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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

He Didn't Say Yes, But He Didn't Say No...

... in answer to our first question. Although Our Host bade us "Goodbye" in just about every way possible during today's 90-minute special, he never came right out and said that this was the end of Theme Time Radio Hour, although it is the close of Season 3. On the other hand, Mr. D. had nothing to say about "seeing us real soon" or even in the Fall for that matter, either.

You can look at the show as a proper wrap-up to TTRH, the 100th episode, lots of great music with Woody Guthrie's Dusty Old Dust (So Long, it's Been Good to Know Yuh) as the appropriate in many ways finale, a surprise appearance by Ellen Barkin midway through, Mr. D. inviting us to the wrap party at Elmo's (if the lights are still on); and a vinyl recording of an old radio promo, complete with crackle, hiss, and needle bump telling us at the very end ...

...look us up again, the records will spin when we come your way...

... and maybe the records will spin again. You can also look at the close as someone very carefully keeping the door open for another season, just in case. On the positive side, we do have those two "missing" shows, and the blurb for TTRH on Deep Tracks reads:
This week Theme Time Radio Hour is 90 minutes and says "Goodbye" until the Fall season...
On the negative si... But what the eff. Who needs to be negative?
"... We are never really satisfied, are we? - we are always craving another bite of food, love, magic, knowledge or power from the various hands that feed us. Guess that's just the good ol', grace-fallen, human condition.

Anyway, if TTRH has actually stopped for good today, I think it's important to acknowledge and be deeply thankful for our opportunity to listen to a hundred plus hours of pure Americana radio magic from the greatest song and dance [man] of them all!"

On a couple of other TTRH-related notes. When you hear Mr. D. close today's show you'll hear him say, "this past year..." While there's a tendency to start treating everything said or played on TTRH as a clue ("Ellen Barkin's gone! Pierre has a cold! Where's George Jones?") kind of like we were watching Mao floating in the Yangtze River, I think that's more evidence that Seasons 2-3 started out life as one big year-long Season 2. Even the deejay following TTRH alluded to that, mentioning that a "Goodbye" show was appropriate, as they had done a "Hello" show at the start of Season 2.

I was hoping that the deejay might mention something pro or con abut the future of TTRH, but all he had to say was not to worry about getting your show fix, as they had lots of TTRH in their archives, which can either be inferred as a reference to the summer, or forever. Everyone being careful, as I said. And maybe that's the most positive sign of all.

One item for the Season 3 roundup that I wanted to include. "Absolutely Sweet Marie" over at the TTRH forums maintains an invaluable list of artists played on the show, which I use regularly as a reference source. As ASM notes, it's interesting that the undisputed champ of "most played" durings Seasons 1 and 2 - George Jones - had not a single spin for Season 3.

For those interested, Tom Waits and Dinah Washington have tied as "most-played" over the 100 shows, each with 10 appearances on the turntable. Maybe most surprising to me was the resurgence of The Rolling Stones, who for awhile seemed destined to be played on every Season 3 show.They came from way back in the pack to tie with Elvis Costello and Van Morrison for 2nd place.

And finally, my sincere thanks for the many comments, emails, even a few phone calls, and good wishes we've received since we started Dreamtime way back in the summer of 2006. I haven't made up my mind yet where I'll take the site and/or podcast if Theme Time Radio Hour is indeed over, but stayed tuned. You'll be the first to know where we'll go from here.

If this is the end, it's not goodbye. ~ Fred, Jailbait, and the Dreamtime Top cats, April 2009

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