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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


 
The Essay
Show #95
March 1924's Singular Adventures
David Gunn
Bon radio. Albert Einstein, born 118 years ago yesterday, on the same weekend that the ocarina fell out of favor with grand opera, would be the first or maybe the second to admit that he could not account for 72 hours in March of 1924 when he mysteriously vanished while visiting a friend in rural West Virginia. Three days later, he surfaced in an inflatable swimming pool in Van Nuys, California, with no memory of how he got there. Even odder was the fact that his heretofore straight black hair was now wild, unruly and blue. That evening, he was to modify his E = MC³ theory, for which he had already won a Grammy, to the more familiar E = MC², a radical strategy he'd originally devised for abstract hands of whiskers six-draw. His critics maintained that the idea wasn't new, that people who'd been abducted by aliens routinely mentioned the formula during debriefings. Perhaps, but that still didn't explain the hair. Decades later, scientologists would propose that the whimsical coif was a result of Albertís venturing too close to an Algonquin Hole in pluperfect resonance, a theory never, in fact, refuted.

March 1924, it seems, was a banner month for singular goings-on. George Eastman, inventor of the music school, devised a method of viewing virtual reality via 16mm film. Unfortunately, the film strips he used had seen previous duty as loops with which to hold concert band cymbals, and it wasn't long before the splices gave out, as did funding for George's project. Fritz Perls, adopted father of Gestalt psychology, briefly abandoned his studies of psychotherapy and plunged into the shadowy world of Tarot card reading from which, if you read his post-March 1924 papers carefully, he never fully recovered. For example, in the July 1924 Reader's Digest he writes, "Incomplete or unfinished Gestalten may be carried with an individual and may interfere with later experiences of a similar nature, but if the Moon represents your lifetime personality symbol, you are nonetheless a romantic willing to make choices that inspire rather than deceive you." Also in March 1924, Busby Berkeley directed a garish musical adaptation of Orson Welles' Citizen Kane in which publisher William Randolph Hearst, portrayed as a gigantic octopus with unruly blue hair, danced an underwater version of the macarena during a dream sequence that featured a chorus of a hundred perky tentacles sledding down mighty Grossglockner in matching Rosebuds while miming the food fight scene from Bellini's Norma, quite an achievement considering talking pictures were still in day care. March 1924 also saw Weird Tales publish Howard P. Lovecraft's gothic horror story The Rats in the Walls. The Lovecrafts, of Providence, Rhode Island, were an Usher-like clan of crumbling aristocrats, touched by madness and consumed by eccentricity, as are we all, except, perhaps, for one. Howard's father was shut up in a loony bin and his mom was neurotically obsessed with keeping her son from contact with the outside world. Of course, you'd never know it to read his stories, but would hearing them recited give you any clue? You be the judge. Here is David McCallum reading an excerpt from H.P. Lovecraft's, The Rats in the Walls.

An excerpt from Howard Lovecraft's The Rats in the Walls, or, Le Flambeau Oriange, part of our March 1924 celebration here on the 95th episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, this portion of which may figure peripherally in an upcoming remake of Citizen Kane, in which the part of Mr. Hearst will be played by Madonna, and the part of a radio weather report will be ever so briefly played by this segment of the Bazaar. So if you phone this station now at 454-7762 and chat on the air, you may qualify for royalties from the Screen Actors Guild! This offer is limited and some restrictions apply, so act now. Now is coincidentally when this part of the program ends and the next part, i.e. the royalty-free part, the part when music supplants gay badinage, begins. And here to begin what in the pluperfect sense has already begun is ... well, me.