Friday, February 09, 2007
Jeff, Slim, Rush and, uhhh, Satan!
This is a tale related to me by the Engineerofknowlege, a frequent contributor to these pages and a little too good to keep to myself!
It took place in Pittsburgh in the early 1970's. I remember hearing about it in Toledo as one of those things too strange to be true.
There was a local "shock jock" who went by the name of Jeff Christie on Pittsburgh radio and was pretty popular, a forerunner of Howard Stern.
In Pittsburgh, there was an evangelical minister who one Sunday made the bizarre claim that the voice of Satan could be heard on the recordings of the British Country and Western crooner Slim Whitman if you played them backwards. This was bizarre enough when you consider that Slim was little known in America but at the time, there was a marketing push to sell his records with telemarketing. Perhaps you remember the claim, "He has sold more records in Britain than the Beatles!"
Well, the Evangelical Minister had his flock going out on the streets preaching to everyone that they had to destroy all their Slim Whitman records to keep the voice of Satan from claiming the souls of the unsuspecting listeners.
This was perfect fodder for Jeff Christy, who started poking fun unmercifully at the Minister and his Congregation. How stupid could these people be? Why would Satan pick an obscure country and western singer like Slim to use to spread his message of evil? Why would he embed his malicious messages in the tracks that had to be spun backwards to be heard? What kind of brain damaged trauma caused this mentally deficient minister to focus on poor Slim?
Jeff kept the jokes going for a solid week and after a weekend break he was back on the air on Monday morning and gravely announced that he had to apologize to the minister, because over the weekend, he had in fact played the records backwards and Satan had indeed spoken to him. He then told the radio audience that he was going to play the Slim Whitman record backwards so everyone could hear Satans message with their own ears. Jeff, of course had pre recorded his own distorted voice and it began, "Hello, this is Satan. I would have never guessed that a minister would have a record player that could play records backwards. There can't be that many around. I never thought that an Evangelical Minister would be smart enouugh to figure out my secret and start warning everyone!" He went on for a bit and most people realized it was more of the joke and got it, but then the calls started from outraged listeners who could not believe that Jeff would actually commit the irresponsible act of broadcasting the voice of Satan over the airwaves and demanded his immediate dismissal!
The station got so many calls, probably from the entire congregation of the church, that they decided they had to fire Jeff from his show.
When Christie was fired, he found a new job at a sports station broadcasting the Kansas City Royals baseball games. He later moved on and started his own political talk show on the radio. Today, the onetime Shock Jock, Jeff Christie, is known as