Henry Jacobs' 'Wide Weird World'

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Cartoon figure sits in front of TV

Jacobs created sound collages often accompanied by images chronicling the 'art of goofing off.' Henry Jacobs hide caption

itoggle caption Henry Jacobs

Poking Fun at 'This I Believe'

Hear a parody of Edward R. Murrow's original radio series.

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Henry Jacobs is a legend, at least among fans of 1950s radio satire and electronic music. He was a West Coast composer, radio host, and a friend and collaborator of philosopher Alan Watts. His legacy might have existed mostly in the hazy memories of his fans — had not some of his tapes been rediscovered, and just released in a CD/DVD combo.

Beginning in 1953, Jacobs hosted a music program for KPFA in Berkeley, Calif. The Folkways record label later released highlights from this show on an LP, Audio Collage, in 1955. His work represented a patchwork of skits, soundscapes and mock interviews.

Jacobs co-organized the Vortex Experiments, a series of mind-expanding sound and light concerts at a San Francisco planetarium starting in 1957. In 1970, he moved to a stretch of remote coastline north of San Francisco. Now 80 years old, he says he's trying to live as if it's the 19th century — or possibly the fifth.

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