Friday, April 18, 2008


People around my age or older will hopefully remember Tom Snyder (1936-2007) and his late night Tomorrow Show (1973-1982). The guy was a character in his own right, but he also had some of my faves come on to play and chat with. I was thinking about it the other day for some reason, and discovered that at least four compilation DVDs have been released: Tom Snyder's The Tomorrow Show (with John Lennon, etc.); The Tomorrow Show - Tom Snyder's Electric Kool-Aid Talk Show (2006) / Electrik Kool Aid Talk Show (2008); and The Tomorrow Show - Punk & New Wave (2006). A delight for those into this kind of thing (including me).

In a 1981 episode, see Iggy Pop (with broken tooth, a little bloodied) perform "Dog Food," "Five Foot One" and "TV Eye," and in between try to calm down enough to hold a coherent conversation (which is sampled below). Love it! Seriously -- Patti Smith, The Ramones, Joan Jett, Elvis Costello & The Attractions, The Jam, The Plasmatics, Public Image, Ltd. (with John Lydon in post-Johnny Rotten state, hilarious and still quite surly -- I remember this one well). Dig it, man! There may be more to come -- bring out The Clash, etc.!

Today's Rune: Partnership.

Out my window there's nothing where a city used to be
Phone line dead, the power gone, there's nothing on TV
Can't understand what happened to all the plans I made
I turn on the radio and hear the signal fade (it's pretty loud)
But I'll do it tomorrow . . .

Life is moving faster, I can feel it every day
So I'll do it tomorrow . . .

(Wall of Voodoo, Call of the West, 1982)


Sidney said...

When I was first getting old enough to stay up late during summer vacation, watching The Tomorrow Show seemed to be one of the greatest exercises of freedom I could imagine.

I remember a lot of cool shows. Once he had a group of reformed con artists who showed how a lot of different scams worked.

I can also remember a retrospective show he did on many of his strangest guests including a guy who was going to pray one of his dead parents back to life and a guy who had a host of magic spells he had obtained because his father sold his soul to the devil and passed them on.

That was quality television.

lulu said...

I remember him interviewing Meat Loaf. What a great show. I'm glad to see it's available now.

the walking man said...

Nope, yep I knew of Tom Snyder and that he had a hosts role...never saw the show though. Hell I never saw a full broadcast of SNL until I was in my late, late forties. I guess a lack of cultural pursuit will do that to one.

ha ha ha ha Did like the Iggy Pop clip though, I saw him live a couple of times while I was off not pursuing culture in the 70's.



Charles Gramlich said...

Sounds like the kind of thing Jim Morrison used to talk about. The Dionysian and apollyon. (Spelling is probably screwed up here)

Lana Gramlich said...

OMG! I totally remember that show, now that you mention it! Tom Snyder was indeed a character!

Johnny Yen said...

Erik, I don't think anyone mixes the political and the cultural better than you do. Bless you.

There's something surreal about all those punk and "new wave" groups being on Tom Snyder's show.

My two memories of him: his interview with Charles Manson and his interview with Isabel Allende.

My parents went on a vacation together in 1981 in order, basically, to try to save their marriage (it must have worked-- they are still together). While they were gone, my brothers and I, who were 19, 18 and 17, had a few parties, including one the night of the interview with Manson. We were all ready to be scared and appalled by Manson, but in Snyder's interview he came across as a pathetic little white trash asshole.

Flash forward to 1998-- when his show was resurrected. I was up late one night watching him interview Isabel Allende about her sole non-fiction book, about the death (of cancer) of her daughter. Snyder asked a question about "your father, the former dictator of Chile." She very curtly and icily corrected Snyder, pointing out that Allende was not her father, but her uncle, and was not the dictator of Chile, but the democratically elected President of Chile, who was murdered by the dictator Pinochet. Snyder could be way-cool, and also a big idiot, like so many people in pop culture.

Erik Donald France said...

Thank you all for the great comments, always appreciated!

Bubs said...

Thank you, THANK YOU, for posting that interview clip. I don't remember that, and I was a regular Tom Snyder viewer back then. I have vivid memories of the interviews with John Lydon and Wendy O WIlliams. I remember Tom asking Wendy if she was going to do "the thing with the shaving cream" meaning perform topless with shaving cream covering her nipples.

Tom Snyder always gave you the impression of being the guy who'd always ask the embarrassing question you were afraid to ask because it would make you look like a dork.