Monday, June 30, 2014

The People's Court

Ahhh, what memories ...

Judge Joe Wapner (who, incidentally, turns 95 this November) ran TV's People's Court like a real courtroom.  With the build of a football linebacker, a shock of white hair that made him look so distinguished and, when ticked off, a look that could make a gator back away in fear, he was, to many of us, what a judge should be!

Before he started presiding over the "Court" (which is actually just a set that's made to look like a small-claims courtroom), he served on the bench of the Los Angeles County Superior Court for 18 years (yes, he was once a real judge!).

Now, the kicker of this legendary "courtroom drama" was its beginnings.  Let me quote from the web's great mind-scrubber, Mental Floss: 

"NBC’s idea went something like this: an African-American comedian (preferably Nipsey Russell or Pigmeat Markham) would act as the “judge” in a civil case and toss out some zingers as the details unfolded. During a commercial break, a real judge would coach the comedian on what to say in his verdict, and the comedian would then hand down some comic justice."

They did two pilot "episodes" - one comedic (the Peacock Company's idea), and one with real judge.  The powers-that-were (in 1981) ruled in Wapner's favor. So it's continued to this day, with former NY mayor Ed Koch and Jerry Sheindlin (Judge Judy's husband) and now Marilyn Millen (the first actual Latino to fill the role and actually promoted on-air as the PC's "hot" judge. And, yes, she was a real one, presiding over a Circuit Court in Florida!) in the hotseat.

As I watched a clip of the latest show (or was it Judge Joe?  Or Judge Mathis?  Maybe it was Judge Alex!  There are so many of these - and, often, they're sprinkled with [wouldn't ya know it?] attorney commercials!), I wondered what would happen if we could adapt Congressional hearings, big-company brouhahas and others to these 22-minute bites (with the other eight minutes of the half-hour dedicated to attorney commercials, of course!)?  Then let's introduce a jury to the mix - a call-in jury of average citizens - with the verdicts decided by a tally of votes!

We'd have our internal squabbles handled in a flash - the American people will have decided the fates - and CNN would be out of material to talk about.

Sounds like a good idea, right?  But only if we can get Judge Marilyn to preside ...

Stay tuned ...

By the way:  Didja know that Judge Wapner once dated a girl in high school named Judy Turner?  While the relationship didn't last, she went on to greater things herself - especially when she changed her name to ... Lana Turner!  Or that one of the legal consultants in the early '90s  - and one time host - for the show was a guy named Harvey Levin?  He's now in charge of the entertainment investigative group, TMZ - and is also still an attorney!) 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lloyd Thaxton (two LL's, please)

When I started promoting the return of TMC (not the TV channel), a question that kept popping up was "Why did he (Lloyd) spell his name with two 'LL's?" In fact, though this is a re-post from 1938, I was asked that question again last night at our neighbourhood Wally World (it was preceded by that famous conversation-starter, "Will you please get your @!*& buggy off my foot?").

Well, Llord onlly knows why follks name their llads with doublle LLlls! Llike my llongtime friend Ron Ryan tolld me, though, it's Wellsh in origin. (In case yer wondering and according to my llocall grocer, my own name [Chuck] is apparently cow in origin.)

Now, that photo up there reminds me of one of Uncle Lloyd's famous llip synchs. As you know, the man was an expert at miming the greats (be careful with that word, Chucky; remember: an "ex" is a has-been, and a "spurt" is a drip under pressure. The Chief was neither of those ...).
He'd gone to stage right, and, guitar in hand while sitting on a simple stool, soulfully waded into Bob Dylan's super-long Desolation Row (from his Highway 61 Revisited album. It was about 11 minutes, as I recall ...).
He was a few minutes into "Row" when there was the scheduled two-minute commercial break. Cutting back into the show, and there was Uncle LL ...
still playing the song (now, remember: this was all live-time, so he'd kept going while the camera was off)!
By now, the lights had been cut, old newspaper blew past him (they had a wind machine doing the honors off-camera) ... all set to make it look like everybody'd closed up and gone home!
Not only was the bit hilarious, but it showed that Lloyd knew how to milk the song's length to make it even funnier!

