Otis Twelve / Otis XII









"I live in bucolic Walnut, Iowa with my wife of 27 years and an odd kid or two. My eclectic career includes stints as a trainee Benedictine monk, a stand-up comedian, a radio host, a T.V. critic, and a concert narrator. In September 2002 I ended a twenty-five year stint in radio and turned my attention to writing fiction full-time. I have since written for newspapers, radio, television, advertising, symphony orchestras and the stage and have won awards for essays and journalism. I write for eight hours a day, everyday, unless the dog is sick or tornadoes threaten."


Once upon a time in the thriving metropolis of Omaha, Nebraska, small children and goofy teenagers crouched by their radio sets in hopes of hearing the booming tones of Otis XII emanating from the speakers. Otis enjoyed a 25-year career in radio -- but not just spinning vinyl and announcing the current time! Over the years, Otis has kept the fine art of radio theatre alive by recording short comedy sketches for weekly broadcast. He spent over a decade at Z-92 and later worked at KFAB, CD105.9 and KKAR before being voted into the Nebraska Radio Personalities Hall of Fame.

In the early '70s, Otis was part of the Omaha-based Ogden Edsl (sometimes credited as the Ogden Edsl Wahalia Blues Ensemble Mondo Bizarrio Band) who recorded deliciously tasteless novelty numbers like "Kinko the Clown" and "Dead Puppies" of Dr. Demento fame.

One of the first characters created by Otis for the listening public was the imitable Space Commander Wack, a masterful parody of Buck Rogers, the Lone Ranger, Don Quixote, and most US Congressmen. Wack (voiced by Otis himself) starred in mock sci-fi adventure serials along with his faithful sidekick Stupid Larry (voiced by longtime DJ partner Diver Dan Doomey), Glorf The Dead Martian Dog (a foley effect thump), and excitable announcer Yersick Narge. Piloting the spaceship they call The Spaceship, this motley crew careens through the universe on missions mandated by The Daring Space Adventure Army Of Earth.

Later, Diver Dan Doomey and Otis XII collaborated on Lance Stallion, Radio Detective. For this series, Doomey voiced the faux film-noir title character while Otis took on the sidekick role of Dingo, along with many villains and background characters. Unlike Space Commander Wack, the Lance Stallion serials continued for ten chapters, with wacky cliffhangers and nonsensical mysteries all along the way. Lance's adventures had titles like "The Girl With The Knife In Her Hair" and "The President's Brain Is Missing" and were as tongue-and-check as you may guess.

Starting in the late '80s, Otis gave us The Mean Farmer who has been popular enough to inspire the production and sale of cassettes that served to immortalize various bits that Otis and his collaborators have recorded through the years! The Mean Farmer is a wonderfully nasty character who tells Paul Harvey-style narratives about the horrible, painful punishments he inflicts upon everyone and everything in his rural community.

All in all, it is a mystery why these jewels of radio theatre have gone largely unlauded by the listening public. At the least, Otis should enjoy the popularity of similar artists like the FireSign Theater. (You can get an earful of the radio comedy of Otis XII by visiting the MP3 Library on OtisTwelve.com.)

After leaving radio in 2002, Otis turned his attention to writing fiction and essays and has enjoyed a great deal of recognition in a short span of time.His first novel On The Albino Farm was shortlisted for the 2003 British Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Award. The sequel Sometimes A Prozac Notion was similarly on the short list for the 2004 British Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Award. Also in 2004, he was also a $10,000 winner in an essay competition called The Power Of Purpose Awards for piece called "The Goodness of Trees."

In March 2005, On The Albino Farm was voted the winner of the Second Annual Lit Idol contest in the UK in March 2005, beating four finalists and over 1000 entries!

Otis also finished second in competition for the Kurt Vonnegut Fiction Prize with his story "Life Among the Bean Bugs," which will be in the summer issue of the North American Review (past contributors include Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Joseph Conrad, and Kurt Vonnegut himself).

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