Friday, February 26, 2010

Notes From The Chief

Y'know, when my own readers found out that I knew Lloyd Thaxton, their first response (after the obligatory "Soooo WHAT?" They weren't brushing me off ... they just remembered his famous teaser) was "He's still ALIVE?!?" (and, brother, he'll always be alive in our hearts. Can I get an AMEN?!?)
But, then, I told 'em about Uncle LL's blog, and told 'em that, for the mere price of an imaginary car, they could come on over and join in the fun and memories.

And many of 'em did! And, thus, they did enjoy the verbiosity that emanated from the inner being of one Lloyd E. Thaxton, Esq.

But, how did the original Mr. T. actually start blogging?
Here ... let 'im tell ya in his own words:

"I’m constantly asked why I spend time writing a blog. Who’s going to read it? By last count, there are over 23 million blogs on the web. 23 MILLION! Insurmountable odds? I’m optimistic. I Look at it this way: There are about 300 million people in the United States alone. Do the math. Divided equally, that computes to over 10 million readers for each blog. And, I’m just out to get my share.


Actually, I think my chances are pretty darn good. According to LA Times writer Patrick Goldstein, we are now a nation of niches. “Today’s action is with the country watching cable shows … that play to a specific audience.”
Specific audience? That’s my fans. The Lloyd Thaxton Show was always kind of a “niche.” It certainly played to a specific audience. And that makes me a real “son of a niche.”


It is said that the reason “American Idol” is such a big hit is because there is a huge niche out there that wants to be a member of a group, encouraged by their peers. What the “Idol” audiences love to see are others like them up there competing for fame and fortune. They see how they dance, sing, how they dress, and how they are treated with great respect. They even accept the occasional put-down from judge Simon Cowell as meaningful. “That could be me” is most likely the “Idol” fan’s mantra.

That, if you think about it, is what The Lloyd Thaxton Show was all about. We had our lip-sync contests, dance contests and each show was a showcase for the latest dances and “what-to-wear” on a date. Young people watched because they saw themselves up there joining in the fun. And, everyone was treated with great respect.

Still doing the math, I’ve figured that in the years the show was on the air, we had over 45 thousand dancing and performing teens on the show. And that was just the ones who were actually there, in person, live. Add to that the millions who were watching each show and we had a pretty substantial niche going for us.


According to Princeton University’s WordNet, niche is “a position particularly well suited to the person who occupies it.” In other words, a “clique.”
There is no doubt that the 60s represented a very unique period in history. Think about it. Civil Rights demonstrations and legislation, the Vietnam War, the draft, Woman’s Lib, the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Flower Children, Students for a Democratic Society, and Sex Drugs and Rock & Roll. The country has never been the same since.


Throughout this tumultuous time, The Lloyd Thaxton Show was there pumping out The Twist, The Beatles, James Brown, Surf music, Motown music, Top Forty and Rock and roll. And millions of kids were dancing to the music. It was the oasis in the midst of chaos; The calm during the storm. And according to the many letters I’ve received from the show’s fans, it gave a lot of people the confidence that everything would turn out OK. I, myself, am completely awed and humbled by it all.


So, back to the original question: why am I writing a blog? The answer is quite simple. I have a niche I just have to scratch. And so far I feel I have only scratched the surface. Judging by the hundreds of emails I have received, there is a substantial niche out there that wants to hash over a lot of cool memories."


So there you have it, Mouskiteers ... and it couldn't've been said any better than that ...


Hey, listen! Do you have any vids, .mp3s or memories you'd like to share about the boss? Just send 'em in to therockrelic@yahoo.com and we'll get 'em on here! Heck ... we'll even pay the postage for ya ...

30 comments:

  1. I'm glad you are doing this...I found Lloyd again just a little more than a year before he left us...There was so much more i wanted to know...I was just a little kid 6-8 years old when i watched his show...Seeing the fun he had changed me...I wanted to be like him...And years later...When i was in high school...Lloyd Thaxton was still on my mind...Pictures in my high school yearbook of a skit done in the high school gym testify to the influence of someone i should have been much too young to really remember...I wanted to be fearlessly fun...Not afraid to let it all hang out...And the essence of Lloyd Thaxton brought that out in me...

