Alan Gross' tribute to Phil Austin
Dangerous Minds tribute
|Thank you Firesign Theater. Without your wonderful comedy, I would have never escaped the Midwest. Or gone on to do comedy of a sorts on my own public radio show as well (see my YouTube channel). RIP Phil. My favorite Roller Maiden lover from Outer Space. |
PS: I wrote a song using Phil's voice from one of your recordings. Hope you all like it. Peace.
|Yes, I know I'm a few years late, although I did read of Phil's passing at the time, but after happening upon and reading all these testimonials today, I simply couldn't not speak up as well.|
I was 18, in my first year of college, still living with my parents. I had taken to frequently listening to "underground radio," as one of the Seattle AM radio stations liked to refer to its then-new alternate FM format, where they played long versions of songs that had been trimmed for AM, as well as darker, heavier songs, or things that otherwise just wouldn't fit into the AM pop format. One of those evenings, I was listening on headphones, because my parents' bedroom was only just across the hall. The announcer said they had a new album by a group called the Firesign Theater, of whom I'd never heard before. He then quoted the title, "All Hail Marx and Lennon," at which I groaned internally and said "Oh no," having of course heard "Lenin," whereupon he added, "That's Groucho Marx and John Lennon," and I think I giggled in relief. It was only about three minutes into "The Further Adventures of Nick Danger" before I was laughing hysterically, at which point my dad came out of their bedroom and said that while he didn't mind my listening, would I please keep it down out here? I complied and continued, and was hooked for life. *This* was exactly what I had been waiting to hear and didn't even know it, and with each successive recording, these guys never let me down. What an experience! And while in no way do I mean to minimize the cultural contributions of George Carlin, Richard Pryor, and Robin Williams, I still think the Firesign Theater's "radio plays" are the most interesting syntheses of surreal adventure, oblique social commentary, erudite humor, and just plain silliness I've ever had the pleasure of hearing. Anytime I listen, I always hear something new! The quotes have taken on a life of their own, and any social exchange that happens into one of their bits immediately forms a firmer bond and puts that encounter on another plane entirely.
Seen 'em live three dimes (er, times), too. After one show, at the obligatory signing table, I asked Mr. Austin if it bugged them that people called out lines to "Nick Danger" when they did it live. He said it did at first, but that Oona had just said something to the effect of "They're fans, it's OK; give 'em something to sing along with." Perfect.
Of course I'll miss Phil and Peter, but I'm so glad you were *all* here for us. Thanks soooo much, guys. Bless you all, and see you on the Funway!
|Phil had sent me tickets for their concert at Carnegie hall. Got very stoned but remember it all. Miss you so Mr Danger|
|All Hail Marx Lennon album was my intro to Firesign Theater. Nick Danger was the bomb. Thanks Phil for all the stony laughs and mind expansion with your quick wit and humor. RIP|
|Although Mr. Austin was only the SECOND-Best PHIL in The Firesign Theatre (Phil Proctor being the BEST PHIL) There is not and has never been ANYONE who can equal or outdo Austin's portrayal of The Great American Defective, Nick Danger, Third Eye! I have always used the album "How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You're Not Anywhere At All", Cut 2: "Nick Danger, Third Eye" to introduce the uninitiated to the Firesign Theatre. That particular piece is so PERFECTLY produced, in a form most folks are familiar with (old-time Radio). I have found it really is the BEST work of Firesign for inroducing them to those who have never heard ANY of Firesign Theatre's BRILLIANT work. And it has the added bonus of showing off some of Phil Austin's best work EVER! May the Deity of Your Choice Bless and Keep You, Phil Austin, as WE keep you in our hearts!|
|Although Mr. Austin was only the SECOND-Best PHIL in The Firesign Theatre (Phil Proctor being the BEST PHIL) There is not and has never been ANYONE who can equal or outdo Austin's portrayal of The Great American Defective, Nick Danger, Third Eye! I have always used the album "How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You're Not Anywhere At All", Cut 2: "Nick Danger, Third Eye" to introduce the uninitiated to the Firesign Theatre. That particular piece is so PERFECTLY produced, in a form most folks are familiar with (old-time Radio). I have found it really is the BEST work of Firesign for inroducing them to those who have never heard ANY of Firesign Theatre's BRILLIANT work. And it has the added bonus of showing off some of Phil Austin's best work EVER! May the Deity of Your Choice Bless and Keep You, Phil Austin, as WE keep you in our hearts!|
|Although Mr. Austin was only the SECOND-Best PHIL in The Firesign Theatre (Phil Proctor being the BEST PHIL) There is not and has never been ANYONE who can equal or outdo Austin's portrayal of The Great American Defective, Nick Danger, Third Eye! I have always used the album "How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You're Not Anywhere At All", Cut 2: "Nick Danger, Third Eye" to introduce the uninitiated to the Firesign Theatre. That particular piece is so PERFECTLY produced, in a form most folks are familiar with (old-time Radio) I have found it really is the BEST work of Firesign for inroducing them to those who have never heard ANY of Firesign Theatre's BRILLIANT work. And it has the added bonus of showing off some of Phil Austin's best work EVER! May the Deity of Your Choice Bless and Keep You, Phil Austin, as WE keep you in our hearts!|
|I remember distinctly "Get the Senator back on the bus" like it was yesterday. Was it? Mmmmm Losing Nick Danger was a stab to the heart. But on the bus I have been since the 60's and I remain a Bozo on this bus until I join Nick Danger and the rest of the Firesign crew on the other side of the curtain. Approx. 1974 I took my 20yo gf to see Firesign Theatre in Saratoga Springs at Skidmore College and laughed our arses off. I will live and die with all of you.Phil Austin was a comedic genious, as are you all. Thank you and God bless. If RR was involved, he's a dead man.|
|Back when I was a late-blooming early high school girl and my brothers were long-haired pot-smoking hippies, I stumbled onto their copy of "Dear Friends." I listened to it over and over and over... That gateway drug led to "Don't Crush That Dwarf" and "Waiting for the Electrician" and "Bozos" and all the rest. I even wrote a paper about Firesign in graduate school. Bad idea for me...analyzing comedy renders it unfunny. But only temporarily. Now I'm a white-haired late-middle-age voice actor doing audio drama for a living. Coincidence? Maybe not! Noodling around on You Tube, I found Phil Austin's "Happy Valley School Lunch Menus." So incredibly bizarre and funny! Anyone who can come up with dishes like "Oysters Frightened by Chickens" and "Stunned Ducks in Alcohol Sauce" possesses a very rare kind of genius. Safe home, Mr. Austin.|
|The news of Phil's passing hit me like the hot kiss at the end of a...well you know the rest.|
Brilliant, socially conscious comedy. Nothing will be better.
|Yesterday, 10 of January, 2.018, during office hours, I discovered the group The Firesigns Theater on the Barnes & Nobles website while watching the titles of the CD and LP recordings of The Monty Python's Flying Circus group... The little I read (about "Box of Danger: Nick Danger's full case book") gave me laughter fits (NSFW for laughter and that's the only reason) but I just read that Phil Austin (Nick Danger) is not on this side, Nick Danger left the office just when I wanted to ask him if he could investigate a case of something that certain foreigners did. I really want to cry for helplessness, for feeling that I discovered something late in this group...|
But I felt a consolation when reflecting: for those of us who are beginning to know them (and especially if we know American culture, social idiotacracy and politics as a circus or as part of the mafia), the best tribute that can be done is to listen the world of surrealism from Firesigns Theater from the beginning, back in 1969.
|Terrible loss....amazing talent....Rest easy|
|What great times I have had listening to all the Firesign Theater records! I'm a fan forever! Thank you Phil for sharing your talent and comedy and creativity and artistry with so many people who need it. We all will continue to enjoy your wonderful work until we meet you again on the Other Side. Rest in surreal peace, Dear Friend!|
|I'm a little angry at myself and a little distressed to know that Phil's passing escaped my attention until now. But the sense of loss is way deeper. Firesign was more than entertainment, they were original, insightful, foresightful (yeah, that's a word because I say so), and challenging, and uplifting. We were all lucky to know their work. Don't guess Mr. Austin would care for anybody making morbid about all this. So I'll stop, maybe root through some old cassettes. Google that, if need be.|
|All I can say is that Phil A. was one of the four nicest guys I ever met, I still miss him and the Firesign Theater. So glad I got meet you!|
|Today is 7/27/17. I still feel this loss.|
|Still looking for my prize in my Cracker Back Jox. Now I'm afraid I won't find it.|
R.I.P. Phil. Thanks for all the smiles.
|I am still waiting for the elec....oh. He's here|
|I didn't care for the movie. And our Phil wasn't in it.|
|Hi! This is not a memory. This is real. Which reel? I was looking around the dial for something to watch, and came across on SHOWTIME BEYOND a movie called "Murder In The Dark". One of the actors listed is Phil Austin (!!!!!) so of course I have to watch and am watching now to see Phil acting. Funny thing there is a white haired man and he is not Phil. No (fire)sign of our Phil. I will watch a bit more just in case.|
And another funny thing is I wiki'd "Murder In The Dark" and the last listing in the Contents is "Instructions For The Third Eye"
!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks Phil for the chuckle! :)
|Oh Dearest Phil. I somehow missed this page even tho i knew you had shuffled off to Buffalo way too soon. Working with you and the boys was a high point of my younger life and career. Getting to laugh and joke and perform with my college heroes....what a blast!|
Much love to Oona....
Yours forever as Betty Jo in my heart.....
|Thanks Phil and the Big Blonde for all the kindness and writing advice given, over time. "The Blog of the Unknown" was your diamond in the rough and space for all of us looking in.|
|Nick Danger was essential entertainment back in the day, and it is with a heavy heart, I found that he had left the office. What a loss!|
|Somehow I missed this sad news. Have loved Firesign since the first deranged time I heard Electrician. My wife has promised to put on my gravestone: he's no fun he fell right over.|
Wonderfully talented people all!
|Such a loss of genius is sad indeed. It turned out my ex-boss was related by marriage the Phil. Talk about six degrees of being related to or knowing some one. Now I'm not sure of my old boss being alive. Ed Eliot his life's work was photo retail. Nice guy all around. Peter and Phil so quickly to pass. The humor lives on to remember them by.|
|This is the most wonderful thing i have ever experienced. I visited a forum here on the internet on the 17 APRIL 2016, and i saw a marvelous testimony of Tracie Aldana from United States on the forum about the good works Doctor Osemu. I never believed it, because have never heard anything about such miracle before. No body would have been able to convince me about it not until Doctor Osemu did a marvelous work for me that restored my marriage of 4 years by getting back my divorced wife just as i read on the internet. Am Brooklyn Gray by name from USA. I was truly shocked when my wife knelt down pleading for forgiveness to accept her back. I am really short of words to use to show my appreciation to Doctor Osemu. For his a God sent to me and my entire family for divine restoration of marriage. Contact him now for any kind or help via Email: Doctorokpamenspelltemple@hotmail.com OR call and whats App him on +2348135254384. You can text/call me also for more inquiries +1 (914)-902-7078.|
|Great appreciation for someone who Knew How Radio Works, and knew a thing or three about Danger, too.|
|My introduction to Firesign was in 1970 when I was not anywhere at all. What you (and Phil and Peter and David) added to the years since is immeasurable. So don't worry - you have immortality.|
|Gone a year. Missed more than ever. Thanks, Phil, for the brain workouts.|
|Thank you for making life funny !!!|
|The internet led me to the sad news. My sincerest regrets Oona! I am so very sorry. |
You were so special while here on earth, Phil. It was 1963-64 when I met you. You were in the Army Reserves, Operation Desert Strike, doing a gig with the local radio station where you were assigned. You scripted me to be the American counter-part to Tokyo Rose, a silly girl of your invention, designed to make the boys homesick. Thanks to you, my voice was heard all over the Mojave Desert by thousands of soldiers on night duty. Your idea was sheer genius. A gift for my high school graduation was a stuffed "sloth" as you called it. It was the sweetest gesture, the best gift of all. I knew then that you were bound for bigger things. You were just too funny and talented -- this, before your L.A. commune days, before Fire Sign, before your life took off. I am so glad you had a good life, marriage, great friends and admirers. I kept up with your successes, your writing blog, your life as you shared it. It was such a joy to have known you so many years ago. If you see Fran and James, give them a hug for me.
