Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Waiting for the Electrician Or Someone Like Him
Genres: Special Interest, Pop
Listen to Samples
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Who was the electrician?
S Snoid | Tucson | 12/21/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first heard this album in December of 1968 when my best friend from high school and I got together during Christmas break. I'd never heard anything like it, and no one has ever approached The Firesign Theater for material that can both make you laugh out loud while still making you think (and rethink) about what they are saying. The first side of this album had more "hip" puns and references than anything else they did. I found myself still getting some of the jokes and references for the first time after the 50th (100th?) listening, and I'm sure that there are still many I've missed. For instance, it was a year or two later that I was skimming through a book by Timothy Leary's old colleague Richard Alpert, who was then known as Baba Ram Dass, I think, when I learned that "the second bardo" was the hallucinatory phase of the psychedelic experience. And it wasn't until 1973, while watching "Key Largo" on the late show, that I learned who the electrician was. Humphrey Bogart was recounting how someone had "turned out the lights" (i.e., knocked him unconscious), when the character played by Elisha Cook, Jr. (whom Bogie called the "little gunsel" in "The Maltese Falcon") piped in with "I'm the electrician". And the name of the main villain in that film, played by Edward G. Robinson, was Johnny Rocco, which was almost certainly the source for at least the name of "Rocky Rococo" on their second album (along with Rocky Raccoon, of course), though they chose to do him as Peter Lorre instead. Then there was "Leftenant Baha'ind of the Seventh Seal Calvary" long before I'd heard of that religion or seen the Bergman film, "ten card Tarot, Pentacles wild" and "we frew I Ching out the window" before I knew of either fortune telling technique, "I saw the best minds of my generation . . ." before I'd read "Howl", etc., etc., etc., one after the other.
And they had some influence on our culture themselves. I was watching the Tonight show once when Julie Newmar came on promoting the new movie "McKenna's Gold" in which she played an Indian (type casting??), so she was dressed in a buckskin costume and carrying a "peace pipe". When Johnny Carson asked what she had in there, she replied "some Road Apple Red", which a small but significant number of the audience and maybe a couple of members of the band appreciated, though it went right over Johnny's head.
If you're much under 60, side one is going to be quite dated for you, but side two holds up a bit better.
Update: I was fortunate enough to get to see TFT doing a reunion show in Langley, WA, on January 9, 2010. They performed mostly their old stuff, including side two of "Electrician," and the humor was still there. However, when I asked two of them after the show if Elisha Cook, Jr., was the electrician, they had no idea what I was talking about. When I explained, they said that was an interesting idea, but they didn't tell me the source. So, I may have been wrong about Rocky Rococo, too, but it's still fun to speculate."