The Firesign Theatre
The Firesign Theatre (also known as The Firesigns) were an American surreal comedy group who first performed live on Los Angeles radio station KPFK during the mid-1960s. They produced thirteen record albums and a 45 rpm single under contract to Columbia Records from 1968 through 1976, and had several nationally syndicated radio programs during that period, the most famous of which was Dear Friends. They also appeared in front of live audiences, and continued to write, perform, and record on other labels through 2012, occasionally taking sabbaticals during which they wrote or performed solo or in smaller groups.
|The Firesign Theatre|
Surviving members of the Firesign Theatre paying tribute to the late Peter Bergman on April 21, 2012; left to right: Austin, Ossman, Proctor
|Notable works and roles||
Firesign Theatre material was conceived, written, and performed by its members Phil Austin, Peter Bergman, David Ossman, and Philip Proctor. The group's name stems from astrology, because all four were born under the three "fire signs": Aries (Austin), Leo (Proctor), and Sagittarius (Bergman and Ossman). They acquired an enthusiastic following in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
In 1997, Entertainment Weekly ranked the Firesign Theatre among the "Thirty Greatest Comedy Acts of All Time". In 2005, the US Library of Congress added one of the group's most popular early albums, the 1970 Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers, to the National Recording Registry and called the group "The Beatles of comedy."
Peter Bergman and Philip Proctor met at Yale University in the late 1950s, where Proctor studied acting, and Bergman edited the Yale comedy magazine. Bergman studied playwriting and collaborated with Austin Pendleton as the lyricist for two Yale Dramat musicals, Tom Jones, and Booth Is Back In Town, in which Proctor starred. In 1965, Bergman spent a year working in England for the BBC, on a program with surrealist comedian Spike Milligan. While there, he saw The Beatles in concert, which inspired him to someday form a four-man comedy group.
Proctor was at the Sunset Strip curfew riots when he discovered he was sitting on a newspaper photo of Bergman. He called Bergman, who recruited his college buddy as the fourth man for his comedy group; thus he created The Firesign Theatre with Proctor and KPFK producers Phil Austin and David Ossman. He originally named the group the "Oz Firesign Theatre" because all four were born under the three astroogical fire signs (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius), and debuted them on his November 17, 1966 show. He had to drop "Oz" from the title after legal threats from MGM, who owned copyright to The Wizard of Oz.
Radio Free OzEdit
The Firesigns were strongly influenced by the British Goon Show. According to Ossman:
We all listened to The Goon Show, Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe, at various times in our lives. We heard a lot of those shows. They impressed us when we started doing radio ourselves, because they sustained characters in a really surreal and weird kind of situation for a long period of time. They were doing that show for 10 years, all the way through the 1950s. So we were just listening to them at the end. It was that madness and the ability to go anywhere and do anything and yet sustain those funny characters. So when we first did written radio, where we would sit down and write half hour skits and do them once a week, which we did in the fall of 1967, we did things that were imitative of The Goon Show and learned a lot of voices from them and such.
The Firesigns initially chose an improvisational style. According to Proctor:
We each independently created our own material and characters and brought them together, not knowing what the others were going to pull. And it was all based on put-ons; that is, we were assuming characters that were assumed to be real by the listeners. No matter how far out we would carry a premise, if we were tied to the phones we discovered the audience would go far ahead of us. We could be as outrageous as we wanted to be and they believed us—which was astonishingly funny and interesting and terrifying to us, because it showed the power of the medium and the gullibility and vulnerability of most people.
In 1969, they created a number of improvised television commercials for Jack Poet Volkswagen in Highland Park, California, with the characters of Christian Cyborg (Bergman), Coco Lewis (Proctor), Bob Chicken (Austin), and Tony Gomez (Ossman).
The Firesign Theatre also appeared as hosts on Los Angeles radio station KPPC-FM.
