Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Sunday Comments ( 10 - 25 - 09 )

Is there ANYBODY out there over the age of 40-45 who wasn't at SOME time in their life mesmorized by the crazy antics of Soupy Sales??? Sadly, we lost Soupy the other day ... here's the story (plus a couple of very special personal memories shared by our readers):
Detroit entertainer Soupy Sales is dead at age 83
Soupy Sales, the rubber-faced comedian who made an art form out of taking a pie in the face and delighted a generation of Detroiters with his loopy TV show on Channel 7 in the 1950s, died Thursday night in New York.
Sales, who had been in ill health for several years, was 83. His former manager, Dave Usher, said Sales last week entered a Bronx hospice, where he died. He is survived by his wife, Trudy, and two sons, Hunt and Tony.
“He was the first person from Detroit television whose first name had instant recognition from coast to coast,” said former Channel 7 anchorman Bill Bonds. “If you said ‘Soupy' in New York, they knew who it was. If you said ‘Soupy' in Los Angeles, everybody knew who it was. I'd worked in both markets, and the first thing anybody said when I mentioned I was from Detroit was ‘Soupy.' ”
Born Milton Supman in Franklinton, N.C., and raised in West Virginia, Sales was best known to Detroiters as the goofy yet cerebral host of “Lunch with Soupy,” a half-hour show that featured Sales hamming it up in a variety of sometimes surreal situations.
The show, which began airing in Detroit in 1953, featured a cast of unforgettable characters: an incorrigible dog by the name of White Fang, “the meanest dog in all Deeeetroit,” who communicated via a series of guttural noises; Black Tooth, an overly affectionate dog whom Sales would constantly tell “don't kiss”; Hippy the Hippo, and Willy the Worm.
Of course, there were the pies. Sales once estimated that he took 9,000 pies in the face during the course of his career.
But the most famous of Sales' bits was “lunch.” A typical menu might include a hot dog as the main course. Before Sales would take a bite, viewers would hear the sound of squealing pigs. Or, viewers might hear the sound of mooing cows as Sales sipped milk.
The lunchtime show was also known for its unpredictability. Sales would leave the set, camera in tow, and harass other Channel 7 hosts.
He once left the set in mid-show and hunted down Channel 7's Edythe Fern Melrose, a woman of unyielding dignity who was known as “The Lady of Charm.” Sales blasted her with a pie.
“She didn't know it was coming,” once recalled former Detroit radio personality Mark Andrews, himself since deceased, who watched the program as a grade-school student at Fraser's Eisenhower Elementary. “It might be the funniest moment I've seen on television.”
The show was “must-see” TV, long before NBC came up with the phrase. Thousands of Detroit baby boomers would become “Birdbaths,” the designation given to members of his club.
Tom De Lisle, a Detroit writer and TV producer, once recalled to the Free Press growing up on Detroit's east side and watching the show. He and his brother, Skip, lived close enough to their grade school that they could go home for lunch to watch Sales.
“We calculated that we could catch the last joke on the show and make it back to our desks by the time the bell rang if we ran like hell. And that's what we did,” recalled De Lisle. “We stood in the doorway, hung right to the last second of Soupy's show, said ‘Go!' and ran. The show was creative, different and live every day.”
With the success of the noontime show, Channel 7 quickly developed a nighttime show, “Soupy's On,” for the 11 p.m. time period.
“Soupy's On” was a comedy-variety show, with Sales performing sketch comedy with a team of local actors and actresses. He also regularly featured the best jazz performers of the day, including Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk.
Sales created a multitude of characters for his evening show: Charles Vichyssoise, a slippery French crooner who was forever sparring with unruly patrons at the Club Chi Chi; Wyatt Burp, and Ernest Hemingbone, who argued with his literary rivals.
Sales later admitted that the pace of doing a noon show and a 11 p.m. live comedy program — one hour of live television, five days a week — contributed to the breakup of his marriage, played havoc with his family life and left him exhausted.
But he made serious money for Channel 7 — so much money that Sales could be credited with saving the American Broadcasting Company, which owned the station, in addition to the ABC-TV network. At the time, ABC was struggling and relied heavily on its owned-and-operated stations in cities like Detroit, where Sales was raking it in.
Sales left Detroit in late 1959 and ended up at KABC-TV, the ABC-owned station in Los Angeles.
“I thought it was time to move on because I didn't want to be 60, 65 and be sitting around one night having a drink and wonder if I could have made it in another market,” he wrote in his autobiography, “Soupy Sez.”
After Detroit, Sales hosted children's shows in New York and Los Angeles. Frank Sinatra asked to appear on the Sales show in Los Angeles and take a pie in the face.
When Sinatra appeared on the set, a director offered the singer a tour of the set. “Don't bother,” Sinatra reportedly said, “I know the show better than you do.”
Sales' L.A. show ran between 1961 and 1963, but was canceled because local television was moving from live, locally produced TV to syndicated material.
But Sales had one more go-around with children's television, at New York's WNEW-TV between 1964 and 1967, where he get into trouble for jokingly asking his fans to send him money.
Sales was suspended for the stunt, but reinstated after massive demonstrations in front of WNEW-TV studios.
Sales left Channel 5 in New York in 1968 after years of fighting with station management.
His attitude about station managers, which remained unchanged until his death, was that TV executives ruined television. He said that most station managers would not “know a tap dancer from a trombone player,” and that their primary contribution was “getting drunk on their six-martini lunches.”
His mark on television remained well into the 1980s and beyond. New York Times critic John J. O'Connor noted in 1986 that Pee-wee Herman's act could be traced back to Sales.
Said Channel 7 anchorman Erik Smith: “He was our youth. He was my lunch every day. He was my Jell-O. He had that profound an impact as an individual as anybody in the history of Detroit television. I still find myself doing some of his mannerisms. And I'm still a proud Birdbath.”