Love as ever,
Thank you for helping to score a soundtrack of restorative absurdity as the backdrop to most of my life.
"I'm a free man! I'm gonna start livin'! There's a golden light down there, comin' from like a golden staircase. Hey! I can smell fresh air... and breakfast!"
Enjoy that breakfast, Phil. Thank you for sharing your work with us. I wish you good luck, peace, and happiness always.
|The universe is diminished without Phil Austin. Goodbye Firesign, I'm going to miss you.|
|My sides still hurt...|
|Just found out this terrible news; rest in peace.|
Thanks for all the good times, good humor
Thank you for being part of the ubermind known as The Firesign Theatre. You were a defining part of my college experience, perhaps later than you might have expected (1991!!) I was fortunate enough to have seen you live in Eugene as well as Portland, and I apologize for heckling you with your own work (along with the rest of the audience). Your work opened me up to new ways of expression and made me really think about the nature of language. I am still amazed at how well all of you saw the future.
See you on the other side,
|I was fortunate to meet Phil Austin and the rest of the guys in Hollywood at the Roxy in 1979. They put on five shows and I went to all of them. I had a fairly long conversation with him, which surprised me pleasantly. I mean, who was I but some Bozo from Missouri and he was Nick Danger. I will always remember how nice he was. The effect this group had on me growing up is incalculable. Will miss you, Phil|
|These are the best of times. Thank you for adding to the formula, Mr. Danger. We miss you.|
("All of the good ones are taken")
|He was always wonderful to listen to on records. He was even better in person.|
|Your alblums are the only thing I actually remember about my Air Force training in Colorado!?|
|And so to you Mr. Austin, my best wishes to you in you're afterlife & the outpourings of my heart, may they be hopefully felt by you.|
|R. I. P. Big fella! You are sorely missed.|
|R. I. P. Big fella! You are sorely missed.|
|I grew up listening to Firesign Theatre. Maybe not totally normal for a young kid, but I loved the group from the start. Thanks for the many years of laughter!! When I heard about Phil's death, I felt as though I had lost a friend.|
|First learned of the Firesign Theatre from the old National Lampoon. First heard FT in my freshman year in college. Actually SAW the Firesign Theater in DC. Humor you couldn't get anywhere else. RIP Phil, say "Hi!" to Peter Bergman.|
|I was introduced to "Bozo's" by accident. A friend forgot an '8 track' at my house which I was curious about, listened, and couldn't get enough. I went in search of every thing 'Firesign Theater' Still love every bit ever done and still listen a lot! Phil, you will be missed, but thank God we have the recordings to keep your memory alive!|
|I first listened to you on vinyl in 1974. Goodbye Nick, hope you|
turn into a brownstone building. Regnad!
|Some of my fondest memories had the Firesign with Phil and the gang as the backdrop. My third eye has wept openly and will never be the same. Gods speed Phil Austin.|
|We were so fortunate to see the boys perform here in Portland over the past several years and we met Phil and Oona at the Aladdin Theater. They came in-went to a table ordered fried and beer before the show. I acknowledged Phil with a wave and a smile and sure enough, after they finished they came up to me and my lady. I was so blown away and I started to share a story about them at the Roxy Theater in Rococcoland in the late '70's, talking about the 1st Nick Danger movie on Ben Blands All Nite matinee, "MEN WITH HATS!" Miss you Phil and miss you Peter; my world is now a very small place and less funny!|
|Phil, your passing leaves a small hole in my heart. Small, yes, but one that can never be filled. You brought us countless hours of laughter which, in a world such as it is today, is like food to a starving man. Thanks for all the good you did, for providing the much-needed chuckle, for being Regnad Kcin in the goofiest way possible. Take your rest, Phil, you earned it.|
Now what about my pickle?!
|"In the next world, you're on your own." However, Phil will have plenty of loving company. For sure Ruth will be there.|
|The last leap into a hole in the Earth. You helped me to understand how to deal with reality and it's alternate states.|
Thank you and all your characters and your great songs.
|With great sadness, we remove our Eyeball Hats, deflate our shoes, and defoliate our Victory Gardens. He added so many laughs into my life and I am forever blessed by it. On my vast toy train layout is a Firesign Theatre Billboard...inspired by "Scaled-Down Danger". |
What about my eggs, dear?
SHOES FOR INDUSTRY, PHIL!
|I spent time with group of technicians in the California Electronics industry who bought all the albums in the early '80s and memorized the dialogue.|
We swapped quote segments all day long to the dismay of the management team, who never understood the conversation at all.
I think I still have a pair of "two-toned TouchTones" in my closet...
|Thanks for making my world a better and certainly stranger place. I hope that you make it across the border, P, and I hope that the shadows are fun.|
|Oh Nick! Because of you I'll never lose that delicate sense of humor. You four or five Crazy Guys, now don't feel alone there's a seeker born every minute. See you on the Other Side, Malcomxjohnlennon. Oh good! there speaking Chinese.|
|As Nick himself once said, "Firesign? I love those guys. I used to listen to them on catnip and thought I was in college!" (The Bride of Firesign, 2001).|
I drove from Helena to Seattle to see the FST in 2005. I told Phil Proctor of my pilgrimage at the meet and greet after the show, and he excitedly relayed it to the rest of the troupe. It was worth the trip (in every respect!). Thanks for all the yucks, guys! RIP, Phil and Peter.
|So long fellow Fresnoid, see you in Chowchilla|
|Unhappy - Macnam|
|You were an integral part of the soundtrack of my life. Watch out for the Switchblade Pitchforks.|
|My favorite moment of the Firesign performance at Town Hall in NYC (the evening you all invited actor John Goodman up on stage) was when the audience began to recite Nick Danger's opening lines right along with Phil. He paused, ran his steely eyes over the crowd, then sternly intoned, "I'll take it from here."|
I wish you blue skies and happy landings, Phil Austin.
|I hope you can be in two places at once... Cause I'm not anywhere at all. - NANCY|
|Welcome to the future, Phil. We're glad you made it!|
Wait for the rest of us to catch up, would you? We'll have an Aztec vacation like nobody else.
|Rest in peace, good sir. You and your colleagues brought us so much laughter, and that is always needed. I had the privilege and pleasure of being at one of the "...Bozos" sessions (long story). Condolences to Oona and all of the Firesign Family.|
|How many stoned hours have me and my siblings wasted reciting your albums in our younger days and more recently, over a decent glass of wine. Thanks for all the wonderful memories. So just wait there in the sitting room with your third eye, you'll be missed.|
|How am I to be not insane? Even the immortals are leaving us to grow old by ourselves. Thanks for the memories, guys. I still remember fondly your show in Boston in 1991. Were those Phil's dogs in that minivan parked in front of the theater?|
|"No, this is no fake, Pat. I'm gonna fall into the biggest goddamned hole anybody's ever seen." Ah, shoot. RIP, Young Guy.|
|March 1970 I travelled to Chicago for a two week job, having graduated college in June 1969. Stayed with a friend from college. I arrived; he got me stoned; he put headphones on me; he put on Waiting For the Electrician and I haven't looked back since. Listening to it again it's mind boggling that 45 years later I can still repeat it word for word. Oh the insanity!! Oh the joy!! And the Aztecs invented the vacation.|
|well, seekers,it's come down to this; Phil's on his own now until he can rendezvous with Peter and write some new material for their performances in the next world. I hope for a good seat for the show. Later. Craig|
|I don't know where to start. As a youth and in all my subsequent life, the voice of F.T. was ever present. Their words were memorized and worked their way into my everyday conversations. I cannot overstate the effect of Nick Danger on an impressionable mind.|
Later, as an executive producer for WBAI-FM, NY 99.5 & WBAI.org I had the honor of hosting Phil for a 2 hour show (which I will replay this weekend). On the show he mentioned the importance WBAI had to the troupe. It was a massive privilege to talk with him. Then I found out that some time ago he lived in the same town I have lived in for the last 20 years, and another bond was made. Sadly, I never organised the reunion of the F.T. guys on the radio that we spoke about. Who knew?
I will miss him terribly and on behalf of the WBAI staff and myself and all our listeners, forward into the past!
|Thank you Phil for all the great laughs. We played your records on college radio as a DJ and saw you in concert in DC in the 80s. Still following the "big rubber line". "But we're here. How many are we?"|
|Dear Phil, wherever you are, I hope it is like sitting in a big hand. Thanks for everything. See you on the freeway, which is already in progress. Peace.|
|With deepest gratitude and respect to our beloved Dear Friend, Mr. Austin, we wish you a happy world of bell&howell cameras and rca victor dogs. Write when you get a chance.|
|Right through the plate glass window of the phone company! LIke so many, I first heard FST and Nick Danger at college. It was the early 1980s and formative. The jokes, the puns, the surreal perspectives, the flimsy burnoose, long ago on pignight...! He will be missed but still enjoyed. There are mice in his car who worship him after all. Even 25 years after my first listen, my kids went gaga over Nick in the Case of the Missing Show, which we listened to all the way to Maine, over and over, until their little minds had fully integrated it and were staring back at me like.... Thank you Phil Austin!|
|Words are incapable of expressing my gratitude for all of your work, Mr. Austin. Of course that won't stop me from trying.|
You and the Theatre crafted words and sound into a vaccine against anything this world can throw at us. I probably owe you my life, certainly my sanity.
...of which I vividly remember the first time I heard "Not Insane." (which I call "everything in a nutshell") That day, at the ripe age of 15 I declared Firesign Theatre would be Canon Law in my house until the end of time, and to date it has been.
Today 4th generation Firesigns are crawling upon the earth as we speak. As soon as they learn how to ask, you and your compadres will be answering. Thank you.
So long for the last time again, fair traveller.
|I discovered Firesign in college, like so many of us. Memorizing and trading lines from "Giant Rat of Sumatra" helped earn me entry into the cool actors' clique. Far better, Firesign Theatre helped teach me how to write and perform radio comedy, which started me on a career that continues to this day, until someone figures out I'm a fraud. |
Thank you, Phil Austin -- and Peter Bergman, and Mr. Ossman and Mr. Proctor. Thank you for the laughter, the inspiration, your teaching, and the memories. Thank you.
|I had a group of friends who knew every word of the FT albums by heart. We'd recite them, together, as if we were the guys themselves..."He crossed MacArthur Park and walked into a great sandstone building!" (ugh)|
Phil, you'll always be Regnad Kcin to me.
|We're losing so many of the great minds who created the world as we came to know it in the Sixties and beyond, but Phil's leaving has been the hardest to bear, I think. Each of the guys brought many unique qualities to the Firesign Theatre, and I think Phil Austin deserves major credit for turning them into a virtual rock 'n' roll group. Rock on, guy!|
|This guy helped to blow my young mind wide open, with surreal humor that had a real heart. I will always be grateful for this. Phil was one of the good guys, and tried to make sure he was releasing something positive into the world. Fare thee well, rest in peace, the words you so carefully crafted live on within me. |
We miss you already.
|Phil wasn't just a performer whose work I enjoyed -- he was a person whose actions I admired.|
I had the good fortune to share numerous emails with him the past few years. He appreciated the 'good thoughts' I had about his 'Tales of the Old Detective'. He asked me what I did and where I lived. I replied. I wrote Phil a Nick Danger skit for his birthday a while later and worked up the courage to send it. He said he enjoyed it -- high praise for this 45+ year fan. He shared a few writing tips with me. I asked him once if he'd mind emailing a friend of mine -- and a fan -- who was going thru a very bad time, as I knew it would cheer my friend up. Phil did, and it did. I'll never forget the wonder in my friend's voice when he said, "The strangest thing happened today. I got an email from Phil Austin ..." I'd asked Phil a question in the email too, and in his words "I've thought and thought about this .." and by his reply it was obvious he had. Phil and Oona were gracious enough to autograph some Firesign/Nick Danger shirts for me just before the holidays. I enclosed another skit, sort of a thank you. He said he enjoyed it, and thanked me. This will always bring me joy. To me, Phil was far more than just a brilliant voice on vinyl. I shall miss him.
|An amazing force for humor and enlightenment along with the other 3 or 4 crazy guys an immense influence for most of my adult life. Thank you, Phil, and enjoy the peace you so richly deserve.|
|Your love of language, surrealism and humor had a profound impact on so many of us. You are missed. My thoughts go out to your family and friends.|
|Eons ago I spent many hours honing a review I was intending to, and then did, post of Phil's ROLLER MAIDENS album. Later on I was mildly flabbergasted to find that that review had somehow migrated to the Firesign's own website. |
All I can say is that I was totally distressed an hour ago when I learned of Phil's final departure.
