PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

RADIO FREE CHARLESTON: Christmas Production Notes

The Holiday Edition of Radio Free Charleston is online for your viewing pleasure now! This episode features Christmas music from Clownhole and Melanie Larch, a cartoon holiday extravaganza, lots of animation, and me, looking like a demented elf, hosting from The Purple Moon, on Lee Street.

I need to thank Chuck and Connie Hamsher of the Purple Moon for letting us shoot our host segments in their store. Their shop is just packed full of the coolest stuff in the world, and it was fantastic having the “aluminium forest” of Christmas Trees in the background. It was also a kick because, for the first time ever, we actually had permission to shoot our host segments. We’re moving up in the world!

Our first musical guest on this special show is Clownhole, taped at the legendary Charleston Playhouse in December 1989. After we created a new video for “Heads On Fire” for our Halloween show, Randy Brown, Clownhole’s drummer, gave me a copy of a vintage show–one which I apparently recorded–and with the addition of some public domain animation, that’s what you get to see on the show. Randy’s keeping the beat, while Chris Canfield is on bass and vocals, and John “Sham Voodoo” Estep is on guitar and vocals. You can briefly see Jim Wolfe onstage at the beginning of the song. That’s because the Charleston Playhouse Quartet performed between Clownhole sets that night. More on that, later. Clownhole brings us a punked-up version of “Deck The Halls.”

Our second musical guest is Melanie Larch. Mel is a legend of the local musical theater scene. She’s been singing with the West Virginia Symphony for the last fifteen years, and will be performing the role of Mercedes in the WVSO production of “Carmen” next spring. Melanie is also a key part of the RFC team, having directed a couple of episodes, run camera on many segments, and she’s also the singer of our jingle. In the interest of full disclosure, she’s also the host’s main squeeze and writing partner for “Animated Discussions.” We took Mel out on the fire escape at LiveMix Studio and had her perform Schubert’s “Ave Maria” acapella. After being more nervous than any other performer that we’ve had on the show, Mel nailed it in one take. The segment came out so good that it was almost too classy for the show.

We have a special holiday episode of the devil cartoon, featuring a radio remote originating from the trailerpark. Watch what happens when Timmy, Satan’s neighbor, gets his hands on the microphone.

There are also talking Christmas trees, extra animated bits, and during the end credits, a very sloppy rendition of the Radio Free Charleston Theme Song, performed by the Charleston Playhouse Quartet on the same night that the Clownhole performance was recorded. You can see me, Jim Wolfe, John McIntyre, and John Estep. Oddly enough, this was the only time that the quartet peformed as a four-piece. The joke was that we called ourselves a quartet, but never had fewer than five members. We probably could have used a couple of extra guys that night.

At the very end of the show is a bad pun that will amuse Ann Magnusun, if she ever sees it.

That’s the dirt on the holiday edition of RFC.  Hope you enjoy it and hope you have a happy holiday season.