Start of recording careerEdit
Bergman coined the term "love-in" in 1967, and promoted the first Los Angeles Love-In, attended by 40,000 in Elysian Park, on his program. This event caught the attention of Columbia Records staff producer Gary Usher, who sensed commercial potential for the Firesign Theatre and proposed to Bergman they make a "love-In album" for Columbia; Bergman countered with the desire to make a Firesign Theatre record, and this led to a recording contract with the label. Usher also used the Firesigns' audio collages on songs by The Byrds ("Draft Morning") and Sagittarius (the 45 RPM version of "Hotel Indiscreet") in 1967 and 1968.
The album was given the non sequitur title Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him, taken from Bergman's undeveloped 1965 idea for a comic film. The Firesigns changed their improvisational style, producing tightly scripted and memorized material. According to Bergman: "There was no leader. Everything was communally written, and if one person didn't agree about something, no matter how strongly the other three felt about it, it didn't go in." The resulting synergy created the feeling of a fifth Firesign; according to Austin: "It's like, suddenly there is this fifth guy that actually does the writing. We all vaguely sort of know him, and a lot of the time take credit for him." This resulted in the group inventing the name "4 or 5 Krazy Guys" to copyright their work.
Electrician was recorded in CBS's Los Angeles radio studio with the original RCA microphones and sound effects devices, from which The Jack Benny Program and others were broadcast. It was released in January 1968, selling a modest 12,000 copies in its first year. The Firesigns continued to work on the radio and began performing in folk clubs such as the Ash Grove.
They produced three more Columbia studio albums in the next three years: How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All; Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers; and I Think We're All Bozos On This Bus. Each grew technically more sophisticated, taking advantage of more tape tracks and Dolby noise reduction.
Meanwhile, from September 9, 1970 to February 17, 1971, they were performing a one-hour weekly live series on KPFK, Dear Friends. These programs were recorded and then edited into slightly shorter shows and syndicated to radio stations across the country on 12" LP albums. Their fifth album, Dear Friends, was a double-record compilation of what they considered the best segments from the series, released in January 1972.
In 1972, the group performed a live stage show, the Shakespeare parody The Count of Monte Cristo (or Anything You Want To), at Columbia University. They also produced a live radio broadcast, Martian Space Party, which was also filmed. These were combined to produce the October 1972 live album, Not Insane or Anything You Want To.
The Not Insane album performed poorly, and the Firesigns would later claim to be disappointed with it. In the liner notes to the group’s 1993 greatest hits album, Shoes for Industry: The Best of the Firesign Theatre, Bergman criticized Not Insane, saying it "was when the Firesign was splitting apart". Ossman said that the album “was incomprehensible, basically” and that “it was not the album it should have been and I think that caused us to slope off rapidly in sales."
Meanwhile, Ossman wrote a solo album How Time Flys, based on the Mark Time character he created for a Dear Friends skit. He co-directed the album with Columbia producer Steve Gillmor, and the other three Firesigns starred on it, along with several guest personalities including disc jockey Wolfman Jack, Harry Shearer of The Credibility Gap, and broadcast journalist Lew Irwin.
Austin penned the solo album Roller Maidens From Outer Space, based on a hardboiled detective in the same vein as his Nick Danger character introduced on the B side of How Can You Be In Two Places.... This album, released in March 1974, also featured all four Firesigns, and included actors Richard Paul and Michael C. Gwynne.
Later in 1973, the group reunited to produce the Sherlock Holmes parody The Tale of the Giant Rat of Sumatra, released on vinyl in January 1974. This was followed in October by Everything You Know Is Wrong, which satirized the developing New Age movement. The Firesigns made a film lip synched to the album and showed it in a live appearance at Stanford University. The film was released on VHS video tape in 1993.
In 1975, they released the black comedy album In the Next World, You're on Your Own, penned by Ossman and Austin. This album, like Not Insane, also sold poorly, and Columbia declined to renew their contract beyond 1976.
As Austin looked back on this period in the 1990s, he saw Proctor and Bergman wanting to take The Firesign Theatre in a different direction than he did, moving away from intensely written albums released one per year, to more live performances with lighter material. Proctor and Bergman turned their attention to producing a live show, What This Country Needs, based in part on material from TV Or Not TV. The Firesigns closed out their Columbia Records contract with this live album in 1975, and a greatest-hits compilation Forward Into The Past in 1976.