Rest IN Peace, Mister Austin!
|You are missed, Mr Austin. Your voice has filled my ears my entire life...I can't remember the first time I heard Nick Danger, I was probably a baby. I remember how excited I was as a teen when FST came back making Rhino records in the '80s... I'm honored to have had the opportunity to see you perform in NYC on the reunion tour of '93...then the return to recording (and form) for the new Millennium. FST was a magical combination of wits and wordplay and voices, but your perfect 40s tough guy radio voice was the rock solid center holding together all the other characters. |
And now what? Rebus Cannibis takes the big jump without a script...you'll just have to play it off the cuff.
|One of the funniest people who ever lived. RIP.|
|So sorry to hear of Phil's departure. Condolences to his family & many friends and fans. I will never tire of quoting F.T. as though I thought it all up on my own.|
|Gridspeed, Mr. Yamamoto. Your insight, almost impatient wit, and constant drive forward have helped keep me here on this planet, and it's sad that you and Peter have had to leave so soon. When Peter passed, it was said that the world had become just that much less funny, and now it's doubly so. Doppelganger mode (doppelganger mode). In the Next Life, you *won't* be on your own....|
|Thanks, Phil. You and the rest of FT taught me back in the day that one didn't necessarily need drugs to get high!|
|It was great fun working with you on the Firesign Theatre Retrospective, Phil, and seeing you and the guys onstage in Milwaukee. Thanks! The laughs live on.|
|Thanks for all the insanity, Phil, see ya in the Grid|
|Every cell in my 'being' shall continue 'becoming' in leash-less ways due to the neurons joyously-affected by our years mutated with you and your match-lighting fellows. Each unique moment of that 'whole' (and the eternal space between each of "us"), which is "me", is and are very grateful. From us, a rousing thanks Phil! We are with you and you are with us... always.|
|What a shock, so sad. We have lost another great talent. Many condolences to the Austin and FST families.|
|Phil, Sorry you had to leave so soon. You will never be forgotten. I was so lucky to talk to you at the Seattle meet and greet. I was able to gush and let it all out to thank you for the years of laughter you gave me. Thank grid I can still hear you. Condolences to the Austin family, David, Phil and all who have a hole in their hearts today. RIP See you on the other side.|
|I hope you are under par on the Beautiful Trail of Tears Golf Course in the Sky Phil.|
|I got my first introduction to Phil and the rest of the gang when I was a console operator at KPFA in the early 80's. Years later, and living hundreds of miles away from the Bay Area, I discovered many of the FST's albums had been reissued on CD and splurged for every one I could pick up at the time.|
My lady and I had the great pleasure of seeing the entire gang, live on Whidbey Island a few years later, not long before before Peter Bergman passed.
I won't ever be able to do my own walking by night again without thinking of that shadowy figure, going from the fog to the smog...
|Oh Nicky, how can I ever repay you?... for the lifetime of fun. Thank you and welcome to side 5.|
|What great tributes
"You don't want to count the elevator boy?"
First heard them on WABX the hippie station from Plum Street in Detroit. (Temporarily Humboldt County was on, or was it WRIF, late Sunday nights and how many of us got up in English class in h.s. or college to recite "Oil from Canada " ?)
Last heard them in my head just now: "Indonesia from the Indonesians!"
Squeeze me right there and I'll pass another one,
|Had to put down my opium pipe when I heard the pneus. I'll never forgive you, Nick!|
|I'm at my university radio station, spinning Nick Danger & 'Roller Maidens' for whoever is still up & listening. So far, 1 phone call from a fellow Firehead who's sad to hear the news. 'How Time Flys' is coming up next
Thanks for the wonderful times listening to you guys over the years!
|The guys were the first to open my eyes to the freedom of expression that not just should but would be tolerated by many people in my society (though I didn't know of more that 1 myself). As a kid I memorized Bozos and Dwarf late at night alone and had a great time doing it. My sense of humor was forever influenced. Humor is a big part of my life and so the guys will be too. I owe a great debt to Phil, one that he didn't know he was building and one he'll never collect on. Hope you're not pissed off now Phil that there's nothing after you die. Hope you're living the dream and you'll have some new material to show me when I catch up, I bet the production values alone will make it awesome. My Love to Phil, his comrades Phil and David, family and friends.|
The Beatles are down from 4 to 2 and now Firesign exactly the same... Coincidence? Ask Rocky Rococo.
|Phil and family, May God Be With you. I will never forget our years 56 57 58 swimming at FHS. Sorry to say these events are happening more frequently all the time. Phil will never be forgot among us at Fresno High School.|
|He's ready for excitement, he's ready for mystery, he's ready for anything, HE'S......GONE TOO SOON. I've grown up with these guys for the last half century!!! Phil, you are going to be sorely missed|
|I had the good fortune to see Firesign in the early 70,s. Phil Austin stood out. It's all we bozos from high school could talk about after. I still play Roller Maidens. My daughter, on her own, got Dwarf and Two Places at Once on iTunes. She loves them. We quote- she laughs - man this is getting too wholesome- how 'bout this- I passed on my love for silly surrealism without even trying-like a tick or two different colored eyes or supernumerary finger-you get the picture. Condolences to remaining members of Firesign, families, and finally fans.|
|You were a part of my life for rather a long time, Mr Austin.|
Godspeed. See you on the other side.....
"All right, sir, may I take your hat and goat?"
|I hope Phil meets Raymond Chandler while cruising the cosmos..|
Rest easy. You served us well.
|Porgy you're a white man, you've got to help us!|
|My pliers will never feel the same again. The news was so sad I didn't even care whether I still had my brown paper bag. A shame he left the Austin siddhis limits.|
|I've only gotten into Firesign Theatre in the last few years. I'm 23 and I think Firesign were brilliant. I wish this group were more popular. I'm listening to Nick Danger right now. |
RIP Phil. I may have to order a pizza with no anchovies in your honor.
|No anchovies? You've got the wrong man. I spell my name DANGER!|
Rest in Peace Bee Bop, Nick, Dr. Inferno and the whole Bozo gang at Pop's Sodium Shop. We'll miss you more than you'll know. Through an older sibling you guys introduced me to subversive humor at the ripe old age of 10, and I've been a long hair ever since! Why will I cross the road? 'Cause someone told me NOT to!
Well, everyone's a Bozo sittin' on this buss, zips and beaners next to us. Are you a hostage, are you a spy? Or just some berserker who's prepared to die?
Catch you on the flip-flop.
|Head in any direction on the freeway of your choice, my man. You've earned it. Thanks for allowing me to grow up with you and form my viewpoint of everything I hadn't already learned from MAD magazine. Here's hoping we'll meet again --|
|"Aw Nick you put me through too many changes!" Actually the perfect changes for the prefect time in my life. Godspeed Phil!|
|Why is it now more then ever today's world truly seems like "Everything You Know Is Wrong....?" The cool, calm and confident voice of Phil Austin seems to make more sense today than decades ago." The great prince(s) issue commands, found states, vests families with fiefs -- Inferior people should not be employed." |
I am committed to being a Seeker no matter how absurd things get, and I have you to thank for that...hope to see you on the Funway, 'cause fightin's outta style!
|This news is making the Doctor unhappy.|
RIP Phil...exit right to Fun Way.
|My wife and I were newly married in the early 70"s. The special place I knew to take her for dinner one night was the Far East Cafe in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. The only Chinese restaurant in Little Tokyo. The place had wooden booths whose walls were about 5 feet tall. You could hear the other people laughing and talking in the other booths. We finished and were ready to leave when I looked over at the next booth and there sat the Firesign Theatre. I could not leave without telling them how great they were. One of the great memories of my life. I'm almost choking with the lump in my throat. They helped me get through this life. Thank You is not enough.|
|RIP Phil and condolences to Oona, David O., Phil P., and bozos on buses everywhere. I hope I did you justice in my tribute to you. You have affected our lives for the better, and enduringly.|
|Phil lived near the KPLU studios and came by three times for interviews. He was a delightful man and my life is richer for having known him. Listening back to those interviews, one thing is crystal clear: he loved the crazee guys he worked with. My tribute to him aired on Sunday and it's online at: http://www.kplu.org/post/close-case-file-phil-austin-firesign-theatres-nick-danger-dies-74|
In jr. high, my friends and I put on a production of Nick Danger, Third Eye for the talent show. I think we were the only people not totally mystified.
In some ways I've been trying to live up to that ever since.
|I'm so so sorry. Firesign and The Goons made me what I am today...a bozo on the bus. Thank you, Phil.|
|The Firesign Theatre was the basis for my entire sense of humor. They got me through high school and beyond. Thank the gods I got to see them once, in Chicago in 1993.|
RIP Phil. I love you.
|Firesign taught me more about using the English language to good effect than all my years in school combined.|
Keep your eyes peeled for Danger while crossing MacArthur Park in foggy weather...
|Thanks for the anchovies...and the memories. I was introduced to FT in high school, and it's been a current in the blood ever since.|
|No. No. No. Please tell me this is not true. First Pete, and now Phil A. My condolences to his family and to Phil P. and David. I can't put into words what Phil's work has meant to me for almost my entire life. Grid bless you, Mr. A, and many thanks for everything.|
|Still reeling from the news about Phil Austin -- and now blown away by all the comments from all these folks from all over. So many people say Firesign "changed my life" and that is also true for me, beyond expressing. |
I will always wish I spent more time with Phil Austin since meeting him 20 years ago at their reunion concert in Seattle, which also surprised everyone by selling out almost immediately. He was brilliant, honest, musical and a very good human being. I'm hugely sorry that he's gone, but even more -- much more! -- glad that he lived. Thank the Grid he lived in an era when performances can be preserved.
Firesign has done -- is doing, will do -- for comedy, for truth (because comedy isn't funny unless it's based on truth, or what's perceived as truth), for our imagination, and for audio theatre what Einstein did for physics: turned it inside out, expanded it infinitely, revealed that straight lines can be curve balls, and proved that everything we know is wrong.
In the next world, we may be on our own...in the same sense that we are in this world. Austin and Bergman may well be collaborating again, with Phil charging off into the surreal, and Peter connecting it right back down to Earth. I hope so. Ask me again in a hundred years.