Now, for a couple of readers who wanted to know about Lloyd's work on a show called Funny You Should Ask, I present for your consideration:


Now, remember to invite all the mousies you know to join us every day at the Mouse House ... in honor of Lloyd, good times and great music ... and ...

Stay tuned ...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Great ITCH

We all have them, right?? And they seem to pop up just as we pick up something either heavy, delicate or breakable-when-dropped ...

With all the dances that floated around back in the Sixties (think: Hully-Gully, Mashed Potato, Frug, Twist, Slaussen, Swim, etc.), I'm kind of surprised that nobody came up with one called "The Itch": start with a partner, your hands on your head, then pretend that you have an itch, no arms and need to scratch it!

Naaaah ... it'd be banned by the FCC in a heartbeat! lol

But, seriously: If there was one person who knew how to scratch our itches (attitudinal ones, anyway), it was Uncle Lloyd. And he did it in the best way he knew how:
By being himself!  He never, ever, looked down his nose at any of his fans.  It didn't matter what color, shape, size, gender, affiliation or financial status was - he genuinely and sincerely loved each and every one of them!
Now, I've gotten to know quite a few "stars" over the years and, while most of them are fantastic people, there are some who have a "You're not in our league, you little person!" attitude. Then they go on to their TV or movie roll and pretend they're one of "us".
Those leave my address book as quickly as they came in ....

LLoyd, though, was total sincerity! He reached out to us because he was "one of us". There was no pretention, no condescending attitude ... though he was, by all rights, a star, to his fans he was Lloyd Thaxton, FRIEND!
And a true one at that!

I mentioned "itches". Whenever we had something under our skin, we could talk with Uncle Lloyd -- and, to our initial surprise, he would answer us, whether in his blog or personal email! He co-wrote a book, Stuff Happens (and then you fix it!) with John Alston, and it addressed many of our "itches" in plain, conversational (and often humorous) tones.

With him around, our attitudinal and psychological "itches" didn't stand a chance ...

Stay tuned ... (right now, I have to take that lion back to its cage ...)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Origin of The Clique

Well, somebody had to ask it, and it just happened to be Mousekateer-in-training Josh out of Schennecti ... um, Schenetic ... uh, Great Neck, NY. He wrote in and asked "Why do you call it the 'mouse clique' anyway?"

Well, Josh, the idea (and name) actually came from LL himself. But it started a little differently. Here ... pull up a chair, grab your Fritos and lemme tell you what happened:

You see, Uncle Lloyd had gazillions of fans who (rightfully) loved him. And, let me tell ya, he loved every single one of them back! In fact, he wanted a way to interact with this amazing fan base.

Sooooo, it came to pass that the Great Blog, Spot, smiled upon him, thus he created his own space, appropriately named Lloyd Thaxton, upon the Blog, Spot's, grounds (in other words, he had a blog here in the Blogspot network).

As the mighty webside powers-that-be publicized his name-and-blog, he saw that, from hither and yon (two small towns outside Schenectady Hey! I learned to spell it!!) came fans who read his writes with fervor. Or a soda. And they began to leave "comments", to which he happily replied.

So many came, in fact, that he decided to call them his "Mouse Pack". But, since that was reminiscent of the famed Vegas Rat Pack of Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop and a guy named Sinatra, he changed the name to The Mouse Clique; after all, you got to his site by the click of your computer's mouse, and the fans were fast becoming friends one with another, thus: a clique!

Though Uncle Lloyd left us a few years ago, his story and legacy continues! Since Aunt Barbara (LL's loving wife) gave me her blessings to manage the mouse menagerie, it's been my privilege and absolute honor to keep the Mouse House open for all his fans and friends (with encouragement from the Great Co-Cheeser himself, Gary Belich). Its goal is to not only run stories about LL and his fab Lloyd Thaxton Show but to also touch on other topics, just like he did.

