Oh bugger! (A public service announcement)

Le sketch The Word “Fuck” [mp3] [script], bien que confidentiel, a été largement attribué à Monty Python. Il semble que cela ait été par erreur : un témoignage affirme que l’auteur de la version finale fut un certain Jack Walker, connu pour ayant été «la voix de Disney» dans les parcs d’attraction de cette société. Ceci collerait également mieux à l’accent nord-américain cultivé qu’on peut entendre sur l’enregistrement.

I may have inadvertently contributed to circulating a falsehood. It concerns a brilliant bit of comedy that goes by the title The Usage of the Word “Fuck” or The History of the Word “Fuck” or simply Fuck, The Word. Neither the script nor the recording is particularly easy to find, but wherever I saw it referenced, it was attributed to Monty Python. The delivery and format are sufficiently Pythonesque that it never occurred to me to doubt their authorship, even though the cultured American-accented voice on the recording doesn’t seem to belong to any of the Pythons and the skit is not part of their famous collections.

This morning on IRC, Dan Dickinson kept insisting that this work couldn’t be Monty Python’s. He came up with a page that quotes an e-mail claiming that while the origins of the recording are still in the dark, the author and speaker of the final version was one Jack Wagner:

The guy who does the audio on the “Fuck, The Word” (aka “The Word Fuck”) track is NOT George Carlin, nor is it Monty Python, as is often credited.

It is the late Jack Wagner, the former ‘voice of Disneyland’.

I know, since I gave him the ORIGINAL copy on tape (before the internet) in 1989 during a time when we worked together. I have NO IDEA who did that version, but it was much shorter & the quality of the tape was quite poor. (Musicians, voiceover artists, engineers and other recording guys often traded tapes of rare & funny stuff. Unfortunately, quality was lost in generation after generations of copies.) Jack decided to re-do it, correcting some grammar and adding a few more examples of his own, then backed the whole thing up with the Vivaldi music.

I know this - I had the original copy and heard it first. Later, I heard from other techies at the park that he was so proud of it that he’d share it with everyone. I had always worried it would get him into trouble, but if ANYONE at Disneyland had ‘job security’, it would be him!

Years later when I heard it on the internet (the world’s bulletin board or bathroom wall), I just had to snicker. But we need to give credit where credit is due. His family may wish to forget it - the ‘park’ certainly does! - but he seemed to have been proud of it, so give him the creds.

The author of this missive wants to remain anonymous so as not to endanger his employment. But as anonymous e-mails go, this one is rather convincing. I’m happy to give credits to Jack Wagner. Even better: if this story is true, I see no reason not to make the recording [mp3] available for download.

Update, 2007-06-03: This little document is responsible for an astonishing part of my download bandwidth. I have therefore uploaded it to the Internet Archive and changed the link to their service. Many thanks.

4 comment(s) for 'Oh bugger! (A public service announcement)'

  1. (Comment, 2005-11-13 18:01 )

    Heh, sorry I was being so pedantic. I’ve just seen too many things float around the net mislabeled - a song called “Blue Illusion” allegedly by Orbital, Kurt Vonnegut’s alleged commencement speech, etc. Just doing a very small part to try and correct the internet.

    If you do enjoy the history and usage of the word “fuck”, I highly recommend you try and track down a copy of The F Word, which is sadly out of print but definitely worth the effort to find.

  2. (Comment, 2006-03-09 22:49 )
    #2 — Greg S

    I can vouch for the origin of the recording. I worked at Disney as a contractor in 1997 and 1998 and I received a dub of the master from someone at Epcot who swore me to secrecy. The problem was that he swore too many people to secrecy. Yes, that voice is indeed the former “voice of Disney.” To my personal credit I only told about 250 people and only dubbed the tape a few dozen times. I still have the tape given to me by the exec at Epcot (I think it was in the production services building, or whatever the hell it was called) and I treasure it to this very day. If I remember correctly, it was actually recorded at Imagineering.

    I don’t think Mr. Wagner was only the voice of Disney Land. I was told by this exec that Mr. Wagner’s voice could be heard while standing in line at many of the attractions at Disney World’s various theme parks in Orlando.

    Folks, let us not forget that Disney is not the wholesome company it once was. As has been documented quite extensively Disney has holdings in companies that “dabble” in pornography. This recording was feared by those “cast members” that dispersed it that it could cost them their jobs if they were discovered. Anyone who thinks Eisner didn’t know about it is a fool. I honestly think none of higher ups at Disney ever worried about this tape tarnishing their sterling image. Besides, cast members readily acknowledge that Disney long ago became something other than Walt had intended.

  3. (Comment, 2006-03-10 06:10 )

    Thank you, Greg. This has become an extremely interesting little bit of comedy history.

  4. (Comment, 2006-06-08 09:09 )
    #4 — futureboy

    You can hear some of Jack Wagner’s voice here, describing attractions at Disneyland, and decide for yourself.