Meanwhile, Austin and Ossman produced a live stage show Radio Laffs of 1940, which included another episode of the private eye character Nick Danger introduced in their second album, titled School For Actors, and a soap opera, Over the Edge. This was performed at the Los Feliz Theatre in Los Angeles in May 1976, and at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco in June.
The Firesign Theatre took it easy for the rest of the 1970s, producing a 1977 album Just Folks... A Firesign Chat based largely on unreleased Dear Friends radio material, and a Proctor and Bergman studio album in 1978, Give Us a Break, which lampooned radio and television of the time.
Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin's Tandem Productions bought the rights to Nick Danger for a TV series to star George Hamilton; and in 1978, New Line Cinema began negotiations to make a movie starring Chevy Chase. Both projects ended in development limbo, and rights to the character reverted to the Firesigns. In December 1978, they began writing five short (2:24) episodes of Nick Danger: The Case of the Missing Shoe for a possible syndicated daily radio series. When the syndication went unsold, Austin approached Rhino Records and secured a deal to release the five episodes in 1979 on a 12-minute extended play (EP) record.
Austin called Bergman late in 1979 to make peace and reunite the Firesigns. This resulted in their last album of the 1970s, the 1980 live Fighting Clowns, consisting largely of comic songs written by the group.
The popularity of the group seemed to cool off after 1980 as the social and political climate of the United States changed with the election of President Ronald Reagan. In 1982, they produced the compilation album Lawyer's Hospital, and expanded their 1972 Shakespeare parody into a road show and album, Shakespeare's Lost Comedie. This would be expanded again and re-released in 2001 as Anythynge You Want To.
Ossman temporarily left the group in early 1982 to work as a producer for National Public Radio in Washington DC, as the remaining three Firesigns produced a new album in 1984 with the further adventures of their Nick Danger character, The Three Faces of Al, which received a nomination for the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album. This was followed in 1985 by the album Eat or Be Eaten.
I dreamed it back. Sure enough, when we kicked the fascists
out of office it was time for The Firesign Theatre to come back. — Peter Bergman
Energized by the election of Bill Clinton as president, and with Ossman back in the group, the Firesign Theatre reunited in 1993 for a 25th anniversary reunion tour around the US, Back From the Shadows, starting on April 24 in Seattle with an audience of 2,900. The tour, consisting of live performances of material from their first four Golden Age albums (Electrician, Two Places At Once, Dwarf, and Bozos), was recorded on CD and a DVD video released in 1994. This was accompanied by the 1993 greatest hits album, Shoes For Industry: The Best of the Firesign Theatre containing original material from the first nine albums. This was followd with the 1996 album Pink Hotel Burns Down.
The Firesigns satirized the turn-of-the-millennium Y2K scare with the 1998 album Give Me Immortality or Give Me Death, in which they revived some of their classic characters such as used car salesman Ralph Spoilsport (Proctor) from How Can You Be In Two Places At Once, news reporters Harold Hiphugger (Ossman) and Ray Hamberger (Proctor) from Everything You Know Is Wrong, and game-show contestant Caroline Presskey (Proctor) from Don't Crush That Dwarf. This earned them their second Grammy nomination, and they developed it into a "millennium trilogy" with the 1999 Boom Dot Bust and 2001 Bride of Firesign, which received a third Grammy nomination. Characters from Give Me Immortality were used on the 2001 live album Radio Now Live.
Their final album was the 2010 Duke of Madness Motors: The Complete "Dear Friends" Radio Era, a combination book and data DVD consisting of over 80 hours of their 1970s radio shows. Their last live performance was on November 19, 2011 in Kirkland, Washington. They claimed to be the longest surviving group from the "classic rock" era to still be intact with the original members (45 years).
Bergman died on March 9, 2012, from complications involving leukemia, and Austin died on June 18, 2015, from complications of cancer.