    For a long time i wondered where he had gone...Then the internet gave me a chance to briefly interact with the man who made me wanna be a DJ...I'll never forget him.

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  2. Thanks, Daniel. I'd like to use part of your comment in an upcoming post, "THE THAXTON EFFECT". Since reviving The Mouse Clique, so many Mouskiteers have left comments and sent emails about the effect that LL had on them, that I did a little more snoopin ... er, research ... on the man.
    What I've found is MINDBENDING!! I'll tell you more about it in that upcoming post (how's THAT for a teaser?)

    Stay tuned ...

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  3. Week Days after school I could not wait for the Loyd Thaxton Show to come on. I would rush home and first watch Soopy Sails then Loyd's show. A couple of special moments I remember is when Simon and Garfunkel was on and that funny voice kept saying Garfunkel aloud while they were singing. I think Garfunkel was not happy with that. Then the time that Roger Miller forgot the words to King of the Road while singing live.

    After the Loyd Thaxton show Walter Cronkite came on and gave us the days body count. Growing up at that time was bitter sweet.

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  4. One of the best things about The LT Show was that it went on live -- no retakes, no splices, no additives. That meant that whatever happened when they were on-air was seen by millions.
    That actually attracted more viewers, since live TV often brought the unexpected. It was more "human", as such.
    That's the way Lloyd wanted it, I'm sure.

    No one could ever doubt that Uncle Walter was the best newscaster in the world, but, fortunately, LL made it a little easier to deal with the news because we still had his show fresh in our minds and ears.

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  5. One more thing: Although Art (Garfunkel) could get aggravated, Roger Miller was a great friend of Uncle Lloyd's and appeared on the show a number of times. He was one of the friendliest and most easygoing performers I ever met.

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  6. You know that Lloyd wrote a column asking people to write his obituary. I didn't quite get it and made a smart alec response. He just wanted to read about what his friends would write about him after his death (which he aparrently knew was iminent). I'm kind of sorry that I did not take that post more seriously, but I'm glad that I had time to share my thoughts with Lloyd over the web.

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  7. I remember the post well, Mike ... in fact, I may run parts of it here, in remembrance, as it's so appropriate.
    Lloyd was diagnosed with multiple myeloma during the Spring of '08, as I remember. Still, he kept smiling and spreading all the good things in life -- not that other "Stuff".
    I don't know if you remember this or not, but, at the end of every episode of Jerry Lewis' short TV show (Jerry was a good friend of LL), he (Jerry) would sing the song "Smile". If ever there would be a TV movie about Lloyd (HEY! I've got an idea! Lemme get back to you on this ...), I'd like to see vignettes from his time on TV, with some personal clips spliced in, and the ending, background music would be that song.
    Now ... I'm heading up to the blogroll (called, appropriately, "Our Favorite Cheeses") to include YOUR blog, partner ...

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  8. I got to have lunch with Lloyd at Art's Deli in Studio City -- just around the corner from where he lived. He'd agree to meet myself and Van Nuys High School 1967 reunion organizer, Marsha Peacher, to discuss out desires to see him do a P.A. at our 40th reunion. We had a nice meal, and heard lots of story's about his live TV program - It was fun telling him about the time myself and my future wife, Vicki, won the dance contest sometime in 1964-65(?) A gentler, kinder time, and LT was part of that time. RIP LT.

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  9. i was a dancer on the show in about 1966. i remember i could not drive... i also was on american bandstand.. great fun.. herman and the hermets were the guests.. "i'am hennery the eight".
    i live away from los angels these days.. but i rmember well

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  10. Lloyd Thaxton & Soupy Sales gave me hope and a ray of sunshine laughter every weekday afternoon. I'm sorry that I never had a chance to tell Lloyd that truth.
    Nick

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  11. I remember well the dance contests and the lip sync contest. One time lloyd recorded his own record and had a contest of who could lip-sync his song. it was the first time i had been on the show and somehow i got elected and somehow won. What a high point of my teen years. I received many prizes but the high point was i got to M.C. the whole show. and of course who was the special guest? Mr Thaxton himself. well it was a wonderful experience( however it would have been better if i could have read the "q" cards correctly) but still a wonderful time in the life of a young man. Thanks for the memories Mr Thaxton Rick Goodgion

