Ken Marks

August 28, 2006

For those of you who listened to overnight country music in Las Vegas, NV or those of you who bought Volkswagensin Southern California a couple of years ago, then Ken Marks is indeed a celebrity.

 To me though…Kenny is a friend…he actually should have been my radio partner for the last 19 years if we stuck together like we did when I was in broadcasting school in ’78.  We would have turned radio up side down and been a hit…I know that deep inside…and I’m sure Ken does too.

I have no picture of Ken, although I did have a cell phone number for him a couple of years ago (that’s how I knew he was selling VW’s in either Escondido, CA or Encanitas, CA).  My purpose in adding his name to the list is in the hopes that someone knows of him and can put us back in touch with each other.  The last we talked, he did think he might jump back into radio.  So if anyone knows of Kenny Mitchell Marks…pass on this site and put us in touch….I’d be really grateful.


Richard Dean Anderson

August 27, 2006

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It took a considerable amount of time to get confirmation by Richard Dean Andersson’s staff before I could post this.  While attending broadcasting school, another celebrity came by to teach a few classes when I was going through the vocal training.  At that time, if I am not mistaken, Richard Dean Anderson was on General Hospital, before his McGuyver days. It might have been a case of him simply filling in for the normal teacher, because I recall him being there for quite a while…not just once like with Wolf.  And since I saw him so often, I really didn’t care what he did out side of the class, he was a good instructor.

Aside from General Hospital and McGuyver, Richard has also found fame on the StarGate series.  But for me, and several other students at the broadcasting school, his best accomplishment may be what he taught and how he would eventually help turn students into the famous broadcasters they may be today.

Celebrities I’ve Met Podcast – Richard Dean Anderson


WolfMan Jack

August 8, 2006

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Out of all the celebrities I’ve met, I don’t think any has had the meaningful, long lasting impression made on me than when I finally got to meet Wolfman Jack.

I first heard Wolf when I was in NJ in 1973, listening to him on WNBC in NYC.  Like him, I grew up in NYC, and was inspired by him to go on to broadcasting school.

In 1978, at his long time friend Jack Brown’s request to come to the broadcasting school I attended, I got to meet Wolf in July of that year.  He came to the Don Martin School Of Communications in Hollywood, CA.

It turns out that weeks before, he was on a flight from the New York area to Los Angeles, CA, and he spent some time with my mom, of all people.  Enough time for my mom to tell Wolf all about me.  Between her and Jack Brown, I will forever be grateful for meeting Wolfman Jack.

When I did get to meet Wolf at the school, I was with several other broadcasting school students and, like I mentioned, Jack Brown, who was not only Wolf’s friend, but also served with Wolf on the Golden West Broadcasters membership board.

After sharing his story at the school, Wolfman Jack signed autographs for everyone.  I felt by then that I didn’t really NEED his autograph, just meeting him and knowing how much we shared in common was enough.  However, as the last few students got their autographs, I found myself leaning on the desk next to Wolf with my hand on an empty ream of copy paper…it’s cardboard backing under my fingers.  So I thought, why not join the rest and get an autograph.

As I handed the piece of cardboard to Wolf, he looked up at me, and said, “I’ve got to think about this, my friend.  I want to make this special for you.”  He brought the pen up to the side of his goutee and thought for a bit and then carefully carved out his autograph to me.  Words I live by since then and always will.

The autograph read:  “When you do right, you come out right.”—Wolfman Jack.

I regret not staying staying in radio.  Life has taken me in so many other directions.  As well, I was very sad to hear that the Wolf passed away when he did back in 1995.  I miss him very much, but I will forever treasure our kinship, brief friendship and always follow his simple but profound advice to me.

Although I never got a picture of him and I taken together back then, I’ve found one that I think captures him as I remember him best.  Unlike all other entries, here I will mention a website that you can visit:

http://www.wolfmanjack.org

Here’s my podcast:

Celebrities I’ve Met Podcast – Wolfman Jack


Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.

August 7, 2006

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The picture here of Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. was taken much later than the first time I met them.  I first met Marylin McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. at the ABC Recording Studios in West Los Angeles.  They, as you might recall were part of the Fifth Dimension, and eventually branched out on their own as a duo, after they got married.  Yes…Marilyn singing “Won’t You Marry Me, Bill” was actually a real life proposal by Marilyn to Billy.  

The most memorable moment with Billy was when I had to settle and argument between Lamont Dozier, a recording engineer and singer in his own right, and Billy.  They all had come in to the studio before I started my shift, and I had just settled in when I heard a commotion in the hallway upstairs.  I checked the cameras and saw a couple of people just about ready to start throwing punches.  It didn’t take me but a few seconds to get upstairs to the studio door where I found the two arguing over what I heard was the bridge to a song.  At that point, I didn’t know too much about music, let alone making records.  I was just a disc jockey in training.  But I had heard a lot of songs up to that point.

The way the argument was going, I had to stop it first, then I asked Lamont, because I worked with him, what the heck was going on.  He told me, “Billy wants words in the damn bridge.  The whole point to a bridge is to give the singer a rest.  Give them a bar or two to relax.”  Billy said, “The words need to be there.  It’s supposed to be a chorus, not a bridge.”

