Bob Dylan discusses the early days of his career in, well, the early days of his career (at 20 years old) during a rare interview that PBS has animated as a part of their Blank on Blank video series.
The interview originally aired in February of 1962 on New York City’s WBAI radio station for its Folksingers Choice show. Dylan had only moved to New York from Minneapolis a few years earlier, and hadn’t even released his debut album yet. He talks in the interview about playing coffee houses, and playing harmonica for singers from 2 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. everyday for a dollar (about $8, inflated for 2016). “He gave me a dollar plus a cheeseburger,” Dylan recalls.
Between tuning his guitar and bumming a cigarette, Dylan says he’s been writing songs about as long as he’s been singing them, and refers to a song he wrote when he was working for a carnival. He says there was a freak show as part of it, and those in the show sold postcards with their pictures on them. One of the people in it always stood out to him, a lady “in really bad shape,” who had been a burn victim. “They want to make you have two thoughts,” said Dylan about the freak show. “They want to make you think that they don’t feel bad about themselves and also, they want to make you feel sorry for them. I always liked that, and I wrote a song for her. It was called, ‘Won’t you Buy a Postcard.’ Can’t remember that one, though.”
The interview ends with interviewer Cynthia Gooding asking Dylan if he would wear his trademark hat when was rich and famous. Dylan chuckles, sounding almost embarrassed. “Oh, I’m never going to become rich and famous.”
The animated video covers five minutes of the hour-long interview, but the audio of the whole thing can be found here. Blank on Blank has also animated rare or unheard interviews from Martin Scorsese, Kurt Cobain, Cher, Elliott Smith and others.
Watch the Bob Dylan animation above, and find more Blank on Blank videos here.