Smokin' Larry

Friendship is an elusive thing. This week we tried to illustrate the bond between two guys who hang out — for no obvious reason.

Here's the result:

The smoker in the video is Larry Massett.

He's a long time independent radio producer and musician who lives in Cabin John, Maryland, not far from Washington, DC but hundreds of miles away in spirit.

The non-smoker is me.

Long Time Friendship

I've known Larry since 1979. The first story we did together was about me trying to fix my own car. This was a funny idea because I can't even make my own toast.

Later, Larry and I sprung into action when we heard on the news that the State of Maryland was looking for a way to tone down its official song. They wanted to eliminate the lyric that says "Huzza! she spurns the Northern scum!" We wrote a version so harmless and banal that it could offend no one. It was about crabs and happy people.

Changing the Game

These collaborations with Larry changed my concept of what could be done on radio. Instead of hard news and silly features they was another path; a shortcut to reality by way of bizarre humor and imagination. Larry went on to create many of these features for NPR and for other places.

The two of us also did stories from abroad in Nepal, Japan and China.

Larry Massett in Beijing 1983

Larry Massett was part of my personal Cultural Revolution. Photo by Art Silverman. hide caption

toggle caption Photo by Art Silverman.

In the 1990s, we created "The Program That Never Was" — a weekly series of conversations and skits with Amy Dickinson, Chris Mandra, Rebecca Flowers and the two of us. We taped them for several years. And, of course, they never found a radio home. But now, under the title "Chesty Morgan's Forbidden Love," they have a new life.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Art, you are so, so cute!

Sent by Chesty Morgan | 12:16 PM | 7-18-2008

This is a fine picture of Larry, who, I think, never forgot a single thing that he ever read or heard; this quality is other-worldly for somebody like me, for whom every reading of, say, A Brief History of Time is brand new. I've known Larry since 1954, when we were young teenagers on a CIA camp somewhere in Asia. I don't think he smoked then, and he's done stints as a hard core bicycler and scuba diver, but he hasn't changed all that much PLEASE DON'T POST THIS NOTE WITHOUT ASKING LARRY.

Sent by Mark Baldwin | 2:55 PM | 9-5-2008


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