Monday, July 28, 2014

Claude's Commentary.22r2

July 28, 2014

Claude’s Commentary No. 22
By Claude Hall

As newspapers decline further – as they surely evolve into Marshal McLuhan’s proverbial artform -- the colleges and universities of the nation and the world will fade back their journalism schools.  Radio courses, too, will be impacted.  Cut back.  Changed.  Television?  I don’t know yet, but, yes, changes will be coming.  Already, the television we knew is not the television we know.  The tell-tale is the disintegration of real news and the complete lack of quality advertising.  I just viewed a ad that was sickening to me (CBS, 23 July 2014).  One more stupid GEICO commercial and I will vomit.

I’m sitting here looking at the comics page of the July 18, 2014 issue of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (p. 8c).  In the “Baby Blues” cartoon panel, a kid asks his father “Why do you bother getting a newspaper?”  They are both sitting on the couch.  The father has a newspaper in his hands.  The kid has something such as an iPad.  In the second panel, the kid points out, “With the Internet, I can read all the news, watch videos, listen to music, send messages….”  In the last panel, the father has taken a page and folded it into a dunce cap and placed it on his head and asks, “Can the Internet do that?”  And the kid remarks, “Hang on, I’m looking for an apt.”  I cannot tell who did the cartoon.  Too small.  But, under the circumstances, perhaps quite apt.  For comics, too, must find another delivery system.

I do not entirely complain.  I have benefited much from advanced technology.  I’m writing on a MacBrook Pro that beats the devil out of my once beloved manual Smith-Corona portable.  Meanwhile, I’m listening to music on the same MacBook Pro.  I don’t miss loading a stack of LPs on a turntable.  And much of the fiction and the Commentaries that I’ve written the past few years are also on this computer.  Plus photos of family and friends.  My heart is here.

I was one of the early graduates at The University of Texas to take a degree in journalism.  New building.  Great professors—Dr. DeWitt Reddick, Dr. Allan Shaw who wrote one of the first textbooks for public relations.  I think I actually have more English credits than journalism credits, but I appreciated and learned far more about writing from journalism than I did from those courses in English.  One professor thought he knew Ernest Hemingway.  However, you don’t learn Hemingway by studying Hemingway.  Hemingway must be somewhat lived!  Many a time later I wish I could have studied Hemingway under the noted Carlos Baker, but he was at another university while I prowled Austin’s Sixth Street with Fernando Corral and Adrian Roberts and Raul Cardenas.

I’d originally intended to major in physics.  There were four geniuses in the first course that I took and all were whizzes with slide rules; I still added in my head.  The four geniuses, one a very pretty girl, blew the hell out of the curve – professor Ivash ranted in front of class one day after a test and claimed we’d stolen a pony -- and I ended up with a B (ordinarily an A) in the course.  I switched to journalism the next semester.

I actually wanted to work on a general circulation magazine like the Saturday Evening Post.  It was 15 cents a copy.  I would buy one each week at a small stand across from the campus in Austin, on the sidewalk that a sniper later used for a shooting gallery, and study the articles and the short stories.  I can still recall the names of William P. McGivern and Pete Martin.  Martin wrote clean, tight interviews.  McGivern’s stories were sometimes made into movies.

I bombarded Bob Curran, editor of Cavalier, with article ideas.  Most of these concerned vampyres and witches (the library on campus was one of the best in the world; you need information on werewolves, read “Werewolf” by Sabine Baring-Gould).  Curran accepted none, but by the time I got to New York City he knew my name.  Vaguely.  From somewhere.

An old fireball editor named E.M.Pooley of the El Paso Herald-Post spoke on campus.  I liked his drift.  I walked up to him after his talk and told him that I’d like to work for him.  He said, “Come on out when you graduate.”  And I did.

I needed six courses to graduate.  I got permission and took them all one summer and graduated in August 1958.  Meanwhile, I’d sold a few things I’d written, including a short story titled “Sixth Street” to Manhunt magazine for $40 and a story to Trapped for $30.  Just FYI, Sixth Street in Austin was precisely as in my story … not the one that exists now.

I didn’t have a car.  My younger brother drove me to El Paso in the family car.  Me and my typewriter checked into the new Y.  Small room.  $11 a week.

Pooley was surprised to see me, but he hired me.  $50 a week.  Friends who couldn’t write as well as I could were getting $75 and $90 a week in San Antonio and elsewhere.  But I had no choice.  And, wouldn’t you know, they started me doing obits and the list of births.  Me, a college graduate.  However, to this day, I’ve been grateful.  All reporters should start their professional careers – all writers, in fact – writing obits.

