Rare Early Joe Frank Stories from NPR Playhouse

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Rare Early Joe Frank Stories
WBAI And NPR Playhouse
Original Broadcast Date
Joe Frank
1 hour
Preceded by: The Death Of Trotsky
Followed by: Summer Notes

"Rare Early Joe Frank Stories" is the name of a program produced by Joe Frank as part of the series NPR Playhouse. It was originally broadcast in 1979, and was released as a monthly premium at joefrank.com in December 2004.


This program features four Joe Frank stories. The announcer begins by comparing hearing Joe's work to watching a movie.

  • The Night Watchman - the first person account of a night watchman who rises through the ranks of a company by inviting bosses to dinner and burying them in the back yard, only to find himself invited to dinner by the new night watchman.
  • Caldwell - a fitness nut who dies while climbing stairs in a blackout has an out of body experience. He travels down a long dark tunnel and emerges into a festive dinner party attended by dead family members. They do the carnival dance.
  • Long Island Memories - Joe's childhood in Long Island. A child is open to experiences: Lady bugs, frogs, turtles, butterflies, campfire, grandmother's hollow chocolate-filled cookies, being in the countryside with a dog, walking to meet his father's car on its return home. It's thirty years later, the adult has dulled senses. Joe runs out of gas in the country, experiences a vivid memory of childhood and imagines that his whole life has been a child's dream.
  • Beautiful Woman on Elevator - the often repeated experience of an awkward elevator ride beside attractive woman.

Interesting Facts

  • The Night Watchman shares some text with Lies.
  • The Caldwell story appears in Emergency Room.
  • We hear another reference to Joe walking out to meet his father (Freddy) in Karma Memories.
  • The background music to the elevator story with the lyric "hard work" is used often on Harry Shearer's Le Show.
  • Beautiful Woman on Elevator is not the same material as the elevator encounter in Obsessions.


Please see guidelines on commentary and share your personal thoughts in this section.


Night Watchman is an ironic and very funny monologue about rising up through the ranks by poisoning one's superiors. This is good stuff and a nice indication of what's to come in the Joe Frank canon.

External Links

WBAI and NPR Playhouse

Across the River | Arena | Call In The Night, A | Death Of Trotsky, The | Decline Of Spengler, The | Eighty Yard Run, The | End, The | Jewish Blues | Lies | Queen Of Puerto Rico, The (show) | Questions | Sales | Summer Notes | Til You're Gone | Tour Of The City, A (part 1) | Tour Of The City, A (part 2) | Rare Early Joe Frank Stories from NPR Playhouse | Warheads