Now that you know, how about going out and telling your friends about this blog, okay?? If you've got an interesting story, thought, remembrance or $20 in unmarked bills, just send them in (just kidding about the twenty, btw. I don't have change. Mouses don't have pockets, remember?) and we'll be glad to print them here.

Stay tuned ...

Friday, June 20, 2014

LOST ... in the SIXTIES??

Picture it: Ashland. 2014.

A balding, bearded writer in his sixties stands at the checkout counter of a local supermarket, making small talk with the cashier while paying for his groceries.  Since a famous DJ had just died, the subject matter turns to names like Dick Clark, Wolfman Jack and a fellow named Lloyd Thaxton.

Suddenly, the writer hears a voice from the back of the line (okay, it was the next customer, but I digress ...).  He says he hasn't heard those names in years, and wonders why the writer doesn't talk about more modern stuff, like iHeart Radio and those "star show" searches on the tube.
He says, "Why do you wanna bring up that stuff?  Man, it's wayyy outdated! You gotta get with the program and forget that old sxxt!"

"Outdated", he said??  OUTDATED??  Man, since when is peace, love, simplicity and wholesome music outdated?  Oh, suuuure - we didn't have fancy "phones" that can take pictures on the one hand and end up stuck in somebody's mouths on the other.  We didn't have "texting" - so we drove carefully and watched where we were going.  Very few of us walked into telephone poles or mall fountains because we were too busy reading some weird gadget!

Sure, we gossiped back then - but it only went as far as a couple of blocks and not plastered all over some "face book" for the whole world to see!  And we could walk down the street or play in our yards without worrying about drug deals, gunfire or neighborhood kids being kidnapped!
Our music was groovy - and we had Lloyd Thaxton bringing it (and a lot of humor - clean humor!) to us every weekday at 5 PM.  Who ya got today?  Dr. Phil??  He isn't funny ... let alone "musical"!  Shoot - even your musical TV channels (like MTV and VH1) have turned to stupid, sexy and rude "reality" shows!

Sex was still a "four-letter" word (wait ... let me count again ... Well, you get the picture ...) for most pre-teens.  Y'know why??  Because, back then, most of us still had respect for the fairer gender!  And we actually had to get up and do something - even if it was just to change channels or fix the rabbit-ears on our TV sets!  (By the way, you never saw Chet and David or Walter Cronkite rattling off a lot of nonsense with a panel of "experts" [and be careful how you use that word!  Remember, an "ex" is a has-been and a "spurt" is a drip under pressure!  CNN, remember that ..].  They reported what they were paid to report: the NEWS!.)

We drank Coke back then.  Meth was the way Yankees pronounced "arithmetic".  A heroin addict was somebody who was hooked on Wonder Woman or Supergirl - and even then they included an 'e' on the word (it still sounded the same). And the closest we came to using that word "twerk" was when daddy'd tell mama, "Honey, I gotta go t'work now!" 

And get this:  When we talked, we actually moved our lips - either on the phone or in person!!  The only time we'd type would be in filling out resumes or doing research papers for school (if we were in college; otherwise, it'd have to be in longhand).

I'm not even gonna go into "prices" here (don't want you to cry and mess up that nice keyboard of yours)!

So don't give me any lip about these "times" being better than the Sixties!  It was a time when, as everyday people, we were at our best!!  And remember: the "baby-boomers" from yesteryear are providing the purchasing power, innovative ideas and philanthropy that's keeping this generation strong!!  We were as we still are: GROOVY!!!

That's it for my little rant.  We'll get back to our norml posts tomorrow, so ...

Stay tuned ...  


Friday, June 13, 2014

I Saw It On Lloyd Thaxton!

Okay, who remembers their first high-school dances?
Let me refresh your memory: the high-school gym, portable record-player, jitters because you didn't know who your teacher was gonna pair you up with??

