Phone calls from Ludendorff

Hi guys, Indy here…

…so, last week when filming the interwar years, Sparty and I had a drunk idea for a “when we feel like it” podcast sort of thing called “Phone calls from Ludendorff”. This would be me- with crappy Ludendorff German accent (apologies in advance to anyone who is offended… but not really serious apologies. Accents are accents.)- as Erich Ludendorff, Quartermaster General of the Imperial German Army, and Sparty as the guys from “Gunther’s List” that I happen to call to buy stuff from. They all sound just like regular Sparty. Just to put that in your heads.

The idea is that Erich is looking back postwar at some of his favorite recorded phone calls, and they’re from different times and places in the war. He first says hi to the “audience” and follows up with them after the call, and I thought I’d share the “pilot” script with you guys. It takes place in early April 1918, when the Central Powers are just outside of Amiens… Here goes…

Erich: Hi everybody, this is Erich Ludendorff, Quartermaster General of the Imperial German Army. You know, to equip the whole army, you gotta get a lot of stuff, so I gotta call a lot of people, okay? But sometimes you just have to have some fun, so here are some of my favorite phone calls I made that I have recorded.

Erich: This one is from April 1918, okay? I’m calling to someone who advertised on Gunther’s List, which you can find Tuesday und Friday in the Frankfort Tattler Newspaper. Enjoy.

Erich: Ja, hello?
Guy: Hello?
Erich: Ja, my name is Erich. I’m calling about the leaf blower.
Guy: what?
Erich: The leaf blower. You de guy who’s selling the leaf blower?
Guy: Oh yeah. Yeah. You interested?
Erich: No, I’m calling from Amnesty International.
Guy: What?
Erich: Of course I’m interested in the leaf blower! Why else would I bring it up?
Guy: right.
Erich: So tell me about it.
Guy: The leaf blower?
Erich: The leaf blower.
Guy: Well, it’s in great shape.
Erich: yeah?
Guy: yeah, I’ve only had it about six months. Since I got back from the war.
Erich: Oh yeah? What happened? You get wounded?
Guy: Nope. My last action was at Riga six months ago and I had leave after that, and the army never brought me back from leave.
Erich: Is zat so?
Guy: Guess they forgot about me. Maybe I’ll get to stay home the rest of the war.
Erich: Or, you know, maybe not. Maybe they call you back soon. Heck, maybe even later today.
Guy: Yeah, could happen I guess. So, you want it?
Erich: What?
Guy: The leaf blower.
Erich: Oh yeah! Sure, sounds great, can I get 10,000 of them?
Guy: 10,000???
Erich: Or more, if you have them.
Guy: I’ve got one. Only just the one. I’m selling one.
Erich: (pause) Only the one?
Guy: Yeah, the add was for “leaf blow-ER”, not “leaf blow-ERS”
Erich: Right. How come you only got one?
Guy: I’ve only got one yard. How come you need 10,000?
Erich: um… lotta leaves in Belgium this time of year.
Guy: You’re Belgian?
Erich: Yeah… sure, why not.
Guy: Well, I’ve only got one. You wanna buy it?
Erich: Hm, can you… like… convert it?
Guy: What do you mean?
Erich: Like could you make it into a flame blower?
Guy: (pause) Say what??
Erich: A flame blower. Like could it blow out flames instead of just air? That could be useful.
Guy: When would that be useful?
Erich: Um… for melting snow.
Guy: Why can’t you just shovel the snow?
Erich: Melting it would be more fun.
Guy: I suppose so, but it’s springtime. There’s no snow left.
Erich: So maybe you can give me a good deal because it’s the off-season?
Guy: It’s not the off-season!
Erich: For melting snow?
Guy: For blowing leaves!
Erich: But you gotta make it into a flame blower!
Guy: I gotta? I gotta??? I don’t know how to do that!!
Erich: It would be very useful.
Guy: Look, whatever your name is-
Erich: Erich.
Guy: Okay, look, Erich, it’s not a flame blower and I can’t make it into a flame blower. It’s a leaf blower and there’s only one for sale. You want it?
Erich: Yeah, I do. Sounds good.
Guy: Okay, when you wanna pick it up?
Erich: I can’t do that just now, you gotta bring it to me.
Guy: Bring it to y- what? That’s not in the ad!
Erich: You gotta. Don’t worry; I cover the train.
Guy: The train? You’re not in town? Where are you?
Erich: Just outside of Amiens.
Guy: Amiens??? That’s in France.
Erich: It’s very nice this time of year. Lot of leaves, though.
Guy: I can’t go to France!
Erich: I think you’ll find that you can.
Guy: (pause) If I bring the leaf blower to Amiens, you’ll buy it?
Erich: If you bring the leaf blower TO Amiens, you’ll have to sell it to the British. I’m NEAR Amiens.
Guy: Okay okay. But you’re not winding me up? You’re really gonna buy this if I go all the way there?
Erich: Yeah sure.
Guy: …wait a gosh darn minute! Oh, ha ha ha. I get it. Go all the way to France with a leaf blower. Ha ha. Well done, asshole! Auf wiedersehn.