A few months later, I quit and hitchhiked to New York City where my life really began.  But I wanted to tell you about my early training because I believe with all of my heart that journalism training should remain a major factor in colleges and universities and, yes, I treasure the time I spent writing obits.  I believe implicitly that before a man or woman wraps up a college degree, they should spend weeks upon weeks writing obits.  No matter the degree.

I first worked on American Druggist, a Hearst trade magazine.  Then Jim Houtrides, later to earn seven Emmys for his work at CBS “Sunday Morning,” persuaded me to join him at Food Field Reporter.  More money.  Air-conditioned office.

I was still writing queries for many of the magazines that existed in those days … all gone now.  I made an appointment to see Bob Curran at Cavalier.  I got in to see him and pitched him on a job and, once again, was turned down.  Four months afterwards, an assistant editor tracked me down and hired me away for less money than I was earning.  The experience of drinking beer in the old Blue Ribbon with Mickey Spillane and Jimmy Breslin was worth mucho mucho.  You owe yourself a favor?  Find some Jimmy Breslin and read it.  A book such as “Damon Runyon.”  I used Breslin often when I later taught writing at the State University of New York at Brockport.  Dashiell Hammett, Leigh Brackett and Ernest Hemingway, too.  And, Flaubert and Dostoyevsky.  Bob Curran, the editor of Cavalier (he’d served with Patton), was a great person to work for; he eventually left the magazine to launch the failed Gotham Football Bowl.  Manhattan still doesn’t have a valid bowl.  There were a couple of dozen men’s “blood and thunder” magazines around at the time.  All gone.  As is Saturday Evening Post.  The demise of the magazine world precluded the demise of newspapers.  Yes, I got to work on one of the great newspapers of its day (the New Orleans Times-Picayune) before I returned to New York to work on Billboard.

The Internet is changing so very much of our lives.  Your life and my life and the lives of our children and their children.  First, a disorientation in language.  Spelling and punctuation no longer matter as much as it did during my early professional days.  Personal communication through social media will further obfuscate sources of information such as news and entertainment.  Perhaps overwhelm such things once considered important need-to-know matters.  Already, facts seem less and less a factor.  Already news on television is mere gossip and hearsay.  Reality, with an often confused photo, is mostly opinion from two or three so-called authorities who depict the past or what might have been; they really don’t know the present nor the future.  I don’t believe that colleges and universities can change things.  Nor slow the process down.  But I believe implicitly in the legit college and university (mankind must be educated or educate itself) and believe a liberal arts education – along with a few courses in journalism -- would benefit most people in this world.

I hate to see it go.  The language that was mine.  The one that I learned by reading the comic scripts in the San Antonio Express, cultivated by reading up to two books a day, honed in journalism courses at The University of Texas, and polished to a sheen by writing countless words for publication.  As newspapers and magazines, as I knew them, die language is being clutterized, gutterized by the almost insane garbage of the Internet.  I have a niece who barely knows how to read and write – a product of America’s high schools and, yes, she graduated – and she’s on the Internet.  Loose.  One of millions just like her.  The need for newspapers has vanished and the enjoyment of radio vastly diminished. That’s the way is it and the way it’s going to be.  And all of us will have to live with it.  Mass communication of all kinds is not just a matter now of adapting, it’s more a matter of survival.

Mel Phillips:  “Following my piece, I have an idea for your next book.  But first, there are only two people I know, me being one of them, that knows who the first PD of WABC was.  He pre-dates Sam Holman and Rick Sklar who followed Sam.  His name is Mike Hauptman.  Mike was the de-facto PD during the transition from 1957 to the beginning of the Top 40 era which followed.  Hauptman bore the title of Radio Director of Advertising & Promotion, but in fact, he was the first PD of WABC (minus the title).  The other person who knows about Mike is Dan Ingram who joined WABC in 1961.  Although in a lesser capacity, I pre-dated Dan.  I had just graduated high school and got my first fulltime job working in the ABC Network (local included) mailroom in 1957, and I went to a radio school at night.  Dan and I reminisced about the people we knew during our time at ABC and Ingram remembers Mike Hauptman and has as high an opinion of the de-facto PD as I do.  We talked about the other people we knew, like HOA (who was doing mornings when I was there).  Other names included newsmen Don Gardiner and Joel Crager, Alan Freed (who did a jock show from 1958 to 1959 and a TV show that didn't last as long).  Martin Block and others.  Martin hated rock & roll and gave me all of the records (45s) that he refused to play.  When Freed was hired in 1958, I remember sending out an internal memo that stated that Freed was not to be known as the King of Rock and Roll (both on or off the air).  Corporate was shaking in their boots about the payola investigations which would soon start. Although I never met Freed, I would watch him rehearse his TV show from Mike Wallace's office. There were times when Mike was standing next to me watching the show.  I will do another piece next about ABC-TV when I was there.  Now to my idea for a book: You could use anecdotes about radio like this and I'm sure no one would object to having their stories in print, given the rather huge egos we all have.  Looking forward to your next Commentary.”