While MOST people remember the pies ... and MOST of the articles surrounding his death focused on the pies ... what I remember most was hearing all about the "money" incident from my parents ... they were QUITE upset about it and didn't see the humor in it at all. (Even at the ripe old age of 12, I thought it was hysterical!!!) The incident became front page news around the country when Sales was fired a few days later. Soupy would do things like call the kids together and have them come up close to the TV screen ... put his face right in front of the camera ... and then whisper to them things like "Tonight when your parents are sleeping, sneak into their room and go into your mommy's handbag and your daddy's wallet and take out all the green pieces of paper and mail it to your old pal Soupy here at the station" ... FUNNY stuff ... until more than a few kids actually DID it!!! lol If you've ever seen the film "The Groove Tube", the whole clown segment where the kiddie tv show host reads excerpts from things like "Lady Chatterley's Lover" and "Fanny Hill" to his toddler audience after enticing all of the grown-ups to leave the room because it's make-believe time or story time is a direct tribute to the TV stylings of one Soupy Sales!!! As a kid, I used to LOVE watching Soupy's show after school ... and while he certainly didn't invent the art of taking a pie in the face, he single-handedly raised it to an art form!!! And Soupy had joke books, too ... and, for a very brief time, even a recording career. (We featured his novelty hit "The Mouse" AGES ago here in Forgotten Hits! While not exactly the latest dance craze to catch on, I vividly remember him again, face pressed up against my tv screen, wiggling his hands by his ears and encouraging all of us kids to get up and Do The Mouse!!! Believe it or not, the record actually climbed to #49 on The Cash Box Chart back in 1965!!!) kk

Check out Soupy telling the story of "The Green Pieces of Paper" that ultimately got him fired ... he tells it better than ANYBODY else ever could!!!
Click here: YouTube - SOUPY SALES: Green Pieces of Paper
And then get ready to dance your ass off to "The Mouse"!!!

Click here: YouTube - Soupy Sales - "The Mouse"

Kent ...
I never realized how many people loved Soupy Sales. When I started to see the outpouring of feelings from friends and fans, I decided to add my voice to the chorus.
“Back in 1966, I was one of the first to have open heart surgery. As they rolled me back in from the ICU, the doctor said to lie still or I could undo 122 stitches. I turned the TV on to Soupy Sales and started laughing so hard the nurse had to stitch me back up!
She turned the TV off, put the remote out of my reach, and tucked me in so I could hardly move. As soon as I heard the sound of her sensible shoes disappearing down the hall, I got up, walked over and turned the TV back on. I watched the end of Soupy’s show with the sound off … holding back laughter and stifling tears of joy.
I didn’t know my doctor was watching all of this from the hall with a smile on his face. He told me later that I made medical history by walking 36 hours after such a serious operation. Of course I thanked God, but I also had a chance to thank Soupy a few months later during one of his personal appearances.

(For the rest of the story:

Artie Wayne


>>>I finally got to see "Cool Scoops" in Wildwood, NJ. We were down for a softball tournament in Cape May a couple of weeks ago and I took our crew two times and we had a great time. Paul thanks you for all your support and for spreading the word about his place. He gave us lengthy tours each night and we stayed and watched most of the documentary "The Wages of Spin" the second night, which he shows on a continuous loop.
We've heard from dozens of FH Readers now who've made their way over to Cool Scoops ... a REALLY fun place to stop and have a snack ... and now, if he's showing "Wages Of Spin" non-stop, that's just ANOTHER great reason to stop by!!! (kk)
Click here: Cool Scoops Ice Cream Parlor - North Wildwood, NJ

... and, speaking of COOL SCOOPS, we just got this from Paul Russo who owns the place ... and is ALSO the Executive Producer of the excellent Wages Of Spin Documentary ...

Hi Kent,
Great job as usual.
I would just like to share my Al Martino memories with the Forgotten Hits Fans.
Al was not only a wonderful performer but a great gentleman in person as well.
He played a great part in the successful Italian American festival in my hometown of North Wildwood a few years back.
Drawing over 80,000 people at the three day event, Al and orchestra were impressive to say the least.
I have included a picture of myself and Al accepting the Wildwood Music Award for the 55th Anniversary of his hit song, 'Here In My Heart'.
He invited us to his Springfield, PA home in 2007. The same home he built with his father and where he passed away this past week.
The second picture is Al helping us with a promo for the Wildwood By The Sea Film Fest. He was a true perfectionist.
His wife Judi watches him from the background. He was a great man and he will be missed.
He now joins Mario Lanza in Heaven to entertain all my Italian ancestors.
God Bless Them All,
Paul Russo / Cool Scoops