Goodbye for now, Phil. Thanks for Anythynge and Everything!
|SEEMS LIKE THERE WERE ALWAYS TWO OF EVERYBODY...EXCEPT YOU.|
|Rest in Peace, Mr Danger.|
|I'm sorry to hear that Phil had to fly away sooner than expected. Firesign, and especially Phil, helped form my (ongoing) interpretation of the world. It does not always get pointed out that Firesign was funny without being mean-hearted (not usually the case today). Phil could be very funny but I also appreciated that he could be dark. "In the Next World" is my favorite Firesign platter (although they are all great), followed closely by Phil's own Roller Maidens. Condolences and best wishes to the greatest roller maiden of them all, Oona Elliot Austin.|
|Firesign Theater records were the sound track of my high school years. My friends and I could recite any number of different lines at will and confuse teachers and friends. So long Phil and thanks for the memories!|
|Thank you Phil for sharing your comedic talent with us all. From a very early age, listening to my Dad's Firesign LPs, Nick Danger would fill my young head with ideas that would drive me insane and mouthful of laughter.|
|Like Carlin and Bruce, the Firesign Theatre combined intelligence with humor. We laughed, but we also thought. Theirs was a style of humor that looked back on the earlier days of radio and tinkered with it until they had created a new genre of humor. Part silliness, part nostalgia and part deep philosophy. Phil Austin played one of our favorite characters in Nick Danger, in addition to many others. He was a man, like all of the Firesigns, of many talents and comic abilities. He will be missed. My generation's icons are slowly dying off. Austin, in one way, is simply an example of time having its way with us. Eventually it will be my time. In the interim, I remember the unreleased Nick Danger skit I saw at the Bijou Café in Philadelphia and can smile and smirk and say, "I saw all four of them together in concert." Many blessings to Austin's family and fans. He gave us blessings as well. All hail Marx / Lennon!|
|"Beyond the Fringe", "Monty Python", and "The Firesign Theatre" changed the way I think not just about comedy, but about life in general. I never met Phil Austin, but I was about 15 feet away from him one deliriously funny night, when I watched the Firesign troupe at the Roxy. It was an evening I will never forget. And lines from "Nick Danger" still pepper my everyday conversation, especially when I need to tell someone "we can't talk here". I send my love, and deep admiration to Phil Proctor and David Ossman, and to Phil Austin's family. I am deeply saddened, but deeply grateful that he chose the path in life that he did. It made, and still makes, my life so much richer.|
|a friend introduced me to Firesign Theatre back when we were living our own version of "High School Madness," and I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that the boys changed my life. |
Bless your friends and family Phil, and let us all find peace and joy in the comedic gifts you gave us all.
|I started listening to Firesign in 1970, and have continued ever since. Like for many, if not all, on this page, it was a life transforming experience. I had the tremendous pleasure of seeing the guys in D.C. on the 25th year reunion tour. The memory of Phil A., as well as of Peter will live on. A sad day for your family, mates, and (many) friends; but we certainly were lucky to have had the chance to spend some time with you.|
|A friend and I saw youse guys during your 25Th Anniversary Reunion Tour -- at the Beacon in NYC. We came, we saw, we roared uproariously, we got the Nick Danger t-shirts. And youse guys, you signed them.|
All but Phil Austin. Damn. But we have the memories, and they are all good. So long, and thanks for all the laughs.
|A true comedic artist-- a voice that will always stick with me.|
|.....Hello dear friends,,,,Love Phil's work with Firesign Theatre of course,indelible comedy and a whole lot more that forever altered my consciousness....Fond memories also of the Hollywood Nightshift show on KROQ in the late '70's....Wish I still had my Nightshift T-shirt to break out in Phil's honor,but lost it somewhere along the line....Also recall Phil and Frazer Smith's hilarious Rose Parade commentary from back in those days....And of course,Happy Harry Cox....."That was no crazed sterno bum,but a respected law enforcement officer,Sherriff Lugar Axehandle"...So long Phil,we'll miss you....|
|thanks for all the laughs, and a bit of mind-blowing as well. if you lived here, you'd be home by now...|
|My condolences to the Austin family and the Firesign community. Thank you for all the great, funny, and thoughful work.|
|Nick (Phil) entered my life (head) before I left High School. He's still in there and on occasion re-appears. Maybe you can find Ruth now that you're on the side! |
|Phil's recorded work amazed and influenced me for many ways. I listen to to now and will listen to him tomorrow. What a talent to be able to live on in writings and recordings forever. Thank you Phil, for everything.|
|Goodnight Phil Austin. The Nick Danger routines are all classics of comedy. Phil Austin was a great writer and a great comedian.|
|i want a pizza to go with no anchovies....|
Just got the word my old pal Phil Austin had succumbed to his fight with cancer on Thursday night/Friday morning.
Like any good detective that he played so well, he waited till the streets were shining with rain and he was alone with his thoughts.
Beloved Oona by his side amid a puddle of faithful pups he has moved along to his next case.
Though we hadn't seen each other in years due to the geographical barrier of three thousand miles and he not a flier and me not tolerant of the journey through Hell. I recall fondly now the many nights we played music and talked about everything and nothing and all of it really well done amid laughter and loving company.
We formed a tight friendship over the years from 1969, when I met him at The Farm along with the other members of the Firesign theater with our shared love of radio and music that ran along the lines of my playing drums with Phil's band and then he, Fraser Smith and myself creating the three-year ad-lib-athon called 'The Hollywood Night Shift' in 1978 for KROQ . One hour of music and the love of improvisational reenactments of things that never actually happened.
Good night sweet prince until that morrow when we play the light fantastic again you and I.
|Phil (and David O.) were part of a library presentation we put together in 2000. Phil was such a warm and generous guy. I'll always treasure the phone call I got at work when Phil confirmed his participation -- I was on the phone with Nick Danger! Thanks, Phil, for so many years of enjoyment.|
|I love you. I can't think of anything else.|
|For 50 years, Phil Austin has been my radio hero. Nick Danger is the most creative detective drama in history. We will miss you Phil. Don't forget to pump your shoes.|
|I have never disliked anyone who told me to "Put down that pickle!" I spell my name "Thanks!"|
|It's ok, Nick. Go ahead and track mud across Bradshaw's nice, clean kitchen floor. Think I'll play my Box of Danger and later listen to some tales from the Old Detective. Least I can do. R.I.P. Phil. You will be missed.|
|where would I be w/o Firesign lines? Thanks to Phil (RIP), Peter (RIP), Philip and David for pushing the boundaries! Putting the phunny in psychedelic for 50 years!|
|This is part of my life. I got on the bus in '74 and never got off. So many nights and so many memories. I osmosed this stuff all oover my kids. The phrases that became part of everyday life when the situation arose.|
|had most of your albums. wonderful memories of going to the midnight movies to see the firesign theater. best wishes to your friends and family. rest easy.|
|I played with cassette recorders as a kid, making goofy tapes with friends that we thought were hilarious. Then in the seventies I found out about the Firesign Theater. I love comedy, but the only reason I bought, "Don't crush that Dwarf, hand me the pliers", was the title and the artwork. After listening I was hooked! I had to get every album. (ya know kids, that vinyl, round thing). Peter Bergman, Phil Austin, David Ossman, and Philip Proctor were once referred to as "The Beatles of comedy". We have lost two of the, the latest, Phil Austin. A great inspiration. I hope you have found your Ruth. Love ya!|
|I was exposed to this group through a wild bunch themselves known as Yippies. So much laughter as well as insight. Firesign had a way of putting complex political and social concepts in a very easy to understand format. They were as educational as Marx or Mao, but much, much funnier. I know our generation is dying off, but their recorded message is here for generations to come. Contrary to their report, you can get there from here. Thanks.|
|The voice of my generation, has been silenced. Today we all spell are names, "Danger." Thanks, Phil, for the years of laughter, and merriment. Nick Danger had the feeling of a private joke shared by everyone, and will live on in our hearts forever.|
|So much laughter and merriment for 45 years and counting. THANK YOU for all of it. Rest in peace, Phil.|
|RIP Phil. I am sure that you and Peter are putting a script together with a new fangled hand held digital recorder, and calling it "who stole our 2" open reel recorder".|
Thanks for all the years of laughs.
|The world was a better place for all the humor & intelligence you brought to it... the world is a sadder place without you. Nobody beats the reaper. RIP Phil|
|Spent many days and more nights with 4 or 5 funny guys, Thank you PHIL!!|
|Thanks, Phil, for bringing sheets of laughter and "Ersatz Brothers Coffee" into our sometimes tear-hardened world. I love how you and the other three have written and performed a superb warping of reality, "...and we're not afraid of it!" The Firesign Theater is a National Treasure. Period.|
|Often quoted verbatim, a founder of a group still thriving. We are like members of a secret society without the evil intentions or onerous dues.|
|to put it the only way I can,.... Thank you for all that you did to make life a little funnier, and a little bit better for all of us who discovered you and the rest of the troop,...|
|Thanks for all the good you left us with, Phil. Your art will live on. You are missed already. You did a great job!|
|Thanks for being such a positive influence on my youth. Now that I'm almost as old as Catherwood, thanks for still being a positive influence. Let's roll a couple of bombers and pass them around.|
|I do remember my early years at OSU with fellow student & high school friend. There were times that we saw a reality in their material, especially "I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus". I guess I could compare it, to an extent, to watching "The Daily Show" for news, and occasional cuts from Faux "news" for humor.|
|Thanks, Phil Austin for bringing your many characters to life - and into my life.|
All the bozos are crying on the bus...
|Back in college we were hitching across NY State and were stuck waiting for the next ride outside Syracuse. We passed the time reciting Nick Danger. We were almost done when we caught a ride that took us all the way home to Rochester. Thanks Phil!|
|Rest in peace, Phil.|
|Thank you Phil for all the laughter you brought to so many. Thank you for bringing a couple of kids back stage one night at "My Fathers Place" in Roslyn NY. or was it the Old Same Place?|
|Say High to Regular & Ethel|
|No anchovies? Sorry I spell my name DANGER..... what?|
|Danger, you put me through too many changes--and I thank you for all of it!|
|I spent my college years in Colorado and remember that first 45 with Porgy Tyrebiter. I've kept up with it all these years and not a day goes by without SOMETHING reminding me of Hemlock Stones or How Can You be in two places at once? Thank you for all of the wonderful, cutting edge humor. You spawned generations of newer comics.|
|Molly and I fell in love with Everything You Know Is Wrong. Kept us going through some really hard times. Firesign Theater RULES!|
|Such great fun, listening to their albums with my friends over and over and over and . . . Now I've got them on CD, still brings back the best memories. So glad I was able to see the group twice.|
|Listening to Firesign is better than reality. Get all the albums.|
|Firesign theatre - helping us answer and address the idiocy of the 'real world' throughout our college careers and beyond! You will be missed!|
|Thank you for the laughter.|
|In this part of my life, I am doing my "bucket list". One of those dreams was to meet TFST. I will get to be with Phil Proctor because of my busting of the " Firesign Art Heist of 2015". But more than anything was to see them one more time before we lost another one of the "Beatles of Comedy". I am sorry to say that will never happen. But to be friends to those whom I adore and appreciate means more than any reward. Phil Austin gave go much to us we could never have enough love to repay him. We, will miss you. I will miss you. The universe got a little less happy today, but let's make everyday from this point on the craziest, laughable moments of the rest of our lives. HERE'S TO YOU PHIL! BTW, I am wearing Pyramid Patchouli. Hear my interview I just had with Phil Proctor at www.ppltv.net click on Phil Proctor. Thank you.|
|Not many experiences in life can elicit pure "joy," but the alternate aural universe that the Firesign's albums created struck some chord deep within me. I'm genuinely saddened by the loss of someone I never knew personally but felt I knew intimately. Finding another person who "got" the Firesign Theater was instant recognition and acceptance of that person as one of "us," one like me.|
|So long, Nick, Mr. Danger, sir, and all your alter egos, especially Phil.|
You and your compatriots have saved me from many a bad patch, and sent many a fine time reeling off into the delights of absurdity and manic laughter.
I wish you requiescat in pace, however, I imagine that you shall be off, spreading your wholly brilliant sense of humour throughout an unsuspecting universe.
