Liner Notes for "A Fertle Holiday":
RADIO MUSIC THEATRE’S most popular characters, The Singing Fertle Family from Dumpster, Texas, were introduced in December of 1985 with the opening of A Fertle Holiday (originally entitled Invasion of the Bed Snatchers). The two-act comedy was written and directed by Steve Farrell, and it also featured his original music. Steve had developed many of the Fertle characters in sketch form during his years as director of THE COMEDY WORKSHOP (1977-1984). So, even though RADIO MUSIC THEATRE was new, characters like Earl, Ned, and the unintelligible Doc Moore, were already popular with Houston audiences. A Fertle Holiday became an immediate hit, selling out performances for the length of its run, and returning every holiday season throughout RMT’s long history. Although the performers (Vicki Farrell, Rich Mills, and Steve Farrell) kept the show fresh by toying with the dialogue, referencing current events, and throwing in the occasional “inside joke,” the play remained essentially the same from opening night through the performance preserved in this recording, which was videotaped during January of 2007. As the prototype for the other Fertle comedies that followed, A Fertle Holiday is somewhat different than its many sequels. It is simpler in style, using only a little music, fewer sound effects and slides, and far less action. In fact, during its opening run, the actors read the play into microphones with scripts in hand, using almost no physical movement. RMT’s performing technique had evolved a good deal by the time this recording was made, but A Fertle Holiday still retained its “just sitting around and talking” style. Now, press “play” and see why hundreds of thousands of people stood in line to keep this show running for more than a quarter of a century.