Ah, Mel.  It’s you who’ll have to do the book.  Sept. 4, I turn 82.  I only play at writing now.  Commentary and some fiction, that’s about my limit hither.  But you’re a good writer.  Get an Associated Press stylebook or the Modern Language Association manual and go after it!

Gary Allyn: “Howdy (as they say in Tejas), Claudius ... I’m into my second week of recovery from the recent repair surgery for an aortic aneurism. All is going well.  So, I’ve been out of touch somewhat lately.  However, I still keep up thanks to your weekly commentaries and column.  I read about the infamous 1959 Radio (D.J.) convention in Miami Beach.  Morris Diamond’s and other’s comments made my memories flashback to that time when I was a 21-year-old D.J. working in Miami Beach then. Being on the air and other duties made it difficult to attend everything that went on, but I have to say it was one of the ‘singular’ events in my life.  It was an incredible time for sure.  I don’t remember hearing anything of the Shelby Singleton Saga.  Some events I DO remember are numerous.  The record companies spared no expense for promotion.  Capitol, I recall, had a huge suite, and allowed anyone to call any person or persons they wanted ... talk as long as you wanted. Booze, broads, celebrities, it was all on display.  Liberty Records featured Julie London with hubby Bobby Troup.  Sobriety was seldom seen here.  I attended one dinner/concert with Peggy Lee and George Shearing that turned into their best-selling album collaboration (‘Beauty & the Beat’). We were all given free LPs signed by the pair weeks later.  Wonderful touch by the Capitol folks.

“The big event was the closing awards banquet that was followed by the ‘Breakfast Dance and Barbecue’ with Count Basie and Joe Williams.  It was much anticipated and was sponsored by Roulette Records (naturally). I entered the banquet room around 8 that evening and was ushered to one of scores of those large round tables seating 10 people. I was seated near the back of the room next to Caterina Valente the great (I thought) Decca recording artist and her Mother.  She was wonderfully engaging.  After hours of emcee Martin Block presenting acts such as Lloyd Price who sang ‘Personality’, Jodie Stevens doing her hit ‘Pink Shoelaces’, and Pat Boone showing off his white ‘Bucks’ shoes, Tony Bennett enthralling the crowd ... this part of the evening began to drag on a bit, and the restless throng of more than 1,500 disc jockies and record people were starting to shout to bring on The Count and his band. First, awards had to be given, and it was Midnight!  An intermission was taken, and an announcement that Count Basie would be coming on soon, and they needed to clear the area for a dance floor to be put down.  Long rows of tables were now placed end to end, caterers began setting a fifth of booze every six people while mounds of barbecued ribs were wheeled in. Astounding in its scope to be sure.  Meanwhile, I spotted one of my early radio ‘heroes’ whom I used to listen to at night as a teenager.  It was Dick ‘Moonglow’ Martin.  I listened at night to WWL in New Orleans from my Southern Ohio home, and naturally I loved Dick (Moonglow With) Martin and also enjoyed the Poole’s Paradise Show.  Dick, as I imagined him to be, was a very nice, gentle and humble fellow.  I don’t think he ever knew how great he was, and how far that WWL signal fanned out across the United States.  Martin Block meanwhile, was just now getting to ‘The Disc Jockey of the Year’ announcement.  As Dick Martin and I were talking and Roulette was setting up for The Count, I heard the name Dick Martin from Martin Block’s lips. I said: ‘Dick, they just said your name’!  He said: ‘What? Me?’  Well, it was a special moment, as Dick ‘Moonglow’ Martin was named ‘DJ of the Year’.  He could honestly not believe it.  I pushed him up on the stage, and felt as if it was I who had won this honor.  A great evening then got better as it’s now about 3 a.m. and Count Basie’s big band comes on and wows the crowd until dawn.  This was recorded and later released on L.P. for Roulette, and of course it was called: ‘Breakfast Dance and Barbecue’. One interesting tidbit that Dick Martin told was that he was ‘just considered a staff announcer’ at WWL and received the max of $250 a week!  I still can’t believe it.  RCA sent Harry Belafonte to be on my ‘show’ and then the whole thing was over.  It was a blitzkrieg of excitement that came in like those Miami hurricanes and left. I don’t know how the Diplomat Hotel and others survived!  I heard later that the tab to record companies for the booze alone was over $250K!  That’s 1959 dollars!  I don’t doubt it a bit.  This week-long affair got a lot of bad press, but there was never a better one than this one!  That’s my 1959 convention story, and I’m kinda stickin’ to it.  By the way, Morris Diamond was only 66 then!   Ha!  Keep up what your doing old friend, it helps us all celebrate all that was great about this crazy business.  Best to ya always.  Your forever friend.”

