Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Noah Webster Would Be Proud

Who'da thunk it??
During the past couple of days, I've been poring over pictures, emails, books, DVDs and other Thaxtonian material, getting info for the book I'm penning about the Chief. Natch, I've sent feeler emails out to get not just more info but a broader perspective of the man and his impact.
While getting my fingers ready to do a little walking through the yellowed pages of early material, I received an email from someone I didn't send a request to. From a woman named "Christine", the writing read:

"We would all feel so much better in a Thaxtonesque world. Imagine, we would all lip-sync our wars instead of fighting them; we would bring spontaniety back to our lives and finally enjoy them; if stuff happened, we could fix it and not be so grumpy; we could even come out of this recession by putting our own finger people to work for us; and we could learn to say to our troubles, SO WHAT?"

There was more (man, can you see us just "lip-syncing" wars? What a boss idea!!), but who can't dig the word?? I can just see it now:

Thaxtonesque (adj.) a quality whereby one is spontaneous, creative, optimistic, humorous, intuitive and helpful. Ex: "He helped so many smile with his boyish, Thaxtonesque approach to life."

Antonyms: Congressional, Gosselin ...

Uncle Lloyd always dug that pic whenever it showed up on my blog ...
but, over the past couple of days, it's held some special significance for me:

A fantastic songwriter/drummer mate of mine, Peter Dintino, has been fighting leukemia over the past few years. About a year ago, he nearly lost his battle against that devil, but, with the skill of some dynamic doctors at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York, a daughter who stuck with him every step of the way (by now, Lin ought to be a doctor herself!), a prayer-and-thought chain that stretched around the globe, and one tremendous power of belief and optimism in Peter himself, he overcame the worst and went into remission.
A few weeks ago, he ended back in the hospital, and the prognosis seemed to be cloaked in that dreaded word, "IF".
Once again, daughter Lin was there. Again, that prayer/thought chain inched its way around the globe. And, again, there was Pete the fighter -- prying the grip of that demon away from his body. Natch, the docs were all there, working feverishly (no pun intended).
Today, Pete made it home from the hospital!
Last night, before his release, we talked for about half an hour. And I'm proud to say that Peter A. Dintino -- drummer, songwriter, dad, believer, victor -- is our newest Mouser!! Had some great things to say about the boss Boss!
So, whatever you're up against, "Lean wit' it! ROCK wit' it!" And never, ever give up the fight!

Stay tuned ...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

THE RETURN OF A.M. ROCK

If you noticed, we've got a little spot where you can leave your comments at the bottom of each post. Once, Uncle Lloyd and I were discussing "comments" that people leave. He emailed:

"Speaking of comments, I got this nice one from Mike McCann. Mike is a New York DJ, rock music historian and publisher of a Rock Newsletter that goes out to radio stations all over the country. I met Mike while in New York on a book tour:

'Lloyd, your comments on being true to your mission (and ignoring the outside suits whenever possible) ring so very true.
Look at what the broadcast industry has done to oldies radio -- made it blander, tighter, less creative, less quirky and less localized. Oh yeah, also lower rated with smaller ad revenues.
Now, oldies are allegedly dead for traditional radio, while mega-chains Clear Channel and CBS have jock-free but deep playlisted jukeboxes playing on the new HD2 feeds.
I predict those will last, without significant promotion of the programming and availability of affordable receivers, months not years.'
"


Now, I would've agreed with that -- except that "oldies rock" is starting to swing back into the mainstream of radio. A number of the old AM stations are reviving their original formats and playing more of the feel-good rockers of yesteryear.

For example, KLMS 1480 AM in Lincoln, Nebraska, dropped their ESPN-based sports talk format in favor of a return to classic rock ... and all just two weeks before the start of this year's Super Bowl (remember ... they were sports radio!).

The reason? Well, people are wanting to hear the 4/4 sounds that made our feet tap, our bodies move, our lips synch and our attitudes soar! And they want it loud, local and lively, just like we had it back-in-the-day.

Sooooooo, because the big corporate suits have seemed to taken the music, fed it through the HD2s and made it just a big, impersonal playlist without any "hometown" touch; because the revenue is higher and there's a "hometown" support for local AMs, and because ... well, people are just wanting their music back, the AM rock is starting to roll once again!

And, as Martha Stewart would say, "That's a good thing ..."

Stay tuned ...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Thaxton 10, Knicks 1

It's where it all started with me and Uncle LL ...

Back in the early 1980s, I'd worked with Rep. (later Gov.) Jim Martin (R-NC) to draft Congressional resolution HR-205, which called for a "National Children's Day". Our reasoning: We have Mothers' Day, Fathers' Day, Grandparents' Day -- but nothing celebrating their offspring. More about the outcome at the end of this post ...

Anyhoo, I remembered that Beau and John Charles had a little ol' band called The Knickerbockers who'd done a song called Lies (they performed the number on LL's show). A perfect Fab Four knockoff that had many Beatlemaniacs wondering if Lennon had actually jumped the moptop ship, the record's "B"-side was a mondo powerful tune called The Coming Generation.
The song is a wake-up call to every old fogey that they've gotta show some r-e-s-p-e-c-t for young people. After all, as the Knicks sang, "We hold the future in our hands."

Now, the song would've fit perfectly as a promo -- in fact, I'd already lined up producers for a video, as well as a band to do an updated version of the song (remember, this was about two decades-and-change before my work with current UK hitmakers The Fore. )

Finally, a few years later, the Day was on the calendar ... but the promo wasn't! I couldn't get clearance for the song, and remaining Knicks were harder to find than a haystack needle (YEEEEhawww! I've still got some country left in me! Now to perfect that "farmer's blow" and I'll be set ...).
Knowing that Uncle Lloyd had known the band back-in-the-day (I'd been a dyed-in-the-wool fan of the Pied Piper of Pop for years, natch!), I dropped him a line and asked for any 411 on the members.

He didn't know (and, since this was before the age of the great Book of Faces, I searched everywhere but in my Aunt Maybelle's closet for John, Beau or any of 'em (she didn't know, by the way. Said she "had her scruples" ... and, I believe, woulda had mine if I'd checked that closet without permission). Yep. Tried the interweb, too -- until I was Google®-eyed.