The new Michael Jackson movie "This Is It" opens this week ... (we're going to see it next Sunday!) ... and several of those "cash-in" CDs have already hit the streets ... but Joe Klein tells us about a new Jackson Five release that should REALLY be something! Check it out below:
Hey Kent,
On a current note, Universal Music Enterprises, who is the entity behind the production, release and marketing "I Want You Back! - Unreleased Masters," the new Jackson 5 album of never-before heard Jackson 5 tracks, just released four new tracks to the public on a special web page with a built-in audio player that will play all the tracks.
These are the tracks that Russ Terrana, my close friend for over 35 years now, mixed over a month long period from the end of August through the end of September. (Russ actually mixed eleven of the twelve songs on the new album).
Russ, as you and the Forgotten Hits community may recall, is the legendary Motown engineer who mixed all the original Jackson 5 hits 40 years ago and recorded and mixed countless hundreds more, working with nearly every major Motown star from the sixties until Berry Gordy sold the company in 1988.
I posted the first (and, to date, only) exclusive interview with Russ about the project a couple of weeks ago. That article, which includes a link to a page where you can hear the first track to be released from the new album, is here:
Here's the new blog post with more details about the 4 new Jackson 5 tracks just made available online with a link to the new "secret" page where you can hear the songs, is here:
I plan to post an extensive follow-up article about Russ, with more of my interview with him about mixing the new J5 tracks, within the next few weeks, just after the new CD drops at retail stores and begins shipping from online music retailers. Of course, Forgotten Hits will be the first to know!

Joe Klein


Just got this from Forgotten Hits Reader Dave Barry regarding the new Beatles Box Set ...

(click to enlarge)

Actually, there's a certain amount of truth to that ... one of the biggest complaints about the original CD releases of The Beatles' catalog was that the recordings were too soft ... and when you turned them up, they sounded "tinny" ... well, the NEW CDs have cleaned up all of the background noise, but you STILL have to play them louder than most normal CDs. (In my car, for example, I might normally listen to a CD with the volume on 14 ... but on the new Beatles CDs I've had to turn the volume up to 19-21 just to achieve my normal listening volume.) All in all, still a HUGE improvement in sound quality ... I've been playing them virtually non-stop since they were first re-released on 9-9-09. (kk)


Here's some good news about former Chicago Sun Times Media Columnist Robert Feder, sent into us by John Rook ...

The demise of service during the past year of cutbacks has been nationwide but none more missing than the radio-TV coverage provided by the Chicago Sun Times and Robert Feder. For almost three decades Feder gave the Windy City inside information on the goings on behind the doors of Chicago radio and television. For the past year after taking a “buy out” from his print bosses he has been sorely missed until now with the announcement of his return on-line at We eagerly look forward to not only his regular print column, but given the advantage of the web could be instantaneous with immediate updates and an audio presentation as well. Welcome back Robert Feder.
-- John Rook
This IS good news. Feder has always been a good friend to Forgotten Hits. Here's his new "welcome greeting" from
Welcome to my new home at This is where you'll find me writing about the media exclusively from now on. I can't give you an exact start date yet because we're still working out some technical details. But I wanted to let you know as soon as I could about the exciting opportunity I have accepted.
In my new role, I look forward to redefining my old broadcast beat, while expanding the scope of my reporting to include print, the Internet and whatever else comes along. Best of all, every reader will be welcome to offer instant feedback and participate in what I hope will be a lively, ongoing dialogue about media issues.
In case you haven't heard, is an interactive online community hosted by Chicago Public Radio, the nonprofit parent of WBEZ-FM (91.5). Launched in 2007, is designed to be a virtual "public square" where people are invited to share ideas and opinions about everything going on in our metropolitan area. It serves as an outlet for audio content generated by users on both the website and WBEW-FM (89.5).
As my new boss, Torey Malatia, explained to me, my hiring (and that of other bloggers who'll be added in the coming weeks and months) is at the heart of plans to expand and fulfill its potential as a vital and thought-provoking gathering place.
I've always admired Chicago Public Radio as a bastion of quality, and I like the idea of contributing to, an enterprise dedicated to serving our community and fostering honest discussion about things that matter. I think it's a great fit.
It was exactly one year ago that I accepted a buyout from the Chicago Sun-Times, where I'd spent close to three decades as a columnist and reporter covering the television and radio beat. As much as I loved the paper and enjoyed my job, I was eager to take a break. At the time, I had no idea what I'd be doing next.
Little did I know that the last 12 months would turn out to be the most tumultuous year in the history of Chicago media. While both the Tribune and the Sun-Times filed for bankruptcy (and the Sun-Times narrowly averted liquidation), television and radio stations across the board struggled as never before for survival and relevance. Scores of the most talented and experienced men and women in print and on the air lost their jobs. At the same time, too many of their bosses focused more on cutting costs and saving their own necks than fulfilling their obligation to serve the public.
Were there times when I missed writing about all the upheaval and turmoil? No question. But I wouldn't have traded my year off for anything. I learned who my friends are and gladly lost interest in those whom I'd once regarded as enemies. As a bonus, I was able to experience the exploding communications environment as a civilian for the first time in my life. I came away with new insight into the way news, information, opinion and entertainment are produced, disseminated and consumed.
Enough about me. It's time to get back to work already. So I hope you'll meet me here five days a week, starting real soon. We've got a lot of catching up to do.

-- Robert Feder

And, speaking of media blogging, we just got this piece of news from our Forgotten Hits buddy Joe Klein ....