The year was 1965; the scene, Quail Hollow Junior High School (now they're called "middle" schools, like there's a top and a bottom one somewhere). I entered the Arena of Embarrassment courtesy of my parents, who'd faithfully held the secret that I actually had two left feet. We were told to form a circle around the floor perimeter (which was weird, because the floor layout was rectangular. And these were teachers who told us?!?). Then Mrs. Lotta Wurdz would match each girl with a guy who was totally un-cool so we could commence the dance.

Nowadays, computer dating services do that, don't they?

Now, I already had a girlfriend named Carla, but she couldn't make it to the dance ... so Mrs. Wurdz hooked me up with Modine Farquhar. She wasn't the prettiest girl in school but, at 6'2 and very "sculpted" (think Schwarzenegger), we all respected her ...

After a couple of slow dances during which my aching toes were about to resign my feet, the music changed to Dance, Dance, Dance by The Beach Boys. Suddenly, Modine started wiggling and jumping like she had a squirrel in her britches or something! I asked her (from a distance) what she was doing and she said it was something she made up. Called it the Frugatusi. I asked her (hesitantly. Don't make her mad, Chuckie.  She could be reading this ...) where she'd learned it.

She said, I saw it on Lloyd Thaxton last week. Now, this was before I'd met Uncle Lloyd, but, somehow, I just knew he wouldn't allow that on his show (PS Whenever we watched or talked about his program, we'd only use his name and not The ... Show. We were that comfortable with him!). She'd seen these done individually (the Frug and Watusi) and decided to mix them up to something nonsensical.

Somehow, I had a feeling she belonged in Washington ...

For some reason, though, after her "dance", the clear blue Charlotte skies suddenly produced a torrential rain, and the rest of the event was cancelled. Years later, at an outside gig where I was performing, she was amongst the fans and broke out in that same dance!

Yep.  Started raining again within minutes!

Still, all in all, whilst we all learned a few steps from watchin' the TV teens on Uncle Lloyd's show, I'm just glad she didn't mix the Mashed Potato and Locomotion. But, then again, that's what those slow dances with her became to my feet ... Mashed Motion!

(PS  Because the young lady-in-question has grown to be a lovely and happily-married lady - and her husband has meathooks that could bend a horseshoe while the horse is still wearing them - I've changed her name.  While I wish them well, I also value my life ...)

Stay tuned ...

Saturday, June 7, 2014

FACEBOOKERS, UNITE!

Okay ... let's see a show of hands (one only - you might need to scratch or maneuver your puter mouse with the other): How many of you are already on Facebook® or Twitter®?

They're the phenomenons of the web - the most popular rest stops along this long stretch called the "information superhighway", and more addictive than the most action-packed video game (not that I'd, er, actually know. I'm still hooked on Super Mario 2® ...).
Best of all, it's free (so far)!

Now, we all know that it's where we can send cute pics of kittens or horses, inspirational and funny photos, and let people know the latest goings-on in our lives ("Aunt Modine just burped so loud it rattled our Windows®").
 And most of the entries are positive - designed to bring a smile to the reader, or maybe an "LOL" or even a "ROFLMBO" (I think they're pronounced just as they're written).
They've also helped to solve crimes, find people who are lost, reunite families and loved ones, and build prayer chains to help those who are ill or have lost someone.

That being said ...

we need to unite and hit the powers-that-be (or the IRS. Yeah ... that'll do ...) for a nice tax exemption for those who use the social sites responsibly and to benefit others by sharing needed smiles, helpful hints and bringing them together as a positive community!
(Now, I emphasized the word "responsibly" because there are jerks out there who just want to either cause trouble or brag about causing it.  They deserve nothing - well, maybe a kick in the butt and a ban from the sites, really).

Of course, if they don't want to give us a good exemption, a check would do - one that would be in appreciation for all the good that members try to do. It could be paid into their accounts on a monthly basis with the amount determined by the number of hours they actively spend on these sites.  (Leave the mechanics of this to them.  Being the DC hotshots they are, they're bound to have an app that can do this ...)

