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PostPosted: Thu September 4th, 2008, 14:33 GMT 
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Appreciate the kind words and emails on this. Special thanks to the Forum member who took the time to review the draft for grammar, spelling and consistency (any errors are still my own :) ) This is close to the final version, and I should have an audio version available on Dreamtime in the near future.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should note that purchases using the Amazon links generate a small commission for me. If you have an issue with that, simply go to Amazon on your own to make a purchase.

Updated 9/8/08


Theme Time Radio Hour F.A.Q.

If you're reading/listening to Dreamtime, I assume you already have some knowledge of Theme Time Radio Hour. If you don't, the best place to get an overview/summary is the TTRH Wikipedia link.

This F.A.Q. covers the common TTRH questions I get from reader/listeners. Note that some of this information is unverified (such as the identity of "Pierre Mancini"). If I use qualifiers such as "possibly," "probably," and so on it means I'm taking my best guess based on available information. Feel free to disagree.

Q: Who does the opening "Night in the Big City" introduction?

A: Ellen Barkin. The identity of the narrator was argued among TTRH fans during Season 1 until the Christmas episode was broadcast, when Barkin identified herself. Except for announcer "Pierre Mancini" and Dylan himself, Barkin is the only continuing voice on TTRH, having introduced each episode to date except the Season 1 "Halloween" show, which was done by comedian Stephen Wright.

Q: What is the background music played in the credits?

A: "Top Cat (Underscore)," which can be found on the CD compilation Tunes from the Toons: The Best of Hanna-Barbera, issued in 1996 and reissued in 2002. The music is an acoustic version of the theme song from the cartoon Top Cat.

Q: Where can I find playlists of the music played on TTRH?

The Wikipedia article on TTRH, "notdarkyet.org," or the Theme Time Radio Hour Discussion Forum at Expecting Rain.

Q: Who is announcer "Pierre Mancini?"

A: Probably TTRH producer, Eddie Gorodetsky.

Q: Who is Eddie Gorodetsky?

A: Gorodetsky has had a storied career as disc jockey, writer, comedian, and television writer/producer, and in some circles he's probably as well-known as Bob Dylan. It's likely that their common interest in music is how he and Dylan first met. Among music collectors and music historians, Gorodetsky and his collection are legendary. For over a decade Gorodetsky distributed a tape/CD of forgotten, arcane and just plain weird Christmas music to friends and acquaintances each holiday season. Copies of those compilations - which resemble a TTRH playlist - are exceedingly rare and now sell for hundreds of dollars. They can be occasionally found on eBay, especially around the holiday season.

One commercial release of a Gorodetsky Christmas compilation, Christmas Party with Eddie G., can be found on CD, although out-of-print and becoming difficult to locate. Before TTRH, Gorodetsky's connection to Dylan was best-known through the television series, Dharma & Greg, where Gorodetsky was a producer and arranged a Dylan cameo appearance on the show. Gorodetsky has also appeared in Masked and Anonymous and in the TweedleDum & Tweedle Dee music video.

Q: What are Big Red Tree and Gray Water Park Productions?

Gray Water Park is Dylan's production company, used to produce and finance various Dylan-related media projects, including TTRH. Big Red Tree is probably Eddie Gorodetsky's production company, filling a similar role for him as GWPP does for Dylan.

Q: Who are the various people named in the credits?

Many of the research/production team named are long-time employees of Bob Dylan, or more accurately, Gray Water Park Productions.

Randy Ezratty is a well-known mobile recording engineer who had his own company - Effanel Music - which was purchased by XM Radio in 2006. Engineer Rob Macomber was another member of the Effanel team who is now also with XM.

Coco Shinomiya is a respected graphic designer and art director, a two-time Grammy nominee, and incidentally, Eddie Gorodetsky's wife. Shinomiya probably designed the TTRH logo. Lee Abrams was the Chief Creative Officer of XM Radio, and the prime mover in bringing Dylan to satellite radio. He has since left the company. The identity of "studio engineer, Tex Carbone" is unknown, as is the spelling of his last name.

Q: Is the Abernathy Building real?

The Abernathy Building and surrounding environs (Studio B, Samson's Diner, Carl's Barber Shop, etc.) exist only in the theater of the mind.

Q: Where is TTRH recorded? How is TTRH produced?

The mechanics of TTRH production are a closely-held secret, probably due to a desire to maintain the listener's "willing suspension of disbelief" that TTRH is a vintage 1950s-era radio show.