Anyhoo, I had no luck. But, in the meantime ...

a very warm and positive friendship developed. One that lasted ... and grew ... until the day that Lloyd found the celestial audience. An inspiration without perspiration, it's to Uncle Lloyd's memory that I dedicate my work in the music bizness.

And, whilst working on the manuscript for a book on the Chief (hey ... I just got an idea [see the light bulb above my ...oh. That's right. I'm writing, so [sigh!] Well, use yer imagination ... Why don't you join in the fun?? See below ...), I realized how much of an impact the man had on people ... and I'm just beginning to scratch the surface.

There. I just scratched. Feel better already. Back to the show ...

If you've got any memories of Lloyd, whether it was of the LTS, Fight Back!, Today, his book or appearances, and wanna share 'em for the book, just send 'em on to therockrelic@yahoo.com.
This includes emails, calls, whatever you'd like to talk about.
FOR ALL LLOYD THAXTON DID ... FOR THE IMPACT THAT HE MADE ON ALL OF US ... TO QUOTE AN OLD ELVIS SONG: DON'TCHA THINK IT'S TIME??


Stay tuned ...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Here's What Happened ...

Mousers, did any of you notice that I had the same posts, different names, back-to-back, until about ... well, three minutes ago?? That's whatcha get for dealing with drafts (and I was a terrible draft dodger. They got me in 1970. Me and the door knob ...)

Anyway, here's the post that should've appeared:

Well, I finally took a weekend off (hey ... we boomers, in the wise words of Elmer Fudd, need a "widdle west an' wewaxation at waaaast", wight?), but it gave me some time to confab with some Thaxtonites around the globe via this interweb thing as well as a coupla-three (okay ... twenty) letters. I mis-counted ...)

From Wayne in Missouri (I don't print full names or addresses unless given permission) by mail: "Mr. Thaxton was a giant in his field. He dared to cross over to other enterprises and brought life to all of us in may ways. RIP"

Then there's this one from Carol in Chi-Town: "I wish we still had the fun and laughter that Lloyd Thaxton gave us. He was my idle when I was young (now, Carol, please tell me that's just misspelled, okay??)"

This one, from JP in Siler City (that's in Nawth Cackalacky, I believe): "Lloyd should have run for president. He would have stopped people from arging and had them lip-sink their words. & the finger people could be his Cabnet". (Hadn't thought of that. Can you imagine people lip-SYNCing their anger instead of actually lashing out at each other?? And I've already heard that the five-digit express [the "finger-people"] would've been smarter than a President's Cabinet. [oddly enough, I was thumbing through a book last night on how to improve your kitchen. When it got to the cabinet, it said "before changing, first remove its drawers."
Ummm ... come to think of it, they can last a few more years as they are, can't they?? Let's (ahem!) move on:])

From Josh in the emails came "I wish I had seen him but I was born in 1981. That period of music history was more exciting than todays. My mom loved watching him and said it did not matter how you felt before watching his show, you always felt better when it was done." (Josh, I'm assuming you mean after each episode, and not when it went off-the-air! But it's true: everybody did feel better! It's just that iniminiminitable Thaxton trait, which he shared until the end.)

Now, in order for us to watch Lloyd weave his musical magic during the week, my bros and I had to agree that we'd all watch Gospel Singing Jubilee with mama and daddy on Sunday morning.
Of course, we tried to beg out of it in some most unusual ways. But my folks, being the sweet people they were, refused to have us euthanized, soooo ... we sat there, our eyes fixed on the rabbit-ears (if any of you are post-cable, that's what we called small, TV-top antennas) rather than the screen.
Until, one Sunday morning, I started laughing until my side hurt ...

A gospel music show, right?? "Gospel", like ... er, "Bible"?? Then why was their main sponsor a cough syrup called ... 666??? I pointed it out to my brothers, and, by the next Sunday, we were all gathered anxiously before the Great Square Box, just waitin' for the show (and its sponsor) to appear.

Mama and Daddy soon withdrew their Sunday morning requirement, and we were free to watch Uncle Lloyd, no strings attached.

Stay tuned ...

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Book of Lloyd

Mousers, get the word out, because the time has COME!

After taking a well-deserved (well, to me, anyway) weekend off (okay ... actually, my PC went down. But "When life hands you a lemon ..." and all that), I'm back at the helm and ready for today's musical question:

But, first, these messages:

As of Saturday, March the whatever-the-day-before-yesterday-was (the mighty dancin' dog, Keiko has the past week in his digestive tract as I speak. And, no, I don't want it back ...), I was working on notes for a book on Uncle Lloyd's life. The working title "SO WHAT?? The story of The Pied Piper of Rock, Lloyd Thaxton".
'Course, that's just the working title. You might have a better title ...

And I'm also mullin' over scripts for a possible televised documentary on LL. In both cases, I've pulled out every file, CD, magazine, clippings, photo and note that I have to make this puppy really howl!!

So, that's where you come in ... (oh, that pic to yer left is Keiko, the brattish boogeyin' bowwow, princess of prance, dancin' fool supreme. Awww, I hadta show her off ...)

I'd like every mouser in or out of the hole right now to send, in a plain brown wrapper and with $25 attached, any (yes, I am joking ... [sigh!] but if you insist ...) experience, story, memory, meeting or other howdy that you had with Lloyd over the years. If you have pics of him with you or you with him or he with me or we all together (I AM (not!) THE WALRUS!!), just send 'em to therockrelic@yahoo.com .

I'll have more on the doc script later ... but, for now, why don't we get this book out, published, on the shelves, and ready to be a #1 New York Times best seller??

Now, I've got a lot more coming up in less than a day's time, so ...

stay tuned.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Oh The Road Again

Now, isn't that nice?
Here, we have a Highway Department who cares enough about us to think we've all just gotten our licenses and don't know a lick about freeways. So they've taken it upon themselves to make it easy for us.
(altogether now:)Awwwwww ...

