The photo was taken in the late 80s when Fulton & Clark were recording environments for “Dreams of Rio.” They’d go out in the jungle for a week at a time, this was taken alongside the Rio Negro in the Amazon.
Tim Clark, as most of you know, has composed the music for almost of all of our stories. We first met Tim in the mid-70s when he was part of A.I.R. (ZBS Artists in Residence Program). At the time, he was composer-in-residence for a planetarium in Rochester, NY. He had composed hours of space music for their planetarium shows and said if we wanted to use any of music, we could. Fulton leaped at the chance, and wrote a script for, “The Incredible Adventures of Jack Flanders.” The story was inspired by Tim’s music.
But at that time, ZBS had so little money we could barely finish the ten-part series. Now, a script for a 10 half-hour story runs about 300 pages (30 per half-hour), but by the end of this series, Fulton was so exhausted, his script for the 10th episode was exactly 2.5 pages. When Tim arrived to help with the music for the final episode, Fulton handed him the three pages. Tim asked, “Where’s the rest?” Fulton: “That’s it.” Tim: “What about the other pages?” Fulton: “We’ll fill it with your music!”
If you’re familiar with the “The Incredible Adventures,” you may have noticed the final half-hour is almost solid music. But somehow, it works!
Tim has been up here - I don’t know how many times - it probably amounts to several months of working in the studio with Meatball.
Tim and The Tree
They’d work together for days at a time in the studio, and one warm spring day, they decided to take a long break by getting outside and doing something. There was a dead tree out in an open field here (it was maybe 50 feet tall), so they decided to take it down. Since they weren’t sure which way it would fall, they attached a long rope to the back of Billy’s pickup. Tim was using the chainsaw, while Meatball watched from a safe distance. When Tim had the tree almost cut thru, he started to walk back to the pickup carrying the chainsaw. Fulton, standing by the pickup, pushed down on the rope to check the tension, and the tree started to topple over … slowly … silently … in the direction of Tim.
Fulton figured that Tim (if he kept moving at his present pace) would be free of the tree by the time it hit the ground. He guessed the tree would fall short by a good 10 or 12 feet. And so (in Meatballs’ mischievous mind), he had two quick choices -
(1) To yell - “Tim, look out!” And Tim would have just enough time to whirl around, look up, see the tree crashing down on him, and probably have time to scream.
(2) – Or, say nothing. And Tim would hear the tree crash right behind his back, leap in the air, whirl around, and then scream.
Fulton had only two or three seconds to decide - which one will be the funniest?
He decided on (1) – He yelled, “Tim, look out!” Tim turned around, saw the tree coming at him, and let out a yelp as it crashed at his feet, shaking the ground.
It turned out the tree was a little taller than Fulton had figured, but still - he pointed out (in his defense) - “The top of the tree fell short of Tim by a good 4 or 5 feet!”
Seen from Fulton’s prankster point-of-view, it was perfectly-timed Classic Slapstick. Seen from Tim’s, it was “Ai-yiii!!”
But still to this day, Fulton wonders, “Would it have been funnier if he hadn’t yelled, “Look out,” and Tim only heard it CRASH, and then spun around to see that massive tree had fallen just short? The question remains, because … Never again did they cut down a tree together.
But, what we really wanted you to know was –
Right now, at zbs.org
, we are playing Tim’s music on our website. Every Monday & Friday we’ll be playing music he composed for our stories. Starting today you can hear “Music from Ruby 3.” Give a listen, it’s really good. It’ll cool you out too.