Ask me anything
Twenty years ago, a lightly publicized show was aired on the then newby network Fox. Thrashing about to try and compete with the "big three" (CBS, ABC, & NBC) the Little-Network-that-Could aired a show that probably would not have been given the time of day on any of them.
Created and produced by Allan Marcil, Dick Berg, and David Beaird, the show was intelligent, funny, and filled with literary allusion (*gasp* "what's that?" you say. "Literary what?") . It was such a magical experience and aired so briefly (a mere 13 episodes!), that fans still search for it as though dreamers trying to recapture an illusion. Yet real it was and in the words of Savannah, if you're looking for copies of the show, then...
"You've come to the right place, you pretty thing"
I have all thirteen episodes which I put on four disks (3 on 3 and 4 on 1).The quality is very good considering they are copied from VHS and that the show was aired 20 years ago. Compared to the ioffer disks that are out there (a friend bought a copy before I got a computer that could burn copies) the picture is better- the sound track is better- they are just better. (One reminder however, since the show was aired and recorded onto VHS in the 90s and can not be digitally enhanced, they will not have the quality on an HD TV as on an older TV set or on a computer.) I try to make it a special- They come with jeweled cases, covers, and inserts. I ask $16 dollars for the set + $4 for shipping and handling in the U.S. which can be paid by paypal or my snail mail (USPS). Overseas shipping will obviously be more but is possible.
I make the disks as they are requested so I begin making them when I hear from you. (If you choose to pay by snail mail, I generally wait until the check arrives before I get started on the disks so it can take longer to get to you than paypal.) If you want to use paypal, I email you when they are ready and mail them soon after the payment is received (usually 2-3 business days) . If you need the disks shipped overseas, please let me know at the time of the order. If you're interested drop me an email at Danette.Baltzer@gmail.com with "Key West DVDs" in the subject. You can also click on "ASK ME ANYTHING", however it is not as effective as simply dropping me an email directly (I've missed at least one request that way I've recently discover). Anyway, in the email if you let me know how you want to pay, we'll go from there!
Also, once you get them, I love hearing stories of how other fans remember the show (I've met so many nice people because of Key West!!!) and what you think about it after all these years. I love comments! If you post a comment simply sign in as a "guest" and then it will allow you to post.
There is something about the corporal Key West that still holds the essence of the show in spite of all the commercialism, the tourism and the other isms that threaten to take over the island. I am most aware of this when I am in key places on the island- at the tip of the breaker at Zachary Taylor beach, standing at the edge of the pier at Higgs beach in the evening when everyone else is on Duval partying their hearts out or standing on the landing at the top of the lighthouse. It is during those moments that the magic of the island it as it’s fullest and I am almost sure I’ll see Seamus scootering around the corner or Savannah walking down the street.
It’s a wondrous feeling being at the End of the World- whether I am there physically or watching the show on a Saturday evening for the upteenth time because it is not the End of the World in the sense of THE END it is really the beginning of seeing something new at the edge of the world.
I hope that’s what you find when you look at Key West- a new shore, each time you view it. Cheers!
With the first note of the introduction, Key West was something special. The characters were unique but the place was (and is) just as rare- which may be why the show lives in on in the hearts and minds of it’s fans.
All songs here with permission from Dan Wool FROM DAN: Feel free to create a Soundcloud page with all this if that’s easier. Thanks so much for your continued interest and for keeping the Key West flame alive!
d a n w o o l pray for rain • soundtracks and music production 608 1/2 paris street SF CA 94112 c 415.613.0955 http://www.prayforrain.com
Pray for Rain is a San Francisco music production company and recording group specializing in film soundtracks most prominently headed by Dan Wool. The show’s theme song was originally named “Sex and Politics at the end of the World” (as was the show) and can still be located on their site under that name.Dan Wool describes the song as a “Celtic-Caribbean mash-up” or “Caribbean Sunnyshine.” It features Michael Spiro on percussion, Jonathon Segal on Mandolin, Violin and Accordion, and Angela Carsner on Flute. Prior to their work on Key West, their filmography included Sid and Nancy and Straight to Hell but their music continues on with a total of two and a half decades of television and movie magic.
orudios412 asked: Could you post pics of Isadora? What are the episodes that Kimball is in? IMDB lists only three! Thanks heaps!
