Tuesday, December 03, 2019

The Maltese Mallard

From 1966, please enjoy -- if possible -- the late great Phil Austin (of Firesign Theatre fame), doing business with The Buddies, and the not as hilarious as intended "Duckman Parts 1 and 2."

Back in the early 90s, I wrote the liner notes for Sony's Firesign Theatre box set, and I got to interview all four Firesign guys, which was a genuine thrill, as you can imagine. Talking about his pre-Firesign work, Austin mentioned "Duckman" in passing --

Originally monikered the Oz Firesign Theatre (by Bergman) the group later had to shorten the name when lawyers for Disney and MGM - who owned the Oz copyright - threatened legal action. Whatever they were called, however, the group and their freewheeling, sounded-stoned-but-wasn't brand of improvisational comedy were an immediate hit with the nascent underground audience. And as the Summer of Love loomed, they inevitably came to the attention of a record company, in the person of Gary Usher, trend-savvy producer for CBS and veteran of the L.A. surf music scene who had earlier done a comedy single - "Duckman, Parts I and II" - with Austin ["Because I could do this duck voice," Austin says. "It was just stupid."].

-- which is the only reason I knew of its existence.

YouTube being the equivalent of the Library at Alexandria, it did not surprise me to finally run across it a few weeks ago.

Nor did it surprise me to find myself in complete agreement with Austin's assessment.


edward said...

Somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind I remember hearing this on the radio. Had to be in the late 60's. Some DJ was playing it as a counter/supplement to Chickenman. It's probably memorable as being like parody old fashioned radio, but (attempting to be) really weird.
Yeah, not a barrel of laughs these days. Georgie Tirebiter it ain't.

buzzbabyjesus said...

"Return with me now to those frightful days of yesteryear" sounds so familiar, I'd swear it was part of the late night TV on "Don't Crush That Dwarf", somewhere near "Ralph Spoilsport".