Stories and insight in the world of showbiz and beyond.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Many of you have been asking (thankyouverymuch), “When is the Lloyd Thaxton Show DVD coming out?" The good news is we are on track for October 2007. So far, there is no bad news. We've been spending the last couple of months looking at tapes and are now in the final selection process. Dan Schaarschmidt, the wonderkid editor at Research Video is putting together an array of Thaxton bits that are blowing my mind. Dan is not only a talented video editor, he is an inspiration; a young 90’s man who is actually enjoying strutting my old 60’s stuff. I can’t help but quote from the famous “Mikey” Life cereal TV commercial, “HE LIKES IT!”

The more I go through all the material, the more I appreciate those wonderguy archivists, Paul Surratt and Bill DiCicco, and everyone else at Research Video for protecting this bit of 60s history and keeping it in such good shape for all these years.

The above picture was taken by an anonymous high school student, circa 1963. This person’s thoughtful sentiment was posted on the school blackboard and I’ve chosen it for the cover of the DVD. I’ve always maintained that I really don’t care what anybody says about me, as long as they spell my name right.

I’ll keep you posted.

Stay tuned.

Monday, May 21, 2007


One of the joys of being in show biz is going to your mailbox and discovering one of those big residual checks. The size of the check is sometimes the difference between buying that new Mercedes or starving to death, “Get me to the bank on time.”

For the uninitiated, a residual check is what you receive when a show, a series, a commercial, etc., etc., etc., keeps up with the energizer bunny and just keeps on going. If it goes long enough and the checks are big enough, you will never have to work in this town again.

Just how long do those checks keep on going? Does the word “FOREVER” strike a familiar note? It does to me.

Back in 1964 I starred in a movie. Well … em … I really didn’t STAR in a movie. It’s more like I STAR-TED in a movie. It was “The Patsy.” And, Jerry Lewis was the star. Actually, truth be known, for me it wasn’t even a start. A “start” signifies that you start and then kept going. “The Patsy” was my “start’n stop.” As far as movies are concerned, it was my hit song and swan song in one number.

But, here we are some 40 plus years later and those big “The Patsy” residual checks just keep rolling in, allowing me to survive in this town for at least another hour. I was so proud of my last check that, instead of cashing it, I had it framed. Not exactly because of the tremendous amount the check represented, but for the fact that after all those years, Paramount Pictures persevered and made sure I got it. Forget that it was sent to an address I hadn’t lived at for 40 years, we big movie stars have The Screen Actors Guild to guide these most deserved checks to our huge new mansions.

This tenacity in tracing lost personalities is the good part. The not-so-good part is that over the years those remittances do get depressingly smaller and smaller. I suspect that more money was spent on search and rescue, than the value of the check itself.

Take my check for example. That’s not $6009.00 one sees in the “pay amount” line. That is $6.09. The frame I put it in cost $14.99 (plus tax).

I love receiving these checks. They bring back fond memories of the great fun I had working with my idol Jerry Lewis. He made me feel like a movie star and still does by sending those checks. Thank you Jerry.

Someone should write a song.

“There’s no business like show business like no business I know.”

And they should get a really big gal singer to sing it really loud.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Arrrrrrrrrrrrrr maties! This may seem like a change of course from what you might expect from reading my past postings, i.e. “Stories and insight in the world of showbiz and beyond,” but avast ye swabbies! I’m preparin’ t' fire a broadside in this here blog. I have no doubt that the reason the world of showbiz and beyond has been good to me is because my country was good to me.

The young kid above is Seaman Lloyd Thaxton, circa 1944, right out of boot camp and proudly displaying the uniform of the United States Navy. What has this to do with showbiz, you might ask? Well, sit down and this here Captain (eh, Seaman) will spin a yarn or two.

According to a recent Los Angeles Times editorial, most of today’s National Guard members serving in this “War on Terror” want financial aid for college when they leave the military. Sounds reasonable to me. However, according to the neo-political people, that is just too much to ask.

Wait a minute. I thought the rallying cry of our nation was “Support Our Troops.”

When I finished my term in the navy during World War II, I stepped right out of uniform and into college. Not just any college. I chose Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, one of the most expensive colleges in the country. I chose Northwestern because at the time it was one of the top communication schools in the nation with television, radio and theater professionals teaching classes. And you know what it cost me? Zilch! The good old US of A paid the bill along with a weekly stipend to tide me over and pay my room (I worked for my board). They were sure supporting this trooper.

In case you weren’t there and done that, the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 (better known as the G.I. Bill) provided for college or vocational education for returning World War II veterans (commonly referred to as G.I.s) as well as one year of unemployment compensation. It also provided no-down-payment low interest loans for returning veterans to buy homes and start businesses.

In the peak year of 1947, veterans accounted for 49 percent of college admissions. By the time the original GI Bill ended on July 25, 1956, 7.8 million World War II veterans had participated in an education or training program.

Instead of veterans coming home to look for jobs that just weren’t there, they were able to first get a college degree and this raised the standards for everyone living in America. Sure, it cost a lot. But it was all paid back because the country became much richer because of it. The opportunities became boundless.

