Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Komodo dragon expert

There's a story on the AP mojo wire this morning from the wilds of eastern Indonesia. It's in that eastern part of the archipelago [How long have you been waiting to use that word? Ed.] that you would find the islands of Komodo, Padar and Rinca, home of the fabled and fearsome Komodo dragon.

Yes, folks, the Komodo dragon really does exist. And here's what one looks like.

Ugly brute, isn't it? How would you feel if one of those wandered into your workplace? Well, that's what happened at Komodo National Park, where one of the monster reptiles attacked two park rangers... in their office!

A KNP spokesthingy, Heru Rudiharto -- no hero he! -- said the 2-metre-long lizard bit the rangers badly enough that  both had to be evacuated to a hospital on Bali.

This story reminded me of a classic sketch by the greatest radio comedians ever to be heard on US airwaves. I refer of course to Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding,  known to legions of fans as "Bob and Ray".

The Bob and Ray Show began, more by accident than anything else, in 1946 on WHDH in Boston. It ran under various titles on national networks including NBC and NPR, until 1987. There was even a TV version, briefly, back in the golden (i.e. black-and-white) years. The TV version didn't do all that well, possibly because the spoofs were created for radio, and didn't depend at all on visuals for the gags.

It came as something of a surprise, then, when stage versions -- Bob and Ray: the Two and Only and A Night of Two Stars -- played for months to packed houses at Carnegie Hall and on the road. Walt was there, and remembers clearly hearing and watching them do one of their best radio sketches, "The Komodo Dragon expert". No video has found its way to YouTube, but here's the audio portion.

Hey... they're not making that stuff up. What the expert told you are the facts about Komodo dragons. If you'd like to know more about life in the land they come from -- eastern Indonesia -- you're in luck, because one of Walt's agents lives and works there. Click here to read her blog, "Life is a gift; live it!" Good words to remember, especially if a Komodo dragon wanders into your workplace.

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