Peter Bergman (born under the fire sign Sagittarius in Cleveland, Ohio on November 19, 1939; died March 9, 2012) started his radio career on his high school radio system during the Korean War; he got kicked off the air by the principal when, as a prank, he announced a Communist takeover of the school. He studied economics at Yale (class of 1961), and was managing editor of the university's comedy magazine. In his second graduate year he became a fellow in playwriting. Later, he considered attending medical school, and helped produce a machine for viewing angio cardiograms and measuring the blockage of the arteries of the heart. He had a deep voice, and frequently took African American roles in Firesign Theatre and Proctor and Bergman works.
Philip Proctor (born under the fire sign Leo in Goshen, Indiana on July 28, 1940) was a boy soprano in a children's choir, and studied acting at Yale. He became a professional actor, with a role on the soap opera The Edge of Night, before contacting Bergman and joining him on Radio Free Oz in 1966. Proctor's adult tenor voice enables him to do a convincing female voice without using falsetto; therefore he usually did most of the female roles in the Firesign Theatre and Proctor and Bergman works, though the other three Firesigns occasionally did female voices. He also has done celebrity voice impersonations on Firesign material, including W.C. Fields (Waiting For the Electrician and How Can You Be In Two Places...), Robert F. Kennedy (Waiting For the Electrician), and a Peter Lorre-like voice for the Nick Danger character Rocky Rococo (Box of Danger). Proctor has also acted and appeared as a voice actor on many television shows and several feature films.
Phil Austin (born under the fire sign Aries in Denver, Colorado on April 6, 1941; died June 18, 2015), was the youngest Firesign. He attended college but never graduated. He was an accomplished lead guitarist, and was responsible for adding much of the music to Firesign works. He also appeared as an actor and voice actor on television. He used his natural, sonorous baritone voice for Nick Danger, but affected a phony Japanese accent for his "Young Guy, Motor Detective" self-parody of Danger in Not Insane, and a stereotypical, tough-guy voice and accent for the similar hardboiled detective Dick Private in Roller Maidens From Outer Space. He also could do an old-man voice as Doc Technical in the Dear Friends radio "Mark Time" episode, and applied his impersonation of Richard Nixon as presidents in several Firesign works (Bozos, Everything You Know Is Wrong), and How Time Flys and Roller Maidens.
David Ossman (born under the fire sign Sagittarius in Santa Monica, California on December 6, 1936), the oldest Firesign, is known as the intellectual of the group, and is known for doing an old man voice (most famously as Catherwood the butler in the original Nick Danger story, George Tirebiter on Don't Crush That Dwarf, and as the elder ant Cornelius in Disney Pixar's 1998 A Bug's Life.) He used his natural voice as astronaut Mark Time and newsman Harold Hiphugger. Outside of The Firesign Theatre, he has performed several voices on The Tick animated TV series, and worked extensively as a producer and on-air narrator on National Public Radio and several affiliated stations.
Austin's girlfriend, credited as "Anna-lee Austin" or Annalee, supported the group as a voice extra and keyboard player on Don't Crush That Dwarf, I Think We're All Bozos, Dear Friends, and Not Insane.
Austin's girlfriend Oona Elliott was credited in similar roles on I Think We're All Bozos, Roller Maidens, and later albums. Austin married Oona in 1971. She was photographed as one of the Roller Maidens From Outer Space for the Austin solo album cover, and appeared as a Reebus Caneebus groupie in the film version of Everything You Know Is Wrong. She sang backup vocals on Roller Maidens and several other Firesign works.
Ossman's first wife Tiny (Tinika) performed as a credited extra on Don't Crush That Dwarf and I Think We're All Bozos, and as Nurse Angela and news reporter Chiquita Bandana in How Time Flys, and vocals and percussion on Not Insane. She and Ossman co-hosted a Sunday night radio program of pre–World War II music on KTYD.
In 1997, Entertainment Weekly ranked the Firesign Theatre among the "Thirty Greatest Comedy Acts of All Time". In 2005, the US Library of Congress added Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers to the National Recording Registry, and called the group "The Beatles of comedy."
Comedians George Carlin, Robin Williams, and John Goodman enjoyed the Firesigns' comedy, and lent their comments to the 2001 PBS television special, Weirdly Cool. Williams referred to Firesign albums as "the audio equivalent of a Hieronymous Bosch painting."
