Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Big Fan of Desolation

Sam Shepard's description (in DAY OUT OF DAYS) of the character actor Andy Devine tickles me. Here's just a little of it: "I don't know if the slouch was put on or if it was an actual manifestation of his character but he seemed to enjoy being a sloppy guy... He had a high squeaky voice that my uncle Buzz told me was the result of Andy's having accidentally swallowed a silver whistle when he was a kid. I always believed that story. Why not?" When Barry B. and I were making our kids' show, we went to the Museum of Broadcasting in New York to watch some really early examples of the genre. One of them starred Andy Devine. His sidekick was a gruff, demonic figure named Froggy the Gremlin (pictured). Maybe we picked the wrong episode, but it seemed terrifying. And that reminds me of when Mr. Ward and I went to the same museum and watched a failed sitcom pilot about Alan Alda adopting an invisible baby. We didn't have a great reason for that. Oh! And on the next page of Sam Shepard, there's pie. I told you every time pie appeared in ON THE ROAD, so why not DAY OUT OF DAYS, which refers explicitly to the former book? Shepard's narrator wants some butterscotch pie, but the restaurant cook "says the pies just came out of the oven and they're too hot to cut... I can see them steaming behind him on a Formica shelf; lined up like little locomotives - puffing away." The narrator says he'll walk around town while the pies cool. The cook "says there are no sights; there is no town. But I tell him I'm a big fan of desolation."