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I was a regular listener to his show in the early-mid '80s and continue to torture my wife by singing such songs as Barnes & Barnes' "Fish Heads," and "They're Coming to Take Me Away..." by Napoleon XIV. She responds by leaving the room and yelling: "They're not coming fast enough!"

Love this deep dive and I'll have to check out Andrew Smith's piece too! And I thought the Weird Al "biopic" starring Daniel Radcliffe was, for the most part, hilarious and bat-shit crazy!

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Nov 16, 2023Liked by Brad Kyle

I haven't thought about Dr Demento and Loss Leaders in OH MY GAWD DECADES. I LOVE THIS. My antique teen brain is reeling(no Steely Dan jokes). Thank you.

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Great piece. The Dr. Demento Show was easily the most important radio show I listened to in the 1970s, in terms of my musical education. I interviewed him about 20 years ago for a feature I was writing about Weird Al, and he could not have been kinder or more generous with his time — though I was far more nervous about speaking to him than I've ever been about interviewing any of my other musical idols!

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Loved this! Brought back memories of having to make sure I was by the radio in time for his show every week when I was in high school, 1973-5. Dr. D lived not too far from me in Highland Park (L.A.). What a curious fellow. Had no idea about his background. Appreciate your research into this crazy and creative man in the top hat. Thank you! 🎩

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Love this! Had a bunch of the Loss Leaders and always appreciated the commitment WB made to educating listeners via those writeups. wow what a different era.

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Good stuff, as always. Anytime you can fit Weird Al into your day, even in a supporting role, that's a win as far as I'm concerned.

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Yes! I got my article updated with a link to this one. Perfect timing.

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WoW!! I could never have imagined there was a Barry Hansen before there was a Dr. Demento!! I recorded his show religiously every Sunday night and possibly have those cassette tapes still in a giant Campbell soup tin somewhere. (I called it « Cream of Tapes! »-I must have written about that some where’s on the ‘Stack!!)

Favorites from those tapes

Another One Rides the Bus

PacMan Fever

Ode to Billy Joel (I still know all the words)

I don’t wanna get drafted-Zappa

Dead Puppies

My Ding-a-ling

Take off (To the White North)

Theme from Dr. Who

Where did Robinson Crusoe go (With Friday on Saturday Night

Any Spike Jones (I CAN take the way he sings AND I love to hear him talk!!!)

The Punk Polka

There are so many more. I also once got my whole 2nd grade class to sign a petition to get “Another One Rides the Bus” onto The Funny Five. I think it worked!!!

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I know I had a copy of Schlagers and one or two others, but I never made the Hansen connection.

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You had me at ethnomusicology . . .

Seriously, this is fantastic history; thank you for writing this. The "loss leaders" ads are amazing (I may have mentioned I ended up building a big chunk of my music collection from BMG).

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This is so cool! Am I the only one who finds the WB promo career more interesting than Dr. Demento?? As for the loss leaders, the only one I got was Troublemakers, which was near the end of the program, if not the end - a foray into punk and new wave that had an excerpt of the famous final performance of the Sex Pistols, including Johnny Rotten's classic line: "Did you ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"

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How true about the bonding with my brother, too. A slight digress, I was working at ‘Melodyland’ (record store) and the guy that I worked with could recite and DID recite the entire script to... ‘The Further Adventures Of Nick Danger 3rd eye. It was amusing the first time but by the 11th time in two weeks, it wore off its novelty.

Loved your pick of topics!

Btw, my favorite sampler was (I may get this close) ‘The Garden of Eden’ and it was released by Electra.

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What an unsuspected exprise!! I was not a Demento listener but I knew many who were, for syndicated shows I listened to ‘The King Biscuit Flower Hour’ mainly because it came on the radio at a favorable time. I still have 5 Sampler albums 1 Harvest 4 Warner Brothers and they fun to listen to as a full album.

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I heard him sometimes as his syndicated show did make it to Toronto (although I don't remember which station had him) but he was too weird for me. He was an institution and I had no idea of his "legit" background!

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