Thanks for everything, Phil.
|Thanks so much to all of FST. I can't imagine what life would be like without having been enthralled with the records. At the time all you had to do in a crowd was launch a line from a skit and you could instantly meet new and like-minded bozos and bozoettes.|
So long, Phil thanks again!
|Phil, you gave me the two best gifts anyone can receive: you made me laugh and you made me think! RIP|
|My friends and I saw them in NYC at a reunion show. We all wore big red rubber noses. When Phil came down in to the audience he saw us, his eyes went wide and he yelled "Bozos! My People!" and gave us all big hugs. We spoke afterwards - what a great funny and friendly guy!|
His fireworks may be over but his smoke remains... forever.
|Thanks for everything, Phil. You and the other crazy guys have contributed so much to my life, my psyche, and my sense of humor. I've already passed you on to my kids, knowing that they will pass you on to theirs. Happy Trails!|
|Thanks for the memories. Firesign was a staple among my crowd in the early 1970s. Pretty sure we wore out the grooves on "Don't Crush That Dwarf" and the others. I still sometimes riff on that Antelope Freeway bit on road trips. Nick Danger remains timeless, often imitated and never equaled.|
|Sir, you changed my life. I first heard Nick Danger when I was 8 or 9. Life was different after that initial listen. I realized my wacko sense of humor was not only acceptable, but quite special. Thanks to you and the boys for making a little kid feel like he wasn't crazy afterall.|
|I've been listening to Firesign Theatre since 1972. I had the good fortune of meeting them in Portland a few years ago. They have been a major influence on my life. So long Nick, it's been a fun ride. We'll really miss you. See everyone on the freeway which is already in progress! More Sugar!|
|Phil, you and the boys made life just a little bit cooler and a little bit happier. Hope you and Bergman are writing already!|
|Thank you for the good times Phil. Congratulations on a life well lived. Bon Voyage.....|
|I will think of him as I crunch up the gray gravel drive on my mission to retrieve my cues from the celophane...|
|I've listened to Firesign Theatre since I was a teenager. I first heard Nick Danger on the Doctor Demento show, which I listed to every Sunday night. Phil Austin's passing saddens me on multiple levels, sad for his friends and family, sad for me, sad that another Firesign cast member is gone. |
I'll be in the Aviary, studying trees.
|From the junior high school year in 1970 up to 3 days ago, I've been a fan the the 4 Wordsmiths who, like another man named George Carlin, MADE my 'formative years' a non-stop HOOT; they assured me that while growing Old was manditory, 'growing up' was Optional. The FST, Carlin, Ernie Kovakes, Soupy Sales, Warner Bros. Cartoons and the Marx Bros. helped form my Sense of HUMOR / the Absurd. Many a friend was met from "the Vault of Mindless Fellowship' by uttering, "He's no Fun,He Fell Right Over." Quite the 'Open Sesame', Eh? THANK YOU FIRESIGN THEATRE, Thanx for EVERYTHING PHIL and Tell Pete we said HIGH.|
|Alas, I mostly missed out on Firesign when I was young; I only really got turned on to them in the 1990s, when a good friend (in Austin, TX, ironically enough) played *Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers* for me and the brilliance of that album -- and in those voices -- made me an instant fan. Goodbye, Phil Austin, and thank you for all you did as part of that group of underappreciated comic geniuses.|
|my friends and i would break into your sketches in a heartbeat! i saw the firesign theater live at valley forge. i will never forget this show. better than hendrix, jeff airplane (i saw both). i couldn't believe you could do that live, so well. you blessed us, and i will always remember you.|
|Phil will be missed, but he and Peter will be cracking them up wherever they are. Started listening in Maine during high school, and ma amzed at how many folks at powwows are aware of FT...we have some great discussions. RIP Phil...you brought many smiles to thousands of faces.|
|Bummer, what a total Bummer. So much great work ! So many great lines. All these great comments. I'm so glad I had the chance to experience these great works, and make no mistake that just because it's comedy it's not a work of art. How many could put together such great stories and sounds that could take you in your minds eye to these places. You could experience these adventures. That is an art. Time marches on, and sometimes it really sucks !|
|roller maidens and nick danger... and finding out that everything i knew was wrong|
a funny guy..at least i caught them the only time they did a show this side of the pond
i will so miss the funny four
|Thanks Phil for inspiring our lives and view of the universe with those magic words "This is a pickle!"|
|Hey! What are you guys doing in my car!?|
|So unexpected. I've been a fan for decades. I am so sorry.|
|One of the best parts about still being alive these days is being able to hear the recordings you guys have done -- my brain was first infected with the Firesign bug during my own High School Madness in the early '70s, and I have truly never been the same since. Your comedy was a bonding factor for me with at least 3 different sets of friends as a youth, and even now, I find comfort nearly every day in using phrases from the incomparably brilliant scripts to broaden the minds of my acquaintances, often without attribution. You guys are the BEST! RIP Phil and Peter|
|I had the privilege of working with Mr. Austin only once. I was an assistant on the PULP RADIO series that Michael Packer did in Grand Rapids, MI in the 90s. One of those four pieces was DOWN UNDER DANGER, an original Nick Danger play written by Phil. We spoke briefly on the phone during the recording session. I was also blown away by the School Lunch Menus, which I heard on the TALES OF THE OLD DETECTIVE tapes back in 95. Always an original. Always one of the great voices in my head. It's a very sad day. My thoughts are with my friends David and Phil P. I'm glad Austin got to see the first Nick Danger Prize for Detective Audio just last week. (www.marktimeawards.org) |
|1971, after work, a little doob, headphones and Nick Danger. Ah, sweet release.|
|I grew up on this stuff in the early 70's and cannot imagine where the boundaries are for its impact on me. Especially for a high school student, it took a bit of investigating (not to mention years of careful listening!) in order to get the jokes. Even today, there's always a special connection one has with some other soul who loves FST. It will be hard to thank all of you enough for the way you shaped my brain. Go well.|
|During my college years at American University in Washington DC, sometime around '73, I met the young lads of FST. |
I was rehearsing with a lovely actress for a short film I was directing as a school project. We were sitting in the lobby of the school's radio station, WAMU-FM, when the boys climbed up the back stairs from the parking lot, looked around, and Peter Bergman asked us, "Where's Howie?" Since I was just a squatter at the station, and didn't know any Howie, I answered, "Howie Who?" Philip Proctor shot back, "Howie Hoo, he's a Chinese laundryman." They then ventured back into the station, looking for Howie.
As they walked away Phil Austin noticed the T-shirt on my stacked actress that read "Sixth Sense" (some new age store), and said to her with a big friendly grin, "Keep developing your sixth sense!"
Like many of their routines, it was all rapid-fire, ready-made for replay.
|I always tell people the only drug more powerful than LSD is TFT. And I say that as a sincere compliment. Fair winds and following seas, Phil.|
|I'm Sitting In The Old Same Place...It Won't Be The Same Ever Again.....Oh, Kin-Nicky....Thank You, Phil For Helping Me Deal With This Unsane World....|
|My condolences to his family... he was my favorite intern at Lawyer's Hospital.|
|Awww... NOT a happy day ... I remember listening to Firesign Theatre and Nick Danger...Third Eye ... on WQWK in State College, PA... back in the day ... late '60's/early 70's ...|
|So sad to hear this. Like everyone else posting here, FST's material was a rite of passage for me. I'm always calling up various phrases and sayings from FST albums, often without either giving it a second thought or remembering where I first heard it. That this material has become a part of who I am is a testament to its power.|
Rest in peace, Nick Danger.
|You guys helped me adjust. Your off the wall, out of nowhere comedy was a calibrating tool for an out of sync youth. It put things back into chaos where they belonged. You let us relieve ourselves all over the masses who gave not shit one what we listening to. Thank you for a lack of serious in a very serious time. Thank you for being completely sane.|
|I didn't not know Mr. Austin outside of the voice that is Firesign Theatre's brilliant work. First introduced to them while in college in 1970, I confess that in the beginning I did not always get the allusions (living in absurdity does not always translate into understanding absurdity.) In a TV culture they reminded us of the importance of the spoken word. Like many fans, these men became a collective voice in my head for the past 45 years. Often a line from a recording pops up as the only verbal response to a situation in my life. They made a major impact on how I see the world. To Phil's family and friends, please accept my sincere condolences for your loss. And to Phil Proctor and David Ossman, I am very sorry for the loss of your brother in art.|
|Sacre Coeur! Just yesterday morning at 7:35 EST I began reciting "Cut Him Off At The Past" in my car, whilst driving to work for no good reason or so I thought! Usually, it's a song that would cross my lips. I later got the message from a friend at 4:45 pm that Phil had died. I wonder at what time did Phil actually breathe his last? This is a sad day for us Bozos.|
|On this side of the pond I was privileged to be one of those who was introduced to the Firesign Theatre. I truly have never laughed so much as I did with you guys. Roller Maidens was so rare here at that time that I only ever saw 2 copies. Of course I have my own now and miss the fact that so many around me do not understand the quotes I use in my daily life. My friends like so many would only have to quote a line to end in stitches of laughter, the rest would unfold in each of our respective minds throwing us back to a time when it was part of our very existence.|
|You lit a fuse on my imagination that has kept me awake for the last 40+ years. It's been a ride. Well, we all gotta go where the Bozos go. See ya around, kid... and thanks.|
|Thanks Dear Friends,for all the love and time you have put into my life is amazing,I love that! I well always be a Bozo, and a Nick Danger fan ! With many Blessing for the family members,and the rest of The Firesign Theater ,much love.|
|Phil Austin, Just wanted you to know that your humor was a great part of my life. I loved all of you and was grateful you were out there to brighten my dark days. I wish you all the best and when you get there. Say "hey" to Bill Gregory. You will find each other zany and wonderful.|
|"...if it were flat all the Chinese would fall off." What a loss! I was lifelong fan, we met in KC at Cowtown Ballroom in '74 and played in the parking lot with your dog Packer. Re-connected 40 years later at the reunion show in Monterey...you laughed at the photo I brought...yes, we did look really young in 1974. RIP Mr. Danger. you haven't seen the last of me!|
|I'll never forget when I stumbled- strode in on the Firesigns' How can you be in two places LP when I was in college in Brooklyn 45 years ago, millions of laughs from them later, my kids, now grown, my wife and I, we all use classic catch phrases from Nicky and the boys !! He will be missed!|
|Thanks Phil, Lots of wackygood memories !|
|Thanks for a lot of laughs, Mr. Austin. Yours was a unique voice and it will be missed.|
|A huge part of my youth. A badly needed temporary reprieve from absurdity that is life here is the USA. A brilliant talent with an incredible gift has moved on. I can only hope to hear that voice again on the other side. See you at the old same place.|
|I have every recording ever produced by the group. For reasons yet I am still attempting to confront I memorized every line of the Nick Danger And Don't Crush That Dwarf albums. Always made a hit on those rare occasions that you would run into another Firesign fan who understood, but most of the time everyone passed me off as a lunatic.|
With the passing of Peter Bergman and now Phil Austin, I have been no more profoundly affected by any of the performing artists whose recordings I purchased and listened to with intensity during my day as I have been from the Firesign Theater. What incredible originality, a tribute to an art form that originally brought America together - AM radio theater.
I heard George Carlin and Robin Williams were big fans. Makes sense, Firesign's product was termed "theater of the mind".
Thanks for all the wonderful memories and the wonderful, hilarious entertainment that helped to discipline a "skull full of mush" into a thinking, feeling and reasoning being.
|Just last weekend, as I drove 1/16th of a mile from the trailhead off of Mulholland where I hike, iPhone in shuffle mode produced the classic meeting between Nick Danger and Rocky Rococo. Memories came flooding back, of high school in West Haven, CT, laying on the floor in my best friend's bedroom, dead center between the speakers, mesmerized. I suddenly recalled the time our friend's brother (may he RIP) called in our pizza order -- when we got to the counter and realized we needed to give a name and that ours were not recognized, I started mouthing it at first and then bleated "Danger???" Thank you for over 40 years of inspiration and joy.|
|Weird typo... Gave not Grave|
|Growing up in Brooklyn in the 60's and 70's I listened to WBAI and FM radio when it was a place you could hear stuff out of the mainstream and Firesign Theatre was amongst my favorite things to zone to, I listened to both the broadcasts and bought and played the LPs... Firesign was at heart theatre of the mind and had a lefty swagger that clearly owed much to people like Stan Freberg, but with 60's politics and drug culture, I ate it up and still hold it in my mind at nearly 57 now. Without them setting the pace things like the National Lampoon Radio Hour likely never would have appeared and that lead to the early SNL and Second City TV. It's rather sad that there is so little smart political comedy around now, but Firesign was and is a bench mark and should be held high as comedy for the mind... hey they grave great "head". RIP Peter Bergman and Phil Austin... Cancer is nobody's friend but your work will live on.|
|Another one of the greats has passed. Phil Austin from my beloved Firesign Theatre. A true genius. I met him a few years ago when Firesign made its last Bay Area appearance. I told him of his great influence on me. He said "Ah, just so long as it wasn't and EVIL influence!" No Phil, it was not an evil influence. It was purely divine.|
|The Danger bit was my favorite. Firesign Theatre, helped me maintain humour through HS. Phil? You will be missed.|
|Well, Firesign Theater represented the best of political humor the U.S. has ever managed to create and Phil Austin was a great part of it. 94 would have been OK, not 74.|
|1973, living away from home for the first time and laughing our heads off to the first Firesign albums. So many phrases that still find their way into my everyday life! He spelt his name DANGER...|
|Thank you for all the laughs, Phil. I'm sad that now there's one less bozo on this bus.|
|I started listening to Firesign in the fall of 1970. I was a product of the 60s and 70s plus an evangelical high school and college and Viet Nam protests. I grew up on black and white movies and radio stories. I was blown away to hear humor that took shots at all of my background. I have thumb drives with Waiting through Dear Friends on them that I give to my old 7th day friends when they ask me "what happened after you left"? |
Phil, I will call my friend Greg and he and I will do the whole Nick Danger, word for word without notes. In your honor. You will be missed my friend, we never met but I can hear you right now.
