I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus

I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus

Infobox Album |
Name = "I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus"
Type = Album
Artist = The Firesign Theatre

Released = 1971
Recorded = April - June 1971
Genre = Comedy
Length = 39:05
Label = Columbia
Producer = The Firesign Theatre
Reviews = "The New Rolling Stone Record Guide" rating|3|5|
Last album = "Dear Friends - Syndicated Radio Program"
This album = "I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus"
Next album = "Dear Friends"

"I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus" is the fourth comedy recording made by The Firesign Theatre for Columbia. It was released in 1971 and is the last of a tetralogy, comprising their first four albums, that is generally considered their most important body of work.

Track listing

ide one

Side .001 – 20:55

ide two

Side .002 – 18:15

Detailed Track Information and Commentary

This album, like its predecessor "Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers", is one complete narrative that covers both sides of one LP.

Side One starts with an audio segue from "Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers" - the sound of the ice cream truck moving off down the street and out of earshot.

The piece opens as a special bus appears, carrying a group of tourists along a typical suburban street. When the bus stops, vegetable-shaped holograms appear out of thin air and begin singing a song to entice more people to board the bus. At this point, the main character, Clem (played by Philip Proctor), boards the bus and takes an open seat next to one of many bozos on the bus. The bus soon resumes its journey and proceeds to its final destination: the Future Fair ("a fair for all and no fare to anybody"), a free World's Fair-like exhibit comparing the past and future.

Once there, Clem joins other tourists in various interactive exhibits, including one that asks Clem his name. When he hesitantly responds "Ah... Clem", the computer accepts this and refers to him from that point onwards as "Ah-Clem". The automated exhibits finally lead to the President of the United States (played by Phil Austin), which is a computer given a voice reminiscent of then-President Richard Nixon. When Clem reaches the front of the line, he turns out to know the right things to say to the computer to break through its defenses ("This is Worker speaking. Hello.") and ask questions it can't answer ("Why does the Porridge Bird lay his eggs in the air?"), finally causing the "President" to shut down. When this attack fails to bring down the Fair's main computer system, Clem creates a holographic image of himself and sends it in to electronically confront the master computer, "Dr. Memory". Clem is one of the first "computer hackers" mentioned in pop culture.


While the slang word "bozo" already had been around for decades, the release of this album renewed its popularity, and many if not most uses of the word throughout the 1970s likely occurred with the Firesign Theatre at least partly in mind.

The advanced user interface for the "future fair" is thought to have displayed some rather unusual and far-reaching technological insight for the day, as the computer industry was still firmly in the punch-card era when the album was recorded in 1971. (The Apple II series of computers would not be released until 1977). Concepts such as lifelike hologram interfaces and programmable speech generation used by the "Mr. President" interface were not part of the Information Technology mainstream and would not be for many years.

In the liner notes to the Mobile Fidelity re-release, definitions are listed for both "bozo" and "bus." "Bus," rather than being the anticipated "school bus" type of definition, is defined as "a circuit in a mixing board which carries signals from one or more inputs to any output or set of outputs." These Bozos were not travelling in a motorized vehicle from one physical location to another, but rather, were traveling via the medium of electronically recorded sound.

This album was released both as a "Quadraphonic" LP and "Quadraphonic" 8-Track.

This album was one of the inspirations for the 1973 film "Let's Visit the World of the Future" by Ivan Stang (according to the film's end credits, which direct viewers desiring more information to purchase a copy of this album).

Noteworthy quotes

*A creation myth recited as a part of an exhibit at the Future Fair:

:"Before the beginning, there was this turtle. And the turtle was alone. And he looked around, and he saw his neighbor, which was his mother. And he lay down on top of his neighbor, and behold! she bore him in tears an oak tree, which grew all day and then fell over -- like a bridge. And lo! underneath the bridge there came a catfish. And he was very big. And he was walking. And he was the biggest he had seen. And so were the fiery balls of this fish, one of which is the sun, and the other, they called the moon."

*Fudd's First Law of Opposition:

:"If you push something hard enough, it "will" fall over."

*Teslacle's Deviant to Fudd's Law:

:"It goes in, it must come out."

*Recorded voices on the bus on the way to the fair:

:"The future is fun! ... The future is fair! ... You may already have won! ... You may already be there!":(The phrase "You may already have won!" was used in a controversial marketing campaign for Publishers Clearing House.)

*Singing hologram (To the tune of "Back In the Saddle Again"):

:"Back from the shadows again. Out where an Injun's your friend. Where the vegetables are green, and you can pee into the stream, we're back from the shadows again."

*The Honorable Chester Cadaver explaining the future::"Sure, understanding today's complex world of the future is a little like having bees live in your head. But, there they are."

Issues and reissues

This album was originally released simultaneously on LP, Cassette, Quadrophonic LP, and Quadrophonic 8-Track.
*LP - Columbia C-30737
*Cassette - Columbia CA-30737
*Quadrophonic LP - Columbia CQ-30737
*Quadrophonic 8 Track - Columbia CAQ - 30737

It has been re-released on CD at least twice
*1989 - Mobile Fidelity MFCD-785
*2001 - CBS/Epic
*2001 - Laugh.com LGH1073


*Firesign Theatre. "I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus". Columbia Records, 1971.
*Firesign Theatre. "I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus". Mobile Fideilty, 1989.
*Firesign Theatre. "Firesign Theatre". 19 Jan. 2006 .
*"FIREZINE: Linques!." "Firesign Theatre FAQ". 20 Jan. 2006 .
*Marsh, Dave, and Greil Marcus. "The Firesign Theatre." "The New Rolling Stone Record Guide". Ed. Dave Marsh and John Swenson. New York: Random House, 1983. 175-176.
*Smith, Ronald L. "The Goldmine Comedy Record Price Guide". Iola: Krause, 1996.

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