He was “P”. the PoV character of the Firesign’s How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You’re Not Anywhere At All, the one who bought the marvelous car from Ralph Spoilsport Motors. He was Lieutenant Bradshaw, who was always on about flat-foot Nick Danger. He was Mudhead, the broken-voiced teenage friend to David Ossman’s Porgie Tirebiter. And he was Mayor P’nissnose, of Billville, the town that Nature Forgot to Hate. He made me laugh.
Besides all that, Peter was once a CBS News anchor. He was the guy who coined the term “Love In” back in 1967, the Summer of Love. That’s when he was the Wizard of Radio Free Oz, that cultural rant radio program on KPFK in Los Angeles where the Firesign Theatre began in 1966, and again as the current audio blog of www.radiofreeoz.com. He made me think.
I was really looking forward to getting to meet him and work with him this summer. We’d invited him to our science fiction convention to perform and to celebrate the Fifteenth Anniversary of the Mark Time Awards for Science Fiction Audio. That’s another Firesign reference. The Awards are named after Mark Time, a short and hilarious skit in which he is the demagogue Prince Arcturus. David Ossman once said Peter was more genuine on mic than in real life. I am sad I won’t be able to meet him, and tell him how much he meant to me and to my sense of humor. I will always hear his voice as Clark Cable on Proctor and Bergman’s TV Or Not TV album. He’ll always make me laugh. Thanks so very much for all you’ve said, Pete.
Here’s one or our favorites of Pete’s, from Dear Friends, Duke of Madness Motors.