The Word from Studio B and Tex Carbone Speaks
"With a crime such as this - one that produced equal parts awe and conjecture to the degree that it has achieved mythical proportions - it's fitting that there remains some mystery as to precisely how it was pulled off. Only a small group of men know for sure, and to date not one of them has provided a full and credible explanation, if they've spoken about it at all."
That's from the Author Notes to "Flawless," a book about the legendary Antwerp Diamond Center heist of 2003, but it's also a fitting epigram for Theme Time Radio Hour in many ways. The "small group of men", and at least one woman, who composed the TTRH team have always maintained an air of mystery about precisely how they pulled it off, and undoubtedly will never provide a full and credible explanation.
It's not their way. There's a reason why the group of TTRH guest commentators included such purveyors of hokum as Penn Jillette and Ricky Jay, both close friends of Eddie G. and Mr. D. There's a reason why the mysterious associate producer, the person who called him/herself Sonny Webster, Ben Rollins and Nina Fitzgerald-Washington over the three seasons was adamant about protecting his (or was it her?) identity, only breaking cover once in March 2007 on the "Trains" episode.
One of the things that's become important to me is to keep the mystique of the Abernathy Building and Studio B intact, not least because the people who created the Big City put so much effort into developing that mystique. In some ways, it's always night. There's always a woman in red smoking a cigarette on a balcony with the city spread below her. Soon she'll walk into the lobby of the Abernathy Building, take the elevator up, go into Studio B.
The real Studio B exists only in the theater of the mind. You can probably see it as well as I can. Unchanged since the `50s, mike dangling down from the ceiling, two turntables framing the deejay's chair. Tex Carbone behind the glass, working at his sound panel. The lady in red in a separate sound booth, leaning into the microphone, huskily whispering out...
"It's Night Time in the Big City." And it begins again.
That's the real Studio B. Below you'll see a photo of its more mundane counterpoint, the "Studio B" where most of the shows were final-edited and tweaked. The XM Radio Studios at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
"I have a degree in jazz composition orchestration. I used to write Big Band and a lot of jazz. I have a huge appreciation for jazz. I got into production and mixing 20 years ago. Every week we'd always end up talking about jazz. And here we are mixing the show at Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Phil Woods Quartet or somebody would be down the hall and we'd be mixing and Sonny Rollins would walk by. It was totally a trip.
"Everything I learned, all the music I was exposed to that I had never heard… it was great. I'd stop and I'd turn around and I'd call Eddie and I'd be going, "Dude! This is great! I can't believe that!" [One thing] would line up with [another], and things would tie together. It was harder at the beginning, it was a new show to Bob. But as Bob got into it, it really got better and better. To me, every show was just fabulous." ~ Tex Carbone in an interview for "Night Time in the Big City"
Thanks to the supporters who boarded the "Night Time in the Big City" Desert Bus this week, including the person who made the incredibly generous pledge of $1,000. If we reach our funding goal, I'm determined to deliver a book to you all that equals your faith in me and this project.