Saturday, March 10, 2012

Peter Bergman


Peter Paul Bergman (November 29, 1939 – March 9, 2012)
was born and raised in Shaker Heights. He was a member of the absurdist comedy troupe The Firesign Theatre. Bergman died yesterday due to complications from leukemia. He was 72.

His father, Oscar Bergman, wrote for the Plain Dealer, and during the 1950s he and his wife Rita hosted a local radio program called Breakfast With the Bergmans on WSRS 1490 AM.

From a young age he was a writer of comedy. By the ninth grade he was composing a weekly humor column for the Shaker High newspaper, The High Hatters and later Look and See With Peter B.

His first radio success came as an announcer on the Shaker High intercom radio system, where he once announced that Chinese communists had invaded the school and that all students were to report immediately to a "mandatory voluntary" assembly. Principal Russell H. Rupp was not amused and ended Bergman's high school radio career. Principal Rupp was eventually immortalized as Firesign stalwart Principal Poop.

Russell H. Rupp as Shaker Heights Junior High Principal (1938)

Scene from "Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers
Peter Bergman as Mudhead
Phil Proctor as Principal Poop

Today, the Shaker High "Blue Bison" football team plays on Poop Field.

Cleveland Memory Project
Cleveland Classic Media
Michael Heaton

(More on The Firesign Theatre)

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