ORDERS:  Gary, next medical bout, have your son email me so I’ll be able to worry about you!  And put in a few prayers.  By the way, this was great stuff.  History.  My sincere appreciation, good buddy.  Now if only Rollye James will write something about the event.  Yep, she was there.  Just FYI, I, too, heard “Poole’s Paradise” over WWL.  Way out on the Texas plains.

Bob Sherwood:  “When I was given responsibility for marketing of all the PolyGram labels in late 1979 I happened to be making a visit to Polydor Records and James Brown was there.  He recorded for Polydor at that time.  He found out who I was — and knew that therefore I controlled all the marketing/artist development and sales dollars.  When we were introduced, he put a hug on me that had to be broken by ‘the Jaws of Life’!  He then followed me all day, noting every record he ever recorded, chart positions, sales, etc.  I obviously knew that it wasn’t me but the position I held and I tried to be as gracious and supportive as possible.  I was a fan from his 50s & 60s hits and saw him do among the greatest live shows I ever saw in the Oakland Auditorium.  I knew he was definitely on the back end of his career and not selling records nor likely to do so, so it was uncomfortable to the extreme.  It got worse.  At the time James and I shared a personal attorney.  The attorney is Joel Katz.  He also represented Willie Nelson (keeping him out of Federal Prison and bankruptcy) and Jimmy Buffett amongst many others.  He still has most of them and along the way picked up Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson.  He represented Clive Davis, Doug Morris and a host of other major CEOs.  He’s obviously a heavy hitter.  Plus he represented me and we were at the time (and to this day remain) good friends.  So, as a personal favor when he asked me to fly down to Atlanta and take a meeting with James, I agreed.  Big mistake.  Upon arrival in Atlanta none of James’ promised people were there.  I was able to get a limo service used by PolyGram for artists but the driver had no idea which of the 13 Peachtree Streets circling Atlanta was the one leading to James’s mansion.  Through Joel’s office I finally got us there and with one step short of a strip search I was allowed into the inner sanctum.  Unfortunately there was no James and no commitment as to when he might arrive.  I spent the next hour in a massive living/sitting/dining room with characters from the last drug deal in ‘Super Fly’, several individuals who would’ve been perfect in a Spike Lee re-make of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and some devotees of ‘Godfather I & II’.  Many were demonstrably carrying guns and none were interested in having dialogue with the only white person in the room.  Eventually James arrived sans apologies for the delay and launched into another career retrospective.  Ultimately he got to his point which was significant advance dollars for a planned tour.  Regrettably he had no album planned for release around the tour and I had to somewhat forcefully explain to him that I couldn’t spend company money without a record to sell behind his tour dates.  The saddest part of all is that he had some new songs with potential but he wanted to later produce himself and his record -- with help from his stooges in the room — and wouldn’t listen to alternatives.  Given his voice, I suggested Quincy Jones -- who later produced Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, one of the biggest selling records of all time and loved working with exceptional talent.  Nope.  Then Ashford & Simpson who were very hot.  And finally Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff of scorching Philadelphia Int’l. Records who were making the most exciting records on the planet.  Again, ‘no’.  James never had good advisors or managers who he’d listen to and I’ll always feel sad that I couldn’t communicate with him in a way that might’ve led to maximizing his extraordinary talent at that point in his career.  And I remain particularly pleased that I got out of the room -- with more guns than the OK Corral -- unscathed.”

