Selected Shorts: Things Change

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Guest host Stephen Colbert presents stories in which objects change lives.

We are used to gradual changes in life, but in the two stories presented on this show, peoples’ lives are altered dramatically in a very short space of time.

In Jack Finney’s “Where the Cluetts Are,” a wealthy couple builds an authentic Victorian house, and are caught up its mood.  As the architect-narrator comments, “You’ve been in that kind of house; everyone has.  For no reason you can explain you feel a joy at just being in it.”

Finney was a prolific science-fiction  writer whose works include “The Body Snatchers,” which was the basis for the cult film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” and the classic time-travel novel Time and Again.  He loved to write about the places where the past and the present overlap.  In this case, it happens in a “new” old house.  The reader is stage and film actor Philip Casnoff, whose work includes roles in the musicals “Shogun,” and “Chicago” and television shows including “Oz,” “Strong Medicine,” “Numbers,” and “NCIS.”  He starred in the television miniseries “Sinatra.”

The catalyst for change is smaller in the next story, “Lederhosen,” by Haruki Murakami, in which a pair of the iconic German hiking shorts is a marital game-changer.  Well, any story by the celebrated Japanese author is life altering.  He starts with something simple, and before you know it, you’re in an alternate reality. Lonely husbands search for UFO’s, elevated highways lead to parallel universes.  In this case, a placid Japanese wife sets out to buy her husband a pair of shorts, and—well, you’ll hear what happens. 

The reader is Aasif Mandvi, whose stage, film, and television work includes his Obie-winning one-man show “Sakina’s Restaurant,” a role in Tony Kushner’s “Homebody/Kabul,” and featured roles on “The Sopranos,” “Sex and the City,” and “CSI,” among other shows.  Recent films include “The Last Airbender” and “The Internship.”  Mandvi is also a regular correspondent for “The Daily Show.”

“Where the Cluetts Are,” by Jack Finney, performed by Philip Casnoff

“Lederhosen,” by Haruki Murakami, performed by Aasif Mandvi

The SELECTED SHORTS theme is David Peterson's “That's the Deal,” performed by the Deardorf/Peterson Group.

For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit

Information about the 2014 Stella Kupferberg Short Story Prize Competition is available now:

We’re interested in your response to these programs.  Please comment on this site or visit

And for more thoughts on the stories in SHORTS, check out literary commentator Hannah Tinti’s site at


Stephen Colbert and Aasif Mandvi

Produced by:

Sarah Montague

Comments [5]

From the producers:

Unfortunately, due to copyright and licensing restrictions, we are able to offer audio only for a limited period after the first broadcast of a program. Please check our website,, to see if any of these stories is included in our CD compilations, for information about where to find them in print, and for our broadcast schedule, as we do repeat programs from time to time.

Nov. 24 2014 09:35 AM
Mark Portillo from United States


Is there any way to listen to this episode ?

I really wanted to share it, I rememebr I got home from work but spent the whole time in my car because I could not leave. This was such a great episode and I would like to listen to it again .

Nov. 21 2014 02:57 PM

I agree with Christine. I'm an architect and creative director here in NY and am eagerly waiting for "WHERE THE CLUETTS ARE" to be included on a CD or rebroadcast. Philip Casnoff read it perfectly and I'd really like to play it for our office.
If there is a listener vote - mark me down for this one.

Oct. 24 2014 02:22 PM

From the producer:

Dear Christine:

Thank you so much for your kind words. Unfortunately, due to copyright and licensing restrictions, we are able to offer audio in the form of podcasts only for a limited period after the first broadcast of a program. Please check our website,, to see if any of these stories might be included in future CD compilations, and for information about where to find them in print.

Mar. 17 2014 10:17 AM

This is my favorite podcast…enjoying very much…would like to listen to past shorts, but unable to find them to download.

Mar. 15 2014 10:29 PM

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