March 9, 2012

R.I.P. Peter Bergman (1939-2012)

Writer and comedian Peter Bergman, best known as a member of the Firesign Theatre, died last night of complications from leukemia. He was 72.

Richard Metzger on Peter Bergman:

The last time I talked to Peter was a few weeks ago. I’d picked up the Albert Ayler Holy Ghost box set, and there, on one of the live discs recorded in Cleveland in 1966, was Peter introducing the band! I called him up that morning and he excitedly told me about that event and we laughed a lot and I told him that he just HAD to write his autobiography.

“Pete, you’re the ‘Zelig’ of the rock era! You’ve been in a film with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Farrah Fawcett. You coined the terms “love-in.” You smoked a joint with Bob Marley and the Wailers when they were your opening act [True, the Wailers opened for Procter and Bergman in Boston. Pete told me the joint was “arm-sized”!]. You guys gigged with the Buffalo Springfield. You’ve worked with Spike Milligan, and now here you are with Albert Ayler, for god’s sake! I mean, come on! You have to do this!”

comments

  1. Sheila Ryan on March 9th, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Y’all, I have been so good these years on clusterflock and not done the generational thing of reciting Firesign Theatre riffs, so just humor me, please: American Pageant, from “How Can You Be In Two Places At Once, When You’re Not Anywhere At All.”

  2. Sheila Ryan on March 9th, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Also, Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers is brilliant and essential. Believe me, it is not just hippie dope fiend humor, though it is that as well.

  3. Sheila Ryan on March 9th, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    “This is The Hour of the Wolf News. Big light in skies slated to appear in East, sonic booms scare minority groups in Sector B, and there’s hamburger all over the highway in Mystic, Connecticut.”

  4. Michael Grant Smith on March 9th, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Firesign Theater. Nick Danger, Lt. Bradshaw, Rocky Rococo. Humor today would be a lot smaller without those characters.

  5. Sheila Ryan on March 9th, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    So true. So true.

    Shoes for industry! Shoes for the dead!

  6. Sheila Ryan on March 9th, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    I promise to quit after this.

    We’re marching, marching to Shibboleth,
    With the Eagle and the Sword!
    We’re praising Zion ’til her death,
    Until we meet our last reward!

    Our Lord’s reward!

    Zion! Oh happy Zion!
    O’er wrapp’d, but not detained!

    Lion, f’rocious Lion!
    His beard our mighty mane!

    At First and Main!

    Oh, we’ll go marching, marching to Omaha,
    With the Buckram and the Cord!

    You’ll hear us “boom” our State!

    Ha, ha!
    As we cross the final ford!

    The flaming Ford!

    Zion! Oh mighty Zion!
    Your bison now are dust!
    As your cornflakes rise
    ‘Gainst the rust-red skies,
    Then our blood requires us must
    Go-o-o-o

    Marching, marching to Shibboleth,
    With the Eagle and the –

    The Buckram and the Cord!

    Sword!
    Praising Zion ’til her death!

    Ha, ha!

    Until we eat our last reward!

    The flaming Ford!

    Zion! Oh righteous Zion!
    There is no one to blame!
    For the homespun pies
    ‘Neath the cracking skies
    Shall release the fulsome rain!

    Shall release!

    Shall release!

    Shall release!

    Shall release!

    Shall release the vinyl rein!

  7. Frank Patrick on March 9th, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Our bus has lost an original bozo.

  8. Frank Patrick on March 9th, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Where did he go when he was towed away?

  9. Frank Patrick on March 9th, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Shoes for industry. Shoes for Peter.

  10. Frank Patrick on March 9th, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Maybe Peter had one too many steaming heaps of groats.

  11. Frank Patrick on March 9th, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    (It’s taken me 40 years to regrow the brain cells to remember this stuff.)

  12. Sheila Ryan on March 9th, 2012 at 10:19 pm
  13. Keith Phucas on July 11th, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Wow. I’m stunned about Peter’s death. I did not find out until today. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

    Peter thanks for a great comedic legacy. I first heard Firesign Theatre (“Don’t Crush that Dwarf …”) in 1971 in high school and was an instant fan. My brother Phil and I saw Phil Proctor and Peter Bergman perform at the Cellar Door in Washington, D.C. in the mid-1970s. I corresponded via email in the late 1990s with Proctor. My brother and I enjoyed the Firesign CDs the group produced in the past decade.