Signing Off

I like Garrison Keillor, like his story telling abilities, the lilt of his baritone, his wit and his intelligence.  I like his sense of humor.  I like his humanity.  You know who Garrison Keillor is.  If you’ve never heard his old timey radio show, The Prairie Home Companion, you might recall the movie by the same name that came out a few years ago.   By his own admission, Garrison Keillor is not a face for television.  Sure he has those smooth pipes, but if you have ever seen him, you know why he sticks with his radio show.  He is a tall man, unruly dark hair, bushy eyebrows, glasses, of course glasses, an overall homely look.  Yet even as a radio man, his public appearances draw crowds of thousands and he does something that is difficult any more these days.  He stops time for his audiences, he entrances people; he entertains.  As you can see, I’m a fan.  If you ever get the chance, do yourself a favor, go see him, listen to him on the radio on Saturday afternoons, some day’s it just helps.

The reason I bring up Garrison is this.  While he is a defender of the old timey radio show, he is also a purveyor of poetry as well.  Perhaps you’ve heard him around noon on your public radio station, he has a little show called The Writer’s Almanac that is produced by American Public Media.  The show consists of Garrison talking about an author, a poet; he tells a quick little back story about the writer, inspirations, writings, struggles, triumphs…all of this while wonderfully mellow music underscores his voice, then he shares part of the author’s work.  He ends each of his shows with this quote, “Be well, do good work, and keep in touch©.”

Such a wonderful way to sign off!  That got me thinking of how to end my own little ramblings.  To keep my momentum going, to keep up the idea that maybe, one day, I might truly have a need for such a thing, my own signing off that I can be known for, something that is my very own to the point where it has to be copyrighted when even mentioned in an article.

Edward R. Murrow, an American Broadcast Journalist, always signed off with his famous phrase, “Good night, and good luck.  Anyone remember the old Bartles’ brothers who sold those wine coolers in the mid 90’s, from the front porch of their commercials they always finished with “As always, thanks for your support.”  Siskel and Ebert concluded their movie reviews by declaring, until next week, “the balcony is closed.”

Motel 6 was built around the idea was that it would be a low-cost motel for people on a budget, the price was going to be only $6 a night.  National Public Radio commentator Tom Bodett is the only spokesperson Motel 6 has ever had.  The story goes, that in 1988, at the first recording for the Motel 6 ad, there was some time left over, the guys in the booth gave Tom the ‘stretch it out’ signal, and he ad-libbed the now infamously phrase, “we’ll leave a light on for you.”  Ever since, that’s how Motel 6 signs off.

There are others that come to mind, Walter Cronkite and his “And that’s the way it is.” Carol Burnett didn’t have a catch phrase, but she ended each of her shows by tugging on her ear, a little signal she had with her grandmother that meant “I love you.”  The python boys didn’t sign out with this phrase, but they made it their own, “And now for something completely different.”

The last example I will bore you with, and possibly less known, but one of my favorites, is the sign off from the Red Green show, a Canadian comedy show that is aired on PBS.  The show signs off by Uncle Red telling his viewers to “Keep your stick on the ice.”  Ah those Canadians and their hockey references.  If you’ve never seen the show, I highly suggest you stumble upon it one of these days, it will make you laugh.

So, while I try to figure out how to sign off, I hope you were entertained and learned a little something new today from my ramblings.

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