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« 365 Days #315 - American Moon (mp3s) | Main | Murray Roman: Reflections of his Contemporaries - Pt. 1: Tom Smothers »

November 11, 2007



Excellent article, Kliph, and exactly the sort of thing my chaos-into-patterns brain really enjoys.

I knew of Murray Roman, but knew nothing about him really, and I had known of many of the connections of the crew from the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, but you filled in some blanks (never knew Mason Williams was also a writer) and extended the connections much further than I could ever have hoped for.

I deliberately left the audio unplayed so I wouldn't be distracted while I was reading, but it's sitting there waiting for a click as soon as I submit this comment.

I look forward to more of your longer pieces (your research work on this one was quite admirable!), and send my best wishes for your continuing good work with Insite. Perhaps the US could learn a thing or two from that program, eh?

Cheers, mate!


great article! i didn't know about Murray but this was a great read.

Vic Perry

I read this last night until my eyes blurred over. Hope one day you will do an entire book worth of your stuff - something I would happily pay to hold in my hands.


Yes, thanks. Never hear of this guy, but having listened to pretty much everything Lenny Bruce ever recorded I was struck by how much this guy sounds like he is channeling Lenny--not just the subject matter, but the jewish hipster persona, the lingo, the diction, the syntax, the dexedrine rhythms, etc. Sounds like he studied Lenny very, very closely!

Listener Kliph

Hey Vic,

That might very well be on the horizon.


I paid a lot of attention to 1960s TV and comedy as a kid, so I enjoyed and appreciated the article very much. But I enjoyed the recording even more: like Rowan & Martin meet Joe Byrd and the United States of America.

Jonathan Ward

Fantastic article. Thank you for it.

Mason Williams was (is?) also a pop artist of sorts - he self published a bunch of books in the 60s a la Ed Ruscha, his old friend from Oklahoma. Right now at MOCA in Los Angeles, you can see his piece "Bus" on display.


Isn't one of the guys in the Committee photo Howard Hesseman, aka Dr. Johnny Fever? He was a member of the Committee, and he appears briefly in the movie Petulia along with other members of the Committee. I think he appeared as a hippie in an episode of the late 60s version of Dragnet. IIRC, Hesseman used to get acting gigs as a rent-a-hippie just like those rent-a-punks in the Quincy punksploitation episodes did.

waylon solos

i wonder if the cleverly packaged "a blind man's movie" came out before the beatles white album (november of '68). i also wonder if its all black packaging worked against sales of the album in a "smell the glove" kind of way. since there's a connection between mr. roman and rob reiner, i can't help but think that maybe "a blind man's movie" exerted some influence on the writing of "this is spinal tap."

Tim Morck

I have a copy of Out Of Control (Nero (recording studios) NRL 1160) "recorded at ASPEN, Colorado". It may be a reissue of, or just be, the album (of?) Ski Humor that you mentioned. The front cover is a picture of Roman sprawled on the floor/ground wearing a pair of skis, a Kline-like black abstraction of a ski lift tower, and the words Out Of Control with Murray Roman, all on a white background. My copy has a wax paper inner sleeve, which usually indicates that the album is from the 50's.


Very nice article and glad you enjoyed the article on my blog about the Smothers Brothers, which was a break from my usual political bitching (I've been madder than hell for 7 years!).

I grew up with my butt in front of the tv watching "That Girl", "Batman" (on wed and thurs nites!), loved "Get Smart" (shoe phone and agent 99!), "The Monkeys", "Laugh In", "The Smother's Brothers" of course, my god what else.. "Bewitched" of course.

We lived too close to the schools for a bus but it was still a long walk. I remember always rushing home from school to turn into "Dark Shadows" the odd afternoon soap opera, that started out in black and white, and also was done live. My mother who wasn't a tv junkie like me also was into this show, and I'll never forget the day during a serious conversation (of course) and it is a live show, Barnabus spit on Quentin's (David Selby).. they both could barely keep from laughing to get though their serious scene. ahh those were the days!

Paul Linn was so damned funny, he died way too young. I remember the great daytime game shows on too, like Password, Dating Game, 10,000 Pyramid. It's cool that we have game show tv stations that play all those old shows.

The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Avengers.. I used to fantasize I was one of the Avengers lol. "I Dream of Jeannie".. my father loved Perry Mason, Jackie Gleason, and Hogan's Heroes.. oh and he would laugh his ass off at McHale's Navy!.

The furthest back show I can remember is "The Real McCoys". In black and white of course. Richard Crenna played "Luke" and I had a crush on him when I was too young to even know what a crush was!.. and Walter Brennan played the grandpa on that show.

