The Full Wiki

A Mighty Wind: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A Mighty Wind

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Christopher Guest
Produced by Karen Murphy
Written by Christopher Guest
Eugene Levy
Starring Bob Balaban
Catherine O'Hara
Eugene Levy
Christopher Guest
Michael McKean
Harry Shearer
John Michael Higgins
Jane Lynch
Parker Posey
Fred Willard
Deborah Theaker
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) April 16, 2003
Running time 91 min
Language English
Preceded by Best in Show (2000)
Followed by For Your Consideration (2006)

A Mighty Wind is a 2003 mockumentary about a folk music reunion concert and the three groups that must come together to perform on national television for the first time in years. The film was directed (and co-written) by Christopher Guest. The title alludes to the folk standards "Blowin' in the Wind" and "Wasn't That A Mighty Storm", covered by many singers of the early 1960s. The film was inspired by the 1982 documentary film The Weavers: Wasn't That a Time! about The Weavers' 1980 Carnegie Hall reunion concert.

Many actors and actresses return from This Is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, and Best in Show for this film, including Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Fred Willard, Bob Balaban, Ed Begley, Jr., Jennifer Coolidge, Paul Dooley, John Michael Higgins, Michael Hitchcock, Rachael Harris, Don Lake, Jane Lynch, Larry Miller, Jim Piddock, Deborah Theaker, and Parker Posey.

One of the songs from the movie, "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow", was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song, and was performed at the 76th Academy Awards by Levy and O'Hara (in character). The song was written by McKean with his wife, actress Annette O'Toole, while they were driving from California to Canada during the no-fly time after the September 11, 2001 attacks.



After the death of influential folk music producer Irving Steinbloom, his children organize a reunion concert for the three most successful groups he ever worked with, in order to pay tribute to Irving's life. "The Folksmen", "The New Main Street Singers", and "Mitch & Mickey" all have their own issues with getting prepared for the concert. The New Main Street Singers are mostly new to the genre (being a reincarnation of the original Main Street Singers) and have a manager with a painfully bad sense of humor attempting to organize their antics. The Folksmen see the concert as an opportunity for a comeback, and while they express contempt for folk groups that have compromised the integrity of the genre for commercial success—an issue that comes to a head when a miscommunication about the concert playlist is discovered—they must find ways to engage a new generation of fans. Mitch and Mickey haven't spoken since a traumatic break-up decades before—now Mitch is a barely coherent emotional wreck, Mickey has married a model train enthusiast who sells catheters, and neither of them has played music in years. For these three groups to perform successfully on live national public television, from New York City's Town Hall, they need a miracle of immense proportions.

The Folksmen

The Folksmen are a trio consisting of Mark Shubb (bass vocals and upright bass, played by Harry Shearer), Alan Barrows (tenor vocals, mandolin, guitar, and five-string banjo, played by Christopher Guest), and Jerry Palter (baritone vocals, guitar, and mandolin, played by Michael McKean). The Folksmen are an apparent parody of such groups as Peter, Paul and Mary, The Weavers, The Limeliters, and The Kingston Trio.

In the film

According to the film, the Folksmen released six albums on the Folktown Records label: Singin' (featuring "Old Joe's Place"), Pickin' (featuring "Blood on the Coal"), Ramblin' (featuring "Never Did No Wanderin'"), Hitchin' (featuring "Loco Man"), Wishin' (featuring "Barnyard Symphony" and "Skeletons of Quinto"), and Saying Something (featuring "Children Of The Sun"), which broke with the tradition of using only acoustic instruments and single-word titles without final '-g's. Their biggest hit, "Old Joe's Place," reached position 17 in the charts.

After the performance at Town Hall, Shubb decides he wants to spend the rest of his life living as a woman, complete with blonde wig. He continues to sing and speak, however, in his famous bass register.

Outside the film

The appearance of The Folksmen in A Mighty Wind was not their first reunion performance. Before A Mighty Wind, The Folksmen performed "Old Joe's Place" on the 3 November 1984 episode of Saturday Night Live, hosted by McKean. The band also performed on the Fox television show Mad TV. In 2001, the band "reunited" as the opening act for Spinal Tap's "Back from the Dead Tour". The Folksmen also appeared in the video release The Return of Spinal Tap as Spinal Tap's opening act for their Royal Albert Hall performance. The same actors portray The Folksmen and the three main members of Spinal Tap.

The Folksmen "reunited" again as openers for Spinal Tap's "one night only world tour", which took place at Wembley Arena on June 30, 2009.


