Monday, June 30, 2008

Space Is the Place at 12:50 A.M.

On the final show of the third season of Saturday Night Live, the musical guest was Sun Ra and his Arkestra, which was a pretty bold choice. Sun Ra is not to everyone's tastes, to put it mildly. But the show mitigated that boldness by putting him on as the very last gasp, the final segment before Buck Henry came out to wish everyone a good summer. (Secondary musical guests had come on that late before, but Sun Ra was the only guest musician on this show.) To make up for this slap in the face, they let Sun Ra go on for a full six minutes, or rather, they seemed willing to let him go on for five minutes, but the Arkestra kept going even after director Davey Wilson switched to the card with the hand-colored drawing of Buck Henry, finally quitting after six minutes.

Ra didn't seem to mind; he came out for the good-nights, which wasn't especially common for the musical guest to do in those days. He was still wearing his tinfoil hat, and I mean that literally.

Sun Ra's real name was Le Sony'r Ra. That's not the name he was born with, but it was his legal name. He also had cryptorchidism, or Hitler's disease.

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