RUSH: When I saw this headline: “LA Health Officials Take Action After Local Supermarket Sells Raccoons As Food.” Some of you lifers will remember this story, but for those of you who have not been here from the outset, I have to tell you this. When I was working in Pittsburgh at a suburban station outside Pittsburgh in McKeesport, what was it? I don’t even remember. Oh, no, this is embarrassing. Played oldies. Fifties and sixties oldies, WIXZ, Salted Rot and Mold. That’s what we called it. I was doing the morning show. And of course morning shows back then were not nearly as restricted in terms of how much the host could talk, the deejay could talk.
Lily Tomlin was in town appearing somewhere doing something and her agent was calling all the radio stations and trying to get her interviews on various stations in town to promote whatever she was doing. They called and I said, “Sure.” I mean, cool. I’m just starting out, my first job away from home, chance to talk to Lily Tomlin. So we agreed the day before she was calling in to set up a bit. It was my idea, and I said, “I got an idea. Why don’t I, on the radio, call a local grocery store and ask if they have any frozen raccoon TV dinners. You, as Ernestine the operator, are monitoring phone calls and you randomly overhear mine. You are outraged that there is frozen raccoon TV dinners on sale at a local grocery store. You want the details and you’re gonna report me to the ASPCA.”
That’s what we did. We totally improvised it, frozen raccoon TV dinners. I called this grocery store, fake grocery store, of course, and there was no such thing as frozen raccoon TV dinners, the whole point. She did both voices. She did the woman answering the phone at the supermarket, and she did Ernestine the operator was her character from Laugh In. And she was just hilarious. My mother heard the tape of that bit, and that’s when my mother told me that she was convinced that after failure after failure after failure and maybe many more, that I was gonna succeed. That bit, my mother said, “I didn’t know you were that funny. I didn’t know you had that kind of improvisational ability.” It was fun.
So I see this headline: “LA Health Officials Take Action After Local Supermarket Sells Raccoons As Food.” This is 1972 when this happened. This is eons ago. You talk about being on the cutting edge. Here I am in a bit with Lily Tomlin about frozen raccoon TV dinners in 1972, and now it actually has come true in LA. And no, I don’t think there is a tape of the bit. And it would be tape if there were any in existence.
RUSH: It was WIXZ, that’s the station in McKeesport outside Pittsburgh that I worked at. That’s the station that fired me for playing Under My Thumb too many times, by the Rolling Stones. Yeah, I got the call letters confused. Yeah, I played Under My Thumb too many times and I got fired for not following the music play list programming format, what have you.