  • "Old Joe's Place": their only hit song. Contains silly lyrics, such as "there's a puppy in the parlor and a skillet on the stove / and a smelly old blanket that a Navajo wove".
  • "Never Did No Wanderin'": describes, in amusing detail, how the singer has never traveled anywhere. Covered by the New Main Street Singers, who open their Town Hall performance with this song, which forces the surprised Folksmen to change their setlist.
  • "Loco Man": a calypso song about a man who does nothing except relax on a beach.
  • "Corn Wine": a song about the passage of time, which features a prominent penny whistle, while also obeying the iron-clad rule, "nonny before ninny".
  • "Blood on the Coal": a mash-up of two folk standards: train wrecks and mine disasters. The train "went in the wrong hole" and crashed in the mine.
  • "Barnyard Symphony": a child-like song about a farmer and his animals. Contained audience participation.
  • "Start Me Up": an acoustic song that describes how people can relate to cars. Cover of The Rolling Stones classic.
  • "Skeletons of Quinto": a song about the Spanish Civil War.
  • "Children of the Sun": The Folksmen's only electric song from 1968, vaguely psychedelic in sound.

The New Main Street Singers

The New Main Street Singers perform in A Mighty Wind

The nine pastel-clad "New Main Street Singers" are patterned after The New Seekers, The New Christy Minstrels, The Doodletown Pipers, and The Rooftop Singers.

Writers Levy and Guest's initial outline for the film had this neuftet singing in unison as a musical joke. That idea was dropped and John Michael Higgins's intricate vocal arrangements were used instead; during rehearsal, one band member is punished for singing a note in unison rather than a chordal sixth.

In the film, the original Main Street Singers had released such albums as Songs of Good Cheer (featuring "Just That Kinda Day"), Strolling Down Main Street (featuring "Potato's in the Paddy Wagon"), The Main Street Singers in Bethlehem (featuring "The Good Book Song"), and Sunny Side Up (featuring "Fare Away"), before breaking up in 1971.

The New Main Street Singers were formed by George Menschell (played by Paul Dooley), the sole survivor of the original Main Street Singers. Menschell sings, but does not play his guitar. He just holds it. Sometimes, his microphone does not even appear to be plugged in. In the commentary for the DVD release, Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy say that in a scene that was cut from the finished movie, it is explained that Menschell cannot play the guitar, but that just before a performance of the original Main Street Singers, he got a stain on the front of his shirt and covered it up by holding a guitar for the performance, something he continued to do for all subsequent performances.

The new group is centered on Terry Bohner (tenor guitar, played by John Michael Higgins) and his wife Laurie Bohner (guitar, played by Jane Lynch). Laurie is a former adult film star and is the co-founder, together with her husband, of Witches in Nature's Colors (WINC), a group of modern-day witches that worship the power of color. They are joined by Sissy Knox (mandolin and tambourine, played by Parker Posey), a former delinquent and daughter of one of the original members of the Main Street Singers. They are managed by the obnoxious Mike LaFontaine (Fred Willard), whose fifteen minutes of fame came by way of the failed TV program "Wha' Happened?" which lasted less than one season during the 1970s. The group, which is otherwise entirely white, includes one Filipino American member, Mike Maryama (played by Mark Nonisa), a detail likely inspired by Larry Ramos, the sole Filipino American member of The New Christy Minstrels.


  • "Just That Kinda Day": a song about optimism in a pessimistic world.
  • "Fare Away": based on the novel Moby-Dick, this song was a big hit in 1968.
  • "The Good Book Song": based on stories of the Bible.
  • "Never Did No Wanderin'": cover of the Folksmen song, with more enthusiasm (the Folksmen liken it to a toothpaste commercial).
  • "The Main Street Rag": the Main Street Singers' theme song.
  • "Potato's in the Paddy Wagon": a silly song about a girl who won a sheriff's heart.

Mitch & Mickey

Mitch Cohen (vocals and guitar, played by Eugene Levy) and Mickey Crabbe née Devlin (vocals & autoharp, played by Catherine O'Hara) may represent a parody of a number of folk music duets, including:

In the fictional reality of the film, they released seven albums together: Meet Mitch & Mickey (which contains the song "One More Time" and whose cover looks suspiciously like that of Meet the Beatles), If This Rose Could Talk, Songs From A Love Nest, Together Forever (featuring "Kiss At the End of the Rainbow"), Over the Moon, Live At the Folk Place, When You're Next To Me (featuring the song of the same title). The font used for the group's name is the same font that folk group Peter, Paul and Mary used and the covers for Together Forever and Live at Folk Place have references to PPM album covers. After Mitch and Mickey's breakup, Mitch went on to record three poorly received solo albums: Cry for Help (containing such singles as "If I Had A Gun" and "Anyone But You"), Songs From A Dark Place, and Calling it Quits. The cover of Calling It Quits, showing Mitch digging his own grave, is suggestive of the tombstone of the cover of Phil Ochs's album from 1969, Rehearsals for Retirement.