Over the past few years, I've lived the old Johnny Cash song, I've Been Everywhere. I've seen 'em all (or most of 'em, anyway) on the highways and byways that criss-cross this land of ours like renegade ribbons, and have been privileged to meet quite a few.
But one thing sticks out in my mind about them all: They're all just like me ... you ... and every reader who sticks his head in the Mouse House door!

One stop was at Gurnee Mills Mall just outside Chicago (I think the only one east of L. A. that doesn't have a Wal-Mart® ...). There was an amazing restaurant there called The Rain Forest, and it was propped to look like one! Trees, waterfalls, flora and fauna (or were those my waitresses??) ... everything but the humidity and monkey poop.
And the food was definitely fantabulistic!
But what I was interested in was the conversation going on between two guys and a gal (a '60's group?) near my table (my, my! Wasn't I snoopy??). Guy #1 was talking about his "dark days".
AHA! Gossip!! Great mealtime entertainment ...
so I listened more closely.

I was wrong, and found that out in his next sentence. After their group-snickering and a knowing glance to each other, Guy #2 asked, "Whatever happened to that guy?" To which Girl #Only asked, "Who?" Guy #1, after swallowing part of his salad: "Thaxton. Lloyd Thaxton." Immediately Guy #2 joined him in the famed responsive chorus: "Sooooo WHAT??" And they laughed, leaving the hapless young lady (have you ever seen a lady remembering to bring her "hap"?? Neither have I ...) confused.

He went on to explain about how he loved the show and, eventually, became his town's "resident hippie" (he was from back East somewhere). And those years of protest was what he was referring to, not as "dark days" but as ... his "DAWK" DAYS!

It's amazing that, in a little bitty town like Chicago, where all there is to do is watch the stoplights change, that a young man from "back East" would be affected so much by a little TV character that he'd pattern himself after his hairy hippie doll.

Uncle Lloyd would've been proud ...

Stay tuned ...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What's UP, Doc??


It's just an idea ... but I was thinking (that, in itself, is a first!!): We know that Uncle Lloyd had not only done a boss job on the LT Show, but he'd earned five (count 'em: FIVE) Emmys for his works on Today and Fight Back! And he was a terrific writer as well ..

So why hasn't anyone made a documentary about the man?? Hey ... Depp's gonna do one on Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, so why not do a special on LL? I mean, he was younger than Keef, certainly more handsome. What's that "Richards" guy done, anyway??

If they produced a doc on Uncle Lloyd, you just know the ratings are gonna skyrocket! Now, I'd already mentioned it on the Facebook group (We Remember Lloyd Thaxton. If you subscribe to the Book of Faces, then come on in and join us! Loads of memories and good vibrations floatin' around for the pickin's ...), so I wanted to drop word here as well.

Someone asked, "Why not a movie?" I thanked her and told her to go on without me and ... wait: she was asking why not do a movie on Lloyd Thaxton?
Can you imagine anyone playing the great Head Mouser? It just can't be done, oh ye partakers of the cheese. Who could ever portray an inimitable character like Lloyd? I mean, you'd need the creativity of a John Cameron, the writing ability of a Ken Levine, the humor of a Jerry Lewis, the rock savvy of a John Lennon ... and you'd still fall short by a country mile (which, according to a country mouser in Union County, SC, is actually about a mile-and-a-half, not counting cow pies and silos ...).

Let's face it ... there was only one Lloyd Eugene Thaxton ...
Okay, two ... but one wasn't real (can ya guess which one?? lol)

In all seriousness (ANOTHER first! People, you're looking at history-in-the-making here ...), it'd be a fab idea to get all the clips, interviews, music, pics and put it all together with a dynamite script! Get a solid producer, engineer, sound techy and then sell the bejabbers (hmph ... borrowed one of my own words there) out of it to stations (and, with cable, there are bazillions of 'em out there. And PBS.

Let me get some feedback on this one, okay? We can turn this into a reality on behalf and in honor of Lloyd, can't we??

Stay tuned ...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Thaxton's Greatest Message

For years, we of the Clique-and-beyond looked forward to getting home from work so we could get the latest thoughts from Uncle Lloyd and his blog. Whether we agreed 100% with him on everything or not (and disagreements were rarer than Vitalis™ in a headbanger's dressing room!), we loved every minute we "visited" with him.

Then, of course, we had the Good Book (I mean, Stuff Happens, of course). Between him and John Alston, we felt as though he really was our favorite uncle, showing us better ways to deal with life's challenges.

Yes, there were those of us who remember his segments on both The Today Show and Fight Back! In the latter, he gave us a lotta boss info on all kinds of goodies to make our Wal-Mart® shopping easier (if we'd had the store back then. As far as shopping there -- and with apologies to Clark Howard -- I still have to ask myself "Why??").

It goes without saying that his most memorable achievement to many boomers was The Lloyd Thaxton Show (now, why'd I say that?? Didn't I say it "goes without saying"?? Oh, NOW I remember ... we do have post-boomer mousers on board here). He brought the message of good times and rock-and-roll to our homes every weekday at 5 PM.

But the greatest message that Uncle Lloyd conveyed wasn't in his show, or in his book, or in his other shows.

It was found in the soul and heart that he shared with each and every one of us. When he had something bearing on his mind, or when he really felt great about something, when he was reminiscing -- or even when he was "up against the wall" with cancer -- he was still the epitome of hope, smiles, and an attitude that just grinned a big "Everything's gonna be all right. C'mon ... let's have some fun while we're here ..."

A cautious optimism? Confidence? A habit of being upbeat?? Let's face it: Uncle Lloyd just had a tremendous love of life and all that was in it! And, in his too-short time with us, he tried showing us, through his words and actions, that "Hey ... it isn't gonna BITE ya! ENJOY life!! It really ROCKS!!"

Chief, we're still learning ... but, then again, we had a great teacher ...

stay tuned ...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

When Daylight (Savings Time) Hits

To quote the great Chicago (the band, not the city), "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?"

When the time came to push the big hand up a notch (wait a minute, CH. This is the digital age, remember? Push the button and then another button while you hold the first button and click it once then push the other button to set ...), I couldn't help wondering how it would've worked if I were in a flight from Ashland (we do have an airport. Ask Jeff Foxworthy. He found it once ...) to L. A. at clock-changing time.