|Sad to say that I never met the man, but I remember my sister buying as many Firesign Theater recordings as she could (from the cut-out bin...sorry) and playing them for me while I was still dealing with puberty. Were it not for these--and all those copies of Penthouse Forum that my sister, "Amazing" Grace, gave me--I never would have become the sick, twisted, and perverted person that I am today. Good job, older sis! And thanks for the mammaries...er, I mean MEMORIES, Phil.|
|Goodbye, Phil. Thanks for every laugh. And thought. And inspiration.|
|Way back in the "early" days, my college roommates and I spent a lot more time learning and playing out all of those routines we came to love so much than we did going to classes. It seemed like the right thing to do. Later, when I relocated to Southern California and found out there really IS an Antelope Freeway, and an intersection at Pico and Alvarado, that many of the other references became even funnier and brilliant. I miss those days, but look forward to hearing all that stuff whenever I can. For now, I guess I'll just listen to the monotonous staccato of raindrops on my desktop drawer and read your name on the door. Regnad Kcin. Can't thank you enough.|
|i have known Phil for almost 70 years He went to College Elementary in Fresno CA|
In a class of fairly smart kids, he stood out and was advanced a grade. fast forward----
Les Naman and I went to see Firesign Theater and surprised him when the group was doing their post show sales in the lobby. Sadly, both of my friends are now dead but I am sure the sound of laughter rings out wherever they may be now. Rest In Peace, dear friends. We still have a sitcom to write!!
Little Jackie Globenfelt
as noted in an episode of FST
|phil a: I knew you were my kind of guy when I first saw the Dear Friends album cover, at the tender age of 15. When I learned you were the voice of Barney....... Back to the shadows again! R.I.P.|
|Berkeley now, but Whittier when I first heard Phil and the gang. Goddamnit. Phil and Peter both made too early departures.|
|In 1970 my then wife, the late Pamela Adler Golden, was producing a movie directed by Stephen Verona for Columbia Records. For those not familiar with Stephen, he was one of the truly innovative filmmakers in the '60s who worked out of NY and did commercials and industrial films to pay the bills but at the same time was working in new film forms that really pushed the limits. He literally invented what we know as the modern music video, collaborating with John Lenon on arguably the first music video: "I Feel Fine" using stop motion drawings by Steve and then hand colored by John & Steve. This led to Steve being hired by Clive Davis, the President of Columbia records to produce a film of live action, stop action and photo animation music videos of most of the artist in Columbia's vast stable of artists from Leonard Bernstein, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Simon & Garfunkel, etc, etc. included in this vast array of talent was The Firesign Theatre. Steve had the idea of using vignettes of Firesign as the connective bridge between artists. We filmed the Firesign segments in LA, much at Phil's house, and had a wonderful time in an orgasm of creative ecstasy - much of it ad-libbed. It was one of the highlights of my life to that point (I was 22) and remains a cherished memory across the years. Phil was a revelation then and, as a huge fan, it was astounding working with Phil and the rest of the group. Goodnight Nick and work on that last big case until we join you again.|
|Phil, I already miss you. I first heard the Firesign Theatre in Grade 12, back in 1971. A fellow student brought in DCTD,HMTP, and played the pep rally sketch. I was immediately hooked. |
We all have our stories about how the FS influenced us, and impacted our pop culture sensibilities. I want to also mention that I enjoyed Blog of the Unknown, and your kind words about a post I made once.
Thank you for decades of laughs, confusion, an expansion of my imagination, and so much more. Rest comfortably now, Mr Austin.
|A wonderful hippie English teacher in high school played the Firesign Theater for me in 1970, and they've been family ever since. Thanks Phil, you and Peter are much missed.|
|Three years ago I purchased Duke of Madness Motors-The Complete Dear Friends Radio Era 1970-1972 Book and DVD-Rom Combo Pack, with 80 hours of Firesign Theater Broadcasts. In my solo automobile travels since then I no longer listen to music, I take a flash drive filled with MP3s from the Duke of Madness Motors collection, and a solitary 2 or 3 hour drive becomes a journey I share with four friends who are travelling in the car with me, making me laugh, and filling me with joy at the genius of their humor and their insights of the world during that era which still ring true to this day. None of the political correctness that has poisoned the presentation of humor and ideas in these times we live in, just damn funny bits. Sadly Peter Bergman died a couple years ago and now Philip Proctor.|
As a musician, Johnny Winters recent death saddened me, but the loss of Peter Bergman and Philip Proctor cut much deeper. All that time spent with them in my car, just me and the four of them, they were like Dear Friends.
|I have had NCK DNGR license plates for almost 25 years. In that time, dozens of people have stopped me to recite lines from every part of the routine. Phil may be gone but Nick will live for many, many more years. And my next pizza will have anchovies...I spell my name D A N G E R.|
|What a shock. His comedy and characters will live on in his many thousands of fans. I grieve his loss on this plane and he will hopefully go to a place where they deliver this time. Deep condolences to Oona, their doggies, Phil Proctor and David Ossman, and all of his nears and dears.|
|So sad to see another fire-sign quenched in the fullness of time, but also an opportunity to remember and to enjoy the life and work of a rare talent. We'll miss you, Phil.|
|Thanks to my Dad and Uncle, I grew up listening to Firesign Theatre. Long car rides laughing hysterically to Nick Danger morphed into me, as an adult, taking long car rides with my Dad, quoting along, line by line, to Nick Danger. It's a memory I'll have forever and something that continues to make me laugh-no matter what. Thank you, Mr. Austin, for bring me Nick and so many others. "Nick, I can't knock success, but you still put me through too many changes..."|
|When I heard A Shadow Moves Upon the Land, one of the Firesign's Magic Mushroom plays in the fall of '67, I thought it was the best thing I'd ever heard. Still is. Mostly written by Austin. 30 years later, Phil encouraged me to write, and then starred in my play about Neal Cassady, Neal Amid. Neal's wife complimented him on portraying Neal as a thinking man, not a hick. Phil Austin, and the Firesign Theatre, succeeded at their self-appointed task to enlarge our brains more than anyone of our era. We are now at a better place, a higher altitude than we were before they went in front of microphones. When Isaac Newton was asked how he got his great ideas, he said he stood on the shoulders of giants. Phil Austin was one of those giants. His body may have left the building, but it is now a higher building.|
|My deepest sorrows and condolences on this loss. Firesign Theatre was such a mainstay of my later high school and college days. L earned so much about comedy and writing from listening to the structure of these apparently madcap but carefully wrought pieces. Now I'l have to decide whether to sit here in the waiting room or wait here in the sitting room.|
|I'm going to jump into a hole at the bottom of a bottomless pit. Speak out, seek out.|
|Today, I had just finished listening --for the 10 thousandth time-- to "Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers" when I happened upon the news of Phil's passing. How incredibly sad. And what marvel and delight you guys have brought me for 44 of my 59 years, ever since that fateful day in 1970 when I downed two hits of Orange Sunshine, let the air out of my shoes, and was swept into another dimension by my mistress, Mister Danger.|
|See you on the other side of the record, Dear Friend. Give my regards to Peter...|
|Relentlessly. Ruthlessly. Doggedly.|
You will be missed man.
|Los Angeles. He walks again by night! Out of the fog. Into the smog. Relentlessly. Ruthlessly. Doggedly. Toward his weekly meeting with . . . the unknown.|
Thanks, Phil. You were the best!
|a true comic genius|
one of the greatest voices ever recorded
is now silenced
|Phil, thanks for the countless hours of laughter, often shared with my most special friends. Thanks for imagining a different world and making it real for those of us who chose to see it. It's been fun...what more could we ask?|
|Thank you, Phil, for your kindness and insparation. I am deeply saddened to hear this news, but forever gladdened to have known you. More sugar!|
|I am speechless.|
Rest in Peace, Mr. Austin.
|When my best friend and I came home from college for Christmas break during our freshman year in 1968, we went to his room, got appropriately loaded, and then he put The Electrician on. The day the world--as we knew it--ended, and a new one began. The FST was not just part of our vocabulary, they taught us a new way of thinking. I remember reading an article ten years ago about a suicide bomber in the Mid-East. It said that he had killed seven people, and what came to my mind was "You don't want to count the suicide bomber?" I was very fortunate to see one of the FST's later shows at a small theater on Whidbey Island in January of 2010. It was just two months after my wife had died, and they taught me that I could still laugh so much that I could barely breathe. First Lt. Bradshaw and now Nick Danger; where's the fire now.|
|Thank you for being Phil. I'll never forget.|
|I'm 55 now. At age 11 I turned on to the Firesign Theatre, and their influence has been incalculable. I'm so sorry that Phil A. is gone, but his voice and work linger.|
"... or Warden Wombat, for children ..."
|Firesign Theatre changed my life, for the better. Not a day goes by when a little snippet of them doesn't run through my head. Thanks, Phil...|
|The 1960's and 70's were a pretty strange time in America and the Firesigns helped us get through some of the tougher spots with their wit and laughter. They continue to help to this day. |
Oona, lots of folks never make a difference to a lot of people, but Phil was one.
He shall be greatly missed and always treasured.
|Loved, loved loved Firesign Theatre since I first heard We're All Bozos on this Bus in'72. Still quote lines from their albums to this day. Losing Peter and Phil is like losing John and George. Geniuses. RIP Phil|
|It was a most excellent journey until the mutant Blue Chinchillas took the state. Sorry about losing on "Beat The Reaper".|
|Why, this is nothing but a two bit ring from a cracker back jox....decades of listening to you guys, my favorite humor ever, bar none, laughter is truly indeed the best medicine, look how many you have healed in such a positive far reaching way. In the next world you're on your own, except you're not dude, keep on doing what you do there, the beyond will be a better place for it|
|My first Firesign Theatre memories were from Waiting For The Electrican or Someone Like Him back in 1968, "Le Trente-Huit Cunegonde" and now I'm old enough to need re-grooving, decades of great comedy that has stuck with me, I Think We're All Bozos, Everything You Know Is Wrong, Nick Danger. All part of my life, see you on the other side!!|
|You were right about the comet! Say hello to Holeflapper.|
|You and your friends kept me insane during the "sanity" of the sixties and I thank you for that. You will be missed!|
|I have a choice to wait here, in the sitting room, or sit here in the waiting room. Either way, it's a bit less ironic and funny reality without you. Many Thanks, as we say here, 'till we meet again.|
|Thanks for everything, Phil . . .|
|Danger, Cox, Bebop.. I love you all. A zillion thanks for making the journey a lot more fun.|
|Wherever you go now, go doggedly, and Ruthlessly.|
|I met Phil Austin several times in the 1970's, but didn't catch up with him again until 2012 at Peter's Brouhaha in Kirkland. Phil and Oona were kind enough (not surprising) to give the webzine Chromium Switch an interview last year. You will be missed Mr. Austin, very much.|
|See you in the future Phil; thank you for all the laughs.|
|I saw these guys in the late 80's at the Roxy in Hollywood and will never forget the wonderful performance. Phil you are already missed by many of us who enjoyed your work. Say hello to Regular and ethyl Boinklin when you see them.|
Bon Voyage. Punch Bradshaw in the wiener for me..
-Joe Shackel (Ms)
|Phil, you and Pete along with the other firesigns brought a lot of laughter and insight into my life. To this day I treasure all your recordings that I have. Thanks so much, and rest in peace.|
|Just a simple "thank you" to Phil,and heartfelt condolences to the close friends and family of a wonderfully talented man.|
So many will miss you Nicky, but we will always remember.
|A fan for decades, I can still quote long stretches of Nick Danger from memory. I'll roll a couple of bombers and leave them on the side table for you, Mr. Danger. RIP|
|(honk) He walks again by night. (whistling) Out of the fog, into the smog...|
I first heard those words and noises coming out of the car radio in 1970 as I was delivering pizzas with a friend in the western suburbs of Chicago. They transported me into another world and I still haven't yet returned. Phil, Philip, Dave, and Pete set me free and I am ever thankful.
