Everything You Know Is Wrong
|Everything You Know Is Wrong|
|Studio album by The Firesign Theatre|
|Producer||The Firesign Theatre|
|The Firesign Theatre chronology|
|The New Rolling Stone Record Guide|||
Everything You Know Is Wrong is the eighth comedy album by the Firesign Theatre. Released in October 1974 on Columbia Records, it satirizes UFOlogy and other New Age paranormal beliefs, such as Erich von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods and claimed psychic Uri Geller, which achieved wide public attention by that time.
The four main characters are pictured on the album cover:
- "Happy" Harry Cox (Phil Austin) — narrator of the album, who runs the recording studio "Nude Age Enterprises" from his mobile home in a nudist trailer park located in the fictional town of Hellmouth, California (surrounded by the towns of Hooker and Heater). Although Cox is depicted on the cover and in the accompanying video as clothed, he apparently is a nudist, as Gary asks "Why are you naked?" when meeting him face-to-face.
- Gary the Seeker (Peter Bergman) — a teen-age fan of Cox, member of a group of New Age experimentalists who travel on the "Heavenly Bus".
- Art Wholeflaffer (David Ossman) — nudist manager of the trailer park where Cox lives. Wholeflaffer is actually a nudist, as he is depicted as wearing only a visor cap and tool apron.
- Nino Savant (Philip Proctor) — the "Mind-Boggler" who communicates with his audience "by sending directly from his mind to yours"; a parody of "psychic" spoon-bender Uri Geller.
The LP album is ostensibly the latest in Cox's series of "mind-breaking records" purveying his New Age revelations, augmented with mock commercial television news coverage. There are no track divisions.
Side 1 (20:45)
After a brief introduction, Cox gives a reverberating montage of his latest revelations, such as "Dogs flew spaceships", "Men and women are the same sex", and "Your brain is not the boss"; concluding with "Everything you know is wrong!"
Cox interviews Heater County, California Sheriff Luger Axehandle (Ossman), who claims to have seen a dog- or wolf-like alien digging up a grave in Curio, Arizona. Cox follows this with his interview of Lem Ashhauler (Proctor), editor of the Hellmouth–Heater Democrat newspaper, who reads an archived 1897 story identifying the grave's occupant as a strange visitor who choked to death on a piece of cheese.
Next, Cox plays the soundtrack of the short film Ben Franklin: Hero or Hophead?, which alleges Franklin (Bergman), Samuel Adams (Proctor), and Thomas Jefferson (Austin) planned the American Revolution while smoking hemp.
Cox follows this with a purported wire recording of an old-time medicine show produced by "Doctor Firesign's Antique Theatre". The show starts with Act One of a play parodying Uncle Tom's Cabin, in which Field Marshal Thomas Legree Quadroon (Bergman), a freed "professional slave", returns from the Civil War as a carpetbagger to terrorize his former owners by demanding they pay a "carpet tax" and telling them it's their turn to be the slaves. At intermission, the charlatan Professor Archer (Ossman) and his assistant Bowman (Bergman) prepare a potion from "Don Brouhaha's Inca Hell-Oil Tonic" and "Chief Dancing Knockout's Pyramid Pushover Paste".
Cox then describes Archer and Bowman ingesting their potion and turning into crows, and narrates a dramatization of their encounter with Don Brouhaha (Proctor), an "ancient cockroach in a sombrero", actually a Native American shaman, a parody of Carlos Castaneda's character Don Juan Matus.
At this point, Cox's recording is interrupted by a phone call from psychic Nino Savant (Proctor), who tells Cox the aliens want to contact him. Savant then moves from the phone to the TV, so Cox can listen to his answering machine. The only messages are from his bank, a teenage stalker fan named Gary (Bergman), and Cox's trailer park manager Art Wholeflaffer (Ossman).
After Savant leaves the TV, we hear the Channel 6 television news report, anchored by the "Where It's Happy" team of Harold Hiphugger (Ossman) and Ray Hamberger (Proctor) (pronounced "am-bur-ZHER", but Cox later addresses him as "Mr. Hamburger"). They parody the "happy talk" television news format which came into fashion about this time. After commercials for "Bear Wiz" beer and "Magog Brothers Atlantis Carpet Reclaimers", who are stuck with a warehouse full of inventory damaged by the recent collision of a comet, reporter Pat Hat (Bergman, a parody of Howard Cosell) cynically interviews "daredemon" Reebus Caneebus (Austin, a parody of Evel Knievel), who plans to jump into the deep hole left in the desert by the comet. Cox ends side 1 with a teaser of his "most startling new revelation."