Since we're three time zones apart, it'd be two ... no, three ... AM, when the plane leaves the gas station ... er, municipal airport. Now, let's say it's a straight shot no stopping for food or bathroom breaks. We fly through the Central, then Mountain, then finally hit the Pacific Time Zone, three hours later, at ... three in the morning -- right after their changeover!

Let me explain: If we leave at three, and it takes three hours to get there, then, by my watch, it would've been six, right? Okay ... subtract three hours (since they're earlier than our EST) and it'd be ... uh-huh ...)
At least we would've made good time ... after all, making a 3M mile journey in a matter of seconds is no small feat ...

Stay tuned ...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bringing It Back Home ...

I was reading the local snooze news late last night and saw where global box-office figures are up nearly seven percent over last year.

Yes, it seems like "movies" are finally making a comeback, having spent so many years under piles of old DVDs, TiVos, and edited-for-TV movies (don't they always cut out the good parts to make way for commercials??).

But, waitaminnit ...

so many are being shot in Michigan, Chicago, New Orleans and on location in places like India, Pakistan, outer Slobbovia, that it makes you wonder: HEY ... DID Y'ALL FORGET CALIFORNIA??
You know ... the place that made the film industry to begin with?? I'm not knocking those other places but, geez ... give credit where credit's due, right??

Look ... there are many reasons for directors, producers, actors and sound techys to shoot in The Golden State. First of all, it is the movie capital of the world (man, even Bugs Bunny paid tribute to it -- and did such a good job that his star is a popular H'wood stop). Filming is much more cost-effective ... and, by "bringing it back home", you're providing something that everyone from Ahh-nold (sorry ... Governor "Ahhh-nold". Can't be disrespectful!!) to the man-on-the-street has been asking for:

the opportunity for California to get back on its financial feet. You'll be providing needed jobs, and the revenue generated from Golden State films will help rebuild a seriously-sagging economy!

Now, for you Facebookers, here's a group that'll give ya the 411 (FYI, the skinny, whatever. Older folks know it as "information") on it all: Click on your "groups" and add ITS TIME TO SHOOT MOVIES AND TV IN CALIFORNIA AGAIN 2 !!!
C'mon ... join the cause and letcher sweet, innocent and sexy voices be heard!! (okay ... just voices then! But make 'em LOUD!!)

Stay tuned ...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Long and Winding Road

I had just gone in to the local coffeeshop this morning to get a cuppa my regular, caffeinated two-sugars-no-cream joyjuice. You always need two of those to kick-start your day (remember the Relic's motto concerning coffee, kiddies: "The first cup clears the fuzz, the second one brings the buzz.")
And then it happened. AGAIN!
I overheard a young, bespectacled woman whose-name-I-did-not-know-nor-want-to talking with a friend about "boomers". She said: "I don't know what they're trying to prove now. I mean, they did all right in their day, but what useful purpose do they have now??"

What purpose?? To quote the legendary Batman (aka Bruce Wayne, aka Adam West), "Poor, deluded child!"

Yes, we did change a few things back-in-the-day. The same kids who watched or were in the studio for Uncle Lloyd's show also fought for (and succeeded in bringing to pass) civil rights, respect (and voter-age change) for 18-year-olds, women's rights and some little, tiny thing you might've missed: an end to a terrible war!
Oh ... and, according to Tom Brokaw's excellent report, the popularization of blue jeans, without which 99.44% of American teens would be walkin' around nekkid today.

Many of them created bands that influenced the entire spectrum of rock, while others, whose bands didn't quite make the cut, went on to greater things (such as Gary Busey, upper left in photo, of Carp).

Today, those self-same "kids" are still active -- in fact, possibly more than any other generation -- in helping others. Remember Hurricane Katrina? The wildfires of L.A.? The earthquakes of Haiti and Chile?
Guess who was there, lending a hand (often, before the Washington Suits could de-committee themselves to help)?
Uh-huh. The boomers.
And who's making the most noise about ending the wars that are going on in the Middle East?
Yep ...
Oh, and for Ms. Skinnie Minnie at the coffee shop: Ummmm, since she looked to be about thirtyish, guess which generation her folks belonged to? "Now, Miss Minnie, do your biological parents pay, or have they ever paid, any of your bills?" (Gee .. for a moment there, I felt like Perry Mason!)
Case made, right??

So don't knock the boomers, people! One thing that LT said in one of this Relic-targeted, eloquent emails is that (quote) "We're all in this thing together, and there's only one way out. So we've got to pull together and make the best of it ...

Stay tuned ...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mouses R In The House!

Before we really get into this post, I want to share an email I received this morning (by the way, for any of you who've read the earlier post on this: I had mixed up the sequence of these posts, so now it's here ... and there ...).

One of the faithful campers on my Rock, Rhythm & Rimshots blog is also a faithful Thaxtonian! James D. wrote: "I have read about Mr. Thaxton on your blog and am greatful (sic) that his club is back. I watched him when I was a teen-ager and he was like the guys on Whose Line? mixed with Craig (Ferguson) and the Beatles all in one. He had it all together. I want to join the cellebration (sic) of his life by joining the mouse team."

Hey ... who'd argue with that? Welcome aboard, James -- and be sure to tell all your friends, okay??

We'll be back in a minute -- but, first, a word from our sponsor:

Do you worry about unwelcome hackers, slackers and trackers following you when you enter the Mouse House?? Use the secret application that'll stop these creeping, crawling vermin right in their tracks! Introducing the amazing MOUSER'S DOWSER -- now with Secret Ingredient "X":

This amazing invention will stop intruders on a dime* ... so you can enjoy your visit with that "safe and secure" feeling.
(The Clique will extend credit to anyone who does not have a dime readily available. The cat pictured is for promotional purposes only. All cats are welcome in the House as long as they are 'hep' ...)

(ahem!) Now ... let's move on:

A couple of nights ago on NBC Nightly News, there was a segment showing President Obama in his campaign days. He sounded for all the world like a high-strung evangelist when he urged voters to call, visit or "knock on doors" to get the message out.

