Starring Craig Cackowski as Colonel Tick-Tock, bulwark of Her Majesty’s Royal Chrono-Patrol. Also starring Annie Savage, Mark Gagliardi, Hal Lublin, John DiMaggio, and James Urbaniak. Recorded June 4, 2011.
Blacker: Colonel Tick-Tock is the silliest piece that we do in the show. We just love it. Craig Cackowski took what was on the page and created this bizarre, fey time traveler. I don’t know why all of the time-travelers in TAH have flexible sexuality. Maybe we were watching a lot of Russell T. Davies Doctor Who episodes when we created them. Or maybe it’s just a fact of all time-travelers.
Acker and Andy Paley wrote the theme song, which (in this podcast) is a truncated version of a MUCH longer theme. It is ridiculously catchy and as silly as the segment. It has a lot of the linguistic tricks of which Acker is fond. I like it a lot.
We started doing “famous celebrity as historical figure” in Tick-Tock some years ago when Paul F. Tompkins hilariously played Caesar as Chico Marx. It’s been a fun game to play in these pieces. The Viking-as-Swedish-Chef, though, was Acker and Hal Lublin‘s idea; I think it works, but it pushes a little sillier than I usually like. Clearly I’m wrong, as obviously the audience (and cast) really dug it.
I love the Odd Couple-style intro that Mark Gagliardi (as Queen Victoria) does to set up Sacco and Vanzetti. I forget when we first learned that John DiMaggio and James Urbaniak can do Matthau and Lemmon—I think it was at a rehearsal one time—but that planted to seed for this episode. James and John have a great chemistry.
Other Tick-Tock pods already cast: #16 (with PFT and Neil Patrick Harris as Gilbert and Sullivan) and #31 (with Samm Levine as Thomas Edison and James [as David Bowie] as Nikola Tesla). And the swell poster above is by Brian Tatosky (@VirtualBri), who is a fan and has become a friend of the show. We always welcome art from our fans!
Acker: If I remember right, we were writing Colonel TickTock before Eccleston Doctored Who. The show used to open with an announcer telling the audience WorkJuice, the company that brought you some other programs is pleased to present The Thrilling Adventure Hour. And we’d name the other programs the silliest most evocative of dumb shows as we could think of. Just to get a laugh there at the top of the show. One month, it was “TimeHole” and “The Baby Detective.” The next month, it’d be “Detective Baby” and “The Cross Time Adventures of Colonel TickTock.”
Every once in a while, the title would be so silly, we’d want to write the piece. This was the case with both Colonel TickTock and Moonshine Holler. Joke titles that begat segments.
The original joke of TickTock was that there was no conflict. He’d have a bit of a long theme song, then arrive in a historical setting, set something aright very easily, then be on his way. Thirty seconds tops. Then his closing theme would go on and on. And on and on. And on. Fake endings. Bows. Actors leaving the stage. TickTock singing some more, forcing the return of those actors. And on and on.
In the transition from the supper club days to the big theatre at Largo, we were finished with fake endings and beefed up Colonel TickTock. We love playing with the silliness of time travel as a conceit and there’s none more silly than Colonel TickTock.
The Colonel started with more military bluster and silly Englishisms (bally, wot, etc); now, when I write him, I have Freddie Mercury in my head. It’s a subtle change of moustache.
I don’t know how it came up, but once we learned that James Urbaniak has a Jack Lemmon impression in his back pocket, we knew we had to do an Odd Couple episode of TickTock. We assumed DiMaggio could do Matthau. I don’t know if he had one already or if he figured it out for the show, but he has one now.
The music cue that leads into Sacco and Vanzetti in the apartment is the incidental music from The Odd Couple TV show. It’s another thing James keeps in his back pocket. He called our pianist, Jon Dinerstein (@JonDinerstein on twitter) and sang it to him over the phone from memory.
What you’re missing from hearing Tick-Tock instead of seeing it is the twinkle in Craig’s eye. I don’t know how you act that, but he does. His physicality is joyful. You really should just come from wherever you are and see it sometime.
And all time-travelers DO have a fluid sexuality. Science fact.