XM Radio representatives have noted in interviews that they receive the shows in final, finished format, not an unusual relationship for the organization to have with independent production companies such as those behind TTRH. With the involvement of Randy Ezratty and Rob Macomber, it can be assumed that Dylan uses a mobile recording set-up to lay down his narrative tracks while on the N.E.T. or at other locations. The evidence suggests that Dylan's narrative is recorded separately, and then edited and mixed with the music and other show elements during a post-production session, probably conducted in Los Angeles, home base of producer Gorodetsky.

One hotly-debated topic among TTRH fans is how far in advance the shows are recorded. Evidence from Season 2 - Dylan's remarking on Ike Turner's death shortly after that event - indicates that individual shows may be recorded two weeks or less prior to airing. On the other hand, it's possible that the TTRH team has the capability to do last-minute edits to already completed shows when desired.

Yet another hotly-debated topic is how much involvement Dylan actually has with the show's production past reading his scripted commentary. The evidence points to producer Gorodetsky having a strong influence on TTRH content, but it's also likely that Dylan interjects his own music choices, thoughts and opinions. Chronicles: Volume One confirms Dylan's appreciation for the musicians, genres, and music played on TTRH. It's improbable that anyone but Bob Dylan himself would suggest that he perform an a capella rendition of Take Me Out to the Ball Game, or that he play Blowin' in the Wind on a recorder. Anyone who follows Dylan's rare on-stage remarks in concert knows that he has a weakness for telling corny old jokes, a regular feature on TTRH. And his occasional on-air outbursts on subjects ranging from modern medical care, "commercial affiliations," and country music all sound deeply heart-felt and personal.

Q: Which artist has had the most airplay on TTRH?

A: As of the end of Season 2 (April 2, 2008), it was George Jones, who has been played nine times on TTRH. Both Tom Waits and Dinah Washington have been played eight times each.

Q: What are "deaf poets"?

Dylan isn't fixated on poets with hearing problems, but instead is using the hip-hop slang term "def," as in "great," or "definitive."

According to Wikipedia, "def" originated in New York City in the 1980s and was accepted into the Oxford English Dictionary in 1993. Dylan or Gorodetsky may have taken the "def poet" phrase from the HBO series, Def Poetry Jam, which ran from 2002 through 2007.

Q: Where can I find the TTRH poster?

A: Commissioned by producer Eddie Gorodetsky in 2007 from artist/illustrator Jaime Hernandez, each of the poster's scenes illustrate Ellen Barkin's "It's Night in the Big City," introductions from Season 1 of TTRH. The poster was originally available as a free high-resolution download at bobdylan.com from October 2007 through July 2008, but that link was discontinued upon the launch of the redesigned site. Bootleg print versions have occasionally appeared on eBay. An "authorized" print version of the poster was offered to the first 5,000 people to order any one of the three Bootleg Series Volume 8 packages being sold through bobdylan.com, and it can be assumed that some of those posters will also eventually find their way to eBay. A search through Google Images may uncover copies of the original digital file at various sites on the Web.

Q: How can I contact Bob Dylan and TTRH and will they respond?


A: XM publicizes the email address bobdylan@xmradio.com as the means to contact Dylan and the TTRH team with suggestions and questions. From all reports, email to that address either goes unanswered or occasionally generates an auto-reply noting that due to the high volume of mail received, personal responses are impossible.

Before and during Season 1, XM publicized that "Dylan will read and answer select emails on his show." However, there's been no evidence that any actual listener email has ever been been seen or read by Dylan. Most of the correspondence read on the show is obviously scripted, many using names of Dylan friends and acquaintances.

Q: How can I listen to TTRH?

A: In the U.S. the show is broadcast on XM Satellite Radio Channel 40 (Deep Tracks) at 10 a.m. ET and on XM Channel 2 (XMX) all day each Wednesday. To listen over the air requires an XM-capable radio and a subscription to the service. According to the merged companies' press announcement, XM Radio's purchase by Sirius Satellite in 2008 should mean that listeners eventually will be able to listen to an a la carte selection of XM channels - including Deep Tracks - at a lower subscription rate than currently available.

DirecTV subscribers can hear the show on channel 840 at Wednesdays at 10 a.m. ET. U.S. residents with a broadband internet connection can subscribe to a streaming internet version of XM Radio that includes the Deep Tracks and XMX channels. From 2006 through 2008, AOL Radio offered a streaming internet version of the show free of charge to AOL subscribers, but that service is no longer available.

In the United Kingdom, TTRH is available on BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music both on air and on line (accessible to U.K. listeners only) and on-air in Ireland on Phantom 105.2. Check local listings for times.

Tangled Up in Bob (http://www.dylanradio.com) streams Dylan and Dylan-related content, including Theme Time Radio Hour episodes from earlier seasons. Check the site for times.

