I had some kind of commercial with Fritterman Cola. In our letters, we'd sometimes do skits, often in the form of commercials. Characters that sold these various items where Rudolph Fritterman, Messmore Barnhauser, Harold Blodkin, and Martin Holosis (pronounced Mar-TEEN ho-so-LEESS). Sometimes they'd have their own companies, like Fritterman Enterprises and Martin Hosolis's Laundromat and Quickie Divorce Parlour. The concept of this gag was that you could silence babies with the soda by hitting them with the bottle.
I am sure that was funnier after that babysitting job.
Then it went into a YUK radio. YUK was another gag we shared, where there was a radio station that had the worst people who would call in. This was way before shock jocks, and "Howard Stern RULES!" shout-outs. It hardly seems funny now, what with Jerry Springer-style people. It's eerily foretelling of radio in 10-15 years. In this particular broadcast, a new DJ had taken over, and was being haunted by people who kept disappearing. The former DJ, the station manager, and so on. I don't know what kind of George Clinton type accent I was going for, but it's vaguely Amos and Andy meet Vanilla Ice. So this DJ hears someone at the door, and to his horror, and to the tune of the opening of "Thriller" and "Nature Trail to Hell," the horrifying zombie stumbles in...
"HI! My name is SEYMOUR!"
Okay, this may only be REALLY funny to Neal and me. But you see, years earlier, with his cousin Howe, Neal made a YUK Radio stunt where this little kid kept calling in. His name was Seymour. Which he'd always announce before he'd tell some woeful tale about his brother, who at one time, put his dead goldfish in a sandwich and ate it. "I cried," explained Seymour, "because that was going to be myyyy LUNCH!"
You had to be there. If you were, you'd realize this was comedy gold.
The YUK radio thing turns into a movie trailer about "The Return of Seymour," where several more clips of Howe belted out whiny protests about his awful older brother. These were actual samples from when Neal and Howe were little kids. My voiceovers were done in a voice I can only describe as the accent Jim Henson did for Kermit and Ernie. I used to be REALLY good and doing various accents and voices. At one time, I could do up to six different British regional accents, but I haven't done them in so long, I ended up drifting from Scottish to English to Cockney to Aussie like a drunken toddler drawing a marker on the map of the British Empire in 1890. I have even lost most of my Southern Drawl accents.
Another attempt at a tape letter was interrupted by Rudolph Fritterman trying to sell shares in his company... Fritterman Enterprises, of course! I didn't even know what the hell stocks were back then. At one point, the stocks are endorsed by celebrity interviewer, Robin Leach. Then old Rudie gets angry, and attacks me when I try and describe country music.
Rudie I think retired, when FOLCME (Fritterman On Line Corporation of Maine) was sold just before the Internet bubble burst. Got himself a house near Reno, where he was last seen singing Karaoke with Mr. Barnhauser. Messmore is still invested in Texas Oil (or "Ahl" as he calls it), but is semi-retired after his third heart attack and second double-bypass. Martin was last seen in Brazil, operating under the name, "Muchas Maracas," according to Interpol. Harold, sadly, is dead, after a mysterious incident involving a dachshund and a wicker-rattan chair...
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