Posted by: normanlgreen | March 10, 2012

Dream, March 10, 2012, the big broadcast of 2012


Dream, home, 8:50 am

I have taken a job with a giant box store – house wares and hardware. I have been asked to help load a van with the materials needed for a demonstration that will be given off-site. Folding chairs, which are stored throughout the warehouse in various niches, have to be rounded-up and carried outside, as there is an expectation of a large crowd. In the bright and modern furniture department, beneath one of the sky-high steel shelves, I find a stack of the folded, molded resin chairs, still shrink-wrapped. My more experienced co-worker points out that though they are the correct model of chair, these ones are for sale to the public, that we are to use chairs that have already been unwrapped and used.

There is a jump in time, and we set-up our equipment in a dim old department store – one of the disused stores from a semi-abandoned downtown. It is at this time that I realize that I am assembling the gear for a remote radio broadcast. Each week, we take a live radio show to different locations. Two actors in checkered red shirts and neckerchiefs enter the store, passing through the customers then sit at a table. The milling crowd recognizes them as their favorite radio cowboy stars. Another man leans into their tabletop microphone, switches it on and announces that we will now return to the thrilling adventure “Out On the Range”. He walks away, leaving me to act as both sound engineer and sound effects man (foley artist).

Many people pass by the table where the actors read from scripts. As there is so much surface noise (passing cars can be heard through the open glass doors at the front of the store) we have to keep the volume low on the microphone. The actors lean close to the mic to deliver their lines. Occasionally, the announcer leans in to deliver a line from an incidental character. The two in their costumes also change their voices to portray additional roles. They are well rehearsed and I have little to do. As they wrap up this week’s story, the actor to the left leans his head back and gives a coyote howl. I, more distant from the open mic, give an answering howl, then I put on a scratchy 78 rpm record of the theme music, while the announcer transitions the show to the next segment.

Three women with lapel mics start their home advice show, as they walk through the crowd in the store lobby. A car zooms passed and the driver shouts “you’re messing with my cell phone.” This voice is picked up by the microphones, so I squat before the table to unplug the mic that had been used by the cowboy actors. It feeds-back for a moment, just as I pull the plug.

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