Greeting, Dementoids and Dementites!
February 21, 2002 11:03 AM   Subscribe

Greeting, Dementoids and Dementites! Stumbling upon this site today was like running into an old pal. I remember when I was 9 years old listening to the Demento show in the dark on my headphones and cackling my head off. The Doctor was also a serious music scholar and record collector, who would play stuff like Bullmoose Jackson and Riley Puckett along with the Weird Al and Tom Lehrer, which would whet my appetite for more. He probably did spawned more record geeks in my generation than any other person. Good to see he's still around, even if no station in my area plays him.
posted by jonmc (33 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ah, the good Doctor and discoverer of Weird Al.

There's always lots of good stuff to pick from on eBay.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 11:11 AM on February 21, 2002

Can't tell you how many Saturday nights were wasted with The Doctor when I was a teen. How is it that no one has ever linked this on MeFi before (or is the post about to be toast?)?
posted by briank at 11:23 AM on February 21, 2002

I got to meet the Doctor. I'm SOOO cool. He comes every year now to the MarCon SciFi convention in Columbus ohio (, or at least has for the last three eyars, he puts on a show during the day showing demented videos and MC's and DJ's the saturday night dance. He's VERY nice, and VERY cool. And a littlel overwhlemd at the hour long line just to shake his hand in OHIO, so far from his California studios.

I took my mom to meet him and she was as geeked out as I was, we all sat around every saturday and tuned him in till they took him off the air around here. I have the world's coolest mom. Fer' real! At leat we can punch him up online now, there are lots of station still playing him, you jsut have to track them down online.
posted by Dome-O-Rama at 11:27 AM on February 21, 2002

Man, you guys are a bunch of Dorks!
posted by ColdChef at 11:38 AM on February 21, 2002

(ummmm. I guess that I should admit that I had the entire Weird Al catalog memorized when I was a kid. In fact, when they had this VH1 Weird Al retrospective thing, I was able to sing along with every single song. At one point, my fiance looked at me and said, "I don't even fucking know you." )
posted by ColdChef at 11:43 AM on February 21, 2002

all you dorks might like lukeski :)
posted by kliuless at 11:44 AM on February 21, 2002

We're not dorks. . . we're geeks!
posted by groundhog at 11:45 AM on February 21, 2002

I miss Dr. D... when I was much youger, I would hide under the covers in my bedroom (in south Fla) and listen to him on SUnday nights, and wake up exhusted for school the next day...

Too bad none of the stations up here in NY/NJ carry him.. although with the wonders of the internet, I have a TON of the old songs.. including my fav 2 Hot 4 U By Barry and the bookbinders :-)

posted by niteHawk at 11:55 AM on February 21, 2002

My favorite dementune: The Existential Rag by Tom "T-Bone" Stankis.

That song ruined the Wizard of Oz for me upon first listening. (ymmv)
posted by BentPenguin at 12:18 PM on February 21, 2002

I listened to Doctor Demento so much when I was a kid that I could almost guess the Funny Five every week. There were really only a couple of funny songs. Existential Blues was my favorite. I enjoyed when he did the nostalgia stuff too.

Oh and I met Weird Al. He's an idiot.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:26 PM on February 21, 2002

I, too, used to stay up late and listen, often with my ear pressed to the radio, whenever Dr. Demento was on. Pity that it doesn't seem to be broadcast anymore in Minnesota, or I'd still be listening. Maybe that's a good thing.

The song that is burnt into my brain is "My Name Is Larry." And that one about Klingons on the starboard bow, starboard bow, starboard bow...
posted by kittyb at 1:04 PM on February 21, 2002

ah, Demento, my first exposure to Zappa, Shel Silverstein, Pico & Sepulveda. It may junior high a wee bit more bearable.

A little bit o' heaven
ninety-four point seven
Tweedle dee!
posted by billder at 1:12 PM on February 21, 2002

Notice how almost everyone is saying "it doesn't seem to be broadcast here anymore"? Where IS it broadcast now? You can't get a station roster from the site because of "network restrictions".
posted by briank at 1:14 PM on February 21, 2002

In college I used to do a radio show called "The House Of Fun" with my friend John who sounded vaguely Demento-esque. We played the same kind of stuff, and I found out later that we were the highest rated show in the history of the station. People brought us pizza and Christmas gifts and themselves. It was really cool to be part of that, and while we were in no way famous outside of our listening area (or inside it, for that matter) it was always touching to have someone bring us soda or have the pizza place "accidentally" make an extra pizza and bring it up to us and get christmas cards and gifts and birthday presents.

