Monday, January 5, 2015

An interview with Paul Ford

JIMBO - Mr. Ford, thank you so much for doing the interview.  Please tell us a bit about yourself and your website.

PAUL - I’m a writer and programmer who lives in Brooklyn. I have a number of websites, and a few more on the way. Right now I do most of my writing for Medium at and various other publications online and off.

JIMBO - How old were you when you found old-time radio and what were some of the shows you enjoyed?

PAUL - I grew up Philadelphia, and they used to play them on the radio—I can’t remember which station. I was about ten or eleven years old, and this was in the mid-1980s. I particularly remember The Shadow, and Fibber McGee and Molly. As a kid I liked the way that they were very well-written and acted, but also a little goofy and very accessible. You could do the voices yourself.

JIMBO - Tell us about how you discovered 'Vic and Sade'?  What were your first thoughts about the show?

PAUL - Vic and Sade is interesting because if you're interested in historical audio everyone talks about how big a show it was, and how weird it is that it's now mostly forgotten and doesn't make much sense to modern ears. So after I'd read about Vic and Sade for years, and about how important it was, I finally figured I needed to hear for myself. I went poking around online--this was a couple years ago--and I was taken aback by how deep the characters were, the way that their world was fully fleshed out with friendships, hobbies, annoying habits, and the like.

JIMBO - Tell us some of your favorite Vic and Sade episodes you've come across.

PAUL - Anything involving the Drowsy Venus Chapter of the Sacred Stars of the Milky Way cracks me up. I'm just a sucker for that world of lodges and societies and appreciate the way that Rhymer made it both affectionate and ridiculous, and also the sheer amount of paraphernalia that is involved with Vic's membership--all the elements of costume, the heavy books and so forth. It's very consistent and very funny.

JIMBO - Which character is your favorite and why?

PAUL - It's such an ensemble show, but I'll go ahead and say Vic, as portrayed by Art Van Harvey, for the way he veers between kindness and crabbiness, and the fact that he gives in to his enthusiasms so easily. He's key to the show for me because he really is a stabilizing, moderating influence (except of course when he's not) and he seems to enjoy himself so much at the same time.

JIMBO - Being the software guy that you are, I have to ask... what do you think about how I've used Google's 'Blogger' to preserve 'Vic and Sade'?

PAUL - Love it! So glad to see this blog. One good thing about Blogger is it's likely to be around for a long time.

JIMBO - What are your impressions of writer Paul Rhymer and the fact we probably will only see and hear perhaps only 30-35% of his work?

PAUL - He was such a subtle writer. He had to work fast, and he came up with a little world of Vic and Sade and just kind of kept coming back to it, day after day. Which is an incredible task!

JIMBO - You've already eloquently demonstrated in your piece, "Lesson", that Rhymer can send multiple messages to several generations with his very simple Midwestern chit-chat.  Would you explore this more deeply?

PAUL - People should just listen to the shows and make up their own minds. Besides, I think Jean Shepherd really nailed down why Rhymer matters in his foreword to the collected plays at

JIMBO - How do you think Rhymer stacks up against other American writers of his era?

PAUL - I'll nod again to Jean Shepherd; can't improve on his take: "Another thing that amazes me is Rhymer's wild and subtle imagination. Wild in the sense of being totally unpredictable, and subtle in that he touched at times on the faint vein of madness that run through all of us."

JIMBO - Anything I should have asked and didn't?  Any last words?

PAUL - I can’t think of anything! Thank you so much for checking in; it was my privilege.

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