|Cincinnati Comes Alive|
For today’s lesson I want to cover some Theory, mainly dealing with the history and cultural significance of the song that I have been working on learning to play on the piano. This song, “WKRP in Cincinnati”, was a chart-busting mega-phenomenon super hit when it came out and it spawned a multi-million-dollar entertainment and luxury Product Empire for not only its writers and publishers, but also its singer, legendary starlet Loni Anderson. Her rendition of this standout hit from the television theme music / adult-contemporary genre became an instant classic then and has reached iconic status as of today. But few remember the TV show that started it all. Come with me as I take you down the hall to a special room with a magical TV set that sees into the past and shows forgotten television programming from days gone by. It’s coming in clearer now. Here it is, it is about this radio station where Loni Anderson works and all of the action revolves around her. The station is run by this mean old bald headed dude known as “The Big Guy” He is always furious because his radio station is in the toilet and he is losing his shirt. The Big Guy has two lackeys that that are always by his side. The one was Fred or Earl or Something, he sold used cars and was a really good singer, the ladies couldn’t get enough of him. He was the most hilarious character in the program and most of the time he was having wild adventures trying to get Loni into show business with little success. He would always show up, late, and clueless as to what all the fuss was about; he’s so laid-back, always with the lit cigar in his bejeweled manicured hand. The patchwork on his suit was not sewn-on denim bits, but actually a pattern printed onto polyester. The other stooge is this guy called Les Nesman. He is basically the brains of the operation, running the operation from behind the scenes. He is so diabolically clever as to run the entire station at a loss so as to provide the perfect cover for his more sinister machinations. He’s a mad genius with a shady past and whisperings of Nazi lineage. The on-air talent at this radio station is made up of two guys only: both of them doctors (!). The one guy was “rock and roll all day” acid casualty and Viet nam vet Dr. Johnny Fever, who is out of his mind and always doing things like playing records backwards and going up on the roof naked. He is on the air during the daytime; at night it’s dr. Venus. He’s a total Mack daddy, all pimped out and he plays the “sweet soul music to carry you into the night” He has an Afro and a dashiki and always give the black power salute. But mainly the show was about Loni Anderson. The rest of the characters were all so stupid that they thought she was beautiful. This was meant to play out as a running comic gag because; she was played by Loni Anderson who is fucking harsh looking. There is also Bailey, who was Playboy Pet of the Month in real life but the producers of the show felt it best to put glasses on her to convey that she was a dog. Except for occasional cameo walk-ons by sleazy record industry types and crazed fans of the DJs the only other actor was the ghost of Big Guy’s Mom. From time to time The Big Guy’s mother speaks to him from beyond the grave. She was only on once in a while, and was represented by a voice emanating from a haunted oil painting in BG’s office. I forget the actress who did the voice; she used to be in bewitched. Apart from those people, the station itself is like a character. It throbs with the energy of true rock & roll, and every time Johnny Fever puts on a wicked Bob Seager track or some smokin’ Kenny Loggins lightning hits the transmission tower (see illustration) and all hell breaks loose. The place literally explodes and everyone, even Bailey, is doing air guitar, jumping around on one leg. “Long Live Rock!” Shouts doctor Fever, and the live studio audience bursts into applause signaling the end of the episode.