We started every show with the Frantics, Tae Kwon Leap. We played a lot of Weird Al (who when I met him, was actually really nice and seemed non-idiotlike). We did a Christmas In July show. We sped up well-known songs in a segment called "Chipmunk Theatre" (Shaq's record made it but he was rejected as a chipmunk on their height limits). We played a song that makes me laugh to this day, Smut by Tom Lehrer. We played a rare (at least, rare before napster) recording of Elvis getting the giggles in the middle of Are You Lonesome Tonight. It was a lot of fun. I really liked that show, and I know that we were once listed on Usenet in a collection of dementoesque radio.

kittyb: That song is called Star Trekkin and it's by The Firm, in case you care. My favorite part was at the end when it all ran together and "bones" says "It's worse than that, it's physics Jim!" (:

For those who do not know, Dr. Demento is a graduate of Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Yup. The only school with a working nuclear reactor (or at least, it did at one point, it may be urban legend now). The Doctor also returns each year and gives a speech on something. He's awesome. And let me tell you what a trip it is to hear the voice of the Funny Five talking to you about early uses of humor in the media. And at the end, knowing that whole "give em what they want" rule, he led the entire lecture hall in a rousing version of Shaving Cream.

If you made it down this far, congrats. If you ever heard me on the radio, the world is far far smaller than I ever imagined...
posted by verso at 1:31 PM on February 21, 2002

It used to be broadcast out of Austin, but no longer. (I don't think...)

I remember an episode of "King of the Hill" where Peggy and Bobby were going somewhere in the truck and Peggy says something like, "We gotta get home before that Dr. Demento starts stinkin' up the airwaves."

That killed me.
posted by ColdChef at 1:34 PM on February 21, 2002

Here is a list of 6 or so stations that carry the good ol doc, and broadcast over the web even :-) I may have to take a listen one night...

BTW - Ever hear T-Bon's extitential blues Part II??


posted by niteHawk at 1:43 PM on February 21, 2002

Oh and I met Weird Al. He's an idiot.

Really, Kaf? I met him at Kennedy Airport when I was 13 and he was really cool, he signed autographs for me and my uncle and was really freindly. Maybe you caught him on a bad day.
posted by jonmc at 1:50 PM on February 21, 2002

The Good Doctor came and spoke at my LA high school back in 1976. I went backstage and got his autograph. I've also corresponded with him via e-mail while researching magazine articles I've written. He possesses an amazing knowledge of music. An all-round good guy.

I used to tape his shows when I was a teenager. I listened to Mad Magazine's "It's a Gas" until my ears rang from the amplified belching.
posted by MrBaliHai at 1:50 PM on February 21, 2002

URI has a research reactor and i've visted the reed one, too onetime :) imagine a glowing pool of water!
posted by kliuless at 1:52 PM on February 21, 2002

Best Demento Moment: On my first trip to Los Angeles we drove north from LAX and passed a exit sign that said, Culver City, I said to myself, "ah, the land of Dementia." as it was, at the time, I believe, Dr. Demento's mailing address where one could send in one's wacky tapes.

Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Disneyland, be damned, even for a teenage boy like myself, at that time.

Worst Demento Moment: Meeting the man in person at a very sad Rock Collectibles mini-convention at Hollywood Park some 8-9 years ago. He was sweet, donned his tuxedo and snearkers, but perhaps radio legends should remain in our memories, or on the airwaves.
posted by tsarfan at 1:54 PM on February 21, 2002

URI has a research reactor



[head explodes]
posted by MrBaliHai at 2:02 PM on February 21, 2002

I first heard him on KPPC in Pasadena. . . .then from my recollection, when the corporate owners took that station down, he moved to KMET and then grew into syndication.

Pico and Sepulveda by Felix Figueroa was so cool. . .so LA!
posted by Danf at 2:15 PM on February 21, 2002

Weird Al:

Well, he was extremely lit when I met him, and I was grumpy at the end of a long closing shift at the cafe I was working at. So I can't really say. I just like calling him an idiot, because it's fun! Everybody loves Weird Al! He's so wacky!

And because I happened to be channel surfing the other day and saw a concert video of him in a fatsuit doing "Eat It". One of the most painfully unfunny things it has ever been my privilege to see.
posted by Kafkaesque at 2:52 PM on February 21, 2002

Why has no one yet mentioned FISH HEADS!?
posted by acridrabbit at 2:55 PM on February 21, 2002

Heathen Dan's I Like, The Frantics' Ti Kwan Leep/Boot To the Head, Tom "T-Bone" Stankus' Existential Blues, and Little Roger and the Goosebumps' Stairway to Gilligan still make me giggle.
posted by waxpancake at 3:37 PM on February 21, 2002

Since we've all had a blast reminiscing about the redoubtable Dr. Demento, it might interest some of you to know that Uncle Floyd is alive and (kinda) well on the web, too.
posted by jonmc at 5:18 PM on February 21, 2002

"I listened to Mad Magazine's "It's a Gas" until my ears rang from the amplified belching."

