By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
HOLD THE PHONE! Was Prince Albert about to get permanently canned?
For a minute there, it looked like it. But several weeks ago, following unsatisfactory negotiations with the Arizona Corporation Commission, U S West Communications put the lid on plans to market Caller ID, a controversial gizmo that enables the person receiving a call to see the telephone number of the person making the call. Had Caller ID become available, the device would have effectively pulled the plug on one of America's most maligned, neglected and subversive forms of humor-the prank phone call.
Admittedly, few would have bemoaned the loss. Just ask anyone who's ever dashed from shower to telephone, only to be told to go catch a running" refrigerator.
Actually, even hard-core phone-prank enthusiasts would be happy to see that hoary fridge gag put on ice. Typically older and bolder than those juvenile jokesters who used to call tobacco shops demanding that Prince Albert be let out of his can, today's pranksters are apt to call you to announce that the Cambodian orphan" you've never heard of is about to be delivered to your home. And chances are, the call is being taped for posterity, for distribution throughout a national gagster underground.
From New Jersey come the legendary Tube Bar" tapes, a series of nuisance calls to Red," an incredibly foul-mouthed bartender who did everything but shove his fist through the telephone (see related story). Almost as famous are Tennessee's Benny" tapes, a string of prank calls to a drawling car salesman who grows increasingly befuddled as his telephone tormentors phone in daily critiques of his wardrobe.
And right up there in the prank-call pantheon are Phoenix's notorious KDIL" tapes, a string of wide-ranging telephone pranks perpetrated 20 years ago by the staff of a pirate radio station that operated out of the Valley.
Manned by a group of college-age radio buffs, the outlaw KDIL was billed as the station that vibrates you!"-largely because of the crew's fondness for broadcasting dramatic readings" from a porno paperback called Dildo Torture. Today, the DIL's pulsating legacy of telephone pranks and broadcasting continues to reverberate through the collector underground via several hours of audiotapes.
Using radio equipment borrowed" from a variety of sources, KDIL's technological terrorists first wreaked havoc on local radio sometime in 1971, where they were heard sporadically over the upper reaches of the AM dial until voluntarily signing off some four years later. Although KDIL's announcers regularly reminded listeners the show was being broadcast direct from the Satanic Tabernacle in Wickenburg, Arizona!," the station actually broadcast from a rotating roster of what one former DILster calls hippie houses."
(Because many of the KDIL vets now pursue legitimate broadcasting careers, some are reluctant to share their reminiscences of the illegal station.)
Unlike most of their hippie-dippy brethren active in the alternative radio community, the KDIL commandos couldn't have cared less about changing the world through song.
I don't think we ever played a song that you couldn't have heard on KDKB that very same day," remembers realtor-radio personality Wonderful Russ" Shaw, one of the handful of radio buffs who manned the illegal station. Instead, says Shaw, the whole station was centered around these lunatic commercials that we would create."
Hello. This is Lou Grubb for Lou Grubb Chevrolet. Listen, we've got some fine resale cars here at 27th Avenue and Camelback. And what's more, if you'll stop out to see us at 27th Avenue and Camelback, you can ask one of our representatives for a special Lou Grubb ice pick. These picks have a stainless-steel prong and a solid birchwood handle and the handles all carry the legend Lou Grubb Chevrolet." Stop on out and get yours. THEN GO OVER AND SEE SOME SMART-MOUTHED FORD SALESMAN AND GOUGE HIS EYES OUT!!! Remember, that's 27th Avenue and Camelback. Our big lot and our fine automobiles. Lou Grubb Chevrolet. Thank you very much.
Shaw's KDIL capers paid off down the road when he later landed legitimate gigs doing similar commercial spoofs for KDKB and, more recently, KSLX. At the time, however, the bogus spots were strictly from left field. Says Shaw, The hope was that people would tune to the station, hear these commercials and think, `My God! What's happening? That's not rightÏhow can they be saying that?'"
If you worked at KDIL, it was easy. You just got on the radio and delivered a pitch for a nonexistent business like Mr. Rory's Drive-Thru.
The Breakfast Rory-a succulent layer of perfectly seasoned, choice hyena tripe, sandwiched between two strips of Rory's hyena bacon on a slab of imitation-egg filler. All this on a toasted sesame-seed bun with a pickle on top to ward off evil spirits. That's the Breakfast Rory, only 99 cents, this week only during the Taste-Me, Get-Acquainted Special. As always, you'll find the latest selection of hyena by-products right in your own neighborhood at your local Mr. Rory's Arizona-Baked Hyena Tripe Drive-Thru restaurant. Make it a family outing. Dad can order a Big Rory. Mom can get a Killer Rat Burger. And the kids can each have a Rory Jr.