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A Little Flash of Color

September 23, 2008 | 3 Comments

Mr. Keillor,
My husband and I have listened to your shows for years now and saw it live a number of times in Madison, Milwaukee, and St. Paul. We shook your hand in a hotel lobby in Madison and I am wondering about the red socks and red shoes... What does it all mean? By the way, our names are Jim and Barb and we really like ketchup.

Barb A.

Jim and Barb!!! I'm glad you like ketchup with all of its natural mellowing agents which may be one reason you haven't called in a high-powered flesh-eating attorney and filed a lawsuit for invasion of privacy. As for the red stuff, the socks came first and are in imitation of the great Studs Terkel who I saw wearing them and thought they looked terrific. I'd worn black socks for years, thinking that was what you were supposed to do, ever since I gave up argyles in the 8th grade (my aunts gave them to me for Christmas), and red just looked snazzy and stylish and a little flash of color on an otherwise drab person — like the flash of a redwing blackbird. The red shoes came when I found a pair of red sneakers in a store, Saucony, and snapped them up. I'd worn black sneakers that looked like bowling shoes, and the red ones went with the red socks. Also it gives people a hint that you are doing comedy, which may not always be apparent from your material. Like a red round nose and a red fright wig.


I alwaysthought the red socks were a homage to Mark Twain, who famously wore them with his white suits. Of course, that may be where Studs got the idea....

Thanks for clearing up the
"mystery of the red shoes and
socks." Many people I know thought
it was some sort of political statement!
I figured maybe you ate lots of
ketchup and worried you would spill.
San Clemente

Garrison, I finally got around to watching the APHC movie and noticed the shoes. How coincidental a discussion about them is going on here on the website right now. The most comfortable pair of shoes I ever owned were Saucony Shadows - genre of the Jazz series I believe. I wore them, I kid you not, for 7 or 8 years. When they had finally taken all the wear they could, I took pictures of them before throwing them out; we had been through so much together, I wanted to remember them. =P

I'm not surprised you have found them as useful as I did.

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