Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Episode 11 of Playboy After Dark, When Jerry met Hef.

The other day while shopping at Sunset Foods, I heard St. Stephen by the Grateful Dead. Sunset Foods is one of a small chain of grocery stores that used to frighten Peggy and myself when we first moved to Highland Park. The chain itself didn't frighten us...not even the store. We were askeered of the shoppers. They seemed very aggressive in their parking, their cart navigation and frankly in their attitudes.
The shoppers were a source of frequent disparaging remarks we could make about our town.
To wit...when asked about winter vacation plans, another shopper replied, "Florida, Arizona, California, the Islands. Where can you go? Really. We don't know."

Lately, since Peggy's knee operation and even before her operation, I began to shop for and prepare food for meals. 

Floris van Dyck, dude from Harlaam.

These "meals" have led me to go to Sunset Foods between 4 and 7 times a week. It is not very scary anymore. As to whether the scary people moved away or we are on different schedules, I enjoy the experience. The workers and the management are very customer focused and helpful.

As I am walking down a non-food aisle of dish soap, detergent, enhanced liquid stuff for your dishwasher, and various other cleansers liquid or solid, I heard the recording of St Stephen. 

You have got to watch this video. Even the first 30 seconds. 

This is recorded in 1969 on a program called Playboy after Dark, which ran in 1969 and 1970. Although youtube says January '69, dons's basement has learned that the Grateful Dead appeared in episode 11, March 1969. Sid Caesar was also on the program that night, along with Sydney Omarr , nee Kimmelman, syndicated astrologer and astrology consultant to the rich and famous. Hef also appeared.

Here are the lyrics to St. Stephen: (Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter, who is also credited with singer on Playboy after Dark. (The link to St. Stephen is from "The Annotated St. Stephen and is much smarter than your deservedly humble author.)

Speaking of this "Annotated St. Stephen" site. Here is part of their fair use policy. 

In other words, it's ok to read, use, and link to this site in any way except for utilizing its contents to make money. Clear enough? And, of course, appropriate permissions for re-use will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


Saint Stephen with a rose, in and out of the garden he goes,
Country garden in the wind and the rain,
Wherever he goes the people all complain.
Stephen prospered in his time, well he may and he may decline.
Did it matter, does it now? Stephen would answer if he only knew how.
Wishing well with a golden bell, bucket hanging clear to hell,
Hell halfway twixt now and then,
Stephen fill it up and lower down and lower down again.
Lady finger, dipped in moonlight, writing "What for?" across the morning sky.
Sunlight splatters, dawn with answer, darkness shrugs and bids the day goodbye.
Speeding arrow, sharp and narrow,
What a lot of fleeting matters you have spurned.
Several seasons with their treasons,
Wrap the babe in scarlet colors, call it your own.
Did he doubt or did he try? Answers aplenty in the bye and bye,
Talk about your plenty, talk about your ills,
One man gathers what another man spills.
Saint Stephen will remain, all he's lost he shall regain,
Seashore washed by the suds and foam,
Been here so long, he's got to calling it home.

Fortune comes a crawlin', calliope woman, spinnin' that curious sense of your own.
Can you answer? Yes I can. But what would be the answer to the answer man?

The version I heard at Sunset must have been from Aoxomoxoa. But I remember it from Live/Dead.

The Dead playing Playboy after Dark is one of those Don Shearn paradoxes. Like the Buddy Love versus Grady personality divide.
Mood is wrong. Mood is wrong.                                          

Buddy Love wants to be the center of attention. The most charming and yet in many ways the most obnoxious guy in the room. Grady likes peaceful things. Like watching television. Hanging around with Fred Sanford.

The very late Mad Men style, part British tailoring/lounge lizard drinking and smoking, 'swingers' (sexually adventurous but not necessarily in organized groups) have to confront their future.  Panchos, beards, head nodding.  

Thus so, I walked through Sunset Foods, softly singing Saint Stephen.


  1. I'm going out to get you a sweater vest right now!

  2. Here is St. Stephen performed by "Wake the Dead," a band Bobbi periodically has played with.