Without the G.I. Bill, I never would have been able to afford a college education, let alone at a prestigious school like NU. I would most likely still be in Toledo, Ohio today, working in the Toledo Blade press room like my hard working father. A good job, but, like most returning veterans, I wanted to do better. The G.I.Bill gave me, and millions of other vets that opportunity.

Our soldiers, who are putting their lives on the line today as most of us go about life as if there was no war at all, deserve the same. Supporting the troops means, not only making sure every returning soldier gets proper medical attention, but also a G.I. Bill of their own so they will all get the same chance we World War II vets got to prepare for their future. I even bought my first home on the no-down-payment G.I. Bill (at 4%).

Like the original, a G.I. Bill for “War on Terror” veterans is going to be costly. I’m certainly willing to pay an extra tax and sincerely believe everyone who took advantage of the G.I. Bill back after World War II would also agree to chip in. It's pay back time and the only way to really support our troops.

Question: Don’t you think I looked pretty good in that uniform? My mom always thought so.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


First, let me share an email I received a few days ago.


Hey there LT (one of my favorite people on this planet), you may or may not know the current bids for two DAWKS on Ebay are $32.00 and $26.00 respectively, auctions end tomorrow.

This is the one I am dying to have:

Yeah, they're cool and everything but...............................SO WHAT???????????

Keep it groovin',


ModGirl, you made my day with your “my favorite people on this planet” remark. My ego runneth over. But more important it brought to mind the fact that different folks operate with different strokes. In talking to fans of the LT Show, I’m always surprised at what is remembered about the show. It hasn’t been seen for 40 years so I am surprised (and delighted) it’s remembered at all.

ModGirl is groovin’ for a Dawk doll used on the opening of the show and bashed around a bit throughout the hour (I’m told that the doll in question sold for about a hundred bucks). Others remember certain zany bits that I did, or, the lip-sync contests or certain guests they saw for the very first time. As I’m in the middle of picking out bits for the “My Name is Lloyd Thaxton – So What” DVD, that got me thinking about what you might want to see.

My hope is that the DVD will be a legacy to calm in the middle of that chaotic and volatile storm called “The 60s.” Here was this show called, “The Lloyd Thaxton Show” dancing around in the midst of urban riots, civil rights movements, assassinations and war and yet we survived. A fan once told me that when he started watching the show he first thought I was making fun of rock and roll. Then he realized that I was making rock and roll fun. And, that was music to my ears.

There is a wonderful book out right now titled “Laurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock-and-Roll's Legendary Neighborhood.” Veteran journalist Michael Walker tells the inside story of the unprecedented gathering of some of the baby boom’s leading musical giants of the 60s who turned Los Angeles into the music capital of the world and forever changed the way popular music is recorded, marketed, and consumed. It’s a fascinating read. Especially to me, as I lived in Laurel Canyon then and still do today.

There is soon to be released a new book by Domenic Priore. “Riot on Sunset Strip: Rock'n'Roll's Last Stand in 60s Hollywood.” This book evokes a raucous, revolutionary time in American culture for those who lived it. I can’t wait to read the book because I just happened to be snap-dab in the middle of that riot, penned down in the famous Schwab's Drug Store.

My hope is that the “My Name is Lloyd Thaxton – So What” DVD, measures up to both of the above books in highlighting the fascinating music and artists of the era. And, even more important, the young people who danced (and performed) to the music. The words in the books are impressive and informational of course, but to complete the story, to get the history straight, you have to hear the music.

That brings me to this question. As a fan, what would you like to see and hear on the DVD?

Think about it and then take mouse in hand and start cliquing away. I realize that after forty years, many of you might have forgotten a few things. Age …does that, you know. That being the case, here’s a list that might help jog your memory.

First there was this insane Thaxton guy host, who lip-synced, finger synced and played more instruments than the entire Juilliard School of Music’s 1965 graduation class. Above he presents Roger Williams’s “Summer Wind” on the piano, mindless of the fact that the studio is being blown away at hurricane force.

Then, there was the lip-sync contest where all you young kids tried to make that insane Thaxton guy look like a rank amateur and, in most cases, succeeded. YouTube, eat your heart out.

There was THE game, “Don’t Lose Your Marbles or You’re Off Your Rocker” where you sat in rocking chairs and lost a marble every time you failed to name the record played. When you lost all your 10 allocated marbles, you were OFF YOUR ROCKER and the lone sane person who kept all the marbles won the game. You were so fast that no one ever heard more than one note of each record.

We then gathered our voices together to form choruses like the Lloyd Thaxton Singers (above) doing The Johnny Mann Singers doing the theme from “Goldfinger.” The mesmerized audience at home (actually) thought you sang so beautifully.

And don’t forget all those great guests: The Turtles, Petula Clark, Marvin Gaye, Johnny Rivers, The Shangri-Las, Ben E. King, Peter, Paul and Mary, and, too many more to show here.

Then there were all those great dances: The Slauson, the Twist, The Hully Gully, the Mash Potato, the Watusi, Swim, Limbo Rock. It's music, music, music.

That’s what I've been thinking.

But, as Gary would say, NEXT!

Stay tuned.