Really enjoyed your tale, Bob.  Maybe you could team up with Mel on that book he mentions.

Red Jones:  “You mentioned Art Holt.  This goes back 63 years but at UT I remember we met at the big water fountain next to the fine arts building before a class from time to time -- myself, Art, Kathryn Grandstaff, who later went to Hollywood and became Mrs. Bing Crosby, and Rip Torn who did well in movies after his UT days.  I was doing nights at KVET, but they didn't listen.  Hillbilly Music?  Many loved it but wouldn’t admit it.   You mentioned Joe Galkin.  He was pretty tough in many social ways but a damn good promo man.  It took a certain breed.  He discovered Otis Redding and had Otis lived, Phil Walden, Joe, and Otis would have made great $$$.  Otis had that something special that defined soul music of that era.

“Memorial Day weekend, the ribbon was cut in St. Mary's, GA, for the Georgia Radio Museum and Hall of Fame in a stand-alone building, the first such for a state radio HOF.  MUSEUM added when President John Long asked Georgia stations to contribute old equipment not used anymore.  With the new tech revolution, so much went to the storage rooms.  Response was great.  So much that it filled a room in a hurry and a storage facility has the rest to be displayed when another room is added.
Back to promo guys, in Atlanta there was a bunch but three names stand out.  Sam Wallace, Mike King, Wade Pepper.  Icons in their craft.”

Just FYI, Red, Barbara and I drove up to the D.H. Lawrence ranch near Taos once and went inside Lawrence’s burial site.  I signed the guest book, of course.  Rip Torn signed it just two or three days ahead of Barbara and me.

Bobby Ocean:  “Claude-of-Cloud-Control -- always so nice to see Monday start off by having its ass bitten soundly. So irresistibly inspiring to see that most every one's Big Bang is clearly still in progress, and leaving a relatively simple trail to follow here.  Wonderful to see my neighbor of a few map lines south posting his ponderings.  Lee Baby and I reside within reasonable proximity to each other and seem to be OK with saving gas and leaving the rest of our communications in the Hills.  It was the same when we both lived in San Diego. We never seemed to seek each other out but would be brought together by mutual interests and acquaintances, common call letters or whatever mysterious energy was in motion during those times.  Which makes for more interesting posts during these times because this way we can all share.

“First of all, lets agree that ‘WAK’ can mean ‘Wake And Learn’, which is a very Lee Baby Simms thing to do.  Secondly, everyone agrees, Lee has ‘been around so long’ because he earned it. Talent like that of LBS is so easy to appreciate because he's just plain good.  And he's generous with his wit and observations, thus beloved.  AND because he still maintains the right to keep his mind open at all times, regardless of peril or consequence, he is admired.  Still, look again, see how differently many feel they have been treated by radio and how differently our MINDS can be at work behind the scenes here. On one mind, thoughts working overtime can easily blind us from the truth of Being ... and on another, a completely different experience, thoughts relaxed while knowing a sense of being calmly guided through effortless intuition.   Bad experience, good experience. Wak!  How does a difference like that happen?

“Starting at the beginning, we look at the basics:  Using the Mind Process we can either employ it for (1)Thinking, or (2) Knowing:  Using the Mind Process for Thinking, we are forced into the Realm Of The  Already Thought-And-Felt Past. There, one can only spin notions of what never was or speculate about the unreachable possibilities in the future.   When this same mind is merely used as a tag-along tool for Observing, Being With, Knowing... the mind is still being used for perceiving, however, seeing it all like it IS, all expectations cease, comparisons no longer prevail, editorials stop... We see that which we see, as it is, nothing more. And we see all of it. questions AND answers. Nothing less.

“The mind will probably want to continue along with its business of labeling and naming things, and that's okay, but, once the experience has become one of your own, you'll probably do away with most Mind/Body workings of fantasy.  It's more reassuring performing any task, in this instance, focusing on a Tenure never known, from the Point Of View of Knowing than mere guesswork, which comes from Thinking.  When you switch gears on the mental machine from randomly Thinking to silently Observing, you jump-start the spiritual process. This happens when you take time to do one of the most significant things you will can or ever will. Which is ...  Ponder the Wonder.  No labels, remember. And if you are still wondering how it is that the Wonder has been so good to us for so long is ˙˙˙sı buoן os ɹoɟ sn oʇ poob os uǝǝq sɐɥ ɹǝpuoʍ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʇ sı ʇı ʍoɥ buıɹǝpuoʍ 'noʎ˙˙˙ and, a totally appropriate use of Pondering.”

