Stories and insight in the world of showbiz and beyond.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU, BABY ... BOOMER

I experience a strange phenomenon whenever I hear from fans after 40 years. Most of this contact has been by email. After so many years, I can’t stop seeing these fans today as still being teen-agers. When a fan tells me he or she is now over 50, it’s just … too unreal.

I imagine long-time schoolteachers must go through this. Hearing from a former student 40 years later who is doing well must give them great satisfaction. It certainly does that for me.

I like to think of my 60s TV show as a classroom which met five days a week for six years. The subject: “How to Enjoy Life and Music Appreciation.” A typical class had between 30 to 40 teens each day, which over the years added up to more than 40,000 students. That doesn’t even count the millions who were taking the course each day on TV (home schooling?). My students were intelligent, well behaved, well dressed, full of life, and most of all, big dreamers.

It’s unfortunate that when many people think of the teen-agers of the 60s, they only remember all those flower children who touted free sex, wore long hair, took drugs, forced us to listen to rock and roll and marched in all those noisy protest marches.

Do you know why they were called “Flower Children?” They had the audacity to suggest it is far better to put a daisy in a gun barrel than a bullet. They sure got that right.

To tell the truth, I learned more from my students then they ever learned from me. I learned that if I always respected them, they would always respect me; A good lesson for everyone.

They were always so eager to learn and were never afraid to act. They saw injustices in the world, i.e., Vietnam, segregation, and set out to make America a better place. And, they succeeded.

I’m telling you all this now because my graduates have now reached into their 50s.
They have fallen out of the “loop;” the desired TV demographic of the 18 to 49 years-old desperate housewife. The message being is that they are now too old to be courted, respected or listened to in really important matters.

Wrong, Kemosabe! This is the group that gave us peace and prosperity for over 40 years. They brought the end to segregation, stopped a bad war, liberated women, and gave us the best music that money can buy. With today’s life expectancy figures, this prolific group still has close to 40 more years. Like the Energizer Bunny, they just keep on going and going. And, as far as that 18-49 product buying demographic, they have more money to spend than ANYBODY!

I’ve always figured that I’ve been the luckiest person in the world to have met all these wonderful people. Luck, according to the Roman dramatist Seneca, is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. How lucky I was to have been so prepared.

Here’s looking at you, baby … Boomer.

13 Comments:

Blogger Gary said...

The true "boomer" was Mike Smith, lead singer of the DC5. Now THAT guy could sing! WHAT A VOICE!
As for us baby boomers, we may be getting older, but we CERTAINLY have better taste in music than the kids of today have.
It's funny how they think everything in today's music is so original........HA! James Brown did rap YEARS before what is known as rap today. The moonwalk? I have a video of Ronnie Hawkins doing the moonwalk 25 years BEFORE Mikey. We won't even talk about AC/DC's Angus doing the duckwalk, etc. Fact is OUR GENERATION did it first.......and best! Including MUSIC TV SHOWS! THANKS LLOYD!
Gary

4:11 PM

 
Blogger jtbwriter said...

Thanks for the sound bite-
"Who cares?"-I do! I loved the combination of humor and music you had-and the wink and a nod toward
the folkie movement isn't forgotten either!

Thanks for reminding everyone what the tag "flower children" really meant-would that this generation would repeat their goal of peace and caring about our men and women who don't want to be sent home in pieces for the cost of a barrel of
oil!

7:47 PM

 
Blogger THE ROCK RELIC said...

LT, what you wrote was a REAL shot-in-the-arm to EVERY babyboomer on the dial! NOBODY could've said it better than you, and it's something that oughtta be heard in EVERY genre. THIS is ONE piece I'd like to see in a certain upcoming Spaper. May I?
Thanks for the WONDERFUL write-up, my friend. Of course, the engines that pumped our generation were fueled by the likes of YOU! I speak for all of us, I'm sure: THANK GOD AND ROCK'N ROLL FOR LLOYD THAXTON!! ROCK ON, MY FRIEND ... ROCK ON ...

9:27 PM

 
Blogger EV Rider said...

In the song lyrics and social commentary of Jackson Browne's famous song from yesteryear, The Road & The Sky:
"When we come to place where the road and the sky collide
Throw me over the edge and let my spirit glide
They told me I was going to have to work for a living
But all I want to do is ride
I don’t care where we’re going from here
Honey, you decide

Well I spend my time at the bottom of a wishing well
And I can hear my dreams singing clear as a bell
I used to know where they ended and the world began
But now it’s getting hard to tell
I could be just around the corner from heaven or a mile from hell

I’m just rolling away from yesterday
Behind a wheel of a stolen chevrolet
I’m going to get a little higher
And see if I can hot-wire reality

Now can you see those dark clouds gathering up ahead?
They’re going to wash this planet clean like the Bible said
Now you can hold on steady and try to be ready
But everybody’s gonna get wet
Don’t think it won’t happen just because it hasn’t happened yet

I’m just rolling away from yesterday
Behind the wheel of a stolen chevrolet
I’m going to get a little higher
And see if I can hot-wire reality"

5:39 AM

 
Blogger rogercarroll said...

Lloyd I need your e mail address ck my address at LARadio.com

7:13 AM

 
Blogger rogercarroll said...

Lloyd...would like to send an e-mail need your address..
rckcr@yahoo.com roger carroll

7:15 AM

 
Anonymous Ted David said...

