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Firesign Theatre Lexicon [C]


This article is from the Firesign Theatre: Lexicon FAQ, by Niles D. Ritter ritter@earthlink.net with numerous contributions by others.

Firesign Theatre Lexicon [C]

CELLOPHANE: An {SFX} tool, used to simulate fire on radio. In
{NICK DANGER}, Catherwood asks if he Nick wants to pull his "cues" out
of the cellophane before they scorch. See also {CORNSTARCH}. In the
Fall 93 Reunion tour update, Catherwood asks Nick to pull his cues out
of the "bubble wrap".

CHEESE: Many types of CHEESE appear in FT skits: {GORGONZOLA} the
Cheese-monster, Cheese-Logs, Cheese-Log-Throws, not to mention {RAT}S.
On the album cover of {ITNWYOYO}, on the wall (below the billboards for
'Dead Cat Soap" and "Billy Jack Dogfood") there are signs for 'Bowel
{OIL}' and'{SWELL} Cheese'. See also {PIZZA}.


CHROMIUM: It's just this little CHROMIUM switch, here! The first lines
of {DWARF}.

CLEM: The {EVERYMAN} of the FT play {BOZOS}. Also known as "UhClem" to
the main computer in the {FUTURE FAIR}. The liner notes for "Bozos"
quotes the following definition from "The Language of American Popular

"Clem: Its most common meaning is that of a general fight or riot
between town hoodlums who attack shows and the circus or carnival
employees. As an interjection, clem has replaces 'hey rube' as a
battle cry for a forthcoming fight.

In this case, Clem attacks the Future Fair main computer by inserting
a gypsy program to confuse {DOCTOR MEMORY}, bringing the whole operation
down. The FT in later skits apparently developed Clems motivation
and story as follows (David {OSSMAN} writes):

"Clem, a shoeless computer programmer for the Fair, was fired after
he re-programmed the {RALPH SPOILSPORT} Speedway ride to 'Smoke Dope'
ie, slow down, free-associate, play. He has now re-entered the Fair
and broken into the maintenance circuits of {DOCTOR MEMORY} in order
to re-program it to 'forget the past'. As on the album, he succeeds
in confusing the good Dr. into contradictory on/off instructions
which sabotage the machine and destroy the fantastic illusions we
had taken for Reality.

CLONE: To either replicate yourself into a {HOLOGRAM}, or to act like
all the other {BOZO}S.

CONFIDENCE IN THE SYSTEM: A timely drug. Here's an advertisement
for it by the FT on Ben Bland's All Day Matinee on the "Just Folks"

You know, this is the midst of the disillusionment and heartbreak season
and,with the recent outbreak of that suicidal strain of despair up in
Boston,well, you'd better keep a close watch on your emotions. So
remember the seven danger signals of depression; that's a general and
lasting feeling of hope-lessness, inability to concentrate, loss of
self-esteem, fear of rejection, feelings of guilt, misdirected anger,
and extreme dependency on others. At the first sign of these symptoms,
friends, follow these simple rules: keep working, drink as much as
possible, and... take your television's advice. And y'know more TV's
recommend an amazing new psychic breakthrough than any other, and
that's... Confidence in the System. Fast, safe, and guaranteed through
constant Federal control, Confidence in the System will keep THEM in
power longer, longer, longer, and tend to calm and obscure the miseries
of disillusionment and despair. In easy-to-swallow Propaganda form or
new fast-acting Thought Control, that's Confidence in the System. So
have some... today.

CORNSTARCH: Used to simulate snow in {NICK DANGER}. Catherwood asks
Nick to come in out of the Cornstarch and dry his mucklucks by the
fire. Cornstarch is a prop widely used by foley artists (a/k/a "Sound
Effects Guys" -- "thanks Rocky!") to simulate walking through snow. You
don't walk in it. You leave it in its handy box. Squeezing and
massaging the box near a mike gives that squeaky sound, not unlike
walking on packed snow on a cold day. It also expels a fine dusting of
cornstarch, which settles nicely onto scripts, mikes, tape reels, etc.
Experienced foley artists leave the cornstarch box inside a plastic bag.
See also {CELLOPHANE}.

CUNEGONDE: As in "Le Trent Huit Cunegonde" (The 38th Cunegonde).
This is referred to in {DWARF}, and is the title of another FT piece.
Cunegonde has generated quite a discussion amongst the FT irregulars...

A number of fans noted that Cunegonde is the daughter of the Baron
Thunder-ten-tronckh, a central character in Voltaire's "Candide".

Jeff Bulf notes the use of this name elsewhere in the arts:

Cunegonde and its variants in other languages seems to be a standard
name for what we would now call "bimbo" characters in European film.
And presumably in stage before that. I cannot remember the title of a
black-and-white scandinavian movie with tease/tart named Kunigunda.
I saw it when I was in high school anyway, which puts it before the
first Firesign performances. (Was it a {BERGMAN}? Doesn't sound like
his sort of character.)

The name seems to be used as if it were a month; several fans have tried
to link it with the French Revolution and its renaming of the calendar
months; E.g., July became "Thermidor" -- best recalled by the
"Thermidorean reaction" that followed some brutality as the revolution
took its course.

As for the origin of the name Cunegonde, Evan M Corcoran was kind enough
to track this down with the help of his brother in France:

...Here's what he came up with, from the five volume Grand Larousse
dictionary, translated free for your personal libation:

Cunegonde - (saint), Germanic imperatrice (v. 978 - abbey of
Kaufungen, Hesse, 1033 or 1040 [I'm not exactly sure what this means,
I'll ask my brother]) Spouse of Henri II the Saint, canonised in 1200.

later he has continued:

One more historical note: I checked out Sainte Cunegonde, and as far
as I could determine, she is not the patroness of anything. There is
ANOTHER Sainte Cunegonde who is patroness of Poland and Lithuania,
but she's not the one parodied in Candide. Or is she... Both
Cunegondes are also spelled Kunigonda in some places. And St. Vitus
is the patron of comedians.

So, Cunegonde might be saint of something (perhaps, Cows?)

CURFEW: Gezundheit! Offers are usually not good after curfew in
sectors R or N, and you should never go into forbidden sectors
after curfew (see {DWARF}). In the TV comedy "Space Ghost - Coast
To Coast" there was a parody of a children's advertisement with
the fine-print disclaimer:

Produced by the Cogswell Cogs Co. Offer not good after curfew in
sectors R or N.


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