Memories of the show
Copyright © 1987, 2006 Thomas Hart
THOMAS HART:  I’ve blabbed plenty about my memories of Live on Tape in this website.  Here is where the cast gets a chance to do the same. So far only Brandon Lovested has done so, but hopefully I’ll be able to get a few more people to add their thoughts as well.  Brandon and I had met for the first time in 1986 while we were both acting with the Genesius Guild, a local theatre troupe that performs Shakespeare and other classical plays in Rock Island’s Lincoln Park.  On Live on Tape Brandon played a number of different characters, most notably the tipsy airline pilot, Ron Dyne, who flew off into the sunset with E.J. Crackerhorn in the last episode.
Brandon was there with me at the very beginning of the creation of Live on Tape.  In early June of 1987 when I was given the assignment by KLJB’s general manager (Gary Brandt) to create a local TV show that would premiere in less than four weeks, Brandon was the first person I talked with to start hashing out ideas.  We sat down at a Denny’s off of Brady Street in Davenport Iowa and tried to figure out just how the hell to create a TV show from scratch in less than a month.  We knew that this wasn’t going to be pretty, and as the clips from the show demonstrate - it wasn’t.  But damn, it was a lot of fun.
BRANDON LOVESTED: I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to have participated on Live on Tape.  Between that show, and acting with the Genesius Guild, that was probably the best time of my life so far.  The folks at KLJB were fun to work with and were generally supportive of our efforts.  Working with John (Janos) Horvath was like riding a rollercoaster after a couple of Scotches; thrills and spills accentuated by a lack of fear, “John is here!  Now stop giggling, we have a show to do!”  Don Abbott was equally up to the task of providing great characters and great laughter, on screen and behind.  All the others, Pete Calderone, Scott Hoyt, Merlin Nelson, and various guests made the show fresh and fun.
Perhaps one of my fondest memories was when it was Friday night at 2:30 am.  The show would air the next night and it was about 4 minutes short.  We were tired and punchy.  I remembered something I had seen as a kid that always had intrigued me - it was the scene in The Yellow Submarine where everything under the sun flies out of doors along an extensive hallway.  So, I described this idea to Tom, and thus The Pencil Chase bit was born.  We had costumes, chairs, a long hallway, and a camera -that was all that was required, except for some kind of plot-thingy.  Oh, yeah, we’ll do that bit last.  So, contriving the entire skit with “I need to borrow a pencil... now!” and ending with almost preventing a bomb from exploding was the solution.  Everything else was just the humor stuff.
I believe it was nearly 4 am by the time we had finished editing the skit.  Tom, whom I had described as looking like a “Nicaraguan Bean-Farmer” in one costume change, inserted the skit into the episode and the show was complete and ready for air.  It wasn’t the funniest thing we’d done, but we certainly thought it was at four in the morning.
We did a great many wacky things on the show: filming at Duck Creek Mall (which no longer exists) where we had people biting each other for sport. This was done amid a mass of confused shoppers who gave us strange looks.  Hot, humid summers where I had to endure wearing tweed jackets as my alter ego Dr. Alan Chadwick for Great Conspiracies in Science.  Ripping into local themes, news events, and personalities that we could spoof.  E.J. Crackerhorn retrospectives and The Making of Live on Tape gave us that “serious documentary” look.  Various adventures with Arnie Upshoe (Guy and Arnie’s Crappy Adventure, Arnie Trek, and Arnie’s Time Machine to name a few)... these all gave us... that queasy feeling, not unlike the onset of stomach flu.
The show was constantly creating new characters.  Some of those characters were mine, although I was never all that happy with most of them - so I had them destroyed in the episode story-lines.  They all seem to pale next to the likes of E.J. Crackerhorn, Arnie Upshoe, and Uncle Joey.  As fun as creating new characters was, the best part of writing for Live on Tape was using the cast of continuing characters.  After awhile, a formula of sorts evolved that allowed us to establish a better pace for comedy.  It facilitated the writing and made the show more enjoyable to watch... and it tasted good too!
The whole experience and Live on Tape itself was unique - especially in a place like the Quad Cities.  I thank the original General Manager of KLJB (Gary Brandt) for allowing us to do the show.  I thank John, Don, Pete, Scott, Merlin, and the rest for being a part of it.  Most of all I thank Tom Hart for including me, for doing all the hard work on the show (sleep and food deprivation included), and for remaining friends throughout the whole damn thing!  What patience. What drive.  What a pal.
Read Brandon’s  Personal Journey into Live on Tape HereBL%20Journey.htmlBL%20Journey.htmlshapeimage_3_link_0