Part of the performance of "Kiss At the End of the Rainbow" is an actual kiss between Mitch and Mickey at a certain point in the song. This leads to an awkward silence during rehearsals and a moment of dramatic tension during the performance, culminating in a kiss at the appropriate moment.


  • "When You're Next To Me": Mitch and Mickey's last song together.
  • "Killington Hill": a silver-dagger ballad about a rape, a murder, and a nap. Mitch suggests this as a "possible opener" for their set at the Town Hall show.
  • "One More Time": a love plaint.
  • "The Ballad of Bobby and June": a story about two lovers who lived during the American Civil War.
  • "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow": their 1966 hit, which in reality was nominated for an Academy Award.

At the end of the film, Mickey sings "The Sure-Flo Song" (about urine incontinence aids), which the end credits state was written by Catherine O'Hara.

All three folk groups, along with the audience, sing the anthem "A Mighty Wind" together as the finale of the concert.


In an interview done during the film's publicity, Annette O'Toole stated that many of the songs were written when—in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks—plane groundings meant she and husband Michael McKean had to drive from their home in Los Angeles to Vancouver, where O'Toole's television series Smallville was being filmed. Along the way, to amuse themselves, they wrote the songs.

The Town Hall scenes were filmed at the restored Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles.


One of the songs from the movie, "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow" was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song, and was performed at the 76th Academy Awards by Levy and O'Hara (in character). The film won the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media at the 46th Grammy Awards.

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

A Mighty Wind is a 2003 mockumentary about a folk music reunion concert and the three bands involved. It was co-written and directed by Christopher Guest.

Directed by Christopher Guest. Written by Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy.
Back Together for the First Time... Again


Mitch Cohen

  • Seeing these long lines of fans who want nothing more than to have you sign an autograph, it's like it's 1968... Or '67... Or '66.
  • You know, 35 years ago, preparing for a concert meant playing "find the cobra" with the hotel chambermaid.
  • I feel ready for whatever the experience is that we will... take with us after the show. I'm sure it will be... an adventure... a voyage on this... magnificent vessel... into unchartered waters! What if we see sailfish... jumping... and flying across the magnificent orb of a setting sun?

Mickey Crabbe

  • Why didn't somebody follow him? Is there a cockfight arena near here?
  • Then there's the kids - we're hearing: "You rock... you rock me... you rock my world!" What?

[No one can find Mitch]

  • He could be lying face down in a ditch! Wouldn't be the first time!

Jonathan Steinbloom

  • (referring to his mother) You could say she was overly protective - I just like to think she cared about me, which she did, a lot. And I was a member of the chess team and whenever we would have chess tournaments I had to wear a protective helmet, I had to wear a football helmet. Now who knows what she was thinking? Maybe she thought that we might have fallen maybe and impaled our heads on a pointy bishop or something, I don't know.
  • Before we begin tonight's performance I would like to make a brief announcement. I'd like to warn you that some of the floral arrangements at tonight's performance have dangerously low hanging vines and may be poisonous. So please, whatever you do, don't eat 'em and don't become entangled in them or trip, please.

Laurie Bohner

  • We are Winc. W-I-N-C. Witches In Nature's Colors
  • Terry and I worship an unconventional deity. The power of another dimension. Now you are not going to read about this dimension in a book or a magazine because it exists nowhere... but in my own mind. Through our ceremonies and rituals we have witnessed the awesome and vibratory power... of color.
  • I learned to play the ukulele in one of my last films, "Not-So-Tiny Tim".

Terry Bohner

  • There was abuse in my family, but it was mostly musical in nature.
  • This is not an occult science. This is not one of those crazy systems of divination and astrology. That stuff's hooey, and you've got to have a screw loose to go in for that sort of thing. Our beliefs are fairly commonplace and simple to understand. Humankind is simply materialized color operating on the 49th vibration. You would make that conclusion walking down the street or going to the store.
  • No, ladies and gentlemen, we don't ride around on broomsticks and wear pointy hats. Well, we don't ride on broomsticks.

