It practically gallops!


It certainly felt like Halloween today. I was still in bed when I heard something strange on WTOP.com. They played an audio clip of Dr. Frankenstein shouting “It’s alive, it’s alive!” Unfortunately, they played it immediately before a commercial for an in vitro fertilization clinic. I switched to WNOX-FM in time to hear Mike Shaw play the theme from The Addams Family.

When I went outside, there was an unpleasant surprise in the swimming pool. A squirrel had met its demise possibly while chasing after an acorn. Unlike SpongeBob’s friend Sandy Cheeks, this one didn’t have a diving suit. Be warned that if you click on the thumbnail photo, the picture gets larger.

As I drove to a remote broadcast from This Is It Wood Fired Pizza, I heard the music from Psycho on WUOT-FM. While listening, I saw big black crows on the telephone wires and an old man dressed all in black walking along Schaad Road. When I got out of my car, I could hear “Monster Mash” coming from the speakers atop the WNOXmobile. An hour later, the station played “Tubular Bells.”

You haven’t heard “Tubular Bells” until you’ve heard it playing from the @classichits931 van and echoing off the wall of a church. Happy Halloween!

A video posted by Frank Murphy (@frankmurphycom) on

I played special songs for Halloween during my afternoon show. On my log, I had “Devil in Disguise,” “Purple People Eater,” “Somebody’s Watching Me,” and “Ghostbusters.” A listener called in a request for “Monster Mash.” It had been almost seven hours, so I played it again. I also snuck in a snippet of the best of them all, “Halloween Spooks.”



 A nice surprise arrived just in time for Halloween. In appreciation for her visit last week, our friend Nancy sent a thank-you gift to my wife and me. She was obviously paying attention to what we liked during dinner and dessert. The box contained several sweet treats, wrapped in a Halloween-themed box.

My wife and I immediately recognized the labels from Tate’s Bake Shop in Southampton, New York. My wife has purchased their chocolate-chip cookies before. Nancy thoughtfully chose a bakery in the same area where my wife and I honeymooned.

 After dinner, we split one of the wonderfully rich blondies. I’m also excited to try one of the Ginger Zinger cookies because I’ve always loved ginger snaps and gingerbread. Even though I know the words don’t rhyme, I want to pronounce ginger and zinger as if they do.


Flu Grant


In memory of Leeann Samples, I got a flu shot on Wednesday. My employer offered us vouchers for a free flu shot at Walgreens.

The pharmacist asked if I was allergic to eggs. She laughed because she wasn’t expecting me to reply, “No, I love eggs!”

She was very interested in hearing about Don Samples’ campaign to encourage his friends to get flu shots. She even offered to reposition her arm so it wouldn’t block my attempt to photograph the syringe. She also asked if I wanted her to be in the selfie I was taking for Don to see.

Everything went smoothly although my chatter did distract her slightly when she put the “W” bandage on my arm.


Samples of Service

Leeann Samples’ birthday would have been on Wednesday. Her husband Don created a Facebook event called Leeann Samples Flu Shot Day. Here’s Don’s explanation:

On January 2nd of this year, my healthy, beautiful wife entered the hospital and was admitted into ICU in a medically induced coma because of the FLU. After a long, drawn out battle, she made her final journey on April 14th this year. All because of the FLU. I am now a single dad of two special little girls who very much miss their MOM. I’m asking all my friends to help me honor my beautiful and amazing wife by getting your flu shot on October 29th. Call your doctors office, go to your pharmacy, go to your health department, do what every have have to do but go the 29th and get that shot to honor Leeann Samples. Please share this with your friends and family. This one thing could save your life, it would have saved hers.

I first met Don when he lived in the Washington area. We did a bit on WAVA asking people to call if they had a famous relative. Don called to tell about his cousin, Junior Samples. I became reacquainted with Don and I met Leeann in Knoxville when they came to an Einstein Simplified show on New Year’s Eve 2008.

Don Samples is a videographer for weddings and other events. His business is called Midnight Magic Studios. He recorded my wife singing at a wedding in 2012 and shared the video with me.

 As part of Leeann Samples Flu Shot Day, Don has asked his friends to post selfies of their flu-shot Band-Aids. My wife got her flu shot on Tuesday and sent me her selfie. I will get my shot on Wednesday. When will you get your flu shot?


Hail to the Censoredskins

What’s a Redskins fan to do? The team is under fire for having a name that is considered politically incorrect. My family and I are longtime fans of the burgundy and gold, whether they win or lose. By the way, they won tonight.

My wife and I dressed as “confused football fans” for the Hearth Scares Ball on Friday night. We bought matching t-shirts two weeks ago when we were in the D.C. area. My wife added the word “censored” across the word “Redskins.” We accessorized with other Redskins garb that we already owned including a hat, sweatpants, wristbands, and sunglasses.

If the Redskins ever do change their name, I hope they pick a word that has two syllables and can easily be inserted into the tune of “Hail to the Redskins.” I also hope they find a word that starts with R so that I can continue wearing my Joe-Gibbs-style hat.


Pres-toe Change-o

The directors of The Nutcracker gave me the green light to expand the part of Uncle Drosselmeyer. Since being cast as the magical toymaker, I have been researching how other ballet companies use the character. I want to bring some of those ideas to the Oak Ridge Civic Ballet Association’s production on November 22 and 23.

In the Milwaukee Ballet’s version, Drosselmeyer guides his beloved niece’s dreams as the toys and Christmas foods come to life. Several other companies also put Drosselmeyer in multiple scenes.

A magician named John Tudor posted a video that shows some of the magic tricks he added to the Columbia City Ballet production. He has inspired me to look for some tricks I could do.


Fort Night

There were many great costumes at the 4th annual Hearth Scares Ball at James White’s Fort on Friday night. My favorite, given my morbid sense of humor, was the guy dressed as Ernest Hemingway. He had converted an inflatable pool toy from a dolphin to a marlin.

Earlier in the week, I gave away a few tickets on WNOX. When one of the winners told me her name was Jo, I joked that she could go dressed as one of the Little Women. She said, “How did you know?” I was only kidding but she showed up in Victorian-era garb.


Like last year, the Thriller dancers performed to a medley of Michael Jackson songs. Also like last year, I emceed the costume contest after the Thriller dancers performed.

Alan Williams of WVLT was not eligible to compete in the costume contest because he is on the board of James White’s Fort. He and his wife Rebecca dressed as Austin Powers and Vanessa Kensington.


There were several new things at this year’s Hearth Scares Ball. Live music was provided by The Jaystorm Project. A woman dressed as a witch named Goody Oddcrow told fortunes next to a fire in the hearth of one of the cabins.

Another addition to this year’s event was moonshine sampling. I don’t know if James White made his own whiskey in the 18th century but the Fort is listed on the “White Lightning Trail,” which allows tourists to follow the path of prohibition-era moonshine runners. Sugarlands Shine provided samples of their blackberry and apple pie flavors.

A message on the back of the program told attendees to save the date for next year’s Hearth Scares Ball. It’s scheduled for Friday, October 30, 2015.


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