Episode 50 – The History of Hit & Run Theater: Part 1

Episode 50 – The History of Hit & Run Theater: Part 1

Mendocino’s SnapSessions! podcast presents Part I of the two-episode documentary podcast “The History of Hit & Run Theater”.

Encompassing the first chapter of SnapSessions! two-part historical documentary of comedy/improv group Hit & Run Theater, Episode 50 features over two hours of interviews, old skits and songs, and a variety of surprises from Hit & Run Theater’s beginnings as a skit writing group in the late 1970s through the 1980s. Long time Hit & Runner Doug Nunn interviewed 18 present and former members of the local troupe and watched over 60 hours of old shows from 1981’s Improviganza through various comedy revues like Oh Velveeta, National Velveeta (both 1982), Democracy in Traction (1984), and Fiat Yux (1986), including the epic Arnold Vicious Punk Opera (1983) and its sequel, Rockalypse in 1984.

Working with SnapSessions!’ techmeisters Marshall Brown and Ken Krauss, Nunn initially handed over hours of VHS tapes to Brown, who digitized the old material. Doug put the shows in historical context, made voluminous notes, and then contacted various members of the troupe for lengthy chats. Ellen Callas, Kathy O’Grady and Pamela Stoneham gave context and historical background to the early days of the group (before it was even called Hit & Run Theater) for the shows 200 Years of Madness and Happy Birthday Mendocino. Harry Rothman, Tracy Burns, Steve Weingarten, and Richard Fienbop added many more details on Oh Velveeta, National Velveeta, The Arnold Vicious Punk Opera, The LaffFest Series, Democracy in Traction, and Fiat Yux among others. 

The two-part History of Hit & Run includes numerous skits from both eras. Like SnapSesssions! Episode 36—”A Tribute to Artist/Musician John Chamberlin” (which appeared in September 2021), these episodes are an oral history of Mendocino from the 1980s to the present. As the group did political commentary on everything from Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars to environmental and immigration policies, it is also an historical document. In addition, much of Hit & Run’s output was cultural commentary so “hippie life” in the 1970s and 80s is part of the background. The final product is engineered by Marshall Brown and Ken Krauss and stands as an epic oral history of the past forty plus years of local culture.

SnapSessions! includes original music by Marshall Brown, production by Marshall Brown and Ken Krauss, voiceovers by Ken Krauss and Doug Nunn, and articles and interviews by Doug Nunn. Our SnapSessions! artist and logo maker is caricaturist, Daniel Stieglitz.

Head to our website thesnapsessions.com to find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Soundcloud.

Enjoy what you hear? Consider supporting our program by contributing to our Patreon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *