One thing I love about the internet is that it has made things available that once had to be acquired via difficult means, and often in the form of a bootleg copy of a bootleg copy. I speak here less of music than audio outtakes. There is little that I find more enjoyable than hearing prominent figures and entertainers being caught by a live mic, when their veneer has been dropped and the real person beneath is there in all its revealing glory. John Kerry's live mic this week, which revealed that his private thoughts about Israel are much more critical than his public ones is a good case in point. Even better is Mitt Romney's "47%" outtake, which helped cost him the election. Without further ado, here are my favorite audio outtakes for your enjoyment.
This is the king granddaddy of all audio outtakes, so legendary that it has spawned plenty of parodies and homages. It starts inauspiciously enough, with Orson Welles reading advertising copy for that most mundane of products, frozen peas. He starts to dispute the copy, and in his voice you can hear the frustration of a man who went from being a great figure of stage, radio, and film to being reduced to shilling grocery products. His deep, famous voice never sounded better than uttering deathless phrases like "you people are pests," "what is it that you want, in the depths of your ignorance," and my personal favorite, "no money is worth this." The latter I think is probably the best thing to say when you're walking out the door of a crappy job.
The late Casey Kasem was a fixture in my popular cultural life as a child, when I listened to his Top 40 broadcast and heard him voice Shaggy on Scooby Doo. Little did I know that America's favorite DJ cursed like a drunken sailor in Marseilles. While this outtake compilation has his most famous blow up, over a depressing dedication he had to read after a peppy song, my favorite clips are him cursing out local stations with stupid promo copy. Despite his stream of profanity, these clips do show Kasem to be a dedicated pro trying hard to get things done the right way.
There are plenty of famous coaching meltdowns out there, but for the most part they were during televised press conferences, and thus immediately available to the public. Not so with Cubs manager Lee Elia's infamous tirade in 1983, which was caught on audio tape by a reporter who deserves some kind of award. This rant is a true masterpiece of profanity, the Night Watch of cursing. As a White Sox fan I've always enjoyed Elia's special words for the "bleacher bum" style of Cubs fans.
This is probably the most surreal of all the outtakes I've ever heard: LBJ, president of the United States, ordering specially made pants over the phone with someone who was obviously not expecting the call. He utters the word "bunghole" right after belching into the phone. It doesn't get much better than that, but I also love his description of wearing pants without enough inseam: "it's like riding a wire fence." Can't really argue with that.
Okay, I know this doesn't quite qualify, but there is little that cracks me up/horrifies me more than this compilation of KISS front man Paul Stanley's stage banter. His band are the ultimate example of style over substance, and Stanley's screams to rile up the crowd have a kind of insanely asserted soullessness to them. This is the sound of the void at the heart of our culture, folks. Listen at your own peril.