I remember getting the issue of Mad magazine that contained "It's a Gas" on one of those square, plastic, 45-rpm inserts, and playing it at a friend's house over and over and over, at ear-splitting volume, because his father had a killer stereo system in the basement.

We took a break to go outside to play, and when we came back in the record had been cut into thousands of tiny pieces and left in a neat pile on the stereo cover.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:25 PM on February 21, 2002

crash and bali - I am a proud owner of the complete MAD CD-Rom box set which, of course includes "It's A Gas" along with digital versions of every issue of MAD including the fold-ins.

God, Dr. Demento and MAD in the same thread. I'm startin' to get misty...
posted by jonmc at 5:38 PM on February 21, 2002

crash: I think the moral of that story is: "Kids, always wear your headphones!"
posted by MrBaliHai at 5:50 PM on February 21, 2002

The Good Doctor was one of my earliest Media Heroes. I was in high school and college (and college radio) during his Golden Age (pre-Weird Al) in the mid-70s, and was blown away by my first opportunity to meet him at personal appearance. Egotistically, I carried a half-dozen silly 45s from my own odd collection that I'd never heard him play, and was blown away when he saw one he'd never heard ("The Chocolate Freak" by Hudson & Landry) and asked to borrow it to listen to (he did air it a couple times on the L.A. version of his show, kept a tape dub and returned it to me in excellent conditon, in an autographed sleeve... mega cool)
Then, when every college station had to run a Demento clone show on Sunday Nights, who do you think was drafted to do it at Loyola Marymount University's KXLU? I sorely struggled to be different, throwing in more spoken-word comedy, including stand-ups, Firesign Theater and Credibility Gap, and clips from old-time radio, plus some PDQ Bach for the hold-over audience from the station's classical music block, borderline pop music from the likes of the pre-"Pina Colada" Rupert Holmes and way too much attempted original comedy, including a weekly "SNL Weekend Update" news bit done in a very bad impersonation of Paul Harvey, who virtually nobody in the college audience had ever heard of. I wish I'd had people bringing me pizza during my show, but I was on opposite the master in his home court (the L.A. radio market), and everybody else at KXLU was way too cool to get near this fool. The whole experiment in radio lasted a semester and a half.
One of my proudest accomplishments was five hours in the editing studio assembling a "bleeped" version of George Carlin's "Seven Words You Can't Say on TV", where I carefully substituted each naughtyword with a corresponding sound effect - taken from a collection of sounds from Hanna Barbera cartoons. Then, a few weeks after my show ended, I tuned in to listen to the Good Doctor for the first time since before I was his feeble competition, and heard an "edited" version of "Seven Words" that had been done by one of his regular hangers-on (and with far less funny sounds!) I didn't blame Dr. D. for that, but listening to him never was the same.
posted by wendell at 6:08 PM on February 21, 2002

I'm glad to say that we can listen to KRSH 98.7 FM in the Santa Rosa/Rohnert Park/Guerneville/Petaluma parts of northern California, where they play Dr. Demento every Sunday night and have been for many years. We used to listen to him on KLOS when we lived in L.A. in the early 1980's but now? I just don't know. For no reason whatsover, thinking of Dr. Demento makes me think of Firesign Theater, another dorkish listening pursuit of mine in the late 1960's-early 1970's. Ok, I'm a dork!
posted by Lynsey at 8:29 PM on February 21, 2002

They used to play Dr. D in Dallas Texas, but for some strange reason, every time a radio station picked up Dr. D, they'd get attacked by the local right-wing militant religious fanatic groups and in the course of a year, the station's management would change dramatically and suddenly its "new and improved format" would no longer have a place for his program.

I used to go to church a lot back then. Not anymore.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:48 PM on February 21, 2002

I remember Dr. Demento making an appearance on the old Tomorrow show with Tom Snyder, playing a little of "It's A Gas," but after the first belch they killed it. (I had run across that record as a kid, on a "real" 45 RPM disc that was almost unplayable from having been through a house fire.) And I was lucky enough to catch his radio show a few times. I remember "Fish Heads" and "Stairway to Gilligan"--and the good Doctor playing Zappa's "Titties and Beer" with all the dirty words creatively bleeped so you could tell what they were, sort of like what wendell described.
Ah, the Firesign Theater. There's a link I've got to visit if only to see if the Natural Surrealism Party ("a triumph over National Realism and Regional Nastyism!") still runs "Tirebiter for President."
posted by StOne at 9:37 AM on February 22, 2002

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