Well, I thought it'd be a boss idea to include here. Since we have room for everyone who wants to wear the Sacred Mouse Ears, and if we, the faithful Mousies, can do some internet "door-knocking", we can increase this merry little bunch of cheese-munchers and, as LL said, "Spread the word -- not that other 'Stuff'!"
Ya with me, Mouskiteers?? Let's DO it then ... in honor of The Chief!
I'll order more cheese ...

stay tuned ...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Oh, I Wish I Was A Major Oscar Winner ...

It was a great show. So many stars, great costumes, fantastic music ...
but during the commercial break, I flipped away from that movie on the AMC Channel just to see what else was on.
I'd forgotten that the Academy Awards were being handed out Sunday night, and, fortunately, I'd just landed on the right channel at the right time. It'd just started ...

While watching the team of Martin and Baldwin perform at the onset (it sounds like a guitar-piano combination, doesn't it?), I couldn't help wondering what it would've been like if Uncle Lloyd had emceed the show. Mousers, our fearless leader would've probably taken the warm-up spot, ignored the teleprompters and made the whole intro audience-interactive!
No need to worry about timing -- LT was a natural master of that -- and you've just gotta believe that, somewhere during his spots, he'd have his "finger-people" lip-synching the next intros.
LL would've mixed fun with professionalism and, for good measure, added a lot of life to the proceedings.

Now, while there were so many great names on-board for the Big Wins -- names like Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) and Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds) -- the one acceptance speech that oughtta be cast in bronze was the one Mo'Nique gave for her supporting-actress win in Precious. The woman was pure "fire and focus" when she gave it.

Then came the comedy relief of the night, when Elinor Burkett supposedly "Kanyed" the acceptance speech of Roger Ross Williams for Music by Prudence. I first saw a clip of this young lady (I mean Prudence, of course) on a news program about a month ago, and was amazed by her determination (would that we all could learn from her. The human spirit can trump any disability!)

There's been a lot said about that "interruption," so I won't get into it here. But she should've known that, if we're really just given our "fifteen minutes of fame" as Andy Warhol said, then, by interrupting Williams' speech, she gave them both only seven and a half minutes each.

Ahhhh, Hollywood! There's one quick note here, though: I did appreciate the little plug in the "scare" segment (where they showed clips and bytes from the horror flicks). You mean you didn't see him?? The little plug named ... Chucky? Gee ... well,

stay tuned ...

Mouses Are In The House

Before we really get into this post, I want to share an email I received this morning.
One of the faithful campers on my Rock, Rhythm & Rimshots blog is also a faithful Thaxtonian! James D. wrote: "I have read about Mr. Thaxton on your blog and am greatful (sic) that his club is back. I watched him when I was a teen-ager and he was like the guys on Whose Line? mixed with Craig (Ferguson) and the Beatles all in one. He had it all together. I want to join the cellebration (sic) of his life by joining the mouse team."

Hey ... who'd argue with that? Welcome aboard, James -- and be sure to tell all your friends, okay??

We'll be back in a minute -- but, first, a word from our sponsor:

Do you worry about unwelcome hackers, slackers and trackers following you when you enter the Mouse House?? Use the secret application that'll stop these creeping, crawling vermin right in their tracks! Introducing the amazing MOUSER'S DOWSER -- now with Secret Ingredient "X":

This amazing invention will stop intruders on a dime* ... so you can enjoy your visit with that "safe and secure" feeling.
(The Clique will extend credit to anyone who does not have a dime readily available. The cat pictured is for promotional purposes only. All cats are welcome in the House as long as they are 'hep' ...)

(ahem!) Now ... let's move on:

A couple of nights ago on NBC Nightly News, there was a segment showing President Obama in his campaign days. He sounded for all the world like a high-strung evangelist when he urged voters to call, visit or "knock on doors" to get the message out.

Well, I thought it'd be a boss idea to include here. Since we have room for everyone who wants to wear the Sacred Mouse Ears, and if we, the faithful Mousies, can do some internet "door-knocking", we can increase this merry little bunch of cheese-munchers and, as LL said, "Spread the word -- not that other 'Stuff'!"
Ya with me, Mouskiteers?? Let's DO it then ... in honor of The Chief!
I'll order more cheese ...

stay tuned ...

Monday, March 8, 2010

King of MANY Roads

He was King of the Road, all right ...

and, while he and Uncle LL were good friends, there were few people who met him and didn't come away thinking of him as a neighborly family member. One that skates in buffalo herds and changes tires in parakeet cages.
I had the pleasure of meeting Roger Miller twice. He was performing in my hometown of Charlotte, N.C. the first time and, as many fans do when meeting one of their faves upclose, my mind went into "OMG! OMG!" mode (I didn't know it at the time, of course, but that single exclamation was to become the meditative chant used by millions of web chatters one day).

While everybody around him was getting ready for the Coliseum show, I saw him pass and sheepishly yelled out "Mr. Miller?" I thought, for sure, he'd just hurry on past me; after all, he had important stuff to do.
But he stopped, looked over at me, and walked over, smile as big as his home turf of Texas, hand outstretched! "Well, hey! How are you?"
I introduced myself and asked him how he'd created all those amazingly funny songs he performed. I remember his words exactly: "Well, Chuck, they ain't all funny, but, once in awhile, one slips out and ..." at that moment, somebody interrupted and he disappeared into a "restricted" area of the cavernous venue.

Man, I didn't even get his autograph!

SCENE II: A couple of years later, at an outside country show in Tennessee, I'd begun mingling with the crowd when I heard someone holler out, "Hey, Chuck!" Had to be somebody else, I figured; after all, I was from Carolina. Nobody knew me in The Volunteer State, and I wasn't about to "volunteer" myself to a stranger.
Then somebody touched me on the arm and asked, "You named 'Chuck'?" I sheepishly affirmed it and waited for the handcuffs. Instead, he looked over and pointed at a guy near the stage, signing autographs.

It was Roger.

Of all the people he'd come in contact with over the preceding 730+ days, he remembered me!
But that's what Roger Miller was all about. Easy-going, sometimes aloof, always "down-home". It was no wonder he and Lloyd were such good friends! Birds of a feather, and all that ...

