From the Archives: The News from Lake Wobegon - The Best of 1982

Everyone has a different Lake Wobegon story that they remember from the live A Prairie Home Companion broadcasts and call in or write to see if a specific story is available.  Well, they haven't been until now.  From the Archives is a deep dive into the archive, unearthing stories season by season and here is the collection featuring the stories from 1982.  Lake Wobegon experiences extreme cold and shuts people in their homes to feuds, frustrations, plumbing issues and other crazy antics.   Memories told of romance with Donna Bunsen at the laundromat and the Diener boy's first drag on a cigarette landing his car in the pond.  In fall, we hear about the demise of Irene Anderson's 20 oz tomato and the avalanche of squash from the attic.   Christmas is nearly perfect with the exception of Einer's reading of the Gospel.  Get 'From the Archives,' our brand new collection featuring the News from Lake Wobegon stories from 1982.  Over 3 hours on 3 CDs.  Below is a bieif description of each story you will find on each of the CDs.
Disc #1                                     Get the CDs >>>     Download Disc #1 >>>
Janauary 2, 1982 - Lake Wobegon folks celebrate New Year's Eve in different ways by going to bed, staying up all night or heading out to the ice houses with a bottle of whiskey.  Wally Kresbach figures out the mystery of the horrible smell.
January 16, 1982 - People were shut-in their homes because it was so cold and how the people of LW coped.  They learned that all that matters in winter is plumbing.
February 13, 1982 - Household turmoil at both the Barley's and the Lundbergs; quite the chaos at night but the day brings back the quiet.
March 6, 1982 - The Lake Wobegon civic meeting heats up about needed improvement in town but once again to no avail.  Romance memories of spending time at the laundry with Donna Bunsen leading to  a kiss.
April 17, 1982 - Father Emil misses Easter services due to chest pains. The parents worry that their Seniors are not ready to leave the nest after graduation.
May 15, 1982 - Teachers let the Seniors out early because they figured what they didn't know now, they would never know.  Partying ensued.  The Diener Boy  took a drag off his first cigarette and ended up in the pond.
Mr. Keillor's tales of the fictional Lake Wobegon, Minn, its people and the businesses that "sponsor" the show are the ties that bind the show together.  Listeners share in the ups and (mostly) downs of the Lake Wobegon Whippets baseball team, study the menu of Dorothy's Chatterbox Cafe, wonder how Lake Wobegon's favorite daughter, Barbara Ann Bunson, is doing at the University of Minnesota, cheer the attributes of Powdermilk Biscuits (made from whole wheat grown in the rich botomlands of the Lake Wobegon valley by Norwegian bachelor farmers).
- Country Life 1980
Disc #2                                  GET THE CDs >>>  Download Disc #2 >>>
May 22, 1982 - The Seniors wonder why parents make such a fuss about graduation but its good to have ceremony because we miss the big one (our funeral).
June 5, 1982 - There are hysterical memories of the Memorial Day celebration when Father Emil's address went way too long and the Sons of Knute nearly shot the attendees by being startled when he shouted the word "Fire" in his message.
August 21, 1982 - The kids are getting bored at the end of summer and secretly look forward to the start of school. Uncle Earl loses 40 pounds but faces criticism because in Lake Wobegon everyone grew up to be "big."
August 28, 1982 - There is a lot of gossip going around Lake Wobegon about:  the Heglund's bat, Mr. Anderson's mysterious daily visits to the garage, and the care of Irene Anderson's 20 oz tomato and it's demise.
"The purpose of talking about Lake Wobegon and telling the stories and so on is not nostalgic, for me, so much as it is upholding and defending a certain style of humor, and also a way of life that I identify with the Midwest and that I see as under attack by the national media and by television.  It's a way of life and it's a culture that is based in the family and to some extent based on rural or small-town values . . . I see it as being under attack by the national media, who see it as irrelevant or passe or outdated" - Garrison Keillor, circa 1980 
Disc #3 -                                    GET THE CDs >>>   Download Disc #3 >>>
September 4, 1982 - Gary and LeRoy help to save the life of Baby Oberg.  Also, the recalling of an early fascination with a girl in fifth grade and how it ended when they turned 17.
Seotember 25, 1982 - The Tollefson boy heads off to college and the parents are happy he is gone.  Janice Lilliquest proudly becomes Homecoming Queen.
October 30, 1982 - As elections approach, Dorothy puts up a sign that says "no politics," even with Hubert Humphrey coming to town.  There was avalanche of squash at the Berge household when the ceiling gave way just above their bed.
November 6, 1982 - It's time to pull out the wool long underwear and the men/boys try to figure out how to scratch that itch.  In Lake Wobegon there is a big difference between those with manners and those without.
December 25, 1982 - The lights finally were put up by the men of the SideTrack tap and all other Christmas events went off without a hitch except the reading of the Gospel.  Einer was chosen to read and his nerves got the best of him.


  • I would like to have the first monologue I heard, which turned me into an instant fan. Garrison was a teenager, about 19, I think, and was on a ski lift, trying to impress a girl. I hadn’t laughed so hard in a long time.

    Mary Coles
  • I’m hopeful you continue to release the mp3 versions beyond 1982. I’ve enjoyed hearing the older stories from before I started listening regularly.

    Brian Edgar
  • Dear Garrison
    Do you have any Christmas shows archived from 1980-1985 that include familiar carols with new written lyrics. I remember Joy to the World sang by the birds outside in a Minnesota winter. Our family favorite is your collaboration of Handel’s Water Music Suite.
    Would be very interested in purchasing these songs.
    Thank you very much.
    Mary Lyon

    Mary Lyon

Leave a comment