Bobby, Lee Baby Simms, nibbling on one of his phenomenal tomatoes, uses “wak” to mean “with a kiss.”

Marie Davis:  “Hey-y Head Hall-master!  My ol' lady, sweet woman she was, always told me, ‘You talk too much!  Try taking more breaths!’  Never concerned me when the opportunity for conversation centered around the likes of Mel Phillips, Gary Berk, Les Garland, Dick Reus, Joey Reynolds, Jay Lawrence, Sam Holman and the rest of 'thems' that this page ain't big enough to hold!  Most times, those mundane trivia sessions led to 'an add', or to 'good feelings' at the 'breakaway'!  Your last edition, Authorman, surely was Mom's 'cup of tea'! 'Sweet nothin's' they was! No question, my good friend, the former Mercury Promotion-manager-turned-author, will be duly noted in the up-coming thesaurus of musical memories!  By this date, I now count, and it's only July, just short of 1652, mentions of the position that 'made-the-man! (And no 'schpritz' intended!)  The newly arrived, in the loop, gent from Philly, noting his 'I', 'I, 'Me', 'Me', gets him a place on the night stand, to walk me to the 'loo', at about 3:30 PM!  A lotta' trivia to catch up on, there!  And how 'bout a little dark humor?  It was Saint Gramcracker advised me ‘Do not call or bother Jack Roberts, Danny!’  I heard, I adhered!  Jack had liver cancer!  I gotta' believe Greenblatt's Chicken Soup (2 quarts), might've had some reaction to what occured 'late night'!  One thing, allow me to note, please! Harold Lipsius was one helluva' guy!  One night, in Nashville, having made my way into the joint in 'the alley', and into that game played with two little squares of plastic!  I bet big!  Talked bigger!  Went into the proverbial 'crapper' in the biggest manner!  And I ain't got 'what to pay the marker'!  Thank God for Harold! He reaches, pays the marker, calls it 'his treat' and I live another day to embrace the wisdom of Mom! Incidentally, Claudie, you 'writ' this one real good! Many thanx.”

Later, Marie Davis:  “Nuttin' Authorman, than a little 'dish to activate the 'blood in the water'!  I was in Miami for the 'sprit de core' that's best forgotten! The organization fomenting same was Nat'l Association of Radio Announcers!  For one of the meetings, the lovely Lena Horne put forth one of the most dispirited 'talks' I ever heard!  Proudly she recounted ‘my daddy was a pi-m-mp oh, yes he was!’ ... and from there was what I 'member!  The fellows that took me in are vivid in memory!  Jockey Jack Gibson at WCIN, went all out in the black community, to position me as national promotion director, after Fat Daddy left Motown!  And after Kal Rudman phoned to alert me ‘Danny, that's a 'quicksand' job!’ (Only the BEST job I ever was privileged to hold!)  Please lemme regale you, Claude, with my 'dealings' with NARA.  Took Gregory Peck to their convention in Chicago, screened one his epics, and walked into the Astor Motel with that great star!  From the balcony, comes a flying leap to the first floor, with an obvious fan-cier, puts his arm around Greg, and yells to his ear, ‘Greg, loved you in ‘Yellow Sky’!!’  From there, Mr. Peck acknowledged Hot Rod Hulbert, Handy Sandy, Chatty Hattie, Diggy Doo Dixon, and others.”

I talked with Jack Gibson once or twice before he passed on.  He lived here in Las Vegas.  The Magnificent Montague and wife Rose Caslon live here.  Seems to be a hangout for some of us old once-wases.

Larry Cohen:  Correction needed. Re. small paragraph you published in Commentary.21.  You never mentioned the film!  Well, the film was ‘Jersey Boys’ and for those that have seen this wonderful film, they will know what I meant about Dick Clark.  Obviously my parody lacked the humor I thought it contained. (Why Dick picked me, I'll never know. Certainly Frankie Avalon with his connections with Warner Bros. would have been a better choice.)  And speaking of Jersey boys, one of the greatest ones I ever met was at WMID radio, Atlantic City, NJ, some 40 years ago.  It was Mel Phillips, one of the nicest and genuine human beings I have had the pleasure of knowing.”

My apology, Larry.  I took it for granted that the movie was understood.

A good week be upon all of you!
And next week’s Commentary will feature Lee Baby Simms, my hero who has heroes. 

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