“Despite containing no real scientific content, they remain the most important interviews in the field of science. Perhaps the most important interviews of the last century” (Lou Read).
At 21, Dr Jersey Jellgood was the youngest ever winner of the Nobel Prize, receiving the accolade for a chemistry paper he had written as a six year-old. He remains the only man to win the Nobel Grand Slam, picking up prizes for Chemistry, Physics, Medicine, Peace and Literature, all before his 25th birthday. His discoveries in the field of chemistry alone earned him billions.
And yet, prior to his 27th birthday, Dr Jellgood abandoned the world of conventional science, pursuing flamboyant and baffling ventures, most notably sending over sixty sumo wrestlers to the moon merely to collect specimens for his own Japanese rock garden. His departure from scientific research was, they said, the most horrifying waste of talent in history. “Quite simply, he could’ve solved everything,” remarked a former colleague. “But that c*** only wipes his arse with litmus paper these days; and you can bet your life his shit is highly acidic.”
Why Dr Jellgood abandoned conventional science and what he went on to achieve were detailed in a remarkable series of interviews stretching over five decades on the British radio programme I Am Science.
I Am Science was hosted by the prominent English journalist Rodney Borgnine and was the longest running radio interview programme in broadcast history. Guests included Laura Limb, inventor of the Yasser Ara-Fat Burner, Tonya Pol, CEO of Toe Job Taxis, and Holman Garido, founder of gynaecological amusement park, Treasure Island.
However, it was Borgnine’s conversations with Dr Jellgood that most cemented the programme’s reputation. The first interview, airing in August 1965, drew 46 million viewers, the largest radio audience in history – a record which still stands to this day.
Borgnine would interview Dr Jellgood over fifty times in the coming years. Each instalment followed Dr Jersey Jellgood as he dropped one failed business enterprise for the next, repeatedly misapplying the most competent scientific brain in the world.
The Borgnine-Jellgood interviews would become the subject of a play starring Olga Potts and Clooney Dempsey, and was later made into an Oscar winning feature film directed by Wesley Thomas Abrams. A novelistic account is released in June, and a board game entitled Be A Danger To Yourself is in the works.
The early interviews were thought lost forever, until tape recordings were found last year in the warehouses of a radio station in Mexico.