DICK ORKIN’S Mini-Biography (from Wikipedia)
“Dick Orkin (born July 9, 1934) is an award-winning voice actor and commercial radio producer who created the series Chickenman and The Secret Adventures of the Tooth Fairy. His voice has been used in many radio advertisements and public-service announcements. Born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Orkin received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech and Theater from Franklin and Marshall College. He received a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from the Phillips Graduate Institute, and attended Yale Drama School, studying for a Master of Fine Arts degree in Theater.
Orkin began working in advertising in Chicago in 1963. He gained acclaim with his comedy radio commercials for Time Magazine, GMAC, The Gap and other clients. His radio spots, mini dramas dubbed by Newsweek as “The Advertising Theater of the Absurd,” have won many awards. Orkin and Christine Coyle co-wrote two animated specials for CBS, Christmas Every Day and The Canterville Ghost. Orkin and Coyle are the founders of Radio Ranch.
Orkin has been inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, the Illinois Broadcasters Hall of Fame, the Pennsylvania Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the Radio Advertising Bureau Hall of Fame. On January 21, 2010, Orkin wrote to the National Association of Broadcasters requesting them to remove his name from the Hall of Fame because he did not wish to share the honor with Rush Limbaugh. According to Orkin, Limbaugh showed “reckless insensitivity” with his remarks regarding the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Orkin referred to Limbaugh as a “dangerous hate-monger” and a “perfidious human being”.”
However, the bare facts don’t begin to tell how wikedly funny his unique radio commercials were and still are; his company, The Chicken Ranch, has samples of some of them that are just hilarious.
While Dick’s most famous creations were Chickenman and The Tooth Fairy – the Tooth Fairy’s 365 episodes were broadcast on 2,500 radio stations, and Chickenman’s 273 episodes were broadcast on 3,500 radio stations; both are widely available on CD and some are even still being broadcast on radio. However, another series, The Mini People, has disappeared into the mists of time.
DICK ORKIN’S THE MINI PEOPLE
The concept of this series sounds familiar: “The premise of the show is that the host would ask a question to a child (around the age of 3 to 8) who would usually respond in a “cute” way.” The only problem is that “The Mini People” – renamed by Mr. FAT-W Audio as “Dick Orkin’s The Mini People” – was a radio program produced in the period 1965 – 1971, when it was nationally syndicated by Hartwest. The preceding Wikipedia entry, is for “Kids Say the Darndest Things,” “an American [television] comedy series hosted by Bill Cosby that aired on CBS as a special on February 6, 1995, then as a full season from January 9, 1998 to June 23, 2000. It was based on a popular feature with the same name in Art Linkletter’s radio show House Party and television series, Art Linkletter’s House Party, which together aired mostly five days a week from 1945 to 1969.”
Whether Dick was inspired by Linkletter, or Cosby was inspired by Orkin, is besides the point. What is important is that this long-lost unique radio series has been brought back to life by Mr. FAT-W Audio in three CD Volumes of 29 hilarious “interviews” of mini people by Dick, in each volume. There may well be more, given the thousands of tapes we have in storage. If we find more, we’ll add them. There are links to Amazon.com for the purchase of the CDs below; there is also a detailed description of the contents of each of the CDs.
The audio player below gives you an idea of what the series sounds like – fresh, relevant, amusing, fifty years after the comic genius of Dick Orkin brought the series to life.
WHAT DICK ORKIN AND THE MINI PEOPLE DISCUSS in Volume 1
Introduction to the Mini People
Days of The Week, Bikinis, Pitchers, and Ernie Banks
Martha Washington and George Washington
Pets and It’s Time To Swallow Your Pride
Job of The President and The Lone Ranger
Goatee, Rip Van Winkle, and How Cold Is It?
Pinafore, Firemen and Policeman
Sing Your Heart Out, The Food We Eat, and What Is A Mummy?
Mickey Mouse, Favorite Show and Storybook
Mini Skirts, Sing Your Hart Out Part 2, and Why Does It Rain?
Stewardess, Vampires, and Income Tax
Who Said It?, Sing Your Hart Out Part 3, and Doing The Right Thing
Name That Bird and What Is It?
What Would You Do If, Shortstops, and What Time Is It?
Sit Down You Are Rocking The Boat and What Would You Do If?
It’s A Secret
Mrs. Richard Nixon and You’re A Born Loser
Let’s Take A Trip and What Are You?
Mini People Concert and Funniest Thing You Have Ever Seen
The Food We Eat and What Are Leotards?
Why Do Men Open Doors For Ladies?
Why Do Men Whistle At Girls?
Draw Me A Picture
Adult Expressions and How Did It Happen?
Adult Expressions and Taxidermist
Slips and Birds
WHAT DICK ORKIN AND THE MINI PEOPLE DISCUSS in Volume 2
Lyndon Johnson, Sock It To ‘Em baby, Build A Telephone, Checkers, and Point of Vie
Words People Use and Marbles
Games Mini People Play and Happy Birthday
Colors and The Food We Eat
Hippies, Adult Expressions, and History’s Great Romances
Our Animal Friends
Words We Know and Adult Expressions
Pretend People We Never Meet and What Would You Do If
Why Do They Say It? and Just Helping Around The House
Famous Foods, Water Safety, and Adult Expressions
Caterpillars Legs and When We Grow Up
Our Animal Friends, Adult Expressions, and What Would You Do If
M.D. and Famous Words
Animals of The Sea, Adult Expressions, and Our Animal Friends
What Would You Do If, Words People Use, Adult Expressions, and Pets We’ve Known
Why Do They Say It, Baby Showers, and Inflation
The Wright Brothers, Pets We’ve Known and Famous Foods
Words People Use and Famous People
Adult Expressions, When I grow Up, and What Would You Do If
Famous Sayings, Machines and Things
Coffee Tables and Babies Are People
Spell Your Name
Let’s Pretend and Adult Expressions
Our Animal Friends
Adult Expressions and Fish “N” Chips
WHAT DICK ORKIN AND THE MINI PEOPLE DISCUSS in Volume 3
Abraham Lincoln, Adult Expressions, Do You Believe?, and ABC’
What Does It Mean and Favorite Foods
How To Ride A Bike, Familiar Sayings
Adult Expressions and Pretend People We Never Meet
The Family Tree
What Would You Do If and Games Mini People Play
My Favorite Thing and Growing Up
Famous Persons In History
Adult Expressions, Pretend People We Never Meet, and Famous Persons In History
When I Grow Up and What Does It Mean
Games Mini People Play, Doing Grown Up Things, and Adult Expressions
Dietitian, Famous People, and Is It Ok To Smell Good
The Way People Dress, Do You Believe, and Important People
Safecracker, Uncle Sam, and Pharmacist
Girdles and Tree Surgeons
Securities, Crepe Suzettes, and US Congressman
Sing Your Hart Out for 15 Seconds and Adult Expressions
What Is It and Bringing Up Children
Bank Teller and A Courtroom Trial
Psychologist, Purple Cows, and Talk Straight
Building Contractor, My Best Friend, and Adult Expressions
The Mini People Thanksgiving Number 1
The Mini People Thanksgiving Number 2
The Mini People Thanksgiving Number 3
The Mini People Thanksgiving Number 4
The Mini People Thanksgiving Number 5
The Mini People Thanksgiving Number 6
The Mini People Thanksgiving Number 7