Beatle John Lennon was photographed wearing the Firesign's "Not Insane – Papoon For President" campaign button they had made for Martian Space Party (Not Insane album).
In 1974, a pair of Wisconsin entrepreneurs decided to open a regional chain of pizza restaurants they named "Rocky Rococo" after the Nick Danger character, without any mention of connection to The Firesign Theatre. They hired an artist to design as their logo, a a moustachioed Italian with a white hat and sunglasses, suggested by the White Spy from Mad Magazine, and hired comic actor Jim Pederson to portray this "Rocky Rococo" wearing a white suit. Pederson died at age 68 on February 4, 2016, but the chain survives as of 2018[update] with over 40 locations.
Mark Time awardsEdit
Ossman and his second wife Judith Walcutt formed Otherworld Media Productions in 1985 to produce audio theatre. They created an annual "Mark Time award" for best radio science fiction, named after Ossman's astronaut character. In 2015, they added three new awards named after Firesign Theatre characters:
- Nick Danger prize for best mystery/detective fiction
- The Bradshaw prize (after Bergman's cop character) for "service to the field"
- The Betty Jo (But Everyone Knew Her as Nancy) prize, judged by Phil Proctor and his wife, for best "multi-gender" vocal performance
- Dear Friends — Syndicated Radio Program (1970–1971)
- A Firesign Chat With Papoon (1972 Columbia)
- Let’s Eat — Syndicated Radio Program (1974)
- The Proctor-Bergman Report (1977–1978)
- The Cassette Chronichles (1980 Rhino Entertainment)–a six-cassette collection of The Firesign Theatre’s presidential and campaign commentaries which aired on NPR during the 1980 election season.)
- Daily Feed 1988 Newsreel — The Daily Feed (1988, DC Audio) a solo cassette by Austin
- A Capital Decade Daily Feed 1989 Newsreel — The Daily Feed (1989 DC Audio) a solo” cassette by Austin
- Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him (1968 Columbia Records)
- How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All (1969 Columbia)
- Station Break / Forward Into the Past (1969 Columbia 45rpm single)
- Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers (1970 Columbia)
- I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus (1971 Columbia)
- Dear Friends (1972 Columbia)
- Not Insane or Anything You Want To (1972) Columbia
- TV or Not TV (1973 Columbia) Proctor and Bergman
- How Time Flys (1973 Columbia) Written and co-directed by Ossman, including all Firesign members plus a cast of guest stars
- Roller Maidens From Outer Space (1974, Epic Records) Written and directed by Austin, including all Firesign members plus a cast of extras
- The Tale of the Giant Rat of Sumatra (1974 Columbia)
- Everything You Know Is Wrong (1974 Columbia)
- In the Next World, You're on Your Own (1975 Columbia)
- What This Country Needs (1975, Columbia) Proctor and Bergman live, based on material from TV or Not TV
- Forward Into the Past (1976 Columbia) Compilation, includes 1969 singles
- Just Folks . . . A Firesign Chat (1977 Butterfly Records)
- Give Us a Break (1978, Mercury Records) Proctor and Bergman
- Nick Danger: The Case of the Missing Shoe (1979 Rhino Records EP)
- Fighting Clowns (1980 Rhino)
- Lawyer's Hospital (1982 Rhino)
- Shakespeare's Lost Comedie (1982 Rhino) (re-released 2001 in expanded edition as Anythynge You Want To)
- The Three Faces of Al (1984 Rhino, without David Ossman)
- Eat or Be Eaten (1985 Mercury Records, without David Ossman)
- Shoes for Industry: The Best of the Firesign Theatre (1993, Sony Records)
- Back from the Shadows (1994, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab)
- Down Under Danger (1994 Sparks Media) a solo cassette by Austin
- Pink Hotel Burns Down (1996 LodeStone Media)
- David Ossman's Time Capsules (1996 Otherworld Media) a solo cassette by Ossman