I could not agree with you more Lloyd. But we have people who tell us that we boomers are hard sells. That Mad. Ave doesn't or cannot sell our demo because we are ostensibly rigid in our ways and not willing to change buying habits as a result of commericals and print ads. I disagree, of course, but this is the argument I get time and time again. Your thoughts?

Ted David
CNBC
ted.david@nbc.com

7:46 AM

 
Blogger mel phillips said...

Hi Lloyd,

I've been an admirer of yours ever since I saw your first show in 1965 and still have these images of you in viking gear lip-synching "Cara Mia". I just discovered your blog thanks to Mike McCann. I too have an entertainment blog which I hope you'll check out and invite others to do so. Keep up your highly informative blog and keep those LLoyd Thaxton memories coming. Best, Mel Phillips (http://melphillips.blogspot.com

12:18 PM

 
Anonymous Howard Kaylan said...

I beg to disagree, Lloyd.
I still sing lead with the Turtles and we do between thirty and sixty concerts a year. The first TV show that we ever did was yours and believe me, we were and still are the students. You were the best teacher I ever had and I truly believe that you were in large part responsible for the sense of humor that has kept me going in this business, lo these forty-odd years.
Kudos to you, sir. Wonderful to have you on the internet.

Howard Kaylan
The Turtles

7:19 PM

 
Blogger Lloyd Thaxton said...

I love this blog and I love hearing from fans. Roger Carroll, top LA radio persolnality and big time TV voice, sent me some pictures of when he first started in radio. 17 years old. Wow. Reminded me of me. However, I don't think I was ever that young.

To Ted David who asked about my thoughts on commercial demographics, I can only say they were good for me when I had my show. The fact that I was #1 in the 18 to 39 year old demographic was the reason my show went into national syndication. I guess it is just time now for the younger guys to get their chance.

To Mel Phillips. I have a picture of me doing "Cara Mia" in full viking gear. I'm thinking of adding pictures to this blog of shots from my show. What do you think?

And now to Howard Kaylan of the Turtles. The Turtles was one of my favorite groups. I did a special about ten years after my show went off the air and my guests were Flo and Eddie. I loved these guys and it is so great to hear from Howard. A real funny guy. Thanks for the nice words.

Keep those cards and letter coming.

9:06 AM

 
Blogger Gary said...

I've seen the Turtles w/Flo & Eddie in concert a few years back and it was THE funnest show I've ever seen. Mark and Howard know what the people want in a show and they deliver the goods! I wish I was able to meet them after the show.....maybe next time, eh Howard?
And to Lloyd, YES.......adding pictures to the blog would be GREAT! BRING 'EM ON! (along with the dvd!)
Gary
PS
It's funny, the word verification for me for this post is "ptuty".....isn't that pronounced "patootie"? HA HA HA

1:37 PM

 
Anonymous John C. Baker - jbaker8809@cs.com said...

Lloyd, your Baby Boomer comments were passed on to me by a friend who was station manager at a NYC/Philly metro are rock FM station in the 70s where I produced programming. Both of us are boomers, and were (and still are) intimately involved in the music business, he as the editor of M-Street Radio, myself as a producer/engineer of classical music CDs as well as sound systems and design for festivals, etc. That said, what has always stuck with me about our generation was how eclectic we are, and you have confirmed this. The current teen generation is starved for the kinds of exxperiences we had and the emotions we grew up with. Borught home recently when I did souind design for a high school production of Grease mwith 25+ body mics, 17 mics in the pit, etc., BUT, as an added feature put together a pre-show CD which ran in the house and the lobby for an hour before the shows of "my" (read "our") music, from 1957-1963. The students' parents and the students themsevles reaction was SO excited about hearing that music, those "golden oldies" and had so many qwuestions about the times and the life of teens through college of that time that I am now in the process of putting together a syllabus for that school to be part of their AP American History program called "The Boomer Era." I put myself through college as a rock jock, but because of the times, had experiences I never knew until now were that valuable: singing bass in a mixed chorus under the baton of Eric Leinsdorf and the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Boston's Symphony Hall, seeing the Beatles live at Atlantic City Convention Hall, spending an entire day with Dr. Martin Luther King, the guest of the headmaster of my New England prep school, earning an extremely low lottery number for the draft but already accepted and subsequntly going into the Navy through OCS to serve on ships while both of my college roommates went into the Army, one as a platoon leader in Viet Nam. His letters stay with me until this day. We kenw that we could then and have now changed the world, from an admittedly simpler time and perspective on life, but we boomers have much to offer today's students who seem to need and want direction and discipline, to have their eyes opened to a world outside their I-pods and the ever-bigger and now high definition boob tube. I have taken some fo today's "pop" music and played it side by side with "our" music at workshops, and students right away notice the technical change, lyrics and voices "out front" back in our time, and now imbedded in supercompressed instrumental/electronic accompaniment for which one needs to read the booklet to understand the lyrics being "sung." I am not pinign for the 60s. God knows it was fraught with angst, but let us hope that the Boomer generation can guide our youth today through the tempestuous which are here today paralelling the 60s in so many ways.

3:28 AM

 
Blogger dmacdumes said...

Lloyd, it's great to find this site for you. I've thought about you often---your show (and my transistor radio) were part of my musical education in the early sixties and I'm very grateful for everything you did. Good to know you're now sharing your memories of that time.

12:33 PM

 

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