After all, you - the caring-and-sharing cross-section of this country who uses one or both sites regularly - are the ones who are pulling America together!!  You share smiles and gladness - inspiration and motivation - laughter and yet also prayerful tears when necessary.  When times are tough, look to the good Lord and, then, to your friends on either of the social sites (btw, if you're on either one of these and need an extra friend, just type in the name of either site, then add /rockrelic to it.  You'll land on my page ... and I'll gladly accept).

Like I said, you're all pulling this country together - in a country that so many are trying to tear apart!

WOULD UNCLE LL BE ON FACEBOOK?  Man, if he were still with us, you'd better believe he would (sure, he'd be 87 now - but he never let age or anything else stand in the way)!  As much as Lloyd Thaxton loved his fans (and people in general), he'd want to share as often as he could!
And, today, it's a wonderful way to keep Lloyd's llegacy allive!

Stay tuned ...




Friday, June 6, 2014

Will The REAL Lloyd Thaxton Please ... SIT DOWN??

This interview first ran in a classic rock blog of mine years ago, then crossed the information superhighway ... where it was hit by a lot of incoming traffic (that's not bad, btw: the goal of EVERY site is to get a lot of "hits"). So, without further ado, here's my interview with Uncle Lloyd (PS He picked out the title ... and this is the full version, which is why it's a little long.):

During the 1960's, THE LLOYD THAXTON SHOW was the favorite spot for thousands of young people throughout the United States. From the Monkees to the "Mashed Potato", Lloyd gave the kids an awesome mix of dance, special musical guest stars - and the great Thaxton humor. When the show left the air, he went on to produce "Fight Back! with David Horowitz", over 200 segments of the Today show, gain five Emmys, and co-write the popular book, "STUFF HAPPENS - and then you fix it!" Just prior to his passing, he was producing a new DVD chronicling his famous teen show. I caught up with Lloyd in May of 2007 and he graciously consented to this interview:

Lloyd, thanks for taking time out for this interview. You've got a lot of fans throughout the country, both of your teen show and of your book, Stuff Happens. First, give us a little background on the real Lloyd Thaxton.

A: Well, my dad was born in Kentucky. I don't know where in Kentucky. I do know that it was on a farm and my dad had to leave school in the eighth grade to work the farm.

A self-educated man, he became the wisest person I have ever known. He was a newspaperman working at the Memphis Press-Scimitar when he met and married my mom. When I was only 18 (months, that is), they dragged me screaming off to Toledo, Ohio. Destination: The Toledo Blade. Some people are born with silver spoons in their mouths. I was born with black ink in my nose. I think it was during that trip that I originated the phrase, "Are we there yet?"

So that's Ohio and Kentucky. Don't know of any family in West Virginia, but two out of three ain't bad.


Q: The Lloyd Thaxton Show debuted, nationally, in 1964 -- and it was a hit with kids all across America. How and when did you get the idea for a teen show?

A: How one gets from one stage of their career to another is a long story, so I'll jump from 1950, when I started staff announcing at WSPD-TV in Toledo, to my 1959 staff announcing job at KCOP Hollywood. KCOP was
developing an ongoing promotion contest that would allow all kinds of small businesses to actually get an ad on TV. With their participation in the promotion, each business was given a 15-second commercial on KCOP. In order to fulfill this obligation, KCOP had to come up with a program that could accommodate all these new commercials. At first they considered a morning show that would consist of nothing BUT commercials. KCOP's reasoning was that no one was watching the station in the morning anyway.

That is, no one but the FCC, with all their pesky little rules (like, you've got to have at least SOME programming). After much determined research, they found out that they could get around this little inconvenience by placing at least 3-minutes of actual programming between each 2-minute commercial break. The hardest question now for the station to solve was to find a program that could be broken up in three minute segments and still make sense. One lead genius in the programming department came up with the bright realization that records were all about three minutes long.
"Let's get Lloyd to do a show. He used to be a disk jockey. Let him play 3-minute records."

