Subterranean Press Magazine: Spring 2007
Review: On the Road with Harlan Ellison volume 3
HARLAN ELLISON: ON THE ROAD WITH ELLISON: Volume Three
(Deep Shag Records/$17.99)
Reviewed by Dorman T. Shindler
For those of you who can’t get enough, here is this week’s mini-bonus review, covering the latest in an ongoing cavalcade of Harlan Ellison’s spoken word recordings.
For years, when anyone asked about his penning a biography—despite guaranteed bestsellerdom should he ever do so—Harlan Ellison replied he wasn’t interested, and that he’d already done so in his dozens of introductions and essays. Add to that his CDs produced by Deepshag. Each of the (so far) three volumes has contained between nine and fifteen tracks which are basically memoirs of the dirty life and times of Harlan Ellison. This time out, Ellison covers things like his two hour stint as an employee of Disney or the strange story of his attacking convention goers with a chandelier. Of course, very few orators—outside of Lenny Bruce or Mark Twain—could recount their own lives with such hilarity and perfect timing, but that, as Ellison would say, is another story.
Suffice it to say that for fans of Ellison and of the SF genre, there are (as in the first two volumes) a number of familiar tales told. But as with the first two volumes, gems are here for the taking. Such as track 12, in which Ellison offers up one his most hilarious anecdotes—about the publishing industry—replete with an impression of Humphrey Bogart and Peter Falk. Or the story about his almost getting a job as a talk show host (the antithesis of Mort Downey, Jr.—or Bill O’ Reilly), and how his views on the Middle East—still, sadly, relevant today—lost him the job.
It’s all here: how Robert Redford’s film efforts in Colorado may, in fact, be a front for NORAD, the willful ignorance of the mass of Americans and how Ellison has to hum a tune while serving his wife, Susan, breakfast, or risk having sausage and eggs decorate his ceilings. Coming off like Robin Williams’ older brother, Harlan Ellison could make even the recital of his latest grocery list entertaining.