Mike Lafontaine

  • I worked some bills with a few Folkies, you know, 'Put 'em in a cell with a long hose on him, put 'em in a cell with a long hose on him,' Ha. But if you put him in a cell with a long hose on him, he'd make a lot of friends in the shower room. Heh, heh, heh. Folk audiences hated that joke.
  • [throughout the movie]: Wha' happened?
  • To paraphrase an old joke... Knock, knock. Who's there? It's the New Main Street Singers!
  • I Don't Think SO
  • Put Him In A Long Boat Until He's Sober.
  • Thats a real red wagon
  • you comin out soon i don't think so.


Amber Cole: [referring to her working relationship with Wally Fenton] We work together very well. It's almost as like we have one brain that we share between us.

Mark Shubb: To do then now would be retro. To do then then was very now-tro, if you will.


Lawrence E. Turpin: Alright, here's your giant banjo...
Jonathan Steinbloom: Um-hmm. It's very flat.
Lawrence E. Turpin: Well, it doesn't look flat from in the audience.
Jonathan Steinbloom: It has basically, no dimension to it.
Lawrence E. Turpin: Well, it's painted to look three dimensional. If you go back there, trust me...
Jonathan Steinbloom: But it's not painted on the back. I'm looking ot the back right now. Will you look with me for a minute?
Lawrence E. Turpin: Why would it be... From the audience it's gonna look perfectly fine. And It looks three dimensional. Just go out there and take a peek.
Jonathan Steinbloom: Well, is this the real furniture or is this the rehearsal furniture?
Lawrence E. Turpin: Well, A it's not called furniture. It's a set.
Jonathan Steinbloom: Uh-huhh...
Lawrence E. Turpin: And it's painted this way. It looks completely three dimensional from the audience, if you just go out that way, Mr. Steinbloom.
Jonathan Steinbloom: So this is the real furniture, and this is... Is this an actual street lamp?
Lawrence E. Turpin: I'm sure it was at one time.
Jonathan Steinbloom: Can you have an actual three dimensional object that's represents the thing that it actually is, can that be next to something that it's pretending to be? Would that be okay?
Lawrence E. Turpin: Yes, it's perfectly fine. You know, I really don't have time to explain Stagecraft 101. This show starts in an hour. Now, every... everything is exactly the way you...
Jonathan Steinbloom: And what are tho... what's tha... that... Those are lights hanging up there?
Lawrence E. Turpin: Yes, those are lights...
Jonathan Steinbloom: Could they fall?
Lawrence E. Turpin: ...and that's a ceiling above us!
Jonathan Steinbloom: But they look shaky.
Lawrence E. Turpin: No, they're not shaky, they're perfectly...
Jonathan Steinbloom: Is that wire? I see a wire. I see a...
[Lawrence smacks him on the head]
Jonathan Steinbloom: Oww!

Leonard Crabbe: I'm a model train enthusiast.
Amber Cole: Oh! That's great!
Leonard Crabbe: Yes... sort of a whole layout in my basement. Very much a big passion for me, 'tis.
Amber Cole: Yeah. Thank God for model trains.
Leonard Crabbe: Oh, absolutely.
Amber Cole: You know, if they didn't have the model train, they wouldn't have gotten the idea for the big trains.

Leonard Crabbe: [Leonard shows Mitch his model trains] This whole area here is called Crabbe Town. We've got a brothel down there above the saloon. And right down there further along I'm thinking of building a French Quarter. I've actually got a bit of French blood.
Mitch Cohen: I would love to see this town in the autumn. I think Crabbeville in autumn would look quite magnificent. I would have made tiny little leaves, oak, poplar, maple, chestnut, and spread them across the town of Crabbe...ville. Magnificent.
Leonard Crabbe: It's Crabbe Town, not Crabbeville.

[Members of "The Folksmen" are talking about their first record]
Alan Barrows: And they had no hole in the center of the record.
Mark Shubb: It would teeter crazily on the little spindle.
Jerry Palter: No, you had to provide it yourself. They were still good records. Good product.
Mark Shubb: If you punched a hole in them, you'd have a good time.

Jerry Palter: Things have been going really well. We got some gigs here, working at the casinos. It has been a time of changes, but change is good. Change is life.
[camera pulls out to reveal Mark Shubb dressed as a woman]
Mark Shubb: It was like a great big door opening for me... Town Hall... after that concert, I realized I wanted to spend as much of the rest of my life as possible playing folk music with these gentlemen...
Jerry Palter: Right back atcha.
Mark Shubb: ...and I wanted to spend all of it as a woman. I came to a realization that I was - and am - a blonde, female folk singer trapped in the body of a bald, male folk singer and I had to LET ME OUT or I WOULD DIE.
Jerry Palter: When you put it that way, it's almost poetry.
Alan Barrows: Almost.


External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address