A format was born: I would play a 3-minute record, then read 2-minutes of commercials. Then I play another 3-minute record followed by another reading of 2-minutes of commercials. This would continue throughout the live program, one hour a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. I tried to run and hide, but one of the duties of a staff announcer is to do what ever you are told to do and I was told to do, "The Lloyd Thaxton Record Shop." What they couldn't do, however, was tell me what to do while the record was playing? (Program Director: "Lloyd, I told you no one would be watching").

And that's when the real "Lloyd Thaxton" stood up to the challenge. I began to create live music videos. I lip-synced records, I cut out album covers and stuck my lips in place of the artists lips, I created the singing finger-people and learned to fake the piano, the organ, the guitar and my beat-up trumpet and trombone. I made it work.I also interviewed some great Musical guests. Anyone who was plugging a record or album jumped at the chance for the exposure. They talked, I faked their records. I did this show for three years and guess what? The ratings actually started to move up!
People were watching after all. One of them was Jerry Lewis, He became a regular guest and one of the reasons for my growing audience. After two years of "Record Shop," an afternoon slot opened up and I pitched "The Lloyd Thaxton Show." I told the powers that be that I would do exactly what I was doing on the Record Shop but I would be surrounded by teens. I would have them join me in doing the lip-syncs, the playing of instruments, etc. And, they would add a dance element to the mix.

The combination worked. In the first year the ratings became gigantic and in 1964 The Lloyd Thaxton Show was picked up for syndication. I was now nationwide.

Between "The Lloyd Thaxton Record SHOP" and "The Lloyd Thaxton SHOW," I did eight years. Throughout the changeover in 1961, I was doing both shows at the same time. Seven days of "Shop" in the morning and week-ends, and five afternoons of "Show" at 5 o'clock. Twelve one-hour shows a week for the first year. When it all ended in 1967, I had done a grand total of over 2900 shows. It was a great run.


Q: In your opinion, are there positive similarities between today's teens and the kids of the mid-1960s? If so, what would they be?

A: One of the most positive similarities is that the teens of today and the teens of 1960 shared one thing for sure; they were all between the ages of 13 and 20! Seriously, the teen-age years has always been a wonderful and fun time of life. I've had a chance to talk to a lot of teens today and have found they haven't changed that much. Some good, some bad. Same for the 60's; some good, some bad. Truth be known, I would rather do a show with teens than adults any time. Once you earn their respect, you are home free. It was the teen-agers who were on my show that made it the wonderful show it was. They were terrific. I loved everyone of them.
Q: Now, after the show ended, you went on to host other shows, and produced over 200 segments for the Today Show. That NBC show is #1 among morning shows, and is watched faithfully by millions of viewers. What were some of your favorite segments, and how long does it take to get one of those from the drawing board to air-able product?

A: The Today Show represented some of my most favorite TV years. I was producing and directing "Fight Back! with David Horowitz" at NBC in Burbank. It started out local and small but, similar to my experience with The Lloyd Thaxton Show, it grew into a top rated hit, was syndicated, and lasted eighteen years.

One of the reasons for our popularity was what we called "The Commercial Challenge." We did everything from dropping 10-ton wrecking balls on Timex watches to throwing Hefty trash bags out of helicopters. These bits were zany and off the wall (yes we also bounced products off walls) and so exciting to do. Fight Back! delivered a powerful message.

The Today Show producers caught our drift and we were contracted to do a regular one-day-a-week spot. These features were shot all over the country and produced and edited in Burbank. David and I flew to New York every five weeks. We presented one feature live and taped lead-ins and lead-outs with either Bryant Gumbel or Jane Pauley and ran the other four spots on tape. Five weeks later we came back with another batch. We did this for five years. I loved it.

How long to put one together? First the idea had to be created, then researched for accuracy. That took several days. We had a large staff. Usually we would shoot it in about two days and with one day of editing we were off for New York.

