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Gazzopolis: 'RFC' screens rare Charleston Playhouse footage

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Host Rudy Panucci describes the latest episode of his web show -- now online at the PopCult blog -- as "what might be my most self-indulgent episode of Radio Free Charleston."

The bulk of this show is a more than half-an-hour segment of a vintage concert by the band Clownhole, recorded on one low-fi VHS camcorder in December, 1989. Clownhole featured John Estep, Chris Canfield and Randy Brown (it was Brown who supplied Panucci with this recording). The vintage flashback showcases original tunes like "Aqua," "Old Man Jumping Over A Fence," and their showstopper, "Heads On Fire." There are couple of covers sprinkled throughout, most notable among them, "The Banana Splits" theme song.

While The Charleston Playhouse, which was only in business for about a year, played a key role in the history of the original Radio Free Charleston radio program, video footage from the location is a rare commodity. Panucci asks that anyone with additional video from the old venue to contact him through the PopCult blog or the Radio Free Charleston Facebook page.

Framing the Clownhole footage is a skit starring Panucci, Kitty Killton and Melanie Larch, which sets up the flashback as Panucci tries to show Killton the location of what used to be The Charleston Playhouse (it's now Mimi's in Kanawha City). Stick around after the end credits for a couple of "Easter Eggs." Eagle-eyed viewers might be able to spot cameo appearances by John McIntyre, Jim Wolfe and Barone Bros. Pizza.


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