Masters of Heavy Metal Parody Spinal Tap’s 1978 TV Debut

The idea for the cult classic Spinal Tap gestated from a conversation overheard by co-creator Christopher Guest in 1974, according to Legs McNeil’s excellent blog, Please Kill Me. Guest was hanging out at the chic Hollywood hotel Chateau Marmont when he heard:

Manager: All right, well, we’ll take our instruments up to the room.

Bassist: Don’t know where my bass is.

Manager: I beg your pardon.

Bassist: I don’t know where the bass is.

Manager: Where is it?

Bassist: I think it’s at the airport.

Manager: You have to get back there, don’t you?

Bassist: I don’t know, do I?

Manager: I think you better.

Bassist: Where’s my bass?

Manager: It’s at the airport.

Spinal Tap the band made its debut on a late-night ABC sketch comedy called The TV Show, in which they parodied NBC music show The Midnight Special, complete with Spinal Tap writer and director Rob Reiner introducing the band in his best Wolfman Jack impersonation.

“To relieve the tension of that moment, we started ad-libbing these characters.”

“We were shooting a takeoff on ‘Midnight Special,’ just lying on the ground waiting for the machine that was supposed to make the fog effect to stop dripping hot oil on us,” says Harry Shearer, who plays Spinal Tap bassist Derek Smalls. “And to relieve the tension of that moment, we started ad-libbing these characters.”

To relive the glory years of this great fake band, get the Special Edition DVD or Blu-ray for less than 10 bucks at Amazon, or stream it there for a few dollars less.

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