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From the Archives: Garrison Keillor's The News from Lake Wobegon - 1981

From the Archives: Garrison Keillor's News from Lake Wobegon - 1980

When A Prairie Home Companion went national in 1980, Garrison Keillor started turning his vignettes, updates, and letters from Lake Wobegon into a full-fledged story each week.  In this vintage collection, you can hear America’s favorite storyteller hone his craft in front of a live audience, regaling them with stories about what takes place in “the little town that time forgot and decades could not improve.”This collection includes all monologues from A Prairie Home Companion that aired in the year 1980.  Over 2 1/2 hours on 3 CDs.

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The News from Lake Wobegon
We are cracking open the vault and pulling out some of the very first monologues from the Lake Wobegon saga.  These stories originally aired during live broadcasts of A Prairie Home Companion in the year 1980.  They've been remastered for modern audio specifications but we've kept the asides and the ambient, location-secific comments that make each audio record so unique.  Hear the early versions of legendary stories including "Tomato Butt" and the grass growing in the ear of the statue of the unkown Norwegian, as well as Garrison's updates on the town's hapless baseball team (the Whippets) and the first mentions of characters like Senator K. Thorvaldsen.

This collection includes monologues from A Prairie Home Companion that aired in the year 1980. Over 2 1/2 hours of stories across 3 CDs.

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AVAILABLE for Downloading too
This collection is also available digitally in 2 parts. Same stories, same humor, but can be downloaded straight from the internet!

1980, Part 1 >>>
1980, Part 2 >>>

The Stories

This CD collection includes more than 3 hours of monologues culled from          
Disc 1        
Jan 26, 1980
When the towns Christmas tree falls down, many wonder if Wally, proprietor of the Sidetrack Tap, pulled it down or if it fell naturally.

Feb 9, 1980
The Valentine's Day dance is approaching and the town council is worried that only 3 couples have signed up, Father Emil is in Minneapolis lobying the legislature, the town ponders building a new bridge to Art's Bait of Rest and Motel, and rumors that Ralph purchased a snowmobile causes conversations all around town.

April 14, 1980
The town ponders if the bells at both Lake Wobegon Lutheran and Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility should ring for Easter.  Mayor Cliint Bunsen who fhas lots of leverage with his decision based on the quantity of fresh strawberries he distributes decides no bells will ring between 11pm and 8am.  Plus the story of Bud Soderburg and his snowplow and the story of Irlene and the Lake Wobegon marching band.

April 21, 1980
Harold doesn't have much to report in the Lake Wobegon Star Herald on a quiet week that saw the Whippets defeat the Upsala Uff das, the Sons of Knute's mailing, chicken pox and a lost cap.

May 3, 1980
An early telling of a classic story of changing out the Storm Windows plus grass grows in the ear of the Statue of the Unknown Norwegian.

May 24, 1980
The gardens are coming up in the spring, the town readies for graduation and the story of porch people.

May 31, 1980
Memorial Day celebrations are under way for both Lake Wobegon Lutheran and Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility, seeing Father Emil readying for vacation and Father Frank sitting in and speeding things up.   The Whippets get pummeled again and everyone knows it will be another long season.

June 7, 1980
The Whippets are now in last place with an 0-4 record but the Herald Star prints that everyone should look on the bright side as the team is only 4 games out of 1st.  Everyone is brought up with the motto that winners never quit and quitters never win so we must all stick in there.

July 12, 1980
It's been such a quiet week that the Norwegian Lutherans and German Catholics are searching for the cure to insomnia.  Norman Ditman falls down after visiting the Sidetrack Tap and townsfolk wonder if it was the heat, the drinks, or the barstools which cut off the circulation to your legs.


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Disc 2
July 19, 1980
The first telling of the classic story Tomato Butt, Dr. Newt is retiring after 44 years and everyone wonders how it will effect the town and wahat he will do plus his assistant Rosemary is fielding employment offers.

July 26, 1980
The firew siren goes of twice for missing people spurs a discussion of the favorite searches and disasters including the story of Bertha Inqvuist and her kidnapper and the Shoemaker boy and the picnic of the Exiles.

August 2, 1980
The Leap for Life from the grandstand at the Mist County Fair plus middle child syndrom and the importance of the National Geographic magazine.

August 16, 1980
The town talks about the lengths Bud and LeRoy, the Lake Wobegon town constables, go to maintain the peace including the use of parking stripes, watching the Feed & Seed when left unattended and the Olson boy is attracted to Inga from the Chatterbox which leads to an explosion at the grain elevator.

August 23, 1980
It's going to be a long and hard season for the Lake Wobegon Whippets as they are tracing the number of outs until the finish on the walls of the dugout as the losses pile up.

August 30, 1980
Clarence and Arlene Bunsen are off on vacation as Duane ponders the start of another school year.  Lake Wobegon High School is looking for teachers, students ponder lessons learned on the playground and the Whippets finish the season with a miraculous catch and a victory.

September 13, 1980
The town is a bit quieter because of the Friday Night fish fry at the Sidetrack Tap and the ramifications of the fall harvest when you learn you don't always have to work for your vegetables if you go to Sunday service.

September 20, 1980
Lake Wobegon sees a week of peace as the first hard frost of the season hits bringing the tomato growing season to an end.  Pastor Inqvuist's sermon deals with renunciation and sacrifice and the Lake Wobegon Leanards schedule a patsie to start their new season and wind up losing to a group of girls as the debut a new fight song.


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Disc 3
September 27, 1980
Everyone in Lake Wobegon is putting up their storm windows as is custom when October arrives.  Most have the old wood windows because they cannot seem to throw away something that still works.  Uncle Charlie brings his nephew in check after returning from college with an attitude and the Olson house causes quite a stir.

October 4, 1980
The water conservation project is underway in Lake Wobegon and has seen the team replace many old toilets but has a disastrous response when everyone awakes to no water and thus no coffee and after troubleshooting and antifreeze, Bud realizes he shut off the water main due to a leak.  His raise comes up at the town council later and is tabled.

October 11, 1980
It's Homecoming and guys are falling asleep all over town: at the Sidetrack Tap, the Chatterbox Cafe, and even at church and it's understood that its due to the Hogian theory.

October 18, 1980
Things are so slow that the front page of the Herald Star is filled with auction notices and everyone notices that a number of old time farmers are giving up farming and selling their equipment, telling others the ins and outs of how they are run and the story of Mr. Turnblads yacht.

November 8, 1980
It's deer hunting season and there isn't a lot to report in the Herald Star.  Well, there is a lot to report but as Harold says there is a lot happening that must go unreported as he states "I gotta live with these guys."

November 15, 1980
The Poet Laureate of Lake Wobegon, Margaret Haskins Durber, shares her poem 'A Book Report of Minnesota Birds.'

November 22, 1980
Little Ruth Halvorson is getting married and the townsfolk are concerned as he hasn't come to town for inspection yet plus the first appearance of Senator Thorvaldson.

November 29, 1980
The story of the exiles and how they are welcomed back to town on Thanksgiving or other occasions.  Guest privileges are not good for more than 24 hours so don't overstay your welcome.  Once you leave . . . you're gone.

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3 comments

  • I would prefer…“Make My Teeth Grate, Again.”

    jack barry, San Francisco
  • Though I clearly understand the statement, “Make American Intelligent Again,” I feel putting it on items for sale only exacerbates the deep division we are experiencing in this country.

    Grace Cooper
  • Do you have a catalog of full episodes?

    David

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