Now you, too, are free, Phil. Be happy in the Next World. You've made us all happy in this one.
|Thanks so much for everything. You are loved by many.|
We can call it the "Firesign Theatre Paradox" :
Their insanity has made the world a saner place.
|May you continue your journey escorted by Roller Maids from Outer Space. You were one of a kind Phil and you will be terribly missed. Thanks for making this world and my life better.|
|"Don't cry... Oh, you're laughing!"|
Very very sad to hear the news. My condolences to Phil's family and to Phil ("who doesn't") and David.
Two (or three) parts of Phil Austin's work that will always stay with me:
-- His hilarious and often surreal 'school lunch menus' and 'TV Guide listings' (found in issues of Young Tom Edison Club and Firezine, among other places).
-- His superb comic timing... specifically, on the highly underrated 'Giant Rat of Sumatra' album, listen to the scene (including the first line of this post) where his character Boris is on the phone after saying, "He wants me to use the Criminals' Code!" A wonderful sequence. And of course he was so good as The Electrician on that record. Decades later, my good friend and I will still lose it when one of us decides to break into that character's fractured, malfunctioning laugh at an (in)appropriate time: "I am --ectrician... Haha-AAA-ha...!"
Our job, and we must all choose to accept it, is to continue spreading the wonderful play/work of Phil and the other 3 or 4 Firesigns to anyone around us who seems susceptible to 'getting it'. Let the world keep rediscovering TFT and having its mind blown open, one new Bozo at a time!
THANK YOU PHIL. You've made this world a little more Not Insane.
I am very saddened by this loss. Phil was highly intelligent and incredible funny. This man's gifts have made the world a better place.
His legacy will delight people for a long, long time.
|Love you brother, see ya on the flipped-out side|
|I'd be a bozo on Phil's bus anytime...|
|Blessings to Phil. Hope he and Peter are working on some new material. I was introduced to the Firesign Theatre in a very young age which helped op me make sense of the absurdity of the world around me.Thank you, Phil, for making me laugh and think, often in the very same breath.|
|Thanks for all the laughs.|
|I met Phil only once, in RCA recording studio on Sunset Blvd in 1973 when he was recording Giant Rat of Sumatra. He walked up to me holding an empty MJB coffee can. He held it up to his mouth and said," And this is how I make my voice sound like this."|
|Listening to Fire Sign Theatre made us all feel sophisticated. We all hoped she was cute but it was hard to tell in the smog filled wombs of youth. Nick Danger, Third Eye was a rite of passage but it does not make your passage right. No matter how many times we throw the dwarfs, you will be missed.|
|I am so glad and thankful your work was part of my enlightenment. Rest in peace, Phil...|
|It's hard to adequately describe all of the joy Phil has brought me over the course of four-plus decades, so the best I can do right now is to simply say Thank You. You and the guys have been family for a long, long time, and you will be missed. I will never forget the kindness you all showed me at a show in Seattle in 2005. Say hello to Peter for us all, and my deepest condolences to your family. Farewell old buddy.|
|Rest in peace, Phil. Thank you for all of the wonderful comedy and memories...and especially the laughs that you have given me over the past decades. My deepest condolences to Oona and the family.|
|Dear Phil - I met you at some crazy PR thing at Tower Records in L.A. back in the 80's but I will never forget your kindness. Thank you for all the laughter and all the memories...sweet dreams, Catherwood...we love you ~ Barbi|
|Remembering many evenings of laughter and delicious food and great talk that opened and widened my mind with Phil and Oona and friends. Our son's very first social event, at 2 weeks old, was at their New Year's Eve party. It was a privilege to know him, to watch him work, to hear whatever he had to say. The world is a poorer, dimmer place tonight. Goodbye dear Phil.|
|RIP Mr. Austin. I first heard Phil's voice long before I knew who he was, featured on a David Cassidy album. Later when we met I asked him if he had any special memories of doing that work; alas, he had not. But meeting him (as I did a few times over the years) was definitely a special memory or three for me. My heart and deepest condolences to out to dear Oona and the puppies. He will be greatly missed.|
|Thank you Phil for all your genius, wisdom, humor, and insight.|
You will be missed.
|Firesign Theater was the sound track to some of the best times of my life. I can still hear them now, and I will always remember. RIP Phil. We'll miss you, but your voice is still part of the soundtrack of our lives. Safe travels.|
|What a blow this is. Phil and the 3 or 4 other Crazee Guys opened up doors in my head I didn't even know were there. I never looked at--or listened to--the world the same way again. I don't know how I could have survived college, my 20s, my 30s, and all the rest of the years afterward without the wonderful brain damage inflicted on me by Firesign humor. It's become wrapped up in my DNA.|
Now we are down to just 2...or 3. My God, I feel so old tonight.
Thank you, Phil Austin, for making me laugh and laugh and laugh. Love and prayers to Oona and the rest of his family, the other Phil, and Dave too.
|Being from SoCal myself, I discovered Firesign Theater early on, and I always enjoyed the references to place names that Nick made. Phil, you and the guys have given me countless laughs over the years, and my sons started listening to you before they were knee-high to a married grasshopper. What a pleasure to mutter a phrase from one of the albums while working quietly in a laboratory course, only to see a head across the room pop up and answer with the next line! Thanks, guys - you'll rock forever.|
|You made me laugh, than think, and than laugh harder. There is a lot less humor in the world today.|
|They say in the next life you're on your own, but in this one Phil you had an impact on a lot of us. Many mirthful moments and magical silliness have burned a memory of you permanently into our brains. Thanks for all that...see you on the other side of the record.|
|Thank you Señor, from those days on LA radio and The Ash Grove...in 1972 I was thumbing a ride from Petaluma to my forestry camp outside of Weott, Ca...a van stopped and I got in with a buncha loonies on their way to some local hot springs..I decided to tag along after their invite and it was non-stop Bozo quotations for three days...simply awesome...And since nowadays I live inside Grand Canyon National Park I can attest to the fact that IT IS 5,000 ft to the bottom of the Grand Canyon!!!!|
|We're All Bozos on This Bus|
|There's little I can add to underline the great loss we all feel. " Well, it's like in the Army, you know? The great prince issues commands, founds states, vests families with fiefs -- Inferior people should not be employed." We'll all miss ya Nick.|
|I saw Firesign at the Warner Theatre in DC and after my friend yelled out "hot dog" Phil said that this bit was cancelled due to excessive audience participation. Good times. Glad I got to see them. RIP Phil. You guys are one of the Giants of comedy. There will never be another like you.|
|Oh..... My.... God! Nobody, but nobody among my friends knew Firesign Theater, which made it all the more fun when out of the blue I'd say something like "I know! Let's stand him on his head! See? It's morning already!". Or "Nick, we can't talk here! What?"! I absolutely loved Phil and the gang and had many of their acts committed to memory. My favorites were The Further Adventures of Nick Danger, Third Eye and How Can You Be In Two Places At Once. Beat the Reaper was side-splitting! I could go on and on and on. I never got to see them in person but I cherish my old vinyls.|
And to think he lived near me all these many years. I never knew. Rest in Peace and thank you for the millions of laughs you gave me. Hope to see you sometime at Ralph Spoilsport motors.
|RIP, Thank you for making the world a happier place, Your name will live on REGNAD KCIN I will spell your name D-A-N-G-E-R !!! thanks Nicky enjoy the other side of the record already in progress.|
|Long ago in a galaxy far away, SF around 1967, I heard this weird game show on the radio called "Beat the Reaper." I was hooked. |
A few years later I was visiting Tucson with a friend and we spent a week doing mescaline and listening to Quicksilver's "Just for Love" and "DCTDHMTP" by Firesign Theater. It became part of our shared vocabulary. Just a mention of Porgie Tirebiter and we were laughing.
Thanks for the laughter, joys and creating humor that had depth.
Rest easy, Phil. See ya on the funway.
|When I was younger my father would play his Firesign Theatre CDs for my siblings and I in the car. Some of our favorite sketches have always been Nick Danger. It saddens me that someone so integral to my sense of humor has passed on. May Phil Austin walk again by night; ruthlessly, relentlessly, and beloved forever.|
|My condolences to Phil and his family. I've been listening since I was around 12 years old...|
|Thank you and the FST for all the laughs and poetry throughout the years!|
Eybdoog, Regnad Kcin.
|So sad to see you go, Mr. President. Thanks for the laughs, and the kindness.|
|That moment in Washington, DC during the 25th Anniversary tour as you guys were doing bits from Nick Danger, and all the audience was responding with lines verbatim throughout the show, and Phil Proctor suddenly turned to you and said, "Do we have to say anything at all?" The look of amazed gratitude on your face that we would recall whole albums of your work word for word. Thank you for all that. I'll never forget you neither, Nicky.|
|I couldn't tell whose voice was whose. All I know the words spilled out my headphones like poetry. THANK THANK THANK for the laughs and the good times. I will miss you on this planet.|
|My college roommates and I, in the early 70's, had whole sections of All Hail Marx and Lennon and Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers memorized and spiel it off any and everywhere. I once even used part of a routine on a Native American History final, " In the beginning there was a turtle...." Aced it. Thanks for all the grins and the laughter.|
|Thanks for making life more interesting, Phil.|
|I loved you all from the first moment I was introduced to the Firesign Theatre at a hippie college party. You've been part of my life and laughing ever since. I'm so happy that I took advantage of opportunities to see you in person after moving to this area. You will be missed.|
|Once again I shed tears of sorrow for a long-time friend. 45 years I have marveled at the genius of FST. I was lucky enough to see the wizards of words during their 40th anniversary tour. Phil tweaked my clown nose, I still smile at that bit of luck. Dear Friends.|
|Rest in peace, Phil and thanks for all the great laughs and memories. You and the others have been part of my life for over 40 years...............May the Good Lord take a liking to ya!|
"It had been snowing in Santa Barbara since the top of the page and I had to shake the corn starch off my Mucklucks as I lifted the huge obsidian door knocker." :)
|Oh, Nicky, Nick, Nick, Nick!|
|Phil and the rest of you took my understanding to a new level when I was still in high school. A friend of mine with blindness introduced me and we kaughed and giggled uncontrollably like a pair of bozoz. I host a radio show in Kansas City and through the freedom allowed at community radio have been doing work inspired by Firesign Theater. I really can't imagine a world without Nick Danger in it. It makes me feel Ruthless. I wonder where she is right now.|
|My brother turned me on to these guys in the 70s' 'Case of the giant rat of Sumatra' - But Phil's "Roller maidens from outer space" is still the most sublime humor I have ever encountered. Not to mention Nick Danger OMG ROFCMEO.|
|Thanks for the memories.|
|I am so sorry about this! Because of you and your FT partners you helped me smile through a very tough time after my mother died.|
|"No anchovies? I spell my name 'Danger'.|
|From the moment I saw the pictures of Groucho and John in the record store, my ideas of fun and funny changed forever. Nick Danger was the first of many I learned to quote for about any situation. R.I.P. Phil|
|So long Phil. Thanks for all the surrealistic adventures. Your spirit will always be on this plane and the next.|
Remembering you in laughter.
My condolences to the Austin family and friends.
|So long Phil. Thanks for all the surrealistic adventures. Your spirit will always be on this plane and the next.|
Remembering you in laughter.