I just attended a large conference dedicated to blogging, podcasting, new media and social networking called the Blogworld and New Media Expo. (I was also hired as the keynote announcer for the event.) New media and social networking have very much arrived, are all the craze now, and growing exponentially. Services like Facebook and Twitter have exploded, and the numbers of users and visitors to sites like these (not to mention YouTube and so many other viral video, photo and other sharing sites) is totally "off the charts" now!
Major corporations and sponsors are now diving in to new media on many levels, and, finally, the major record labels are realizing that it's time to embrace new media and social networks in order to survive!
Over the next week I plan to post a series of comprehensive blog articles on the Blogworld Expo, the just-ended Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco, and the other big news stories that have broken in the areas of new media and social networking. Follow or subscribe to my company blog at to read the latest. We're also on Twitter at I've also just started tweeting, and soon will be blogging as "New Media Joe." New Media Joe will be putting out a wider variety of random thoughts and comments than I've been tweeting and blogging under the company name. The domain name has been secured, but the blog page is yet to be constructed. NMJ's Twitter page can be found at and look for tweets galore there starting in the next couple of weeks!
BTW, those wanting to email, it's or
That's it for the time being, classmates! Best wishes for a Happy Halloween and upcoming holiday season! WHERE OH WHERE did the past year go, so damn quickly??
"New Media Joe" Klein

And here's some news regarding some of our Local Heroes ...


Jim Shea has started a new feature on his Friday Morning Y103.9 Show, looking back at the legacy of Chicagoland Rock of the '60's and '70's. In fact, today he had Ides Of March member Scott May on his program reminiscing about the early days of Chicago and The Cryan' Shames. And then he shared some pretty amazing Ides Of March news with the audience, too ...

A portion of Home Avenue (near Riverside Drive and right in front of Morton West High School ... where many of the Ides ... and yours truly ... attended High School back in the day) ... is being renamed (and dedicated as) Ides Of March Way!!! (Now how cool is THAT?!?!?!?) We can't wait to see the official ceremony. Meanwhile, here's the announcement as it appears on The Ides Of March website: The boys of Berwyn will be forever remembered as car after car travel down Home Avenue.
“The Ides of March,” a band formed in a home on Riverside Drive, will have a portion of Home Avenue dedicated as ‘The Ides of March Way’ early next year.
The street dedication came as a surprise to band member Chuck Soumar last week. Richard Brom, a longtime friend of Soumar and other band members, told Soumar he submitted a letter to Berwyn Mayor Robert Lovero about the band and suggested a street be dedicated in the band’s honor.
“I have known the band members since high school, and I am still amazed and impressed with their success,” Brom wrote. “I understand that demographics and musical tastes change. However, the lesson to be learned from the determination of these Morton High School graduates is timeless.”
Lovero passed the letter along to 8th Ward Alderman Nora Laureto, who introduced the idea to the Berwyn City Council. Laureto spent time earlier this year working to dedicate Bob “Pappy” Kaufman Drive near the Commodore Barry Post 256 on Roosevelt Road earlier this year.
“People still know them, and they’re still a draw in the area,” Laureto said. “They’ve given back to the community in so many ways.”
Soumar was on hand for the Oct. 13 City Council meeting as the officials voted unanimously to move forward with the street sign dedication. The Public Works Department will place street signs on Home Avenue from Cermak Road to Riverside Drive for the road to honorarily become ‘The Ides of March Way.’
“To be honored by Berwyn in such a way is just exciting ... This is like icing on the cake for us,” Soumar said. “This is still home. Berwyn is still home for us.”
It was the first time Soumar has been back to the Berwyn City Hall in nearly two decades. The previous trip was in 1990, when the band was was honored with the ‘Ides of March Day’ proclamation.
Later that year, the band would play its first concert in nearly 17 years. The final concert before the band’s peaceful disbandment was Nov. 2, 1973, at in the Morton West High School gymnasium.
After rehearsing once a week for eight hours a day for four months, the Ides were back on stage in Berwyn, headlining the city’s 1990 Summerfest. An audience of more than 20,000 came out to the concert in the Morton West parking lot, steps away from their last concert.
“To come back 17 years later on those grounds again, it was meant to be,” Soumar said. “The place was packed. We were the Morton guys ... the Berwyn band.”
Nearly 20 years later, the band has not stopped. The eight-man band includes all four original members — Jim Peterik, Larry Millas, Bob Bergland, and Mike Borch — and have added Soumar, John Larson, Dave Stahlberg, and Scott May since the band was created in 1964.
Soumar was asked to join the band in 1969 as a 17-year-old senior at Morton West.
“I was still playing on the football team and in the school band,” he said. “These were my buddies from high school band.”
Forty years after Soumar joined the band and nearly 20 years after the reunion concert, the band performs more than 40 shows a year across the nation. They play hits from the ’60s and early ’70s, including “Vehicle,” which became the fastest selling single in Warner Bros. recording history in 1970.
The song has gone on to be used in commercials for General Motors and was used by “American Idol” contestant Bo Bice during the show’s fourth season.
“When he first sang ‘Vehicle,’ our Web site got more than 250,000 hits the next day,” Soumar said. “It’s just incredible the roller coaster ride that we’ve been on.” Along with performing around the country, the band has traveled back to Berwyn to play in its hometown for fundraisers for both the North Berwyn and South Berwyn school districts since reuniting in 1990.
And while there may not be any new dates scheduled for the band to play again where it all began, Soumar said performing in Berwyn is always an option.
“We’re still having fun with it ... If there was a 20th anniversary of the (Summerfest), we’d be there,” Soumar said. “That’s up to the powers that be but hopefully we’ll be back playing in Berwyn soon.”