He left us way too soon, just as the Chief did. When I heard the news on WSOC (Channel 9) in Charlotte that late October night in 1992, I thought "they've gotta be kidding! Maybe it's the wrong Roger ..."

Sadly, it wasn't ... and the world lost a little of its smile that day. Personally, I felt like I'd lost a friend ...
someone who remembered me ...

Stay tuned ...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The THAXTON EFFECT (Pt. 2)

In January, 2003, a neat little book hit the market. From a distance (without glasses), looked like just another self-help novel, wrapped in a cheery red-on-white cover.

Then, as you got closer, you saw the authors' names at the bottom -- and just knew that this wasn't going to be just any book. It had ... Lloyd Thaxton as a co-writer!
I'd already gotten a copy of Stuff Happens (full name: "Stuff Happens (and then you fix it!") 9 Reality Rules to Steer Your Life Back in the Right Direction" See, they still had some blank space on the cover ...) and within a few months it was already worn out. Not only did I read it from cover to cover but took notes, shared it with friends, then got on the interweb and told others about it!
Anyway, it was so worn-out that Uncle Lloyd sent me a brand new, autographed copy -- and now its pages are getting dog-eared (nothing against dogs, by the way. If they're reading this, they'll understand ...).
It's a mix of some great inspiration and ideas and that inimitable Thaxton style of writing (he always wrote like he talked-- in such a casual, upbeat, positive style, as if the reader/listener were his closest friend). My favorite sections? To Change Your Life (Change Your Mind) and Choose: The Power to Choose Comes From Within immediately come to mind ...
Now, if I were to count the number of people he and John (Alston, co-writer) helped through this book, we'd be here for the next year or two, at least. I toldja the man really knew how to make a positive impact.

Lloyd Thaxton, the blogger, was no different from LT the teen host, producer or writer. He was personable, alive with ideas, witty, and completely, 100% authentic (a quality rarely seen in personal pages these days).
Now, if you have a blog or site, you'll know there's a page editor called a WYSIWYG, meaning What You See Is What You Get. In other words, "the real deal".
That was Lloyd. What we "saw" on our monitor screen was the actual, bonafide man himself. No additives, no artificial color or flavor. And each of his posts were actually riveting. Not only was the man an excellent word-weaver, but each entry was so interesting that we couldn't wait to see what he'd write next!
He was a true friend to all his readers (again, the impact!), and told me once that, if one had a problem, loss or worry, he felt it. He'd even make a point to personally email some of them, as well. Talk about an authentic heart ... Uncle Lloyd had it ...

Soon, the Chief decided to make even more of his growing blog ("growing". As in "leaps and (no)bound(arie)s") by introducing a unique and fun webside kaffeklatsche we eventually called The Mouse Clique (in honor, I worked up that little logo you saw at the top of this segment).
Here's what Lloyd said in an email from April 2, 2006:

"I want to keep the dialogue going. Though there are already
4,567,532,936,001 bloggers on the web. I've decided to make it
4,567,532,936,002 by starting up my own exclusive group. Based on 'The
Frank Sinatra-Dean Martin-Sammy Davis Jr, RAT PACK' of the 60s, I've
named my little ensemble 'The Lloyd Thaxton MOUSE PACK'"


A little later, he figured, out of respect for Frank, Dean, Sammy, Peter and Joey, he'd rename our little confab "The Mouse Clique" instead. Besides, what do you do but click a mouse, right? (provided it's the computer type. Otherwise, it can get messy ...)
And many came, from near and far, to hear the words of the wise one. Then they'd stop by the Clique and enjoy themselves ...
Today, it's an honor to continue the Mouse Clique in Uncle Lloyd's memory. As Cliquers begin to return to the fold (and tell others about the blog! From social groups and email addresses to MySpace to Twitter and Facebook, send out the invites, mousers!), we can keep Lloyd's words, thoughts and persona alive for many clicks (not "-ques". That's ours!) to come!
A special thanks to the lovely Barbara Thaxton and my main man Gary Belich for their help and inspiration in getting TMC online.
Lloyd Thaxton was more than a friend, more than a writer, more than a producer or TV host.
Thaxton ... was a man who had more positive IMPACT than we ever imagined! And the world's all the better for it ...

Stay tuned ...

Friday, March 5, 2010

The THAXTON EFFECT (Pt. 1)


Awwww ... who wouldn't just love to have that little, streetwise kid come stay with you?
Of course, it was just Uncle Lloyd, dressed to the nines (okay ... to the threes, then) and on calloused knees, cutting up as always.
And it was that type of zaniness, combined with the most awesome emceeing in teen showdom, that won everybody -- from studio to TV and radio audiences -- over.

Recently, I did a little snoopin ... er, researching around and found something that doesn't really surprise any of us long-time fans and friends (but it might to some of the newbies who read this): Lloyd Thaxton has had a tremendous impact on our society -- then and now!!

Okay, the Show was one -- and, if you wanna know how impactive, let me share a comment received by Mouskiteer David just today:
"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."


The bold type was mine, mousers -- but the words and soul of that note was strictly David's.

Here's an article from Met News. It just brings it home a little more ...



That "fearless fun" took TV to new limits with the 200 segments he produced for the Today Show from 1985 to 2008 (check out his IMDb profile for more on his accomplishments) and Fight Back! with David Horowitz, a consumer-oriented show that included legendary wrestler Prof. Toru Tanaka testing Timex watches!

So many of us made our shopping choices and learned a lot thanks to LL's superb productions -- and we're still applying them today! It made us a bit more consumer-conscious ..

But Lloyd wasn't done yet:

He turned millions of kids on to reading the teen magazines, rather than just watching the tube! His Tiger Beat!® magazine kept everyone up-to-date on the teen idols of the day, and was chock-full of interviews, insider stuff and, of course, those dreamy pics!
I believe the first part of that pic was the Chief's second issue. The other half of the photo is of Tiger Beat! today. Between us, mousers, it's not even close to Lloyd's quality writeup! Mostly, you've just got glossy pages full of photos and a few words scattered throughout. Definitely not the original's style ...

