When: Sunday, Sept. 8, 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Where: Senator Theatre, 5904 York Road.
Tickets: $6, available in advance at the box office.
Attention, Dementoids and Dementypes: The Doctor is coming to hold a clinic.
Dr. Demento -- the dee-lightfully dee-ranged radio personality who is celebrating his 20th year on the air as the principal propagator of America's funniest audios -- will be at the Senator Theatre Sunday hosting a specially concocted three-hour show of video-mania.
Dubbed "Demento-o-Rama," the show consists of two parts, the doctor explained in a recent telephone interview. Part one is a series of short film clips, including selections from Dr. Demento's recently released Rhino collection of novelty videos that is a companion to a two-CD collection of novelty records.
Part two is a feature-length film, "Lobster Man From Mars," narrated by Dr. Demento and described by him as "made in the same spirit as those $1.98 trailers from long-lost sci-fi films of the '50s."
The 50-year-old musicologist holds a master's degree in folk music studies from UCLA and contributed chapters on doo-wop and rhythm and blues to "The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll," under his real name -- Barry Hansen. But he has no pretentions about the videos and songs he plays.
"They're comic relief, that's what they are," said Dr. D, whose syndicated weekly radio show from Los Angeles is heard on 175 stations, including WHFS-FM (99.1) Sunday nights at 10.
Once, many of the songs, such as Lonnie Donegan's "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour (On the Bedpost Overnight)" and Bobby "Boris" Pickett's "The Monster Mash," were staples of Top 40 radio.
"But right around the time I started, rock music began to take itself more seriously and look down its nose at these songs," said Dr. Demento. At the same time, he noted, radio stations began programming by research and "God help anyone who broke the format."
Major record companies have all but gotten out of the novelty business, but rap has proved to be a rich source of new material and the genre lives on on independent labels. "I also get 20 tapes a week that people make on their own," he said. "They range from little kids using 29 cent microphones to some pretty ** sophisticated things."
Dr. Demento listens to them all. You never can tell when a
dee-mented diamond in the rough might turn up.