Everything You Know Is Wrong

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Everything You Know Is Wrong
FT eykiw.jpg
Studio album by The Firesign Theatre
Released October 1974
Genre Comedy
Length 42:00
Label Columbia
Producer The Firesign Theatre
The Firesign Theatre chronology
The Tale of the Giant Rat of Sumatra
(1974)
Everything You Know Is Wrong
(1974)
In the Next World, You're on Your Own
(1975)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
The New Rolling Stone Record Guide 5/5 stars[1]

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.

Everything You Know Is Wrong employs the Firesign Theatre's signature surreal playwriting. It is ostensibly produced and narrated by "Happy" Harry Cox (Phil Austin), 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).

Characters[edit]

Cox is pictured on the album cover, along with:

  • 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 caretaker and groundskeeper of the trailer park where Cox lives.
  • 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.

Plot[edit]

The original LP album is not divided into tracks; side one (20:45) begins with Cox introducing "another in his series of mind-breaking records" with 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!"

He then presents his interview of 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 up on this with 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 he plays the soundtrack of a film which alleges Samuel Adams (Proctor), Ben Franklin (Bergman), and Thomas Jefferson (Austin) planned the American Revolution while smoking hemp. Then he plays a purported wire recording from c. 1900 of "Doctor Firesign's" medicine show. 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) prepares a potion from "Don Brouhaha's Inca Hell-Oil Tonic" and "Chief Dancing Knockout's Pyramid Pushover Paste". After ingesting it, he and his assistant (Bergman) turn into crows, and encounter Don Brouhaha (Proctor), a "cockroach in a sombrero", actually a Native American shaman, a parody of Carlos Castaneda's character Don Juan Matus.

Cox's recording is then interrupted by a phone call from psychic Nino Savant (Proctor), who tells Cox the aliens want contact with him. Savant then moves from the phone to the TV, so Cox can play his telephone answering machine messages. The only messages are one from teenage stalker fan Gary (Bergman), and several from Cox's trailer park manager Art Wholeflaffer (Ossman).

After Savant leaves the TV, we hear the Channel 6 television news report, hosted by the "Where It's Happy" team of Harold Hiphugger (Ossman) and Ray Ambergere (Proctor) (pronounced "am-bur-ZHER", but Cox later addresses him as "Mr. Hamburger"). Their reporting style, consisting largely of talking between themselves rather than directly to the audience, parodies the "happy talk" television news format which came into fashion about this time, as well as emulating the comedy team Bob and Ray. Sports reporter Pat Hat (Bergman, a parody of Howard Cosell) interviews "daredemon" Reebus Canneebus (Austin, a parody of Evel Knievel), who plans to jump into a deep hole left in the desert by a comet. Cox ends side 1 with a teaser of his "most startling new revelation."

Side 2 (21:15) 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.[2][3][4] Hind interviews Buzz (Bergman) and Bunny (Proctor) Crumbhunger, a married couple who present a home movie of their abduction, murder and resurrection by aliens.

He 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 in the trailer next door to Cox, who enlists Wholeflaffer to spy on a party they are hosting. He is given a drink containing blue moss, which has hallucinogenic effects on him. The Crumbhungers and their alien friends abduct Wholeflaffer and take their trailer 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.

Cox then presents 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".

Cox follows the Crumbhungers to the hole. After juming into it earlier in the day and finding it is only 60 feet deep and contains a golden staircase leading to the Sun, Canneebus decided not to return. Hiphugger and Ambergere anchor Channel 6's coverage of the parade of people which follow Canneebus into the hole. 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 fly 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."

Video[edit]

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[edit]

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.[5][6]

The TV show The Golden Hind, hosted by Bob Hind, first appears on Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers.[5][7]

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.[8] This comes from a phrase "Malmborg in Plano" inscribed on a lighter Philip Proctor acquired, according to a Rolling Stone interview.[9]

The scene in which Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Samuel Adams smoke hemp is based on a similar skit from the Dear Friends radio show, which appears on the Dear Friends album.[5][10]

Issues and reissues[edit]

This album was originally released simultaneously on LP, 8 Track, Quadrophonic LP, and quadrophonic 8 track cartridge.

  • 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[edit]

Musical parodist Weird Al Yankovic used the title "Everything You Know Is Wrong" for an original song on his 1996 album Bad Hair Day.[11]

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.

The British alternative band Chumbawamba used the title for a song about conspiracy theories on their 2004 album Un.

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Smith, Ronald L. The Goldmine Comedy Record Price Guide. Iola: Krause, 1996.

External links[edit]