Nick Danger
Created by The Firesign Theatre

"Well, now, the gum's on the other shoe."
-- Nick Danger, on a sudden plot shift,
in The Case of the Missing Yolks

Even more than the literature, classic radio eyes of the forties and fifties thrived on first person. And they did it in present tense, as in " I'm talking to you as this happens!" Pretty funny, if you think about it. Walking down the street, shouting narration like a mad man, trying to tail a suspect.

So the smart asses in Firesign Theatre had a lot of fun with this in their off-the-wall sketches featuring NICK DANGER, THIRD EYE (when two aren't enough). Nick made his debut on their second comedy LP "How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All?" There we meet Nick, old girlfriend Betty Jo Bialaski (but everyone knew her as Nancy) and diminutive Rocky Rococo.

All of Nicks's appearances on air, on record, and later, on film, spoof the conventions of those old detective radio shows -- not just the narration, but the special effects, the sponsors, the on-air host, the convuluted plots and just about anything else that wasn't nailed down, past, present or future, including TV shows, fast food, television commercials, soap operas and lawyers.

Nick proved to be quite popular, and has appeared often in firesign's long career. He showed up on vinyl a few times "The Case of the Missing Shoe" (1979) and "The Three Faces of Al" (1984) and he even had his own movie, 1983's Nick Danger in The Case of The Missing Yolks. Set in the future, the film (executive-produced by former-Monkee and Liquid Paper-heir Michael Nesmith) features Nick on the hunt for the missing children of the Yolk family. Some of the highlights along the way include Rat-in-a-Box, Lawyer's Hospital, Boobie Chew, Duck-Flavored Coffee ("it's the real decoy!"), Ol' Faithful Scotch (it comes back upon you every hour), etc. This one scores high on the Chuckle-O-Meter.

Anyone interested in other send-ups of old-time radio eyes should check out Garrison Keillor's Guy Noir."

EVIDENCE

  • Rocky Ricoco lights Nick's script on fire, then makes a scathing comment.
    Nick's reply? "That's easy for you to say...you have a script."
    (Suggested by Thomas A. Scamfer)

  • "It had been snowing ever since the top of the page, and I had to shake the cornstarch off my mukluks."
    - Nick Danger, narrating

  • "My nostrils flared at the scent of his perfume: Pyramid Patchouli. There was only one joker in L.A. sensitive enough to wear *that* scent...and I had to find out who he was!"
    - Nick hot on the scent of Rocky Rococo

RADIO

  • FIRESIGN THEATRE
    Various skits featuring Nick Danger
    Writers: Phil Austin, Peter Bergman, Phil Proctor, David Ossman
    Starring Phil Austin as NICK DANGER

RECORDINGS

  • HOW CAN YOU BE IN TWO PLACES AT ONCE WHEN YOU'RE NOT ANYWHERE AT ALL?... Buy this CD
    (1969, Columbia)
    Firesign Theatre's second LP, featuring Nick's debut, ""The Adventures of Nick Danger, Third Eye.

  • THE CASE OF THE MISSING SHOE: A TWELVE-MINUTE MYSTERY DRAMA
    (1979, Rhino)
    A series of five short (2:24) skits, currently out of print.

  • THE THREE FACES OF AL
    (1984, Rhino)
    Currently out of print.

  • NICK DANGER: THE DAILY FEED TAPES... Buy this CD
    (2000, LodeStone Media)
    53 episodes written and performed entirely by Phil Austin in 1988-90 for the nationally syndicated radio show, The Daily Feed.

FILM

  • NICK DANGER IN THE CASE OF THE MISSING YOLKS... Buy this video
    (1983, Nesmith Enterprises)
    Various skits featuring Nick
    Written by: Phil Austin, Peter Bergman, Phil Proctor
    Directed by: William Dear
    Produced by: Kevin McCormick
    Executive Producer: Michael Nesmith
    Presented by The Firesign Theatre
    Starring Phil Austin as NICK DANGER
    With
    Peter Bergman, Phil Proctor, David Ossman, Bob Lesser, Wendy Cutler, Christie Kaatz, Don Gibb, Ken Greenwald

RELATED LINKS

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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