Melinda Peterson passed away earlier this month. She was an immensely gifted actress on stage, screen, and radio, and a kind and generous human being. I met Melinda only twice in person, when she accompanied her husband, Phil Proctor of the legendary comedy troupe Firesign Theatre, to on-air appearances at KBOO. And she made everyone at the station feel like we were among her oldest, dearest friends.
I’ve had the privilege of interviewing Melinda’s husband Phil several times over the years, in fact going back to my high school days in Los Angeles, when the Firesign Theatre had a weekly radio show on KPFK. Phil, like Melinda, is also a wonderful human being, especially in light of his super-human talent, and my heart goes out to him and his family during this time of loss and grief.
To honor Melinda’s memory, I’d like to re-air an episode we did for one of my previous KBOO shows, The Holy Crowley Hour, which ran monthly on Monday nights at 11. The date was October 22nd 2018, and the occasion the 80th anniversary of Orson Welles’ famous broadcast of War of the Worlds. Portland’s Fake Radio presented a live on-stage performance of the radio play that evening, at the Alberta Rose Theater, featuring Phil, Jonathan Stark, actor/writer/producer and co-creator of the TV sitcom According to Jim, Sam Mowry, artistic director of Portland’s Willamette Radio Workshop and voice actor extraordinaire, and Fake Radio’s artistic director David Koff.
After that night’s performance, Phil, Jonathan, Sam, and David dropped by KBOO to guest on my show, live in the studio. Melinda was there, too, watching us from a corner of the room, despite my coaxing to join us on the mic's. And, as an added treat, David Ossman, Phil’s fellow Firesign phoned in from his home on Whidbey Island. It was one of the most memorable moments in my radio life, and an incredible joy and delight. I hope you can feel that for yourself when you listen back to the show, and I hope it provides some comfort to those of us mourning Melinda’s passing.