Side 2 (21:15)
This starts with aliens apparently revealing themselves and demanding the surrender of Earth, until Cox angrily stops the record, declaring he, too, "was taken in by clever fakes like this." As proof that aliens have landed on Earth, he plays an episode of the travel show The Golden Hind, hosted by Bob Hind (Austin), a parody of the 1950s-60s TV series The Golden Voyage, hosted by travelogue film producer Jack Douglas. Hind interviews Buzz (Bergman) and Bunny (Proctor) Crumbhunger, a married couple who present a home movie of their abduction, murder and resurrection by aliens.
Cox then presents an "official stolen Air Force training film" of "the secret plan to deal with an alien uprising", narrated by General Curtis Goatheart (Proctor). The flim contains an enactment of a general (Ossman) telling his wife (Austin) and two of his officers (Proctor and Bergman) at breakfast that "two flying saucers [eggs] have just landed on my plate." Though they think he is insane, he takes command and "bombs aliens back to stone age".
The Crumbhungers happen to live next door to Cox, who enlists Wholeflaffer to spy on a party they are hosting. After giving him a drink containing blue moss, which has hallucinogenic effects, the Crumbhungers and their alien friends abduct Wholeflaffer and drive their motor home out onto the highway. Just then, Gary and his friends drop in on Cox. He tells them to hitch their "Heavenly Bus" up to his trailer, and follow the Crumbhungers. Just before leaving, Cox introduces Nino Savant's "Psychic Minute", a lecture on the subject of holes broadcast by "sending directly from his mind to yours." Nino mentions the comet hole in the desert, saying it leads to "the Sun at the center of the Earth".
This is followed by Channel 6's continuing coverage of Caneebus's jump and its aftermath, anchored by Hiphugger and Hamberger. A videotape of the morning's jump shows Caneebus finding the hole is only 60 feet deep and contains a golden staircase leading to the Sun. When he decides not to return, Pat Hat jumps in after him. Live coverage then resumes to show a literal parade of people following Caneebus into the hole, culminating with "the former President's float" (Austin's imitation of Richard Nixon, who resigned two months before the album's release.) Finally, no one but the newsmen and Cox are left, and they ask Cox to keep the camera pointed at them as they enter the hole.
At last the aliens appear, happening to sound just like the "clever fake" on Cox's earlier record, and flying a spaceship that "looks like a big fried egg." Finding no one but Cox, they leave him alone to ponder: "Seekers...it looks like this is the end. Or is it only the begin–? ...No, it's the end."
After it was recorded, a movie version was made, with the group lip-syncing to the album. The Don Brouhaha scene from side one, and Nino Savant's lecture on "Holes" from side two, are not included in the video. The cinematographer for this was Allen Daviau, who later filmed E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. The film was released on a VHS format videotape in 1993 by The Firesign Theatre. (UPC barcode 735885 100131.) The group showed the film at Stanford University and took questions and answers.
References to earlier Firesign Theatre albums
Don Brouhaha laughs ("ha ha ha") after saying his name. This refers to a gag from the Nick Danger radio play on How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All where Danger is asked, "What's all this brouhaha?" and he responds by laughing.
In the video, Gary the Seeker wears a T-shirt bearing the pseudo-Latin phrase Quid malmborg in plano which appeared in I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus. This comes from a phrase "Malmborg in Plano" inscribed on a lighter Philip Proctor acquired, according to a Rolling Stone interview.
Issues and reissues
- LP - KC-33141
- 8 Track - CA-33141
- Quadrophonic LP - CQ-33141
- Quadrophonic 8 track cartridge -
It has been re-released on CD at least once
- 2001 - Laugh.com LGH1077
In popular culture
Paranormal researcher Lloyd Pye used the title in his 1998 book Everything You Know is Wrong – Book One: Human Evolution. Conspiracy theorist Russ Kick used it in a 2002 book he edited, Everything You Know Is Wrong: The Disinformation Guide to Secrets and Lies.
- *Marsh, Dave, and Greil Marcus. "The Firesign Theatre." The New Rolling Stone Record Guide. Ed. Dave Marsh and John Swenson. New York: Random House, 1983. 175-176.
- Classic Themes, "The Golden Voyage"
- "John Fowler". The My Hero Project.
- The Billboard, February 5, 1955
- Firesign Theatre (1974). Everything You Know Is Wrong (LP). Columbia Records.
- Firesign Theatre (1969). How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All (LP). Columbia Records.
- Firesign Theatre (1970). Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers (LP). Columbia Records.
- Firesign Theatre (1971). I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus (LP). Columbia Records.
- Internet FAQ Archives
- Firesign Theatre (1972). Dear Friends (LP). Columbia Records.
- ""Ask Al" Q&As for February, 1999".
- Smith, Ronald L. The Goldmine Comedy Record Price Guide. Iola: Krause, 1996.