Wednesday, April 25, 2012

An interview with Sarah Cole about Vic and Sade

Fans of my Crazy World of Vic and Sade will no doubt recognize the name, Sarah Cole.

I "met" Mis' Sarah on Twitter and she's such a big fan of Vic and Sade that I want to marry her! Well, at least do an interview with her, which I haven't done yet. She has provided many of her thoughts to the website (which I am very grateful for) and her insight is so valuable and precious to me. I enjoy her ideas and work very much and I am so privileged that she devotes so much of her time to The Crazy World of Vic and Sade.

Without further ado, here's an interview I did with her:

Tell me about your website and what your mission is there.

I'd hesitate to call "Old Zorah's Pew" a proper website. It's mostly a chance to 1.) Vent, 2.) Post information or insights I haven't seen anyone else address. Its purpose is mainly 1.) To keep me from wandering about muttering to myself, and , 2.) To put the ideas in a place where they can be shared at appropriate times via social media. I'm as sporadic a blog-poster as I am a letter-poster, so it's a wonder any one notices the blog at all. But, if someone makes a remark about Jesus Christ being born in April or September, I can whip out this and remark, "Scripturally, you know, there's good evidence that He was born in December;" or if someone lavishes eloquent praise on John Williams for his originality in creating "Yoda's Theme." I can shoot back, "Ahem. I believe that particular melody dates from 1942," and pass on this URL.   Or, I can keep quiet and keep my friends. 

(One of these days, I'll have to post the story of how I came to become a church lady, as compared to a Christian woman who attends church. It might be good for laughs.)   

Which one of the real characters do you enjoy the most and why?

Probably Rush or Uncle Fletcher. Youthful exuberance is always bracing; and Uncle Fletcher is so enveloped in his own world that any conversation with him is bound to seem like a travelogue.

Which of the pre-1945 imagined characters do you like to think about the most? Why? What do they look and sound like to you?

The actual character varies, but, at the moment, I'm thinking about Aunt Bess. I picture her as looking and sounding like a gentler version of Sade, not as tall, and with brown hair (for some reason, Sade sounds like she's bigger than Bess, and blonde.)

What do you think about Uncle Fletcher? Is he crazy, hard of hearing, selective hearing, senile... what gives?

Uncle Fletcher is an artist, a poet, a dreamer. Therefore, he can't see the prosaic world around him. Instead, it is one of continual glamour and excitement, peopled by fascinating personalities. To digress briefly, in the old fairy stories, one theme that regularly came up was of mortals not being able to see the fairies, but, when their eyes were treated with a special ointment, they could see all the magnificence that, to everyone else, looked like rank shabbiness. Uncle Fletcher's eyes have been anointed; and, through him, we can see the fairies.

Is Vic and Sade your favorite radio show or is it just one of the better shows you listen to?

That's like asking what's my favorite movie: it depends on my mood. Vic and Sade is definitely one of my most favorite programs, though The Halls of Ivy, or Jack Benny, or Bob and Ray, or Fred Allen are all right up there.

Finish this sentence. "When I think about the show, Vic and Sade, the first thing I think about is _____"

"Absurdity." If we watch ourselves, and those around us, we would be either shocked, or vastly amused, at the silly things we say or do, that don't' seem silly at the time.

What do you feel is the most interesting premise to the show?

Vic as Exalted Big Dipper of the local fraternal organization. My grandmother was a staunch Rebekah for years, and understood and taught the ritual. Although the Rebekah ritual actually makes sense, hearing Vic recite the gibberish of the Sacred Stars of the Milky Way makes me think of my grandmother.

And in all her days, she never tore the buttons off of the coat, vest, shirt, and underwear of any member!

Since Proctor and Gamble destroyed so many disks and we are left with only 1/10th of the episodes, tell me, have you ever imagined what happened in some of those shows? Tell me some of the things you have wondered about?

I've been so taken by the things that happened in the shows that are extant, and in the scripts Mrs. Rhymer published later, that I've never given much thought to what might have been lost. It may be that our imagination makes the missing better than they acutely were. For instance, I like the Gilbert and Sullivan operas. Many of them originally included additional songs. Out of all those songs, I can only think of two that are memorable; and even they are better as novelties. While musically interesting, they drag on the plot without adding anything to it. If something were really good, somebody would have preserved it. The fact that no one did suggest that what we have is the very best of the series..

Anything else you'd like to say about the show?

Vic and Sade still goes on today. Look around at your friends and family and you'll hear episodes every day.

My grandparents didn't seem to care for Vic and Sade. In fact, the only radio program I recall them ever talking about was the Paul Gibson show (a Chicago area talk-show host). My grandfather liked to listen to him in the morning, my grandmother couldn't stand him. When she gave the ultimatum that my grandfather could either breakfast with Gibson or her, but not both, he chose Gibson. (This disagreement was not fatal to their marriage, however: when they died last year, aged 99 and 94, Grandpa was as much in love with Grandma as he was before he had ever heard of Paul Gibson.)

The thing about Vic and Sade is its seemingly unconscious wacky naturalness. Real people may use different phrases, but they are just as prone to malapropisms as Sade. Youth still plan impossible plots without recognizing their limitations. And men still take pride in their exploits with their comrades, whether they're following a sports team or building computer networks. The program may be set in the 1930s-40's, but Paul Rhymer has captured the timeless elements of human behavior. It takes time, a sense of humor, and self-awareness, to recognize the humor, but, once a listener catches on to it, he or she will begin to hear it everywhere.

©Jimbo, 2012

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