Q: Are there any commercial releases of Theme Time Radio Hour shows?

No. The closest thing to a commercial release was a promotional CD of the complete Baseball show, released in 2006. That CD is regularly offered for sale on eBay and Amazon. There are TTRH CD sets in commercial-appearing packages offered for sale on eBay and other venues - usually originating from Europe - but those compilations are bootlegs.

To date there are three different commercial CD compilations featuring music from TTRH - two unauthorized sets: The Best of Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour Volume 1 and Volume 2, and the authorized Theme Time Radio Hour with Your Host Bob Dylan which was compiled by Ace Records U.K. under the supervision of TTRH producer Eddie Gordodetsky and Dylan business manager, Jeff Rosen. Of the three, Theme Time Radio Hour with Your Host Bob Dylan probably best reflects the breadth of music played on TTRH, but none of the sets include Dylan's commentary or other elements that make the show unique.

While not marketed as TTRH material, the 2008 Starbucks compilation, Artist's Choice - Bob Dylan: Music That Matters To Him is also worthy of note to the show's fans. The CD set reflects Dylan's musical interests, "right now," as he relates in the liner notes, and the music in the compilation could easily have appeared on a TTRH playlist. The CD also has another connection to TTRH. Its liner notes state that it was produced by "Tim Ziegler," the name used by a fictitious caller during one of the Season 2 episodes who complained that Dylan had misidentified a record label.

Q: Can I find Theme Time Radio Hour shows for download on the internet?

A: Several fans have undertaken the effort to record the shows and post them on the Web as either torrents or as mp3 files. A little judicious searching through Google or at Dylan/TTRH-related sites should lead you to those files.

It should be noted that the shows are offered without charge - a few of the sites ask for donations to offset their costs - and is done with the intention to provide TTRH with the largest audience possible, especially for people who can not hear the show any other way. It's unlikely that a complete set of TTRH - currently nearing 80 hours - will be released commercially anytime soon. The Hank Williams' "Mother's Best" radio show recordings are only now being released some 57 years after first airing. Non-commercial efforts to catalog and distribute TTRH may be the only complete record of this historic radio show easily accessible to researchers, scholars, and fans for the foreseeable future.

Q: Where can I find additional information on TTRH?

Outside of the links already noted, The Annotated Theme Time Radio Hour is an excellent reference site on TTRH. Lee Abrams's original XM Radio blog still exists and includes a lengthy three-part post on the background and creation of TTRH. Unfortunately, the "official" TTRH site at XM can be only described as "minimalist," and is seldom updated.

Current news about the show can be found at Expecting Rain as it breaks. Fans of the show should find Right Wing Bob and Theme Time Radio Hour on Myspace of interest. Vanity Fair published a detailed article on TTRH trivia both in a print version and on line in April 2008. Much of that article's content appears to have been taken - uncredited - from The Annotated Theme Time Radio Hour site.


Last edited by Fred@Dreamtime on Mon September 8th, 2008, 17:58 GMT, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon September 8th, 2008, 15:56 GMT 
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Thats great man! Especially the spelling of Randy Ezratty, the way Pierre says it, it sounds like Randious Rodney or something haha


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PostPosted: Mon September 8th, 2008, 16:09 GMT 
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Cool! Thanks for that. I wondered if the Abernathy Building was real.


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PostPosted: Thu September 11th, 2008, 20:36 GMT 
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The audio version of the F.A.Q., with a couple of surprises :lol: is over at the Dreamtime blog now.

http://www.dreamtimepodcast.com/2008/09 ... faq-v.html


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PostPosted: Mon September 15th, 2008, 10:00 GMT 
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Interesting. Good work Fred!

Gorodetsky is in M&A? Didn't know that...


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PostPosted: Mon September 15th, 2008, 12:30 GMT 
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Gorodetsky is in M&A? Didn't know that...


It's been awhile since I watched M&A, but he plays one of the two record executives who confront Uncle Sugar at the beginning of the picture (he's credited as "Bacchus" according to the IMDB). It's not a big part. Eddie G. says a few words at most.

Although not Dylan-related, one of Eddie G.'s larger roles, where you can actually hear him speak, is in 2005's The Aristocrats. I should warn people that is not the Disney movie The Aristocats :twisted: and while one of my all-time favorite documentaries it is very NSFW and many people find it extremely offensive.


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PostPosted: Mon September 15th, 2008, 20:34 GMT 
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I see.

I notice he also wrote and produced some "Dharma & Greg" episodes. Might help explain this! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESPoK2CgDZw


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