Ok now you're bringing back lots of memories and I have stuff to do.. My Friend Flicka, Sugarfoot, The Rifleman, Wagon Train, Cheyenne, Loredo...

I also knew about Nesmith's mom inventing Liguid Paper. I guess it's good she made her millions before the computer age!

thanks for the memories..


great stuff


loved the post !! its the stuff that makes The Blog great. a side note on the Tetragramaton / Track Records footsie thing..... Two Virgins was handled in the UK for Apple by Track. EMI agreed to press the record, but refused to distribute it.


The bit that jumped out at me was about Lorenzo Music. I'd known about the irony that he voiced both Garfield and Peter Venkman while Bill Murray did the reverse, but I didn't know Bill Murray had gotten Music canned; I didn't even know they'd changed Venkman's voice. Here's some more trivia: the voice of Winston, who in the movies was played by Ernie Hudson, was performed by Arsenio Hall. And of course both Ray and Slimer were performed by the heir apparent of cartoon voices, Frank Welker (Mel Blanc being the all-time champ), who by rights ought to have been the voice of Megatron in the TRANSFORMERS movie.

Shannon Forbes

I was a friend of Murray's and have glanced at this article before. Now it says "revised." I can't figure out what new material there is on him that's been added lately. Could somebody enlighten me as to what I might have missed? I don't know if they answer back on this blog.

Murray could be serious, sad, silly, mad, up, down or sideways, very In, or completely out-to-lunch, but he would always find the funny side of any situation. The best times were when we were laughing our asses off, which was most of the time. Murray was a funny, funny man. I miss his face.

Listener Kliph

Hi Shannon,

The new material is interviews and quotes from Steve Martin, Mason Williams, Bob Einstein and Tom Smothers - also the entire LP A Blind Man's Movie has been uploaded.


I found the Out of Control cover on yahoo images

from a site that apparently had it for sale, although I did not see it on the page, maybe you will find it when it is not 5 AM.

Thank you for your work. I really enjoyed this record and the background (especially that Paul Krassner story about doing acid with Groucho!)


I have the "Backtrack 13" version of "You Can't Beat People Up..." and played it one night this week. I actually remember buying this at the record shop, and knew that The Who had something to do with it. The Track record label was their label after Brunswick. The L.P. is still very funny today, and is a fantastic time capsule of that brilliant era when anything and everything was opened up and turned inside out. Murray Roman was an obscure figure in England, and I'm happy to have been, and still am a big admirerer of his humour. I do hope one day his catalogue will be released on CD.

M Sylvester

yikes! I stumbled onto this post in a manner that seems perfectly appropriate. I was watching the newly released Criterion Collection DVD "Blast of Silence" It's a strange B&W low-budget "film noir" released in 1961. I won't describe it here, but I would recommend doing a search for it on the Net and learning more. For me, one of the most interesting aspects of this film is the street level imagery of NYC '61. There are lots of extremely interesting location shots and because of the low-budget nature of the film many of them are just raw shots of downtown NY (St. Marks Place, Staten Island Ferry etc) that are fascinating documents of that time and place. One particularly odd sequence takes place in the "Village Gate" nightclub–Bleecker St. As one character is leaving the club (on his way to being rubbed-out I think I haven't finished the film) I froze the image as he passed the clubs marquee and noticed the name "Murray Roman" as an upcoming act. Curious, I Googled the name and ended up here. After reading this post it somehow seems very fitting. all right, back to the

Reverend Flatus

Thanks for this, I've been wanting to hear "A Blind Man's Movie" again for years.

Jay Ess

Was I hearing things, or did "A Blind Man's Movie" contain the 7 Dwarfs As Druggie routine popularized several years later by George Carlin?


I remember listening to 'You Can't Beat People Up...' around 71/72 - under the influence. Good memories - thanks for posting.


love was the word murry was the reason sex was the equasion he was my saviour kept me sane


love was the word murry was the reason sex was the equasion he was my saviour kept me sane

Waqidi Falicoff

Murray Roman had a TV special of his own in I believe 1969. I was the guitarist for Hamilton Camp and we performed one song for the program. On the show there was Linda Ronstadt (with the Stone Ponies), Donovan and Frank Zappa. The strangest performance was done by Nancy Sinatra reading some poetry. I met Donovan and Frank Zappa backstage. Zappa was his usual crude talking self. Both Camp and Donovan had written songs based on the poem Lake Isle of Innisfree. They both performed the songs backstage (I played guitar for Camp). I don't remember much of what else was on the show. Also I don't know if it was nationally syndicated. It was definitely shown in the Los Angeles area. In fact an old friend of mine from Stony Brook University called me up after the show. He hadn't seen me for a couple of years. I notice that the show, called "The Murray Roman Special" is not listed in any discography of his work. It should be added.

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