Congratulations to The Ides Of March!!! (We used to stand in the street and listen to these guys rehearse all the time back in the day ... it's still one of my favorite childhood memories!) kk


>>>Frannie reports that while she was down in Texas this past weekend, she took our grand-daughter to IHOP for breakfast where she heard "Things I'd Like To Say" by The New Colony Six and "Hey Baby, They're Playing Our Song" by The Buckinghams played back-to-back ... great to hear the hometown heroes a thousand miles away. (kk)

Hey, Kent,
Regarding hearing Things and Hey Baby back to back at the IHOP in Texas ... I do hear Things I'd Like to Say and I Will Always Think About you pretty regularly on Muzak programs in grocery stores and the like, but last week at Portillo's in Schaumburg, I heard I Love You So Much, sandwiched between Blueberry Hill and Rockin' Robin. It was great to hear it -- it's one of my very favorite Colony tunes.
Rick Barr
New Colony Six

I actually called Ray Graffia, Jr. a couple of months ago when I heard "I'm Just Waitin', Anticipatin'" played at the Portillos in Forest Park at lunch time ... couldn't believe my ears!!! (And it sounded GREAT, too!!!) Nice to see some of the local establishments helping to keep the local music alive! Hope to see you at the upcoming "Rock And Roll Roots" CD Release Party ... ALWAYS a fun time ... great music and a chance to see many of our local heroes performing in a much more "intimate" surrounding! (In fact, it sounds like FOUR of this year's CD tracks will be courtesy of our local heroes!) kk
Isn't it great / odd to hear these Forgotten Hits in places like Portillo's? Wouldn't be surprised if Portillio himself asked Muzak to find him programming that suited his Chicago empire.
Yes, we're on the Stroud disc and will be playing -- can't divulge the song yet under pain of death from Ray, but it's Border's at Oakbrook Sunday 11/8, and at Mt. Prospect Saturday, 11/14.
The Colony also played a date at Reggie's Rock Club on south State street on Saturday 10/9, a really radical bill for station WZRD at Eastern Illinois University. On the bill were high-volume rap and poetry slam, sound effects put to boom tracks, and then us and the headliners, the Effigies, one of Chicago's seminal punk bands, ressurected for the date. The (very) young crowd gave us a lot of props, and the Effigies asked why we were opening for them and not vice-versa. We played the date without Mark Eskin, and played only the early stuff we did at Cave Stomp, rocked it a little harder to make up for the missing player, and went over like gangbusters. It was really fun and edgy. You'll have to ask Ray about it when you see him -- he was on cloud 9.
Look to see you at Border's. Keep on writing.

LOL ... the track line up is ALWAYS a top secret mystery until Bob Stroud plays them down on his Sunday Morning Progam ... and, believe it or not, the suspense of finding out which tracks made the CD each year is something we (and thousands of OTHER Drive Listeners) look forward to each and every year. Yep, we'll be at at least ONE of the shows ... looking forward to it! (kk)

... and, speaking of the local heroes, we were ESPECIALLY saddened to hear THIS piece of news ...

I was watching CBS Morning Show this morning and they had a feature on Andy Williams. Saw you mention Andy in FHs. He's 82 and still performing.
I also saw an obituary in yesterday's Herald that a woman named Giammarese from Arlington Heights IL. passed away. Listings included her son Carl. Could this be the same Carl Giamarese from the Buckingham's? If so, my condolences to Carl.
Bill Hengels
If this IS the case, we ALL pass along our condolences, Carl. Having lost a number of relatives this past year (this has NOT been a good year for me in this regard!!!), I can TRULY sympathize with what you're going through. (kk)

Sadly, we WERE able to confirm the news regarding the passing of Carl's mother. As I stated earlier, I've had my share of grief this year, losing an aunt, a favorite uncle and a brother ... if ANYBODY out there knows what Carl is going through right now, it would be me!!! From ALL of our Forgotten Hits Readers, we'd like to pass along our thoughts and prayers in this difficult and painful time. (kk)

... and, speaking of The Buckinghams ...

Connie Szerszen in her book, mentions a book about the Buckinghams as “a great rock ‘n roll read”. Does anybody know what book she is talking about and how to get it? I don’t find it on
Tony Waitekus
I haven't read Connie's book yet ... so I don't really know how to answer this question ... so I sent it to CONNIE to answer instead!!! Here is her reply:
There's a great excerpt of the upcoming Buckinghams' book by Carl Giammarese and Dawn Lee Wakefield in the October issue of "Keep Rockin'" magazine. Be sure to tell your readers to check this out!
Thanks again --
Connie Szerszen
P.S. You would not believe the impact of today's Forgotten Hits -- the Sunday issue! The phone's been ringing and e-mails flowing in with well wishes and interest in interviewing me about my book. Thanks so much for your support.
Glad to help out in ANY small way that we can! And with both Carl AND Dawn on our mailing list, too, we're happy to help them promote their new book, too ... so USE me!!! (lol) kk

More on the new Buckinghams book from Dawn Lee Wakefield herself:

Thanks for your note; my profile in the October issue of Keep Rockin’ is called “Reaching Back with The Buckinghams — Keeping Rock and Roll Alive and Thriving”, which includes photos of The Centuries and The Buckinghams through the decades, along with excerpts from the book by Carl Giammarese and myself, available in the near future.
The issue includes a feature story (thanks to Michele Abrams) by publisher Liz Harris, “An Evening at the Star Plaza Theatre”. Readers will enjoy candid photos of all The Buckinghams, Carl Giammarese, Nick Fortuna, Bob Abrams, Tom Scheckel, and Bruce Soboroff, plus The Ides of March featuring Jim Peterik, and he-can-play-anything-just-ask-him, Ronnie Rice. Jim Peterik, as usual, makes a song and fashion statement, as you’ll see in the pictures. Speaking of photos, Carl Giammarese models a 1968 Buckinghams’ suit jacket that he can still wear today, not that he would want to. Coat’s material reminds me that, back in the 60s, many needless sacrifices of perfectly good sofa upholstery coverings were made to put the guys onstage every week … you have to see it to believe it. Bucks’ road manager Susan Rakis has more photos of ‘that coat’ on The Buckinghams’ photo stream on Flickr.
KR’s interview with the legendary Chubby Checker leads the way, and a bonus feature “Biondi Bop,” spotlights Chicago radio icon, Dick Biondi.
Keep Rockin’ Magazine is available in many Chicagoland Barnes & Noble and Borders stores, plus Beverly Records. Their web site is:
Thanks for asking, Kent. Forgotten Hits keeps us all in the know.
Dawn Lee Wakefield