 “Well,” I said admitting that I was just a guard and a disc jockey wanna-be, “But it seems to me Billy, that if you want words that you’ve already used, and Lamont wants just music, why not get something like some horns or a tenor sax in the middle there to play out the words…then you’ll both be happy!”

They were both looking at me with their eyebrows up by the time I finished.  Then they looked at each other, nodding.  Lamont gave his thanks, and I told him all I wanted was to stop the fight without any bloodshed…no thanks were needed.

Now, if you listen to the song, the bridge has a sax play out the words to the chorus…just like I suggested with a comprimise of Marilyn doing just a short chorus.  The best part is that the song was released and it gave Marilyn and Billy their breakout hit, “You Don’t Have To Be A Star”.  I didn’t get any credit in the liner notes.  I didn’t get any thanks when it came to awards shows.  All I did was settle an argument and make my own bit of music history.

 It was much later when the above picture was taken…about 4 or 5 years later…when I was posted at the Los Angeles International Airport and Marilyn and Billy came by on a United flight.  As you can see they were all smiles…they did remember me, and probably alway will because I helped make their song more solid.

Celebrities I’ve Met Podcast – Marilyn McCoo Billy Davis Jr.


Tito Jackson

August 5, 2006

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Another post I worked at was the ABC Recording Studios which was located in West Los Angeles, CA.  There I got to see several celebrities, but to me they were just people I saw every day.

Disco was big back then and there was a new group that, as I heard them, I thought they were pretty good.  The group was called Livin’ Proof, a trio made up of Vernon Bullock, and brothers Steven and Sterling Rice.  Their only album was the self titled Livin’ Proof.  Tito Jackson did some behind the scenes work on the album, mainly his great guitar work, and even did some back up singing.  Since the album was recorded at ABC Recording Studios, I actually ran into Tito quite a number of times.  Most often I saw him at the back entrance to the studio, at my guard post, a small desk.  I never did get a picture of him back then, this picture shows about what he looks like now.


Ron Howard

August 5, 2006

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As I write this, I cannot be sure of the status of Molly’s Charbroiler, since 1927 it has been a fixture in Hollywood, being right next to what has lately been the Ricardo Montalban Theater.  It was even in the movie “Boiling Point”, having Wesley Snipes enjoying a burger there in a scene.  For a time, Molly’s even had my caricature hanging on it’s back wall.  Probably because I was there almost as much as they were.  Or it least it seemed like it.   But in 1977, the corner of Selma and Vine just South was also the setting for a scene from Ron Howard’s movie, Grand Theft Auto.  It was hit debut film as a film writer.

Again, I was eating at Molly’s, and after I finished my burger, I took my chocolate shake and headed behind Molly’s because it seemed like the filming was pretty much all broken down.  Actually, I was just kind of cutting through the parking lot, to find my way home.  Without knowing who was who or what was going on, I walked over to Ron Howard, not even recognizing who he was at the moment, he looked over at me, with a picture in his hand and said, “Thanks for helping out.”, and then he turned and gave out a few more pictures on his way.  So there I stood in the middle of a parking lot where a Grand Theft Auto scene was filmed, with a shake and an autographed picture of Ron Howard after he personally thanked me for all I did.  Let me think…I wasn’t in the scene, I never worked on the movie, all I did was walk through the parking lot, and I got to be part of the crew.  Who was I to complain?  

Hind sight being 20-20, I should have handed him the shake, and then years later sued him for all the back “royalties” for all the “work” I did on the movie!  LOL.  Seriously though, it was again a very strange way to do it, but Ron Howard was a celebrity I’ve met.


David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser

August 5, 2006

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Again, the scene is set at Molly’s Charbroiler.  I guess you could say that I was oblivious to everything around me while I was eating.   Well, to say that I ran into the original Starsky and Hutch in an alley would be lying.  They literally ran into ME.  I was in Hollywood, having just finished a Mollyburger next to the then Huntington Hartford Theater, when I collected my broadcasting school books and headed North on Vine to Hollywood Blvd intending on heading west to LaBrea where the school was. 

I didn’t make it 10 feet past the stool in font of Molly’s when the two TV detective, David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser came bolting out of the thin alley between Molly’s and the theater next door.  I got spun around, my books hit the sidewalk, I heard somebody yell “Cut!”.  I’m not sure if there’s actually film of me at the end of that alley, or if the director got what he needed without me being part of it, but things came to a halt.  I found myself embarrassingly and mistakenly in the middle of an episode of Starsky and Hutch. There was David Soul grabbing my shoulders my shoulders, asking me, “You alright, kid?”.  I was too startled to do anything more than apologize myself. I said, “Sorry, I just finished a Mollyurger, I had no idea you guys were here filming.”  David Soul said, “Don’t worry about it, kid.  I’m sure they’ll want to do a few more takes anyway.”  And Paul said, “Yeah…at least you got to eat.  We’ve got to run down this alley a few more times before we get to eat.”  

It wasn’t until much later at the school that I realized I busted up a scene of Starsky and Hutch!  I never even thought to ask for autographs or anything.  Imagine being in Hollywood and hoping to run into a couple of stars.  Then imagine how I felt, literally being run INTO by a couple of them. 

Celebrities I’ve Met Podcast – David Soul Paul Michael Glaser