Customer Reviews: Garrison Keillor: The Man on the Radio in the Red Shoes
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on July 16, 2009
My vintage is close to Garrison Keillor's, but I grew up some 8,500 miles away in Madras, not Minnesota. It was under very different economic, political and social circumstances. Yet there is much that I share in my values, experiences and joy of my less-than-consequential life. There are many things that I have enjoyed, regretted, emulated and aspired for but lacked the voice and eloquence to pronounce. They find expression in Keillor's tales, jokes and songs. Prairie Home Companion's ability to bridge transcultural spreads, week after week, through radio is the magic of it all. Visual input is unnecessary for this; in fact it is an impediment. It heightens my awareness that I am not a white Christian with a rural childhood; it even dilutes the commonality of virtues and values.

I have always enjoyed Keillor and his creations. Since the '70s when I used to volunteer at WAMC (Albany, NY), and till now, I have admired, drawn inspiration from and laughed, often en famille, by listening to Keillor. This DVD is an extension of this enjoyment. Cheap as I am, I have never brought myself to attend his shows in person. The closest I got to was to watch it on live cam in the past and on PBS specials, and his movie "A Prairie Home Companion."

This DVD is a soft, slightly disassembled, peek into Keillor explaining Keillor. It refers to his roots, his folks and his community. It ambles over to his New York days, returns to his St Paul living room and moves over to clippings from his shows. Back and forth -- disturbing continuity at times. There are jokes and songs aplenty. Sue Scott, Tom Keith, Tim Russel and Fred Newman feature prominently. Others such as Robert Altman, Jearlyn Steele and Meryl Streep walk in and out. They talk about failed predictions ("end of radio"), mutant fish-dogs, how to "be yourself," and about kindness. They dilate on such "un"contemporary virtues as "who your are is important," and an ordinary life is good enough. It is fun to hear and philosophize about these timeless anti-platitudes from Keillor et al. They seem to be so much at ease than those who preach these qualities. Nostalgic signature tunes play at various junctures. Rhubarb pies and red shoes, accents and attitudes sprinkle this American Masters Independent Television Service visual excursion. By the way, are Dusty and Lefty, our endearing cowboys, missing from this DVD?

I notice that most of the cast, crew and audience are not brown like me. They share little with my childhood of Nehru's socialist India. In the 1950s joy was not a priority, more rationed and in short supply than food, foot wear and clothing. Little brown legs, instead of yellow buses, walked us to a Hindu school that imparted a liberal education emphasizing English, regional languages and Sanskrit. Our music was Carnatic and not Country, and our seasons were hot, wet and hotter. Our worship was in Temples, individualized and not structured, not organized and congregational as in Churches. They told us to be always respectful, kind, but wary, of all minorities (Muslims, Sikhs, Chinese and Anglo-Indians) in the post-partition, post-independence milieu. We looked with admiration and reverence to Britain, Soviet Union and the US., in that order at times, for acquiring "foreign" influence. Our family, tolerant Hindu liberals, taught us to admire the hard working Protestants, the ever smiling nuns and the never tiring Jesuit educators. Little surprise that I can readily see the universal appeal to tolerance, kindness and acceptance. This is the radio spell that Keillor casts every week on us. And then, of course, joy of life, something this transplant struggles to recognize.

Keillor's main message is in his radio shows, but this DVD is an adjuvant that will make the message tastier. If you have seen Altman's 2006 "A Prairie Home Companion" movie you may consider this DVD an optional item.
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on October 24, 2009
I have listened to A Prairie Home Comapanion for years and have many of the CDs and Mr. Keillor's books. This DVD is a behind the scenes look at who he is and you truly discover that he's just a regular guy.
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on March 12, 2011
At times laconic, at times heartfelt and funny throughout, this documentary is just like the show. If you love Prairie, you'll love this. I never knew what most of the cast looked like before, but now I do. After seeing this, I find I really want to go to a live taping the next time he's in my neck of the woods!
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on February 26, 2015
This is a fascinating look at Garrison and his show in the last few years.

It is amazing to see his wit and love of place come out so clearly and generously in his stories and songs.

It is especially endearing to see Garrison with his young daughter, who was born when he was 55. You can see in their gentle exchanges the same kind of love and sweetness that Garrison tries to bring out in his stories.

I cannot recommend this (and the other DVDs and audio CDs of Garrison's show) highly enough.

There is a very good reason why the American Masters producer decided to do a show on Garrison.
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on May 4, 2013
As they use to say about plays,"I laughed,I cried,I wish I had his life",a truly wonderful experience to see him on his travels a this great country and to see how people react to his kindness and to the show in general.I had seen the show recently in NY at Town Hall and the feeling of closeness with the general audience,sort of how life in this country use to be growing up in the 50's and 60's on Long Island in my hometown of Bethpage.As the song once played,Those were the days my friend,we wish they'd never end,this is how the Praire Home Companion experience feels....
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on July 8, 2013
This is an absolutely great video on Garrison Keillor and his show Prairie Home Companion. It has humorous reflections and lots of behind the scene coverage of Garrison Keillor's daily life. He talks about his family and fans of his show. This video is a great tribute to Garrison, the people who are featured on his show and the fans of Prairie Home Companion.
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on April 7, 2013
I bought this as a Christmas gift for my aunt. Item came quick and well packaged from the seller I chose. I can't really judge the content of it b/c I haven't seen it but I imagine if your a Prairie Home Companion fan, you'll enjoy this inside look at the brains of it all.
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on February 27, 2011
For any fan of A Prairie Home Companion, this behind-the-scenes look at Garrison and the show will be a pleasant view ... a bit like getting to attend the show in person. It's an amazing feat how they pull off this show each week, and that in itself is a tribute to the talent and creativity of Mr Keillor.
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on September 10, 2009
As a twenty year fan of everything Keillor, this behind-the-microphone tour of a year in the life of America's most original humorist was sheer delight. He is as he seems: a congenial, humble, self-deprecating artist whose genius lies, in part, in his incredible powers of observation. One gets the feeling that every experience he has and every person he meets is grist for his hillarious skits and one-of-a-kind Lake Wobegon monologues. Like Billy Graham in the religious realm, Keiller put together a basic team early in his Prairie Home Companion career that has stayed and worked together and sustained each other for decades. He seems preeminently comfortable in his `red shoes.' Like his Lake Wobegon tapes and CD's, this is a DVD that we will watch with enjoyment over and over again.
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on March 18, 2012
This is a fantastic look behind the scenes of America's greatest radio show and its creator. I grew up with Garrison Keillor and the Prairie Home Companion. My father and I would listen to his show while on long road trips down to Plant City Florida to visit my great grandmother. Garrison's voice along with the stories and music would take us away on those long drives in the family station wagon. While my mother and younger brother slept in the back seat, my father and I would be transported to Lake Wobegon and a time not so far past. The show has stayed with me all these years and always takes me back to those trips with my father. A Prairie Home Companion has a kind of magic that is rare to find today and very much worth discovering.
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