Now, I haven't begun to touch on one book that Lloyd, along with his friend and colleague John Alston, put together. I'll get to that in the next post (strangely enough, called "Pt. 2"!). But it was/is that book that changed/is changing thought patterns and improving lives around the world! So ...

stay tuned.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

But Where Are They Now??

Let's face it, Mousers: some bands make it, some don't ...

and, while Uncle Lloyd gave plenty of exposure to some of the day's top bands, it was no guarantee they'd make as big a splash as The Beatles, beards and boppers of that "British Invasion." In fact (and although they never made it to the guestlist of Thaxton's show), there's only one member of that band up there (known as Chameleon Church) who actually broke through the ranks and hit the proverbial jackpot! And it wasn't as a musician ...

It was the drummer -- a chap named Chevy Chase.

The point is (as the point was, as the point will be. Wait -- what was the point again?? Oh ... I remember now ...) that our generation influenced everything from great comedy (Chase) to great politics (okay, it's a stretch, but let's go with it for now ...) like Reps. John Hall [guitarist, Orleans . Remember [You're] Still the One?) and the late Sonny Bono, to movie dudes like Billy Bob Thornton and Tommy Chong (of Cheech and ...). They all cut their public teeth on the music!! Remember when I mentioned how baby-boomers seem to be "snubbed" these days (readallabouddit here)?
Well, courtesy our gee-tar slingin', longhair generation, seems we're still making a noticeable impact on society! Whether it's in the music or in the Capitol rotunda, you just can't get away from us!
And you never will ... (maniacal laughter follows while, in background of our dark cave-of-a-laboratory, volatile chemicals bubble and steam in vials ... who knows what we have planned next??)

Here are some shots of bands that didn't quite make the national cut back in the day ... but ... there's ... someone ... we ... know ... in these groups. Can you figure it out??
First, there's Tico and The Triumphs. Together, these kids had a great act -- but Tico, himself, had a very unique style about him (he's the dude at the top).

Why, you could almost call it ... the sounds of silence! (awww, do I haveta spell out his real name for ya??)

The country-rock of a little band called CARP admittedly didn't thrill a lot of fans.

But their drummer (left rear in pic. I mean, he's on the left, in the back row. When finished, his rear left with him ...) did okay for himself. Though a little gonzo now, he would've gotten Buddy Holly's respect a few years ago (c'mon ... guess the acto ... er, guy ...)

Now, Mouskiteers if ya don't get this one right, ya get the required 40 with a wet noodle!
Though both Bobby Taylor and his Vancouvers enjoyed limited success, can you imagine what coulda happened to the band if they'd gotten a gig on Uncle Lloyd's show?
Especially that ... that guitarist on the left (in the pic). I ... I can't ... quite make out the features, man! It's like my vision's kinda covered with a purple haze or something ...

Was that too subtle??

Stay tuned ....

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Oh, What A Feeling ...

He was my own little DAWK® ...

Actually, I bought this little number for my son, Mike, on his tenth birthday. The kid was wild about the Star Wars phenomenonemoennon and just had to have one of the little green dudes. Little did I know that I'd grow up to look like that character (minus the green skin. I stopped smoking ...)!
But, upon hitting the local toy supermarket and finding this much-in-demand squirt, I thought of Uncle Lloyd's famed mini-protester and figured, "One day, Mike'll be allll grown up ... and this little gem's gonna be MIIIIIIINE!HAHAHAHAHAAA!!"

Or so I thought ...

Years later, when Mike had discovered girls and turned sixteen (I'm not sure which came first), he hit me up with the same request. But, for some reason, the name had changed: gone was the Toy Yoda, the little Gremlin character from SW (a toy Yoda/Gremlin? Don't they call that a hybrid now??). The second "Y" was dropped, the "d" turned into a "t", it grew four wheels and a V6 engine, and was wayyyyy more expensive.
Yup ... he got it. And I've got my little DAWK® wannabe.

Guess which one's gonna be recalled??



Now, this little dude was the main-eventer in rock dolldom! Let's face it ... he (it ... was a "he", wasn't it?? Never bothered to check ...) actually epitomized everything about Uncle LL, his fans -- and, really, our generation in general: Lively, outspoken, a little rebellious/a little impish, cute-as-a-bug's-ear.
WE INTERRUPT OUR REGULARLY-SCHEDULED MADNESS FOR AN E-MAIL UPDATE: Dateline: RockVille -- We received word no less than two minutes ago that one reader considers baby-boomers too old to act like a bunch of (quote), "overexcited teenagers on, as you said in your last post, 'Gerital'"!
Ummm, careful with how you spell that last word, pardner! You came mighty close to ... well, it sounded like you were spellin' something else.
Mr. Fancy Pants continued, "At your age, you are all dichotomies."
Dichotomies?? The first time I read and tried to pronounce that word (I was 14), I thought it meant "gerital replacement surgery"! Yes, I'm much wiser now ...

Look: You can't tell what we, as boomers (including a few pre- and some pro-), have by just looking at us anymore than you can tell the value of a gift by looking at the box it came in.
What Lloyd Thaxton did was plant a few seeds of inspiration, happiness and hope within us. He knew how to push just the right buttons to get our creative engines started. His zaniness influenced our own attitudes. We felt that we really had a friend there on the screen -- and we did!
We carry that -- and memories of him -- inside us ... and we're all the richer for it.
So it shows up during those 1440 minutes of every day. After the bill-paying, timeclock-punching, drivetime madness of everyday life, we deserve the break that remembering Lloyd Thaxton gives us! Unlike you, Mr. Poison Pen, he really cared and appreciated us!
Okay, so we, in our minds, still have the liveliness we felt as "overexcited teenagers". To borrow from a very familiar phrase: "SOOOOOO WHAT??"

Stay tuned ...

Thaxton To The Rescue ...

You could always count on Lloyd to make a great show, even if things ... well, didn't exactly go as planned.