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  12. To this day, whenever I meet someone named Jose or Juan, I break into song with my thumb singing.."Jose, he say I'm not a pretty girl. I don't like Jose, I like Juan." I must say that I have gotten several strange looks over the years but, I've long since stopped trying to explain LT's finger puppets. You just had to be there in the early 60's. Always brings an innocent smile to my heart. Funny the things that stick and that become a part of you. Thank you LT forever. Linda-Marie

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  13. I was wondering if the DVD set ever came about or is in the works?

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  14. This show was such a big hit with us when we were teens. I danced on the show once with a group from my high school- Class of 1965. It was a moment that I never forgot.

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  15. It's been exactly two years since we lost Lloyd. I know he was working on a DVD and I guess it never got finished. I watched his show every day that I could. As a teenager then, I marveled at his creative ability to entertain with such a low-budget program. "Low-budget" here is not a criticism, but a compliment. I doubt anyone else could have pulled it off like Uncle Lloyd Thaxton.

    So What? So I miss him, that's what.

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  16. I hope the DVD is still in the works!!

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  17. I hope the dvd is still in the works also. 'was just a kid, but loved watching his show... I know... so what.

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  18. I'll find out where Lloyd's DVD stands and post the results as soon as I can. It should still be in the works -- and released in tribute to him ASAP.
    In the meantime, I'm planning to work up a letter to the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame, submitting LT's name for consideration in a non-performing category.

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  19. Sounds good about the DVD and the letter to the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame. If anyone belongs there the it's Lloyd Thaxton!

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  20. Like many others his name stuck in my head and I happened upon this site. Actually was seeking out the mysterious DVD grail. I too part of the Van Nuys High circa 1967. I get a bit of a glint in my eye thinking of Lloyd and all his wonderful creative antics, truly the best fond memories RIP LT. Roger

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  21. FOR YOU WHO ARE ASKING ABOUT THE DVD: Write me at therockrelic@yahoo.com ... got a special gift for you ...

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  22. I knew Barbara many years ago (DW days) and was fortunate to have met Lloyd. Would love to be in touch with her. Could you pass on the message? Love, Toni

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  23. I'm happy to do so, Toni. Consider it done! And thanks for dropping by ... I hope you'll consider our little hole-in-the-wall (we're Mouses, remember?? lol) a regular stop in your daily reading!

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  24. Hi Toni,

    Post through Chuck Hinson (Rock Relic) on facebook (private message) and give him your contact info.

    Barbara

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  25. It is my birthday, and I am watching the 2006 interview at Canoga Park High School with tears in my eyes. Lloyd Thaxton brought so much happiness to a somewhat turbulent childhood. I grew up in Georgia, and LT had many fans here in the South. I will never forget him.

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  26. Well, HAPPY (belated) BIRTHDAY, MODGIRL!! I hope it was a good one and that you have manymanymanymanyMORE of them, each better than the one before!
    Yes, Uncle Lloyd was TREMENDOUSLY popular in the South (I'm originally from NC, and we ALL watched the show there!). He was certainly one-of-a-kind, and it'd do today's teen music world good to LEARN from him!

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  27. I remember watching. Lloyd Thaxton back on the East coast. So sorry to hear that he is no longer with us. Are any of his old shows still available anywhere?

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  28. I met my wife on the show in 1963 and went on a few more times as a couple. We are still together after all these years and have good memories of of the good times on the show.

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  29. We LOVED Lloyd Thaxton. His sense of humor was so quirky and goofy. I remember when Mel Carter sang a great romantic song about walking in the rain, Lloyd was just off camera on a ladder pouring water over Mel's head. The camera showed us that scene about halfway thru the song, but we were rolling on the floor. He was a funny, funny guy and so clever.

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  30. Was there ever a DVD set released of the LT shows? A big group of friends ditched school in 1965 and went to the show. I wasn't able to go, but I watched the show. I always watched the show after school.

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