I believe Isadora was in only 3 episodes. I will double check some time soon but I believe the numbers were right on IMdB on the supporting cast. The only ones that were not right were the main characters. Many of them were not in all the episodes they were actually listed as being in- like Lara Piper. Rikki was in only 7 episodes.
"I was a big Elvis fan.Elvis is not Black, Michael Jackson is black, I think. But not Elvis."
Recognize this face? Cody found a star who was also a lion tamer. She cared for her big kitty but her life was a high wire act that couldn’t even be shared by the sheriff daddy. If she doesn’t look familiar, look a little closer at ‘The Great Unknown’.
There are only thirteen episodes but some live with you. I’ve listed five of my favorites within the pages of this site… what are yours?
1. Pieces of a Man: The opening notes of this episode are quiet and full of the pensive thoughtfulness that fills the screen as the show progresses. A character is introduced and quickly expires, but leaves behind gifts for the people of the island that keep his presence vibrantly alive as surely as a closeup. Seamus, the new boy on the block, has never met the crazy old man in a “natty plaid jacket, red shorts and calvary boots” but is charged with the task of writing the obituary for the residential stranger and finds the task complicated by King Cole’s instructions to write about someone he knows in addition to disposing of the ashes of the deceased.
In a moment that never ceases to tighten my throat with a choked back sob, King Cole is perched on a chair on the sands of Zachary Taylor beach, blindly pinpointing his inherited gun at the heavens and aiming for the clay pigeons Seamus is propelling. Cole used to be the launcher, we discover, and was paid .10 for an hour of launching, but was given a “lifetime between the powder” At Cole’s direction Seamus slingshots the disks into the Key West blue sky and bullet after bullet sails wildly off and into the ocean. Finally, the bullet finds it’s mark and Cole launches himself out of his chair with his indigenous laughter, waves his arms and firearm at the heaven and exclaims, “Did you see that Bertram? They mighta kept the eyes but we got that clay bird! Oh Bertram, we did it!”
(Final moving moments of ‘Act of God’ Click to listen. Bankie Banx singing ‘Edge of Darkness’ from his album Mighty Wind)
While shooting the show in August 1992, the Florida Keys were under a Hurricane warning and cast and crew of ‘Key West' (at least those that had sense) were hurriedly evacuated. Hurricane Andrew ultimately missed the island itself but the hurricane hit Homestead, Florida (150 miles north of the small island) and southwest Louisiana, killing 61, injuring 10,375 and causing over 1 billion dollars in damages. It was a devastating event for the modern U.S. shoreline (that is until Hurricane Katrina taught us a new level of devastation) and as few as 10 years ago, the gateway to the Keys was still recuperating from the battering they took in the wee hours on the 24th of August. The event was so moving to the writers of the show that it was quickly written into the show’s first season allowing their characters to move through the drama they’d personally experienced.
At the epicenter of our drama, Seamus, our New Jersey hero, is excited about the possibility of a little excitement on the island when news of the hurricane is first broadcast. He dons toga and “garland” (really just a scarf of some sort) and parties his way around the island until the seriousness of the situation begins to sink in. Maybe it was time to leave, he waffles as he frantically searches for his clothes. What’s your panic, man? His Rastafarian friend soothes him, it’s just a little wind. His emotions are tossed like the waves… should he go?… should he stay? Hemingway would stay to experience the full gamut of emotions and life. Yes, but Tennessee Williams wold go and start on his next play. In a final attempt to evacuate he finds that he has waited too long and he is forced to wait out the storm in the ramshackle bar known as Gumbos with the rest of the islanders. As he sits in the candlelit room, surrounded by frightened and worried friends listening to the quiet pluckings of the nearby guitar, he ponders the mystery of nature, of death… of life,
Stumbling in the shadows at the edge of the darkness Picking up the pieces of your dreams Burning eyes still searching for that speck or spark Pouring tears to cool a fiery heart But I know ‘cause I’m sure I’ve been there before
Stumbling in the shadows at the edge of a heartbreak Picking up the pieces of your dreams Burning eyes searching for that speck or spark Pouring tears to cool an aching heart You should know ‘cause I’m sure You’ve been there before
You should never ever be someone who feels to tough to cry It helps to cool the achin’ in your heart And there isn’t any reason for you not to try to feel and find your way out of the dark to feel and find your way out of the dark
So there isn’t any reason for you not to try to feel and find your way out of the dark to feel and find your way out of the dark
"That was the night that I learned about my mortality. I looked around and realized that everyone in the room was going to die. Just maybe not tonight…but I did learn that we are all always at the station and the trains are always leaving."