I did a quick check of both Barnes and Noble and Borders and this magazine was nowhere to be found ... possibly this month's edition has already been sold out??? If you see a copy, grab it quick! (And, if you see an EXTRA copy, pick one up for me, too, okay???) kk

And this VERY special comment from Carl Giammarese who took a moment during this EXTREMELY difficult time, to share a word with our readers:

Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers, my mother will be deeply missed. Please accept my deepest sympathy for your loss. That is a lot to withstand especially in such a short period of time. May God help you in your time of sorrow. My condolences ... it has been a difficult time for both of us.
Meanwhile, I'd be glad to talk about the book.
I can't believe it has been over two years since Dawn Lee Wakefield and I started writing it. Because it's a first for me, I really didn't know how long it would take . I guess I was being a little bit unrealistic, thinking it could be done quickly. Right now, we don't have a release date, but I believe in the next few months, it will be finished.
One of the difficult things is tracking down so many people that were a part of my life and an important part of making the Buckinghams successful or affecting us in some way. So little by little we have connected with so many people, including past (and passed) band members, record label executives, managers, booking agents and a lot of other music artists I have come to know through the years. Along with her talent for writing, Dawn Lee Wakefield is exceptional at researching, which is a lot of hard work, and very time consuming.
This is not meant to be a tell all book of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Hopefully it will be a book for those people that have aspired to start a band and had dreamed of success ... what it was like on this level, what we had to endure ... the ups and downs, highs and lows, the good times and bad times, its all there.
Carl Giammarese

Thanks, Carl ... and please keep us posted as things move forward ... I'm sure that there are many, many fans out there across the country looking forward to reading your memoirs. (kk)

And, speaking of new books ... check out these next few entries ...

Kent ...
How ya' doin? Today I was planning to pitch a radical promotion idea for Tommy James (“I Think We’re Alone Now”) who’s about release a book, “Me, the Mob, and the Music”, but the “Balloon Boy” incident stopped me in my tracks! I was going to propose that Tommy start using Twitter to let his fans know his every move up to the release of the book … then send one last message that says, “This will be my last “Tweet” for a while, I’m going into the witness protection program.” ... for the whole story:
I have been waiting for Tommy’s book to hit the shelves for a couple of years now … a pretty gutsy thing to do, to be sure … and I’ve heard that there’s already talk about a movie deal being in the works. Should make for some FASCINATING reading … can’t wait!!! By the way, what a GREAT live rendition of a CLASSIC Tommy James tune … Crystal Blue Persuasion never sounded better! (kk)

A year or two ago, Carl Giammarese of The Buckinghams was interviewed on The Jim Shea Show over at Y103.9 FM ... and the subject of The Mob came up in conjunction with the early days of The Bucks, a heavily Italian-based band of Chicagoland pop stars. Certainly the fables of Roulette Records Boss Morris Levy have been talked about for AGES now ... it'll be interesting to see just how much Tommy reveals (prior to entering The Witness Protection Program! lol) and if this same subject matter is covered in any sort of detail in Carl Giammarese's book, too. (kk)

After we ran the letter we received from Mary Muehleisen (Maury's Sister) last week, we also received this piece of Jim Croce news to share with our readers:
Hi Kent,
How are you? I stumbled upon your site and saw that Ingrid has participated in the past. I just wanted to let you know that Ingrid wrote a new songbook titled Jim Croce Anthology - The Stories Behind The Songs. This has been asked for by many fans. Ingrid always gets, "Why did Jim write that story?" Take a look ... perhaps you can mention it in your blog???
Talk soon!
Tania Garcia

Happy to! As I mentioned before, I'm a life-long Jim Croce fan ... and this sounds like an EXCELLENT idea for a book!!! (kk)

re: HOSS:


I remember "Hoss" from the tours Dino, Desi & Billy did with the Raiders in the mid-sixties - after reading your column I sent him an email of support regarding his search for a publishing deal. I want to read this book!

Bye for now,

Billy Hinsche


I hope a few of our readers sent emails as well ... I, too, would love to read his memories! (kk)

And Connie Szerszen promises us that she'll be sharing some of her radio memories with our readers, too!

