Monday, September 15, 2014

Mary Backstayge marigold seeds

[8½" x 7". Click for a larger view.]

I’m not sure how I caught on to Bob and Ray, but I did. From 1973 to 1976, Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding did a four-hour weekday-afternoon radio show on New York’s WOR. When I became a commuting college student, listening to that show was one of the perks of being stuck in traffic in the late afternoon.

“Mary Backstayge, Noble Wife” (a running spoof of a radio serial) was my favorite Bob and Ray bit. The show had its own writer, the Bob and Ray character Chester Hasbrouck Frisbee. The Backstayges, Mary and Harry, were theater people living in Skunk Haven, Long Island. They were best known for their work in Westchester Furioso. Other cast members: the stage doorman Pop Beloved, the Backstayges’ neighbor Calvin Hoogavin (played by Webley Webster, another Bob and Ray character), and Greg Marlowe (“young playwright secretly in love with Mary,” as he was always introduced). That just two people were responsible for all these characters — and for everyone else who might turn up in a given episode — was and is a wonder. Especially wonderful: hearing Ray Goulding as both Greg and Mary, out in the kitchen, Greg muttering and Mary giggling. Greg would always offer to help when Mary made cocoa.

In the spring of 1974 Mary offered free marigold seeds to her fans. I wrote in of course. I had no idea what had happened to Mary’s (mimeoed or photocopied) reply until I found it in the recently rediscovered file folder that’s been pulling me into the past.

Here, courtesy of YouTube, is a small sample of the WOR show in two parts — one, two — of the WOR show, the first with a “Mary Backstayge” cliffhanger.

From this same file folder
Aglio e olio
The Art Ensemble of Chicago in Boston
Coppola/“Godfather” sauce
Jim Doyle on education
A Meeting with Ludwig Wittgenstein
Tile-pilfering questionnaire

comments: 2

Zhoen said...

You may enjoy That Mitchell and Webb Sound, a BBC radio show.

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks. I’d never heard of it, but it looks delightfully loopy.