This show is very different from any other show I have done. The subject is an incredible new documentary called "Airplay: The Rise And Fall Of Rock Radio." Two award-winning filmmakers, Carolyn Travis and her husband Charles Fox Gilson, spent ten years making this film! If you have ever enjoyed listening to rock and roll radio, be it AM, FM or satellite, I am sure that you will enjoy this interview show in which Carolyn and I talk in detail about their long-awaited project and also share many wonderful moments from it. This is a no-holds-barred true story -- covering approximately 56 years -- told by America's best-loved deejays and people close to them. Carolyn personally conducted all the interviews seen in the film and this show contains several airchecks and videos from it of our most beloved deejays over the years doing what they do best and also, in several cases, talking about their careers and the evolution of rock and roll radio. Some of the deejays appearing in the film are, alphabetically: Dick Biondi, Jerry ("The Geator") Blavat, Alan Freed, Tom Donahue, Jocko Henderson, Arnie (Woo Woo) Ginzburg, Dan Ingram, Martha Jean (the Queen), Wolfman Jack, Murray the K, Casey Kasem, Jim Ladd, (Cousin) Bruce Morrow, Scott Muni, Phlash Phelps, Rufus Thomas ... and that's just a partial list. The show includes touching comments (from the film) from Alan Freed's son Lance and Murray The K's son Peter Altschuler. Doing this interview with Carolyn brought me much happiness but also a certain amount of sadness because many of the air personalities featured in this film are no longer with us. That includes several people who are seen in interviews, including Scott Muni, B. Mitchell Reed, Martha Jean (The Queen), Rufus Thomas and Jocko Henderson. The film will soon be available for everyone to see but the details have not yet been finalized.I had so much fun doing this show with Carolyn and I know that this ten-year "labor of love" for Carolyn and Chris is destined to be a huge hit. You can visit their website to check out future developments: http://www.travisty.tv
This interview and all my others ones are conducted for the Jersey Girls Sing website. The Home Page URL is http://www.jerseygirlssing.com
To access this Carolyn Travis show or any of my other radio interview shows, please click on the following link below which will take you directly to my Radio Page. http://www.jerseygirlssing.com/RonnieRadioPage.html
We've been very fortunate to have had a number of conversations with Carolyn this past year regarding this film ... and were one of the first to screen it ... (in fact, we sent copies to a number of the deejays on the list in search of THEIR opinions ... and the film has been pretty much unanimously praised.) I can't wait to see it make wide release ... this is a DVD you're going to want as part of your own collection. If you're a fan of the music we talk about here in Forgotten Hits ... and a fan of Rock And Roll Radio ... this is a "Can't Miss" film that will bring back ALL kinds of musical memories. (I wish it was six hours long!!! lol) Carolyn, PLEASE keep us posted as to when this film will be available so that we can pass this information along to our readers. And, once the Airplay Website is up and running, we'll let you know that, too ... it'll have ALL kinds of radio memorabilia available for viewing, all kinds of vintage airchecks from some of your very favorite jocks, and much, much more. Stay tuned for more details! (kk)
Well, Kent, my interview is UP and posted! And she is one incredible lady. I have not spoken to her husband but I share the same respect for him. It is indeed a GREAT documentary! I told Carolyn I will do everything I can to help her spread the word about this. It deserves to be seen by everyone who has ever enjoyed rock and roll radio!
... and, speaking of great films and music documentaries ...
re: THE WRECKING CREW:
I just got an update from Denny Tedesco about the AWESOME "Wrecking Crew" documentary. It sounds like a deal is in the works to get this film into theaters "in limited release" in the not too distant future ... and they're targeting "early 2010" for DVD release. Ideally, the DVD will have ALL kinds of extras (some of which have already appeared on The Wrecking Crew Website). Although it still falls short of Denny's dream "16-Hour Mini-Series", he promises ALL kinds of surprises. And a KEY element that I've been pushing for since I first heard about this incredible project is that there WILL be a soundtrack released for the film, acknowledging for the very first time the musical contributions of the many, many "sidemen" players who first performed on these tracks. Denny's got 12 years of his blood, sweat and tears in this project and it looks like it is FINALLY going to see the light of day BEYOND the Film Festival Circuit. I can't compliment this film enough ... it TRULY is ... in EVERY sense of the word ... the soundtrack of our lives. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll dance, you'll smile ... and some of you may even pee yourselves ... but no matter HOW you react, I guarantee you that you'll feel good all over ... and you'll watch it again and again. Visit The Wrecking Crew Website for more details and updates: www.wreckingcrewfilm.com ... and stay tuned to Forgotten Hits, too. This is a MUST SEE film!!! (kk)
Honestly, I remember her more as a TV star than as a pop singer ... but Gale Storm hit The National Top 20 six times between 1955 and 1957, doing mostly cover versions of songs made popular by other artists.
Her version of "I Hear You Knocking" peaked at #2 on both the Billboard and the Cash Box charts in late 1955. (The original, of course, was done by Smiley Lewis but Fats Domino ... and, many years later, Dave Edmunds, would ALSO have big hits with this record.) Her version of Dean Martin's chart-topper "Memories Are Made Of This" peaked at #16 in 1956. Its flip-side, "Teen Age Prayer" went to #6 in Cash Box. Gale's version of "Why Do Fools Fall In Love", the Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers' hit, went to #15 and her version of "Ivory Tower" went all the way to #2 in Cash Box in the Spring of 1956. Her last Top 40 Hit was the #5 Hit "Dark Moon" from 1957. (kk)
Here is a report filed by The Associated Press:
Gale Storm, perky star of 1950s TV, dies at 87
By BOB THOMAS Associated Press Writer
LOS ANGELES — Gale Storm, whose wholesome appearance and perky personality made her one of early television's biggest stars on "My Little Margie" and "The Gale Storm Show," has died at age 87.