Your site is spectacular! I wasn't up on all radio sites -- because I was so involved with the book, etc., but I can't tell you how Jeff Duntemann (a former listener and now author and friend) just raved about your site and turned me onto it. I am going to submit anecdotes (as you suggested) every so often -- so if folks can't buy my book, they'll still get some of the stories in it through you.
By the way, the first Chicagoland book signing for TOP ROCK GIRLY JOCK is set for Sunday, November 1, 2009 -- 2 to 6 PM at The White Eagle, 6839 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Niles, IL (
I am thrilled to be signing here -- since our family has a long history of celebrating events at this premiere Polish restaurant and banquet hall. Besides -- some have called me the "Polish Princess" -- and I loooove their mushroom-barley soup! If you read my book, you'll learn how Neil Diamond loves soup -- he needs to check out the White Eagle for this Polish treat!
I'm sure we'll be talking about this and more on the Steve & Johnnie Show on WGN (720 AM) this Tuesday, October 27 -- I'll be on right after the Governor!
Connie Szerszen

Hello again folks -
Just a note letting you know that tickets are now available for the big November 22nd party at the Abbey Pub (3420 West Grace St, Chicago).
For full details, go to the website at: and click on the link to the Brown Paper Tickets Site in order to make your purchase. The link is on the Events / Party page at our website.
Or, simply use this link:
There will be some great performances throughout the day, so come on down and give a listen and join in the jams that will take place as things roll along. The party starts at 1:00, but we will probably keep playing music til they kick us out.
Chicago Pop Festival Jazz Ensemble
Bob Centano, Josie Falbo, Al Goldberg (Yama & the Kharma Dusters), Audrey Morris, Alejo Poveda (Chevere), Dean Rolando, Kesutuis Stanciauskas (Streetdancer)

Chicago Pop Festival Preview:
Tricia Alexander, Muriel Anderson, Al Day, Mesa, Michael Miles, Rokko & The Hat, Special Consensus Alumni Band, Greg Trafidlo, Wilderness Road

Chicago Pop Festival All-Star Jam, featuring: Jimy Sohns & Michael Gotshall of the Shadows of Knight with The Roseland Band, Justin Pomeroy (Dirty Wurds), Saturdays Children
Plus appearances by: John Benischek, Chris Farrell, Perry Jordan (Heatsfield), Amy Lowe, Ronnie Rice, Jimy Rodgers (The Mauds), Harlan Lee Terson (Lonnie Brooks Band), Chris Shannon (The Escavels), Norm Siegel, Unity Bluegrass, Members of The Cascades AND MORE!!
My new book, The Chicago Music Scene: 1960s and ‘70s, will also be available at the show.

(I can't believe how bald I'm getting.....)
Dean Milano

And this just another ... ANOTHER cool way to see Jimy Rogers And The Mauds and pick up an autographed copy of Dean's new book!!!
Please let your readers know about this event.
Joan Gand, The Mauds and Blue Road
Hold On! - Save that Date!
Jimy Rogers and The Mauds will be performing at a special show celebrating Dean Milano's new book: The Chicago Music Scene, 1960s and 1970s. Dean will be on hand to sign books and to sit in with the band, as well as special guest Jimy Sohns from the Shadows of Knight. The book, which will be released on November 9, will be available for purchase at the event, and the artists will be on hand for the book-signing.
The Mauds have been back together with a new band since August of 2009. Jimy Rogers also performs regularly with the band Blue Road.
When: Sat Nov 14 2009 09:00 PM
Where: Gabe's Backstage Lounge, 214 Green Bay Rd, Highwood, IL, 60040
(847) 266-1313
Come on out to Gabe's (if you've never been, its a classy venue with tiered seating and a great sound system) to celebrate the 60's!
For more info see:

Joan Gand, Jimy Rogers, and Gary Gand from the brand new Mauds. The band also features Steve Nevets on bass, Joel Treadwell on drums, and the Mauds backup singers Veronica Stanford and Jocelyn Mallard.

Frannie and I caught the David Foster / "Hitman" Show last week at The Rosemont Theater ... what an entertaining night of music that turned out to be. If you've seen his "Hitman" special on PBS, you already know EXACTLY what I'm talking about. (How could you miss it?!?!? As Foster himself explained during the concert, "The great thing about doing a show for PBS is that they'll air it 8000 times!!! If you missed it all four times on Tuesday, that's OK because it'll be on four more times on Wednesday ... and if you miss it on Wednesday, you can always catch it four more times on Thursday!") Foster's special guests included American Idol Finalists Michael Johns and Ruben Studdard, a surprise walk-on visit from Richard Marx (whose performance was one of the absolute highlights of the evening), Peter Cetera (who sang pieces of several of his Chicago and solo hits), Philip Bailey (lead vocalist of Earth, Wind and Fire, who brought the crowd to its feet with his rousing rendition of "September") and 17-year-old singing sensation Sharice who gave one of the most powerful vocal performances I have EVER seen ... and it's ALL for real, folks ... NO studio wizardry going on here ... this chick can SING!!!!! (Marx was hysterical ... after David Foster told the story about a young, 17 year old Richard Marx coming to work for him as an intern ... and spending a good chunk of his day bringing him coffee ... and being the first one in the studio each morning and the last one to leave each night ... just absorbing anything and everything he could possibly learn like a sponge ... only to be told by Foster, when he approached him about wanting to have his own singing career, "You'll never make it, Richard. Your voice isn't strong enough ... your songs aren't good enough. Stay here and learn all you can learn and someday you may become a great producer. Because you'll never have a hit record on your own." Marx joked that with the stellar line-up onboard that night, he may be the only performer singing tonight that can claim "David Foster shit on all my dreams" ... and, after proving Foster wrong by scoring 18 Billboard Top 100 Hits between 1987 and 1997 (all but one of which reached The Top 50 ... and three that went all the way to #1), he admitted that "David Foster was right ... when he said that I wouldn't have any of my own hit records, this came true after 1997." It's a VERY limited tour but an INCREDIBLE night of music. (Check out David Foster's book, too ... one of the most entertaining biographies I have ever read!) kk

We're looking forward to the new "Pirate Radio" film coming out next month ... and we're not the only ones ... here are a couple of recents blurbs we received!
I can't wait for the Pirate Radio movie! I plan to see it the night it opens.
We did a seminar at the Museum of Television and Radio in LA in 2001 and Emporer Rosko (from Radio Caroline) came. I was doing the seminar with Raechel Donahue and he was a fan of hers.
I'll give you a movie review on November 13th.
Carolyn Travis
Too bad we couldn't have fanagaled a Double Feature with "Airplay" like they used to do in the good old days!!! Some good hype on this one ... can't wait to see it! (kk)

Keep your eyes open for the British import, Pirate Radio (aka The Boat
That Rocked) coming to theaters in November for great usage of Elenore
and She'd Rather Be With Me.