My condolences to the Austin family and friends.
|Whether or not it was their original intent, The Firesign Theatre did more than make us laugh and think and appreciate anew the possibilities of the English language. They changed our lives. Witness the many lines shared in the messages, lines that we all instantly recognize and keep in permanent storage. Few artists create such a profound legacy. For that reason, and many more, today delivered a great and quiet sadness. Phil was a good soul.|
|Enjoyed their late 90s Bagley Wright Theatre concert performance in Seattle. Got lots of autographs on cassette and CD covers. Thx to all...bon voyage, Phil. Nick Danger's last case is sadly, now closed.|
|I discovered the Firesign Theatre while attending Syracuse University (1969-1973). I became addicted to their unique form of comedy. Nick Danger was an instant hero! I met the group in 1974 and started collecting audio and video tracks. I even produced shows so that I could preserve the magical moments. Phil Austin didn't like to travel so having him visit NYC in 1974 and 1981 was a special treat. I enjoyed spending time with Phil, Oona and the doggies. I was also fortunate to visit members of the Firesign Theatre on the west coast. I have fond memories of spending time with Austin at David Ossman's house during the 1976 Campoon. Today' news was unexpected and the grief is palpable. R. I. P. Nick Danger. You'll be missed by many!|
|The Firesign Thertre was a huge part of my young adult life to the point that they, like bees, live in my head...but, there they are. Phil and Peter are gone and I am sad beyond words. Thanks for everything. You're back in the shadows again.|
|So sorry for the loss of a comedic great - Condolences to Phil's family and close friends and colleagues|
|I remember growing up listening to Firesign Theatre records with my dad growing up. It was part of my "education" he said. He was of the rare breed of single fathers (widowed) in the 70's. Last time I went back for a visit, he downloaded all of his FT DVDs to my iPhone so I could listen to them on the plane. FT, music, and Monty Python were the best parts of growing up with my dad. I don't have kids of my own, but I am passing his wisdom on to my students. Thank you Phil for making my childhood so memorable.|
|So sorry, Oona. All the best. Palmer|
|"Now cut it out, it's impolite to talk while my mouth is full"|
So long Phil...
|So sad to hear of Phil's passing. Now joining Pete in the next world, so they won't be on their own. The FST were (and are) an inspiration of mine growing up. I wore out those vinyls and memorized every word. Thank you Phil and Pete and Phil and Dave.|
|The Firesign Theatre were the soundtrack to my teenage years. I have been quoting them ever since (to the annoyance of some and the amusement of others). Phil Austin will be sorely missed, but never forgotten. Nick Danger (3rd Eye) belongs to the ages. We'll meet again at the old Same Place.|
|Thank you, Phil, for improving the quality of my life. Rest in peace. Shoes for Industry.|
|Goodnight sweet Nick...|
Who were you and how did you make your voice do that?
I'm sitting here crying, which you would not like, wanting to say how much I respect your talents (yes, plural), how warm and comforting to be in your company, which you would disclaim. Thanks, Phil, for letting me share the great adventure, and for treating me as though I really belonged. A memory? One that I treasure is the hour or so we spent running lines as you were preparing for the Santa Monica Civic Show. Such fun, and a window into what it was like to be on stage with you. Thanks for the magic.
With great love and respect,
|The Firesign Theatre was an acquired taste.To my friends and myself it was a second language during our teens.Rarely did sentences go by that a Firesign mention was not present.We loved them and respected the whole inventive style of comedy they gave us. RIP Phil.|
|Dammit, he knew it was cancer. They were supposed to give him the damn antidote! Perhaps the aliens will come back to Hellmouth and raise him from the dead. Buzz and Bunny got theirs and I don't see why Bob can't.|
|'That laser beam nearly made optical wienees out of me!' Thanks for all the yuks, Phil.|
|Nick Danger may be the most perfect piece of sustained comedy. And I'll always remember Phil Austin reading the highlights of a TV show's cast about the French Revolution: "...in which the people (Jan Murray)..."|
What a voice. Thanks, Phil, Peter, Phil and David.
|Of all the characters I like to imitate for fun, Nick Danger is my go-to voice. Phil sure made my life a whole lot more fun to live! Sad news indeed about the passing of a great entertainer.|
|Been listening to Firesign Theatre since the late 70's. I first heard it on a classmates record. His older brother had turned him onto the group. It may have helped that his last name was Hinds and he was always getting the In search of the golden Hinds bit. LOL I've owned my own collection on vinyl, 8 track, cassette and cd and digital media. As a radio announcer since 1983,I made sure as many as I could were inducted into the brotherhood via the airwaves. Thank you Phil for filling me with smiles.|
|been listening to FT for over 40 years. My sister played them for me. Didn't understand some of the references then, but it made me a fan to this day. RIP Phil.|
|I'd like to order a large pizza to go and no anchovies. Don't forget to inflate your shoes. In the next world, Phil, you will not be on your own.|
|Phil Austin's will always be one of the voices in my head.|
|Phil was so sweet when I first met him on my 40th birthday 10 years ago as I traveled from Rhode Island to Portland Oregon to see them do Radios a heartbreak. When I was posing with them after the show, I said I turned 40 during the show, Phil said "So did we!" I will never forget that and how warm he and Oona were to invite me over after the last Firesign shows in L.A in 2010 for a little get together they were having in the canyon. RIP Phil. Say hey to Peter for us will ya?|
|All prayer's. FT was a significant influence on my evolution. I will never forget. I live my life mindfully and in service to honor your passing. You must live there...your home. <3|
|You made me laugh when sometimes I didn't want to, and a lot of times when I did. Thanks for all the great characters.|
|As a youth in MI, I cut my humor teeth on The Early Works of the Firesign Theatre. I listened to each album so many times (in the dark, with headphones: the ONLY way to catch all the nuances in the voices). HIS voice will forever remain in my head... RIP. Only saw them perform once at U of M, but it remains as one of my favorite evenings ever.|
|Deeply saddened to hear of the passing this morning of Firesign Theater great Phil Austin. My sense of humor derives almost entirely from listening to Firesign over and over throughout my teenage years and beyond. There was never a funnier or more sophisticated humor ever divined. As I got older and more educated, bits and jokes that were lost on me before came to light and renewed appreciation. Of all the members, Phil was my favorite. Perhaps because the first album I heard contained the side which was his opus and from which he derived his nom de guere. "Nick Danger: Third Eye." Several years ago I finally got a chance to not only see them live, but meet and hang out with them a little at the Aladdin Theater. I've met and hung out with some of the biggest musicians in the World, but never do that embarrassing 'autograph" thing. I made an exception for these guys. I brought four CDs - Master Recordings, no less - of their four greatest albums. Always remember this rhetorical question. "How can you be in two places at once, when you're not anywhere at all?" Rest in Peace, Phil. You've left a huge mark, particularly on this man's life.|
|Saw the group in Berkeley in the early 70's. Dwarf was the background music to my senior year in High School. Can't still recite long sections of EYKIW though that vinyl went tonight recycle bin in the sky long ago. Losing one of the FT is like losing a Beatle. RIP Phil.|
|I did not, unfortunately, know any of the Firesign Theatre performers personally, but I have laughed for days on end at their absolutely singular humor. Phil Austin's Nick Danger voice was one of the most perfect evocations of the funny side of "radio noir" that I've ever heard. Phil and the gang were and are geniuses. You've all really graced my life. Thank you, Phil and all of you.|
|My deepest sympathies to the Firesign Family. Phil brought my family many hours of joy and laughter. He will be missed. Some joy has left this world.|
|This loss, coupled with the recent passing of Stan Freberg, now leaves us with a gigantic vacuum of talent that truly understood -- and completely redefined -- everything that could be achieved in radio and audio theater. |
Personally, Austin and the rest of his Dear Friends in The Firesign Theatre had a profound impact on my choice to pursue a career in radio and audio production. Any creative successes that I have enjoyed in those fields can be traced back directly to the fundamentals that I learned while listening to the work of these masters. In fact, I didn't just listen to their work -- I digested it, rubbed it into my pores -- and I learned not only the basics, but the deep theory as well.
But Austin's talent was not 'just' in meticulously crafted studio creations. Listen to recordings of him with the Firesign Theatre during their weekly radio shows in the early 70's, and you will hear four brilliant minds blazing in real time, often without a script and without a net. Austin usually emerged as something like the center of this decentralized madness. It made me appreciate the genius behind his writing, his acting and his intellect all the more.
In short, I am not overstating the case to say that Phil's work has been immensely enjoyable and deeply influential.
My deepest condolences -- and most of all, sincerest thanks -- go out to Mr. Proctor, David Ossman, and Mr. Austin's family.
|"No anchovies? You've got the wrong man. I spell my name, Danger." RIP Mr. Austin. You will be missed.|
|Thank you for being you. I have so many memories from your work you were a very special person.|
| We've lost another comic genius, Phil Austin of the Firesign Theatre. Many, many hours spent listening to and reciting the lyrics of this comedy troupe.|
Remember...if you lived here, you'd be home by now.
You will be sorely missed Phil. So glad I got to see you in person in Portland,Oregon and shake your hand. You provided many hours of entertainment and gave my parents something else to worry about. Thank you for both!
|So lucky to have met you and the group out here in Los Angeles when you did Nick Danger and had a "meet and greet" afterwards...I went through college and early 20's repeating when at any given time a phrase or thought was passed by someone whole sections of your albums and the looks were.....priceless....thank you Phil/Nick and all of you for wonderful times and memories...Phil will be missed and thoughts and prayers to his family....wait didn't I say that line on the other side of the record?...:)|
|"Forward into the Past!"|
So long and thank you, Mr. Austin.
|During the 25th Anniversary Reunion tour, I was fortunate to be able to see the 4 or 5 Crazy Guys live on stage. Joyous as that was, the best part was lining up to meet my favorite comedians afterward. Phil, David, Peter and Phil were really nice to the fans and took a little time to chat with each of us. Two of them are gone now, but as long as we remember the special magic that reigned when they were all in one place together they will never truly have left us. Missing you, Phil ... and Peter.|
|Phil and Peter and the two or three other crazy guys taught me a valuable lesson that has followed me - and which I have followed - for the past forty-five years.|
There isn't very much out there in the world around us that doesn't deserve a healthy dose of well-meaning, kind-hearted irreverence every now and then.
Sometimes, you just need to pour it on.
It can be the only way to keep from going crazy, from giving up and from giving in.
The world was enlightened, the burdens were lightened because of Phil's gift and his outlook, and it will stay with me until I get the chance to see him and tell him.
|I owned,and knew by heart,the first 4 or 5 albums---they were outrageous,they were a work of genius. Thanks for making those days a litter brighter|
|Never met Phil in person... But had the great privilege to speak with him a little about his 'Beaver Teeth' novel when he was posting chapters on his blog. But for thirty years Phil Austin has tickled my brains in the most intimate versions of noir. I will miss him... At least Austin & Bergman can go on tour again!|
|Phil Austin has walked into the Pearly Gates. ("Ow, my nose!")|
See you on the other side of the record, Mr. Danger.
|Back when I was little my cousins would play Firesign Theatre for me; helped (de)form my brain. Long live Nick Danger. Thanks Phil Austin. Condolences to his family and friends.|
|I hear his voice every day in my head. Along with the rest of the Firesign Theatre. You all live on.|
|So heartbroken to hear this news. Phil was one of the Great Voices that guided my so-called maturation, along with Ernie Anderson [r.i.p.] and the last member of the Holy Voice Over Trinity, Ken Nordine. That he was also a member of this brilliant team was icing on the cake to me. I'll miss his humor, I'll miss his heart, but most of all, I'll miss that voice. The verbal equivalent of West Coast Jazz. My pal Tristan and I were all set to see FST on their '94 25th Anniversary East Coast Tour, but it never went down and we had to content ourselves with performing "Dwarf" as a duo all by ourselves. Love and respect to the team and the extended Firesign Family in this time of loss.|
|I didn't want to believe the new....So sorry for the family. Your greatness will always be here. SO long old friend.|
|You enriched my life with laughter|
|Farewell, Phil. So happy to have met you and seen you perform. You made this crazy world just a little brighter and more sane while you were with us.|
|His wit and voice will be sorely missed. Farewell to "Happy" Harry Cox, to Regnad Kcin (Nick Danger), and countless other priceless comedic and satiric characters. Like The Beatles, these guys were another set of voices for a generation. Thanks, Phil, for "beating the reaper" for as long as you did and for leaving such a marvelous legacy.|
|I can still recite "Nick Danger" from memory, 35 years after I first heard it. Phil has skipped ahead to the time machine... He'll be with his beloved Mrs Haber...er...Audrey Farber...I mean, Nancy, on the other side (which side IS this?) |
RIP, Phil - thanks for so many laughs.
|Words fail me. Thank grid, your work lives on in stereo hi-fi, as well as your words (https://philaustinblogofunknown.wordpress.com).|
|Regnad -- dammit, I'm mad, Danger.....|
We all miss you, Phil.