A Prairie Home Companion

November 1, 2011 by staff 

A Prairie Home Companion, When Tom Keith approached the microphone sound effects, radio magic invariably. “I could not do anything. You would ask him to make a sound, and could make the sound,” said Dale Connelly, who was co-host Keith morning show on Minnesota Public Radio from 1983 until he retired in 2008 Keith . “He brought things to life. It was amazing to see.”

Keith, most famous for his magic sound effects on A Prairie Home Companion, died Sunday after collapsing suddenly at his home. He was 64.

“All of us at the show are shocked by his death and send our deepest condolences to his family and listeners who enjoyed his work so much,” said Garrison Keillor in a statement released Monday.

Keillor said Keith sound effects “is elegant, precise, sober, as the man himself.”

Read a message from cutting more news about the time Tom Keith on A Prairie Home Companion and the MPR.
Keith worked in the MPR of 25 years, but planning was very little in his career.

After a stint at the University of Minnesota, where he was an outstanding baseball player, Keith joined the Marines. Keith said he had papers to go to Vietnam, but another Marine who had been tapped to go to trade offers for assignments. Keith accepted, and in 1973 was the military and finding a job.

It applies to an operator console in the MPR, then a small operation.

“The person who interviewed you do not have time to read your application and just said, ‘Well, you start tomorrow?’” Said Connelly.

Keith ended up working with Garrison Keillor, who at the time hosted a first version of the morning show. Keith started as a console operator, but began to appear more and more parodies Keillor produced for the show.

“Garrison has a great imagination,” Connelly said, “Tom and was able to enter that world and help the garrison with the show.”

Keillor also praised the creativity of Keith.

“Tom was one of the clowns of great radio,” he said. “He was serious about silly things and worked hard to get exactly right and a grunt cluck too much and the plot was unbelievable -. His whinny Nobles, vulnerable, articulate what made bagpipes, helicopters, mortars, common drunkards, caribou (and antelope. and elk and wapiti), garbage trucks backing up, saws and hammers, and a beautiful vocal of a man falling from a great height in the piranha-infested waters. ”

Every time Keith took the stage for a drawing, Keillor said, the audience watched intently.

“They could hear me, but wanted to see Tom, as you would see any magician,” he said. “The boys watched him closely to see how he did the shotgun blasts, the walrus singing, siren, the helicopter, water drips.”

When Keillor left the morning show to focus on A Prairie Home Companion, Keith co-host the program with Connelly. Keith organized showing how his alter ego, Jim Ed Poole, a character created Keillor for the previous version of the program.

Connelly, who wrote the scripts for the series, said Keith was an observer and a listener. He saw the world around him, and picked up the little details that later appear in his work.

Connelly said he often thought of Keith as his muse.

“All I could imagine, could make it happen,” he said. “I like to write a character for him and give him a script, and gives you absolutely no useful advice on how to take this person to life. And he read it once, and by reference to the script and his own imagination, which come with something completely formed. ”

Connelly said he did not know how Keith, Keith and the suspects did not know.

However, Tim Russell, a radio actor of A Prairie Home Companion, who worked with Keith for many years, believes he has an idea.

“He was a big fan of Bob and Ray and some of the glory days of radio. And when you have that kind of practical knowledge, which was able to bring all this to show Garrison. And it was a matter of form short for him to reach the correct way to offer a line or to offer a sound effect, “said Russell.

Keith had been practicing from an early age. His father, Jimmy Keith, was an artist of local radio which appeared in the Twin Cities radio and Pop Wiggins. In a broadcast in 1988 with his son, Jimmy Keith recalled that often unsolicited help.

“When we rehearsed, could not resist joining” recalled the old Keith.

“It was difficult for him to play the guitar and hold his hand over my mouth at the same time, but that’s how I got into show business,” says Tom Keith.

Compromised by having Tom add sound effects to the song, “My Little Rooster”. In later years, did the song as a rotation of the party, asking for suggestions from the audience.

Off the air, said Keith Connelly was tolerant. He is not pushed into the open, but was always a major presence, said Connelly.

“There was not much drama with Tom,” he said. “I just liked to make things happen. … Things always relaxed when Tom was in the room.”

Russell said he and Keith played together on October 22 and “everything looked fine.”

Keith said he remembered for his generosity and kindness, as well as his talent.

“I always had the greatest time,” said Russell. “I really kind of reinvented the whole genre of radio sound effects, which dates back to the early days of A Prairie Home Companion, and was so generous with the rest of us as actors and other cast members.”

Keith collapsed at his home Sunday night and died shortly after Woodbury.

Keillor, Keith said he had complained of shortness of breath the week before he died, but had not seen a doctor.

The cause of death was not released, and funeral services are pending.

MPR and American Public Media CEO Jon McTaggart Keith announced the death of a staff meeting Monday morning, and staff participated in a moment of silence. McTaggart said he knew few details about the circumstances of his death.

“Tom was loved by all who had the pleasure to meet and work with him. We will miss his humor, his incredible talent and friendship,” McTaggart said later in an email to staff.

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