Remember the band called The Five Americans? Though best known for their hit "Western Union" (History 101: This was a company that delivered what was called "telegrams" back in olden days. Sort of an like an email, but without a computer. See this post to view a rare one ...), their first charter was called "I See The Light" (not to be confused with "I See The Light" by The Music Explosion, Cat Stevens' "I Think I See The Light" or "I Saw The Light" by Hank Williams).
Anyway ... the band showed up for their appearance on the show, sans their instruments, which hadn't arrived yet! So Lloyd and staff quickly rounded up some guitars and a drumkit -- and, by the time TFA's spot came, they were ready.
After they performed, Lloyd leveled with the audience about the instruments (whether on set or at home, they could always count on LL being upfront with them).


Now, The Byrds were a different story. When they appeared to perform I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better, their intention was to play live and LOUD!! (By the way, ... Better was the "B" side of All I Really Want To Do. That song was released at the same time as Sonny and Cher's version and, since the DJs thought the duo's take would get more play, they flipped The Byrd on their rendition and promoted their "B" side instead.)

Now, I'll have a separate post on that incident, but I'll go ahead and give you the punch line now: Had Lloyd and his production crew not gone into overdrive when the band played a little "dirty pool" with their amps, there's a possibility that at least a few of us would just now be getting our hearing restored!

HERE'S UNCLE LLOYD at a surprise visit to the Canoga Park High School Class of '66 forty year reunion in Studio City, CA Since the embed link is disabled, you can catch it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuYBeV6gsoY.

Stay tuned ...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Take My Advice ... Please!!


It's a play on the old Henny Youngman joke from years ago, but, in a way, the wordplay isn't that far off ...

Y'see, Lloyd was a big believer in people-potential ... and was particularly proud of the baby-boomer generation. The teens who danced their frugs and watusis on his show were of the very same class that brought equal rights, more understanding and even stopped a terrible war (and don't hand me that line that a government did it; it was the overwhelming voice of the youth ...).

Now here it is, decades later. Those kids have turned from solo acts to parents to grandparents. They're tax-payin', bill-juggling, hardworkin' sons-of-a-gun who are trying to make a decent life for themselves and their families ...

and they still have a voice!!

Unfortunately, it seems the suits in Washington (and all the way down to the local yokels) think that, now, we're too old to complain about the newest war, latest scandal or biggest deficit. They certainly don't think we can do anything about it anymore. In their ways of thinking, we ought to just sit back, enjoy our Geritol and re-runs of "The Andy Griffith Show" (btw, love that program!).

But there's one guy who never, ever let this "age" nonsense get in the way of this thing called "life". He was active on so many levels, and had such influence (I think the kids today call it "stroke") that, over a year after his passing, he's still touching lives and hearts around the known world. If your name begins or ends with a consonant or vowel, you know who I'm talkin' about:


It's all in how you see us. I mean, look at Uncle Lloyd in those two pics. Yes, they're 40 years apart. Sure, he got a little grayer. But, man, look at his face ... it exuded life ... joy ... hope!! You just knew that Lloyd Thaxton was still the same optimistic, witty and creative person that inhabited the set of his show way back then.
In other words, he still "had it" (whatever "it" was, he definitely had it in spades ...).

And so do many of us! Just because there's some crazy new number that each year tacks onto our age doesn't mean we've got to give up the spunk and spark that we had back when we were young.
And we know how to handle a lot of the "Stuff" that goes on in our country right now. We know the game, because we've been there, played that . We have ideas that work ...

So the Washington bureaucrats (notice the last three letters of the word?? Might as well take out the "c" from it, 'cause many of those rats can't "c", right?? That leaves "bureaurats". And what would you do if you found rats in your bureau drawers?? Uh-huh ...) better take notice: If they wanna get some good insight on how to handle the troubles this old world is facing, just let them ASK US!

I'm reminded of what Uncle LL said in one of his blog posts:

"You baby boomers were the greatest. Yet no body seems to want your advice on what is wrong with the world today. But, you can be thankful that you were there and done that. No one can take that away. You can be proud that you ran a good ship. Hopefully, the young people of the world will wake up and be true to their age, as much as you are being true to yours. You are still the greatest."

Stay tuned ...

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Tonight Show with ... Lloyd Thaxton?


The "new" Tonight Show made its return last night, and faithful fans are expecting Jay Leno to pull it back to the top of the ratings pile. Of course, for many of us mouses, the show will always be synonymous with the late Johnny Carson. After all, they went together like "Maxwell" and "House" (two sugars, one cream, please ...)

But, if you remember, Johnny had his share of guest hosts over the years (in fact, Leno was one of them). But there was one dude who, as Terry (Marlon Brando) said in "On The Waterfront", "coulda been a con-TEN-duh!".

That, Mouskiteers, was our Uncle Lloyd, circa 1965. Here's the telegram his manager, Alan Bernard, received:


By the way, David Tebet was the producer who recruited Johnny to take Jack Paar's place on the show. He became VP of Carson's production company.

Anyhoo, for reasons known only to Murphy (who wrote a pretty good law), somehow the word didn't get to Lloyd, soooooo ...
two weeks later, Alan got this little ditty, thanks to the Western Onion:


Now, I don't know what happened; he didn't know what happened. But it happened. And, as you know, Stuff Happens and not always buy the book (didja catch the subliminal pitch there? "Buy the book"? It's ... okay, I'll continue ...)

But can you imagine what the show would've been like, had Uncle Lloyd assumed the throne for just one night? With his zaniness, plus his bonafide interest in anyone he interviewed, it woulda been a hit -- and Johnny could've found a new permanent guest-host! And, eventually, we could've been seeing The Tonight Show with Lloyd Thaxton instead of Jay Leno!

His own show was a tremendous hit, as was Uncle Lloyd's mag, Tiger Beat! (I'm lookin' at a 1966 copy he sent me as I write this). More about that in a future post.
Gettin' back to his show: I received an email from a lady in my old tromping ground of Charlotte, N. C. who said her son, Tony, always hung out with his buddies after school -- until The Lloyd Thaxton Show made its debut. Then she couldn't get rid of him between five and six in the evening.
No problem, Mrs. R. Some moms still prefer their Tony home permanent ...

More coming up ... so, as LL usedta say, stay tuned ...