Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor is a demo reel, recorded in 1970 by the band who would later become known as The Residents. It is among their earliest known recordings, although, similarly to the other tapes from the years between 1968 and 1972, it is not acknowledged by the band as being part of their official discography.
As the reel has only been released in an incomplete format and mostly consists of loose, improvisational jams and studio banter, there is no definitive track listing, as a number of the tracks do not have known titles. However, known tracks include:
- Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor
- Bringing In The Sheaves (traditional)
- Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor (Reprise)
- Bo Diddley
For decades the existence of The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger and Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor were known to fans solely through a mention in Matt Groening's 1979 article "The True Story of The Residents", and whether these titles represented only single tracks or entire unreleased albums was debated amongst fans.
The existence of these reels was confirmed when a number of short snippets of tracks from both were released by an anonymous fan, who had attained them through unknown means. Both reels later became available on a limited series of bootleg CD-Rs, though it is said that what has been circulated as Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor does not represent the entire tape.
It is said that these reels were stolen from the band's archives by a former associate and later made available for profit, and as with their other early demo tapes and reels, The Residents and The Cryptic Corporation do not approve of their availability.
Unlike the other three known demo tapes from this period (The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger, The Warner Bros. Album and Baby Sex), none of the tracks from Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor has been released on any later compilations of early material. In 2016, an excerpt of the title track was heard in the documentary Theory of Obscurity: A Film About The Residents, but otherwise, the reel is only available in a low-quality and possibly incomplete bootleg form.
- A sample of the tape was used in a trailer for the documentary Theory of Obscurity, in which Hardy Fox can be heard saying, "Okay, it should be recording now. I hope it is..."