- George Tirebiter's Radio Follies (1997 Twin Cities Radio Theatre Workshop) a solo cassette by Ossman
- Give Me Immortality or Give Me Death (1998 Rhino) We're Doomed trilogy
- Boom Dot Bust (1999 Rhino) We're Doomed trilogy
- Bride of Firesign (2001 Rhino) We're Doomed trilogy
- Radio Now Live (2001 Whirlwind Media)
- Papoon For President (2002 Laugh.Com)
- All Things Firesign (2003 Artemis Records)
- The Firesign Theatre's Box of Danger (2008 Shout! Factory)
- Duke of Madness Motors - The Complete "Dear Friends" Radio Era (book and data DVD of radio program recordings, over 80 hours) (2010 Seeland Records)
- Zachariah (co-written by Firesign Theatre) (92 min., 1971) Comedy western, inspired by the Hermann Hesse novel Siddhartha
- Martian Space Party (Firesign Theatre with Campoon workers) (27 min., 1972)
- Love is Hard to Get (Peter Bergman) (26 min., 1973)
- Let's Visit the World of the Future (44 min., 1973) based on characters from I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus, directed by Ivan Stang)
- Six Dreams (Peter Bergman - executive producer, Phil Proctor) (13 min., 1976)
- Tunnel Vision (featuring Phil Proctor) (70 min., 1976)
- Everything You Know is Wrong (40 min., 1978) lip-synch to the album
- TV or Not TV (33 min., 1978) lip-synch to the Proctor and Bergman album
- Americathon (86 min., 1979) Based on a sketch created by Proctor and Bergman
- J-Men Forever (75 min., 1979) Proctor and Bergman; compilation of Republic Science Fiction serial clips with new dialogue overdubbed
- The Madhouse of Dr. Fear (60 min., 1979)
- Nick Danger in The Case of the Missing Yolk (60 min., 1983) Originally an Interactive Video, Pacific Arts PAVR-527; broadcast on the USA Network series Night Flight
- Eat or be Eaten (30 min., 1985) Austin, Bergman, and Proctor, RCA Columbia 60566
- Hot Shorts (73 min., 1985) Austin, Bergman, and Proctor, RCA Columbia 60435
- Back from the Shadows (1994)
- Firesign Theatre Weirdly Cool DVD Movie (2001)
Straight Arrow Press, Rolling Stone's book publishing arm, published two books authored by the Firesign Theatre: The Firesign Theatre's Big Book of Plays, and The Firesign Theatre's Big Mystery Joke Book. These feature background information, satirical introductions and parodic histories, as well as transcripts from their first seven albums.
- The Firesign Theatre's Big Book Of Plays. San Francisco: Straight Arrow, 1972.
- The Firesign Theatre's Big Mystery Joke Book. San Francisco: Straight Arrow, 1974.
- The Apocalypse Papers, a Fiction by The Firesign Theatre. Topeka: Apocalypse Press, 1976. Limited edition, 500 copies
- George Tirebiter's Radiodaze (1989 Sparks Media) a solo cassette by Ossman
- The George Tirebiter Story Chapter 1: Another Christmas Carol (1989, Sparks Media) by Ossman
- The George Tirebiter Story Pt.2 Mexican Overdrive / Radiodaze (1989 Company One) by Ossman
- The George Tirebiter Story Pt.3 The Ronald Reagan Murder Case (1990 Midwest Radio Theatre Workshop) by Ossman
- Tales Of The Old Detective And Other Big Fat Lies (1995) by Austin
- Backwards Into the Future: The Recorded History of the Firesign Theatre. Albany: Bearmanor Media, 2006.
- In 1983 Mattel released two Intellivision video games with Intellivoice: Bomb Squad, with Proctor as the voice of Frank and Bergman as the voice of Boris; and B-17 Bomber, with Proctor as the voice of the Pilot and Austin as the Bombardier.
- In 1996, a computer game written by Bergman, Pyst, a parody of the game Myst, was released by Parroty Interactive.
- "Peter Bergman: Remembering The 'Firesign' Satirist". National Public Radio. March 12, 2012. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
- Harvey, Doug (December 5, 2001). "Firesigns of Life". L.A. Weekly. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
- "Who Am Us, Anyway? Peter Bergman". Firesign Media. Retrieved December 1, 2017.
