A tribute to Joe Frank

KCRW lost a legend last week when Joe Frank died at the age of 79. In tribute to Joe, KCRW is airing selections of his immersive, mind-bending and inspirational work.  Airs 8–9 pm, Jan. 22–26.

Monday, January 22, 2018

A Landing Strip in the Jungle 

Selected by friend and collaborator, Mike Meloan
Joe’s visit to Sri Lanka leads to an odd relationship with a beggar boy. A drug overdose culminates in the realization that ‘life is meaningless.’ Time spent in a tropical country under colonial domination. A dreamlike monologue montage. Joe presides over the ‘Survivor of the Year’ competition featuring individuals who have survived harrowing experiences. Life on the lower East Side of Manhattan.

-Featuring Lester Nafzger, Fred Coffin, Arthur Miller and Joe Frank
-From Work in Progress, 1986

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Eye In The Sky

Selected by collaborator, David Cross
A traffic helicopter reporter describes increasing mayhem on the freeways of Los Angeles. Shot down by a missile, he philosophizes about life.

-From Somewhere Out There, 1996

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Small World Karma

Selected by friend and collaborator, Debi Mae West
The film "The Incredible Shrinking Man" is revisited and analyzed. Larry Block and Joe Frank discuss God’s dubious role in the outcomes of competitive sports. Larry apologizes for being Jewish. Joe recounts his childhood illness and aborted visit to his dying uncle during the 1960s NYC blackout.  

-Featuring Larry Block, Debi Mae West and Joe Frank
-From The Other Side, 2000

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Rent-A-Family -2

Selected by friend and fan Alexander Payne
This Peabody Award-winning series tells the story of Eleanor, a lonely divorced woman, who joins an agency that rents her and her children to bachelors. The children disappear and Eleanor repeatedly calls her ex-husband, Arthur, begging him to return to her. Remarried, he rejects her entreaties and denies they ever had children. The story is interspersed with mock-serious panel discussions concerning the viability and morality of renting women and their children to bachelors.

This is the second installment in a three-part series. The other installments can be found at JoeFrank.com

- Featuring Barbara Sohmers, Mark Hammer, Arthur Miller, Tim Jerome, Nick Ullett, Carolyn Swift, Larry Block, Lynn, Sarah, Carmen, Thomas, Tim, Sharon, and Christa
-From Work In Progress, 1987

Friday, January 26, 2018


Selected by wife and collaborator Michal Story
Goodbye is a program that addresses illness and death in a reflective and humorous way. The show is based, almost entirely, on philosophical and absurd phone calls between Joe and friends. Mike Fremuth and Joe discuss the idea of “heroic melancholy.” A series of comic conversations with Lester Nafzger concerning illness and old age conclude with Joe’s description of being left at the airport after visiting with his parents in Florida. Joe and Larry Block discuss the idea of hanging people instead of paintings in museums, and Gideon Brower recalls attending an outdoor wedding during a forest fire. Also included are conversations with a doctor which took place shortly after Joe experienced kidney failure, and an excerpt from Mike Fremuth’s moving eulogy of a friend. 

- Featuring Lester Nafzger, Gideon Brower, Michal Story, Larry Block, Mike Fremuth, and Joe Frank. With musicians Todd Tragar on guitar, Tony Merrill on bass, and Joe Frank, vocals
- Produced in 2005

To browse and listen to Joe Frank’s entire archive you can go to JoeFrank.com