November 6, 2014

101 Reel-to-Reel Tapes 82: Murray Roman ~ A Blind Man's Movie

In addition to my vinyl LP record collection I'm selling, I have hundreds of reel-to-reel, pre-recorded tapes as well. This is an entry about one of them that is for sale on eBay (see link below). Interested? Contact me by email, please, not by a comment.

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Murray Roman ~ A Blind Man's Movie
reel-to-reel tape box detail
detail photo by Styrous©

41 years ago today, on November 6, 1973, Murray Roman was killed in a car crash. I hear you asking, "Who in the hell is Murray Roman?" Murray Roman was an American stand-up comedian born on March 8, 1929. His style and material was considered to be similar to Lenny Bruce. Roman was also a writer on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and, as part of the Comedy Hour writing team, won an Emmy for his work in 1969. His most noted sketch was "The Honey House," which mocked the syrupy 1968 hit song Honey, by Bobby Goldsboro. The skit featured a tour of the house where Honey (the fictional subject of the song) had lived and died, conducted with suitable melodrama by her husband, played first by Tom Smothers and then by Dick. Bob Einstein and Murray would occasionally write sketches together.

Tommy Smothers recalls, "He [Roman] didn't write so well - he talked his writing. I hired him as a writer on the show [because] good comedians were always pretty good writers ... and he was a pretty good writer. Most of his gift was sitting in the writer meetings and throwing one-liners out against the material. That's how he'd find his stuff ... but the reason I hired him was because of that album."

 A Blind Man's Movie

Out of Control was Roman's first comedy album; A Blind Man's Movie was his second. The vinyl LP record format (remember that?) of A Blind Man's Movie is remembered for its avant-garde design meant to demonstrate the look of “a blind man’s movie. ” The front and back covers are completely blank – covered in black, as is the album’s gatefold. Of course, they could not do that for the boxed reel-to-reel tape version.

Murray Roman ~ A Blind Man's Movie
reel-to-reel tape box cover  
photo by Styrous©

Murray Roman ~ A Blind Man's Movie
reel-to-reel tape box back 
photo by Styrous©

Murray Roman on TV

Roman made one appearance on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson. He had a role on a 1966 episode of Batman which was known for its upbeat theme music, composed by Neal Hefti, and camp moral lessons which included championing the importance of using seat belts, doing homework, eating vegetables and drinking milk. Kind of incongruous considering the risqué tone of his monologues. He appeared in the season two episodes "Hizzonner the Penguin" and "Dizzoner the Penguin" on November 2 and 3, 1966, in a story that revolved around The Penguin running for mayor of Gotham City. Roman played a Penguin minion named E.G. Trendek. The episode also had Paul Revere and The Raiders playing at a "Penguin for Mayor" rally.

Roman had small television roles for about two years. Batman was followed by a part on ABC Stage 67 (broadcasting in the autumn of 1966). The Emmy Award winning series had a different format each week - sometimes as a variety show, sometimes a teleplay, occasionally a talk show. This particular episode featured a drama called "On the Flip Side" written by Robert Emmett, a former writer for the satirical "That Was the Week That Was" (see link below). It featured Roman as a hippie named Hairy Eddy Hopkin. He acted alongside Ricky Nelson and the program had a score by Burt Bacharach. The year finished up with Roman taping an episode of "That Girl" in which he played a bowling alley manager. He was on The Rat Patrol, on March 4, 1968, and the Fairytale episode of the The Monkees show on January 8 of 1968.

Murray Roman ~ A Blind Man's Movie
reel-to-reel tape box spine 
photo by Styrous©

The album was produced by David Briggs & Murray Roman

Produced by David Briggs & Murray Roman
Murray Roman ~ A Blind Man's Movie
reel-to-reel tape box back detail 
detail photo by Styrous©

His live act was a hit on the comedy circuit. With his material done in the vernacular of the hippies, he became a choice opening act for major bands like The Doors and Country Joe and the Fish.

Murray Roman ~ A Blind Man's Movie
reel-to-reel tape
photo by Styrous©

ok, the contents (note I don't say music)

As with his first album, Movie is a fusion (or collision) of music, stand up comedy and weird effects; there are snippets of music mixed with the monologues. There is a version of the song, Shake, by Otis Redding and a song by The Chambers Brothers. To hear what his shtick was all about there are links, at the bottom, to some of the tracks from Blind Man's Movie on YouTube.

Murray Roman ~ A Blind Man's Movie
reel-to-reel tape label detail 
detail photo by Styrous©


Side 1:

A1     Chicks    
A2     Snow White    
A3     The War    
A4     Ralph    
A5     Transplants    
A6     Cuba    
A7     Black People    

Side 2:

B1     Black Sambo Pancakes    
B2     Strip Bust    
B3     Fuzz    
B4     Theology

Label: Tetragrammaton Records ‎– X 120
Format: reel-to-reel tape
Country: US
Released: Jume 1969
Genre: Non-Music
Style: Comedy

  Murray Roman Discography:
Out of Control
You Can't Beat People Up And Have Them Say I Love You
A Blind Man's Movie
Backtrack 13 (You Can't Beat People Up And Have Them Say I Love You)

A Blind Man's Movie on YouTube:  

other net links:

More Murray Roman info on wfmu: The Forgotten Murry Roman

Murray Roman ~ A Blind Man's Movie, reel-to-reel tape is for sale on eBay 

other reel-to-reel tapes on eBay

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