Q: You also co-wrote a very successful book called STUFF HAPPENS (and then you fix it)! with John Alston. Give us a little background on the compilation of that book, and why you and John chose that particular subject.

A: I met John after someone pitched one of his presentation tapes to me for a possible TV show.The show didn't happen, but John and I struck up a wonderful friendship. In our conversations we found that, though John grew up in mostly black South Central LA and I grew up in the WASP capital of the world, Toledo Ohio, we had so much in common. We each had similar ups and downs throughout our careers but somehow had always ended on the "up" side. We talked many times about what we had done right. One day I said to John, "Let's write it down." That became the basis for "Stuff Happens (and then you fix it)". The message: It's not what happens to you that's important, it's how you respond to what happens. It's been a wonderful experience for both of us. John is a fantastic speaker and very successful at his trade.
Q: Now, you have a DVD in the works chronicling your famous teen show. Tell us about it.

A: The DVD's called My Name Is Lloyd Thaxton: SO WHAT?? That's the way I'd begin each show: state my name, with the audience yelling the reply you just read. With so many memories, performers and terrific audiences on board, it's hard to pick just the right ones for the finished product. Already, I'm flattered by the number of people who've already written in with advance orders!

Q: Lloyd, if you could pick three specific moments in your television and broadcasting career that stand out as the most memorable, what would they be?

A: That's a tough one. All the moments are memorable. I have been blessed. I have always been happy with my work and it has given me so much enjoyment. Life is good.

I guess I would have to say that one of the most memorable moments in my life was when I was offered my first job out of college. It was as staff Announcer at WSPD-TV right in my own home town. It was a dream come true. Here was a station that I had been listening to all my life and I was actually WORKING THERE!

Number two big moment was the first time I went to New York City after my show went into syndication. Someone on the street came up and asked me for an autograph. It was thrilling to realize that my show was now on in New York City. Wow! BIG time

But, I have to say that the best moment of my life was when I heard my mother introducing me to some one as "This is my son, Lloyd Thaxton."

Note, she didn't say, "This is my son, Lloyd." It was "This is my son, Lloyd THAXTON!" I was so excited and happy that I was able to make my mother that proud of me. To her, I was really somebody. I WAS A CONTENDER!


Lloyd, thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. You've accomplished so much, and brought so many smiles and good vibrations to people, during your career. It's been a total pleasure talking with you.

Thank YOU ... it was MY pleasure!

Let's do a little clarification here: Uncle Lloyd entered the game as a "contender" (as anybody in the entertainment business does) ...
but he left it as a true, 100%, American-made, dyed-in-the-wool WINNER!!

With his inspiration, we saw scores of local teen shows like Charlotte, NC's Kilgo's Kanteen emerge; various acts (some, just emerging) become major "contenders" for the gold (record) due in part to their appearances on his show; thousands more feel better about (and improve) themselves through his (and Alston's) book Stuff Happens. Thanks, in part, to his creativity, we've seen the growing popularity of something called the music video. That's not including everyone who was taught a little about consumer items through his Fight Back! vignettes, or those whose knowledge was enriched by his Today Show segments!

So there you have it - the story of rock-and-roll's "Pied Piper Man": a musical elf-in-a-business-suit with lofty dreams and a never-say-die attitude that made them all come true; a devoted husband and father, DJ, broadcaster, comic, producer, writer and speaker who never let "fame" go to his head.  Instead, he invested all his good fortune in his fans - and, most of all, his lovely wife Barbara and children.
When he left us on Sunday, October 5, 2008, the entertainment world mourned - but nowhere nearly as strongly as did millions of fans around this country.  We realized that, in a world where people are busier fighting than talking things out - where pride takes the place of humility - where humor has been drowned out with serious, often too gloomy, reports, we needed Lloyd Thaxton.  And today we certainly need more people of his character - both in the media and in everyday life.

