into the ear of his mate, who suddenly goes cold on him.

"Kelsey's Nuts & Bolts" is a bit about a loud guy from Texas on a long flight who loves to spin yarns and tell bad jokes the whole way through. "Pain & Agony" features Bob Hudson, all about a pair of surgeons who would rather be out on the golf course instead of the operating room. It contains the phrase "I chili-dipped it!", which almost sounds like a Seinfeld-type of catchphrase, fifteen years before its time. "Me And My Shadow" is about a guy who got fired from his job and skulks into the local bar, arguring with the little voice of reason in his head the whole time. The last cut "The Happy Cooker" is a parody of a cooking show, but this is the one cut on the album that doesn't seem to really go anywhere.

The rest of the remaining four cuts on the CD are from singles released in the late '50s. My personal favorite is about the office boss laying out the rules for the upcoming office Christmas party, and then falls down the elevator shaft at the end.

More info on the album can be seen at:

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