Howard Kaylan / The Turtles

It happened 43 years ago ...
Some of the top jocks from the East may remember the days when FM was trying to take on AM in a realistic way in the mid-60's. Most of the nation would not recognize FM as a viable rock outlet until the late 60's, but some of the major markets were producing a decent product in the mid-60's already. WOR-FM in NYC was one of the early underground rockers. Last week, some 43 years ago in the second week of October, 1966, WOR-FM began having "living voices" on the air playing "modern long-hair" music (as Cash Box reported it) after 2 months of underground rock without DJs. In July, 66, WOR made the "unusual and daring" move with plans to have DJs presenting the music. However, the AGVA (American Guild of Variety Artists) entertainment union demanded that FM jocks must receive the same minimum wage as AM jocks!! For the next two months, WOR-FM negotiated with the union for a new contract that -- GET THIS! -- would permit a lower scale for FM personalities!! Can you believe that FM jocks actually started with a minimum wage lower than AM jocks?? Those silly unions!! Anyway, 2 months later, an agreement was reached whereby the announcers on FM would receive a minimum weekly salary of $175, approximately half of their AM counterparts!! That's about $9000 a year. SO, WOR-FM began jock shifts as "non-screamers" on October 8, 1966, with a schedule of 6 AM - 5 AM on weekends and 9 AM - 5 AM during the week. I guess maybe the prime for FM listening was weekends, as most cars did not have FM for drivetime to work early on weekdays?? How weird to think!! WOR-FM became a phenomenan in short order and had a huge music party on their first anniversary that included Janis Ian, who was so young that she had to study for a school test that weekend, and Al Kooper as a member of the Blues Project just prior to leaving and forming B,S &T!So who started this crazy station format and idea? Well, Tom Reynolds was the PD and Carol Kozel was the MD. The jocks that started the FM rock trend at WOR-FM? Try some big names of 60's radio! Murray "The K" Kaufman, already a household name on NYC radio at WINS (and the 5th Beatle), Scott Muni, a star at NYC's WABC, Johnny Michaels (not sure who he was??) and "Rosko" (Bill Mercer) who became big in NYC radio after leaving LA. Would THESE guys get paid only $9000 a year? I doubt it. Murray would leave a year later for CHUM (shades of Landecker a decade later!), Scott Muni and Rosco would jump FM's to WNEW-FM about the same time, so maybe that FM jock pay was a bit low for these guys, eh? We all know that AM has succumbed mostly to FM nowadays (?), but Top 40 AM radio in the 60's cannot be matched in history, IMO. The memories still linger for those who knew the heyday. Just this morning while watching ESPN's Sports Center, Chris "The Swami" Berman (always good for forgotten hits and 60's stars) slipped in a WABC reference!! When giving a Mark Ingram football running highlight, he sang "Maaaark Ingram" to the WABC jingle for legendary Dan Ingram!! How cool, even if it went right over many heads! AM Top 40 RULES forever!!
Clark Besch
P.S. While I'm at it, also happening the same week in NYC, our buddy Artie Wayne and partner Kelli Ross opened the doors to their music publishing company, Alouette Productions! At that time, they had already signed deals with Kama Sutra and Smash Records (the Satisfactions were an early signing on Smash), were dealing with Quincy Jones, and had recently added the catalog of 15 year old Janis Ian. "Society's Child" had been released, although it would not be big hit until 67. Janis would go on to play the WOR-FM birthday party as well as sing her hit on the Smothers Brothers and the CBS documentary "Inside Pop" hosted by Leonard Bernstein (You REALLY need to see her performance!) and eventually became (I believe) the ONLY artist to have exactly ONE Hot 100 Billboard charter in each decade of the 60's, 70's and 80's! Or was that Al Davis and Superbowls?? :)
One more major event from that week: "I Wanna Meet You" by the Cryan Shames was starting to "make its mark" on the airwaves!!

Hi Kent,
Been following Forgotten Hits for the last several weeks since seeing you in Chicago (at the Schaumburg SeptemberFest), and, as always, enjoying the content. Really like all the chatter about everyone's favorite instrumentals, the ongoing WLS survey stuff and the recent series of stories about Reprise Records.
My friend and former agent, Artie Wayne and I often speak of your blog and newsletters, and muse about what a terrific time machine Forgotten Hits is for the "wild bunch" of artists, writers, producers and deejays who were involved in the 50's, 60's and 70's pop music scene and for those who are just fans of those times as well!
Of course, the ongoing stream of those leaving us behind for greener pastures saddens, but, at the same time, the celebration of the lives of those who've left us that takes place at Forgotten Hits brings a degree of joy, happiness and fondness to what would otherwise be sadness and despair. Thanks so much for that. This community is not just serving a righteous purpose, but also filling a void for so many. Keep up the good work.

Joe Klein


(submitted by Vaguememory)