2. Act of God: Inspired by the real life destruction of Homestead Fl (and the threat of the hurricane for some hearty souls from the show in Key West— others not so hearty and more level-headed would flee) in August of 1993 by Hurricane Andrew. In light of what would happen with the less intense but far more destructive Katrina twelve years later (and more destructive partly because of the lack of preparedness), the intensity of the episode is in no way diminished and is, perhaps, that much more meaningful.
According to the credits, Act of god was written by one Milo Bachman, but this is apparently a pseudonym and the actual creating and writing was done by Tom Chehak and David Beaird- but that is another story for another writer another day…
As a television experience, the show is one of the “deepest moments I’ve ever experienced down here in dense matter”. And while Cody may have been referring to the solidity of earthly living, I am referring to the thickness of television. Emotional moments are the meat and potatoes for prime-time television and I would be hard pressed to name even one sitcom that had not pressed the tear button in a rampant ratings gluttony. But with impromptu Toga parties parading down the streets (not too far from reality either, I might add!) and Seamus shifting from “Stay—Go!— Stay—- (“Hemingway would stay! But Tennessee Williams would be in Tampa writing his next novel”)…GO!” the episode manages to move through sentiment with the ease of the tight rope walker in the Barnum & Bailey Circus.
More than one scene causes me to hit rewind and watch it again, but the show’s final moments are some of the most adult moments ever to be seen on television. Bankie Banx enters the bar, wordless, guitar in hand, nods, and walks to the bar where he sits, saturating the moments, until he weaves his way to the stage. His guitar quietly winds it’s way down the road into the night where life meets death, as Pray for Rain’s Dan Wool pulls a musical coup by adding musical memory of a New Jersey line guy driving into the ocean, riding his scooter downtown, and holding hands with his girlfriend on the beach without a solitary visual clue, simply with a lightly played recorder in the background. Candlelight illuminates the faces of the residents hovering on the edge of darkness and the people of the island listen as the bloodthirsty storm moves ever closer to where they sit in a ramshackle bar on the edge of the world.
The storm veers north (as Gumbo predicted) slamming into Homestead, the last city on the edge of the mainland, but Seamus’s final thoughts resonate “That was the night I learned about my mortality. I looked around and realized that everyone in the room was going to die, just maybe not tonight… The eye missed the island. Many people lost their lives that night… why we were spared I do not know. But I did learn that we are all always at the station and the trains are always leaving.”
If you have stumbled upon this blog, you are probably in search of an elusive dream… you recall a show that you saw in the 90s, 1993 to be exact and to be specific, January 19, 1993. You may have missed several episodes but ghosts of the show stayed with you and now you are hoping to find copies of the show (and you’re in luck, by the way! read the heading for purchasing/contact information) so that you may reacquaint yourself, once more, with the group of characters that gathered in the place known as ‘Gumbo’s End of the World Bar and Grill’.
Lots of memories linger in this little building that, on first glance is little more than a shack— more than I could possibly mention— but if you happen upon the still erect building you might just hear the echoes of Gumbo’s speech as he talks about his little CiCi and how she could grab you by your funny bone and not let go.
Or in the corner, you might almost get a glimpse of Flame as she snakes across the dance floor…
Outside there are whispers that recall you to the episode where Seamus was brooding to Gumbo about whether Laurel is his one true love, see the pair meander back up to the bar where they will undoubtedly share a beer…
And though the place has little, other than the framework, and this picture
to remind visitors of the atmosphere of excitement and creativity that once inhabited this building…
Nevertheless: if once you have listened to Savannah’s erotically infused tones whispering to Seamus “You’ve come to the right place, you pretty thing. It’s magic here. There are angels in the spray, wizards in the palm trees, and elves in the seashells. And they all look very favorably on struggling young writers.” and heard King Cole’s guffaws as he says, ”We are all standing at the station. The train is always leaving and the soul checks it’s watch and wonders if its his time to go”or watched as Sheriff Cody carries in a friend who has been lost in a storm, you will never see the hut at the back of Coconut Mallory property simply as a former set of a favorite show. It will always have a feeling of familiarity that reminds you of home.
And if you listen very carefully, you will see them still, dancing and talking and breathing…somehow.