New call

Guy: Hello?
Erich: Don’t hang up!
Guy: You!
Erich: Look, I promise you, I’m not kidding. Tell you what, I’ll wire the money for the leaf blower and train fare in advance and you come with the leaf blower.
Guy: In advance?
Erich: Today.
Guy: All that for a leaf blower.
Erich: It’s a sweet deal.
Guy: Not if you add in train fare.
Erich: No no, I get a deal with the trains.
Guy: Oh right, cause you’re Erich “Ludendorff” or something? ha ha ha.
Erich: Oh ha ha! Good one!
Guy: But, for real? You’re cool with the trains?
Erich: For real.
Guy: Should I just bring clothes and food for overnight then?
Erich: Oh, you won’t even need that. You won’t have to worry about new clothes or anything like that. No problem.
Guy: Alright, I guess.
Erich: That’s great. So see you this evening?
Guy: Sure. Auf Wiedersehn.
Erich: Auf wiedersehn.

Hangs up.

Erich: So this joker turns up at eight o’clock that evening in the war zone east of Amiens wearing lederhosen and carrying a fucking leaf blower. Oh, how we laughed! I think he saw the funny side of it too eventually. We put him back in uniform, of course, and send him into action the next morning. I still got the leaf blower. It was a really great deal.


I wanted to know if there’s one of those wonderful German compound words for “leaf blower” so I googled it. It turns out that a leaf blower in German is a laubblaster, which is kind of cool I guess.

This is a laubblaster. It blasts laubs. Somebody should do a meme like this.


Why can’t Ludendorff get a call and the other guy tells him a joke he learned from an American prisoner (it’s November 10th, 1918): “Three germans walk into a BAR.” and both of them don’t get the joke, because all they understand is “Bar” (which is the same in German as in English)?

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Sounds very much like Monty Python’s “Killer Joke.”

Please make this happen.

You could even have von Lettow-Vorbeck “prank call” the Führer every so often, Bart Simpson style.

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“Hello, is this a Mister A. Hitler?”
“Go fuck yourself”
✶Hangs up✶

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Yes! Just like this!

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I don’t really like the idea of it being just jokes. Or even simple prank calls. That seems really limiting somehow. I like the idea of Ludendorff calling want ads and just messing with the person who’s selling whatever. Makes it a bit more surreal. Especially if the end of every call the other person somehow ends up getting conscripted into the Imperial German Army.


Maybe just for April Fools Day?

Build up hype about some upcoming big primer on political machinations within the Nazi hierarchy, but just have it be 5 seconds of von Lettow-Vorbck telling off Hitler (or similar equivalent between another nation’s leader and someone who unapologetically “spoke their mind”).

Still looking forward to Ludendorff’s self-wire-tapping.