Without my grandfather there would be no Weird Al

He who's tired of Weird Al is tired of life.

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jeanddjohnson
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Without my grandfather there would be no Weird Al

Post by jeanddjohnson »

This is an interesting but true story. Weird Al may have never existed without my grandfather. Well Al would have been born, but Weird Al may have never existed. You see my grandfather is Red Blanchard. Who is Red Blanchard you ask? He was an old radio DJ in LA and SF back in the 50's. He was like Dr. D, way before Dr. D. Until recently I knew very little about my grandfathers career. Anyway, back in the 50's a man named Jim Drake used to send my grandfather records much in the way Al sent his tapes to Dr. D. My grandfather found one of them particularly catchy but felt it was missing something. He added in some sound effects and the song became a hit. The song was a little number called Transfusion, and the artist came up with the stage name of Nervous Norvus. My grandfather added the car crash effects to the song. Norvus idolized him so much he wrote two songs about him, Bully Bully Man, and I Listen to Red in Bed

Flash forward to years later. A young DJ in Los Angeles, Barret Eugene Hansen liked to mix in novelty records into his show. One day he decides to play Transfusion. A fellow DJ says he must be demented to play that record. The name sticks, and Dr. Demento is born. Of course Dr. D provides the inspiration for Al and the rest is history. If it were not for my grandfather who knows what might have happened.

A few years ago as my grandfather was being inducted into the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame the presenter remarked that when people asked about Red Blanchard they would always remark "oh he was like Dr. Demento". The presenter then pointed out that Dr. Demento was really just doing Red Blanchard. I knew nothing of this history growing up. All I knew was I really liked listening to Dr. D and I really liked listening to Al. Dare to Be Stupid was the first cassette tape I owned. I also liked a song Dr. D used to play a lot called of course, Transfusion. I never knew it was really my grandfather.

My grandfather turned 90 this year. If anyone is interested they can check out tapes of his old show and also read all about his connection to Nervous Norvous. His website is http://www.redblanchard.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;.

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QuantumError
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Re: Without my grandfather there would be no Weird Al

Post by QuantumError »

Thanks for sharing that story with us!

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Grom
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Re: Without my grandfather there would be no Weird Al

Post by Grom »

Man, that's so awesome! Best post in ages.
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash

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weirdojace
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Re: Without my grandfather there would be no Weird Al

Post by weirdojace »

That's pretty insightful. Best first post ever, I'd say.

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Re: Without my grandfather there would be no Weird Al

Post by Orthography Enthusiast »

Thank you for that very interesting story!

I think that it took a lot of people to make Weird Al possible. Your grandfather, Dr. D., the brother of the pastor of one of the security guards at the Orange County fair... who walked up to the front door of a little house in Lynwood, CA and sold an accordion to the homeowners for their little boy to take lessons on. It all came together somehow.

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Big Spoon
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Re: Without my grandfather there would be no Weird Al

Post by Big Spoon »

Wow, that's awesome!
And Peggy

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WeirdMary0427
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Re: Without my grandfather there would be no Weird Al

Post by WeirdMary0427 »

That is too cool. Thanks for sharing!!

heidiklum
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Re: Without my grandfather there would be no Weird Al

Post by heidiklum »

Great story. Thanks!

jeanddjohnson
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Re: Without my grandfather there would be no Weird Al

Post by jeanddjohnson »

In the truth is stranger than fiction category comes this update. I listened to Dr. D religiously when I was a kid. I never heard one of my grandfathers songs mentioned, let alone played on the show. I happened to visit Dr. D's website tonight and I took a look at his playlist for the September 11th show. On it were not one, not two, but three of my grandfather's songs, Captain Hideous, Pagan Love Song, and Zorch. You talk about a surreal moment.

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algonacchick
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Re: Without my grandfather there would be no Weird Al

Post by algonacchick »

That's pretty cool. Thanks for sharing!
4 words that Al said to me that blew me away:

"How's Problem Child doing?" - 7/12/11

So awesome!

Al Team #325

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