- Proctor, Phlip. "Bride of Firesign liner notes". Firesign Media. Retrieved December 1, 2017.
- Simels, Steve (1993). Putting It Simply, There's Never Been Anything Like The Firesign Theatre Before or Since (Liner notes). Laugh.com. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
- "FIREZINE #4: Under the Influence of the Goons". Firezine.net. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
- Ventham, Maxine (2002). Spike Milligan: His Part In Our Lives. London: Robson. ISBN 1-86105-530-7.
- "Jack Poet Volkswagen commercials : Firesign Theatre : Free Download & Streaming: Internet Archive". Archive.org. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
- "Proctor and Bergman | Bottom Line | New York, NY | Jun 8, 1978 | Late Show - wolfgangsvault.com". Concerts.wolfgangsvault.com. 1978-06-08. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
- Austin, Phil (1993). Fighting Clowns (liner notes). Retrieved February 1, 2018.
- The Firesign Theatre's Box of Danger (liner notes). Los Angeles, CA: Shout! Factory. 2008.
- PeterBergman; Filmkauai.com Archived July 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Press release - 8/30/2011". Firesigntheatre.com. December 5, 2011. Retrieved February 1, 2018.
- "Firesign Theatre Still an Original After 45 Years « Audio Eclecticism in the 60s". Davidgordonschmidt.wordpress.com. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
- "Peter Bergman, Firesign Theatre founder, dies at 72 | 89.3 KPCC". Scpr.org. March 9, 2012. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
- "Who Am Us, Anyway?: Phil Austin". Firesign Media. Retrieved January 26, 2018.
- "Who Am Us, Anyway?: David Ossman". Firesign Media. Retrieved January 26, 2018.
- Lentz, Harris M. (2015). Obituaries in the Performing Arts. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. pp. 14–15. ISBN 978-0-7864-7667-1. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
- The Bride of Firesign (liner notes). Rhino Records. 2001. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
- Roller Maidens From Outer Space (liner notes). Epic Records. 1974. Retrieved February 1, 2018.
- Paladino, D.J. (June 18, 2015). "Tinika Ossman-Steier Back in the Solstice Parade She Helped Create". Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
- "Firesign Theatre, Now Playing on NPR". NPR. National Public Radio. April 22, 2003. Retrieved January 29, 2018.
- Wendy Maloney (September 29, 2017). "Firesign Theatre Comedians Share Their Story". blogs.loc.gov. Library of Congress. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
- Dan Bacalzo (September 17, 2009). "Firesign Theatre to Celebrate Creation of Nick Danger with Forward, Into The Past". TheaterMania. Los Angeles. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
- Shultz, Rob (February 9, 2016). "Jim Pederson, the face and personality of Rocky Rococo Pizza for decades, dies". Wisconsin State Journal. Madison.com. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
- Walcutt, Judith (January 23, 2015). "New Audio Production Awards Established to Honor The Firesign Theater's Comedy and Satire Legacy" (PDF) (Press release). Freeland, Washingtton: Firesigntheatre.com. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
- Voices; Intellivisionlives.com
- Marciniak, Vwadek P., Politics, Humor and the Counterculture: Laughter in the Age of Decay (New York etc., Peter Lang, 2008).
- Ossman, David. Dr. Firesign's Follies: Radio, Comedy, Mystery, History. (Albany: BearManor Media) (2008) ISBN 978-1-59393-148-3
- Ossman, David. The Ronald Reagan Murder Case: A George Tirebiter Mystery. (Albany: BearManor Media) (2006) ISBN 1-59393-071-2
- Wiebel, Jr, Frederick C. Backwards into the Future - The Firesign Theatre. Albany: BearManor Media, (2005). ISBN 1-59393-043-7
- Santoro, Gene. Highway 61 Revisited: The Tangled Roots of American Jazz, Blues, Rock & Country Music. (New York: Oxford University Press) (2004) ISBN 978-0-19-515481-8