Now, I've got more coming up in about 24, so ...

stay tuned ...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

NOTES FROM LLOYD

Early on in our friendship - not long after I started my old "Rock Relic" blog - I saw that Uncle Lloyd had been running a popular blog of his own. So I asked him the non-musical question: "What motivated you to start a blog to begin with?" I'd planned to run his response in my monthly newspaper (we had fun with that word, with Lloyd dubbing it a "new Spaper").
Ah, but, due to overhead (I had to type over the cats' heads, which were blocking my monitor) and increased printing costs, the paper "folded" soon after. I hung on to the piece, though, and, shortly after LL left us, printed it in this blog.
It's become the most popular post to date.
So, with the Clique back in full swing, I'm printing it again for your enjoyment:


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."
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So there you have it, Mouskiteers ... and it couldn't've been said any better than that!  Now, if you really want a boss trip down memory lane, his lovely wife, Aunt Barbara, has graciously left his original blog online for your perusing pleasure.  Her last entry points you to the original of this post - but, if you'll click on Lloyd's "archives" links (scroll down a little; it'll be on the right-hand side of the page), you can still move and groove to the mesmerizing messages of our chief Mouser, Lloyd Eugene Thaxton.

Hey, listen! Do you have any vids, .mp3s or memories you'd like to share about the boss? Just send 'em in to chuck.hinson@zoho.com (or leave a comment below; you can be anonymouse if you want) and we'll get 'em on here! Heck ... we'll even pay the postage for ya ...

Stay tuned ...

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

BACK to the FRONT (or something ...)



Okay, so, ummmm, y'see, I ... uh, I got lost on the Slauson cutoff and took the wrong turn in Albuquerque and ... and got a flat tire gettin' back here (had to borrow a kid's Hot Wheels® south of Pascagula) - but I finally made it back ...

Actually, I wanna welcome all you new viewers to the venerable Mouse House, where, for yea long, we'd all sit around, remember Uncle LL and share all kinds of fun stuff just like he did.

Incidentally, it was Lloyd Thaxton who built this barn to begin with - and, when he passed away back in the '08 (and, man, he is still severely missed), the late, great Gary Belich and I (no, Gary's still with us - just called and said he'd be late gettin' here today) kept it maintained and open for bidness.

Remember when John Lennon said, "Life happens when you're busy doing other things"? Well, that kept me away from tapping the keyboard and keeping everybody updated. I took on a couple of other blogs and did something called "work" (because the bill collectors never said "Hey! You write that Mouse House site, so utilities are on us!!")

Then, a couple of days ago, a light bulb went off in my noggin.  I swept up all the pieces and installed a new one, and came up with the plan to consolidate my other blogs rat cheer (I'm Southern, btw ...) at the vMH (read the first line of the second paragraph for decoding those letters)!!

Y'see, Lloyd Thaxton was more than the prancing, precocious "Pied Piper of Pop"; he was my friend, my mentor, and singlehandedly responsible for my printer wearing out after making copies of all the good emails and ideas we shared.  And, quite frankly, I felt embarrassed by not updating this blog like I should.  But, as he told me once when things were looking a little gloomy:  It's never too late for a fresh start!!  And that's what we're gonna do here, beginning now!

Soooo, over the next few days, I'll be closing up the other blog and bringing some of its madness over here - and I hope both of my readers will follow (and, guys, you don't haveta pay me back the five dollars I paid you to read it ...).  But we'll have new posts at least once weekly, and I'll also be reprinting some of your favorite posts about LL and his fab find, The Lloyd Thaxton Show.

Your comments, thoughts, money and pics are gladly accepted, btw.  As you're reading this, consider yourself an honororary Mouser with rights and privileges thereof - including reminiscing about old Sixties times and basically "cutting the cheese" (ummm, wait!!  I ... I guess the "Mouser" thing got to me there for a minute.  Should read "chew the fat" ... )

So, until tomorrow - when I'll be running the most popular post on TMC (Notes From The Chief) and, on Friday, for those who aren't familiar with the Chief (shame on you!), his bio (which came from an interview I did with him in '06) ...

Stay tuned ....