Storm, who had been in failing health in recent years, died Saturday at a convalescent hospital in Danville, said her son, Peter Bonnell.
Before landing the starring role in "My Little Margie" in 1952, Storm starred in numerous B movies opposite such stars as Roy Rogers, Eddie Albert and Jackie Cooper. After her last TV series, "The Gale Storm Show," ended in 1960 she went on to a successful singing career while continuing to make occasional TV appearances.
Storm was a Texas high schooler named Josephine Owaissa Cottle when she entered a talent contest for a radio show called "Gateway to Hollywood" in 1940. She was brought to Los Angeles for the finals, where her wholesome vivacity won over the radio audience and she was awarded a movie contract.
The contest's male winner was a lanky would-be actor named Lee Bonnell, who would later become her husband.
Given the quirky name Gale Storm, she went from contracts with RKO to Monogram to Universal, appearing in such low-budget films as "Where Are Your Children?" with Cooper and "Tom Brown's School Days" with Freddie Bartholomew. She was often cast in westerns as the girl the cowboy left behind, and appeared in such B-movie oaters as "The Dude Goes West" with Albert, "The Kid from Texas" with Audie Murphy and "The Texas Rangers" with George Montgomery.
"I was really scared of horses," she admitted in 2000. "I only rode them because that's what you had to do."
She appeared in three Republic westerns with Rogers and recalled that his horse Trigger did what he could to cause her trouble. As she would smile and ride alongside Rogers while the king of the cowboys crooned a song, Trigger (out of camera range) would lean over and bite her horse's neck.
With her movie roles diminishing in the early 1950s, Storm followed the path of many fading movie stars of the day and moved on to television.
"My Little Margie" debuted on CBS as a summer replacement for "I Love Lucy" in 1952. It quickly became an audience favorite and moved to its own slot on NBC that fall.
The premise was standard sitcom fare: Charles Farrell was a business executive and eligible widower, Storm was his busybody daughter who protected him from predatory women.
The year after "My Little Margie" ended its 126-episode run in 1955, she moved on to "The Gale Storm Show," which lasted until 1960. This time she played Susanna Pomeroy, a trouble-making social director on a luxury liner.
Storm, who had taken vocal lessons, sang on her second series, and three of her records became best sellers: "I Hear You Knocking," "Teenage Prayer" and "Dark Moon."
She appeared only sporadically on TV after "The Gale Storm Show," guest starring on such programs as "Burke's Law," "The Love Boat" and "Murder, She Wrote."
She appeared in numerous musicals, however, including Gian Carlo Menotti's "The Old Maid and the Thief" at the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music. Other stage credits included "Unsinkable Molly Brown" (as the title character), "South Pacific" and "Finnegan's Rainbow."
Although Storm had not acted in recent years, Peter Bonnell said his mother enjoyed keeping in touch with fans and had known many of them for years.
Her fans were surprised to read in her 1980 autobiography, "I Ain't Down Yet," that she was an alcoholic.
"I had hidden it socially, never drank before a performance," she said. After being treated in three hospitals, she found one that helped her break the habit.
Born April 5, 1922, in Bloomington, Texas, Storm was only 13 months old when her father died. Her mother supported five children by taking in sewing.
Storm's first husband died in 1987, and the following year she married former TV executive Paul Masterson. He died in 1996.
Storm and Bonnell had three sons, Philip, Peter and Paul, and a daughter, Susanna. Storm is survived by her children, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Probably the ONLY radio station you'll hear playing any Gale Storm music these days will be John Rook's new "Hit Parade Radio" station ... or perhaps a rare and occassional spin on something like Mason Ramsey's "Music For The Ages" format. Despite her six Top 20 Hits, the truth is that she's been ignored by radio for over 40 years. As I stated above, she'll always be best remembered as an actress, not a singer. And there's probably a very good reason for that ... give a listen to her version of "I Hear You Knocking", included today. Nobody is EVER going to confuse this recording as Rock And Roll ... in fact, it's about as lame as can be. But one has to remember that in 1955 MOST radio stations hadn't yet embraced the new rock music genre ... and most weren't playing records by black recording artists either. So while Gale Storm's version is about as "Your Hit Parade"-sounding as can be, this was about the ONLY way MOST radio listeners were going to be exposed to these new sounds. Yeah, it's pretty awful ... but believe it or not, it was cover recordings like this one that helped tear down the segregated radio barriers that ultimately allowed the merger of Rhythm And Blues and Rock And Roll. Today, we all want the HIT versions of these tunes ... why would anybody play the Gale Storm version of "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" over the Frankie Lymon version? Her take on "Memories Are Made Of This" over the Dean Martin version? Gale's version of "I Hear You Knocking" over ANY other authentic rock-a-billy version? That's because today, we all know better and CHOOSE the original hit versions. Gale's earliest hits pre-dated Elvis by a good six months!!! Let's not forget that it was artists like this who first allowed us to DISCOVER the original versions we cherish so much today. (kk)