Theme Time Radio Hour — The Annotated “Flowers” Episode

Fred Bals
23 min readDec 1, 2022

Being a Compleat Transcript with Commentary on Episode #11 of Theme Time Radio Hour, “Flowers”

Original air date: July 12, 2006

There’s much of note in Episode 11 — “Flowers” — of Theme Time Radio Hour, including monster lists, the largest group of def poetry readings in the show’s history, quotations from Buddha, Isiah, and H.L. Mencken among others, a mystery laugh, appearances by two Dylan contemporaries from the Greenwich Village scene of the `60s, and some evidence that Our Host was wingin’ his commentary as much as reading from a script.

The Woman in Red: It’s nighttime in the Big City. Outside the dogs are barking. A woman walks barefoot, her high heels in her handbag. It’s Theme Time Radio Hour with your Host, Bob Dylan.

Bob Dylan: It’s time for Theme Time Radio Hour, and tonight we’re going to be talking about the most beautiful things on Earth — the fine-smelling, colorful, bee-tempting world of flowers: the Bougainvillea, the Passion Flower, the Butterfly Clerodendrum, the Angel’s Trumpets, the Firecracker plant.

Bob Dylan: We’re gonna be talking about rosa rugosa, the Angel Face, All that Jazz, Double Delight, the Gemini, and the Julia Child. We’re going to be talking about the Knockout Shrub, the New Dawn, the Mister Lincoln. And that’s only the roses! We’re also gonna hit on the Silver King, the German Statice, the Globe Thistle, and the Joe Pye Weed. The Violet, the Daisy. The lovely Chrysthanthemum. The Yarrow and the Tansy. We’ll be hittin’ on the Bachelor’s Button, the Coxcomb and the Lion’s Ear, the Love in the Mist and the Victoria’s Sorghum… I just made that one up. (laughs)”

[background laughter]

Bob Dylan: We’re gonna be talkin’ about… flowers. On Theme Time Radio Hour.

Commentary

“We’re gonna be talkin’ about… flowers.”

Richard F. Thomas notes in his 2007 essay, “The Streets of Rome: the Classical Dylan,” that “……

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Fred Bals

Corporate Storyteller. Tech enthusiast. Mini Cooper fanboy. One-time chronicler of Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour. Husband of Peggy. Human of Lily Rose.