ACRES Of PERHAPS
April 22, 2018
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis
I want to start off by affirming that this book is weird! Acres of Perhaps is a unique, shape-shifting, chameleon of a book that presents itself as episodes of a television series by the same title. Barry Weyrich, one of the show’s writers, is addressing us about this hidden gem that appeared on very late night TV during the early 60s. “With any luck, it left you feeling that however weird your life was, it could always be weirder.”
Like a bowl of Chex Mix at the home of someone you don’t know, Acres of Perhaps is a strange assortment of episodes that do entertain. They also call our attention to some issues worth taking a hard look at. In the first episode, there is a lot going on. Barry is definitely the backbone of the show, while David Findley (if that’s his real name) is the wild card. He is a misunderstood genius who can whip up some crazy content, but the rest of his life appears to be one big train wreck. While producer Hugh Kline likes David’s edginess, Barry is kind of pleased when the shit hits the fan. Or is he? Tony knows best.
“The Leaning Lincoln” is a complex episode and a really great story. One of the main characters is a figure of Abraham Lincoln made out of tainted lead that Scotty’s father persuades his friend, Henry, to get involved with. Scotty’s dad is a jerk, and a user, who leaves others holding the bag after he helps himself. Anyone who’s ever lived life under a parent like this knows what children do to make themselves feel better. We heap our hopes and dreams upon action figures, dolls, and stuffed animals -whatever we have – and ask them to protect us from something big and scary. Sometimes the small prevail over evil. Especially when it’s really important.
I don’t guess people come any weirder or evil than the late Charles Manson. That’s exactly why he’s included here, in his own tale “Night Fever.” This is a fictional piece that puts Manson into the 1970s, when Disco was erupting into mad popularity. Ludwigsen makes some of the more ridiculous and tasteless Disco songs of the time into slogan bearers for Manson’s “family” and their bizarre antics that eventually led to absolute horror. It’s the longest piece in the book and you’ll want to tear yourself away, but you won’t be able to. Nor will you be able to forget the picture of Manson hanging from a trash chute that led to a building’s incinerator. He was smiling.
Overall, Acres of Perhaps nets a 4-star rating from this reviewer. I really enjoyed Ludwigsen’s writing once I was able to gain entry, but it took a bit of effort for me to get in there. While it definitely helps for one to have extensive archival knowledge, it isn’t completely necessary. In fact, if you’re a real stickler about these things, it could trip you up. Better to just charge right in and make yourself comfortable. The only thing you don’t want to do is piss yourself in Barry’s favorite chair. “It’s not like that chair was cheap, buddy.”