"Crap! I wish I hadn't seen Ricky on the sidewalk."

"You will be fine for 31 minutes. You will be dead in 32 minutes."

Monday, May 13, 2013


We used to play a game where we matched notable figures with wildly inappropriate occupations. Comedian Gilbert Gottfried seems like he'd make a loud and terribly indiscreet gynecologist, but the best example we came up with, the one that always made us laugh, was "Diane Arbus, real estate photographer."

Can you picture it? Identical twins, drag queens, circus performers, and a tense kid with a toy grenade, all posing in front of various properties.


Larry Storch Reads Philip Roth's Epstein (Lively Arts, LA 30005)
I bring it up because the other day I found this recording of comedian Larry Storch reading Philip Roth's "Epstein."  

At first glance, it seems like an odd match.  Roth, who won the National Book Award in 1960 for Goodbye, Columbus was just launching a serious literary career. His first novel, Letting Go, was still forthcoming when Lively Arts issued this record in 1962, according to the liner notes written by noted jazz critic Nat Hentoff.  

At the time, Storch was primarily known as a comedian and night club performer.  His film and television career was just taking off, though his stint as Corporal Agarn in the television series F-Troop was still several years away.

As I continued browsing, I found another Lively Arts recording that did make sense: Burgess Meredith reading two short stories by Ray Bradbury.  

Burgess Meredith Reads Ray Bradbury (Lively Arts, LA 30004)

Burgess Meredith was already a distinguished film, stage, and television actor and his portrayal of the book-loving Henry Bemis in the "Time Enough At Last" episode of The Twilight Zone (1959)surely scored points with science-fiction fans.  

In fact, Meredith was Bradbury's personal choice to read his stories ("There Will Come Soft Rains" & "Marionettes, Inc.") according to Joe Glodberg's album notes.
I paid for the records and researched Lively Arts when I got home.  The label, an imprint of Prestige Records, was only active from 1961-64.  Other spoken word entries include Roddy McDowell reading H.P. Lovecraft, James Mason reading Edgar Allan Poe and Herman Melville, and Norman Mailer reading his own work.


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