Sunday, July 25, 2010

Item From the Past: PHC '85

My brother Jay and sister-in-law Deb introduced me to A Prairie Home Companion sometime in the early '80s during a visit to their home, and I've been an irregular listener ever since, enough to know most of the schtick. Some parts of show are admirable, a few parts annoying.

In the summer of 1985, the show came to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville and I went. I didn't write anything about it at the time that I can put my hands on now, but I enjoyed the show and do remember a few things. But not who any of the guests were, or what the monologue was about, as it happens.

Mainly I remember that Garrison Keillor warmed up the audience up before the broadcast actually started, and that involved inviting Lamar Alexander up on stage to play a little piano. Alexander was governor of Tennessee at the time and a skillful pianist besides. Keillor made some small talk with the governor, including something like, "You're from East Tenneesse, aren't you, Mr. Governor? [Alexander grew up near Knoxville.] You guys were on our side during the war."

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