Guy Noir

If you were listening to Prairie Home Companion (or attending the live performance at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco) this weekend, you heard Berkeley figure prominently in the show.

Guy Noir, host Garrison Keillor’s literate detective, crossed the Bay to investigate the establishment of a private zoo in Berkeley. You can listen to the segment here (about 10 minutes in) or read the script and provide your own voices and sound effects. Here’s my favorite passage, which, like much of the segment, enjoyed playing with Berkeley’s initial letter (I won’t bother with the set up — the “plot” was typically silly and thin):

GK: Miss Bixby owned the Bangkok Bakery, which was next-door to the Berkeley Botanical Blanket shop.

SS:  Hi. Becky biked to Bakersfield on her motorbike so I’m running the bakery. You care for a blackened broccoli bisque baked on bricks?

GK: Becky Bixby doesn’t sound like anyone from Bangkok.

SS:  Brooklyn. She’s Bert Bacharach’s bookkeeper. Buxom gal, sort of a Sandra Bullock look-alike but with buck-teeth and a beautymark on her beak.

GK: I thought Brooke Backstrom was Bert Bacharach’s bookkeeper.

SS: I’m Brooke Backstrom.

GK: You’re a Berkeley grad?

SS: Wrote a book on Bix Beiderbeck’s effect on Samuel Beckett and Bertolt Brecht. How about breakfast? Buckwheat bean-curd pancakes with bok choi biscuits? Buckwheat kills bacteria better than broccoli. You know that?

By the way, I know as many people detest Prairie Home Companion as love it. In my household, my listening is barely tolerated.

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Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...