Stories and insight in the world of showbiz and beyond.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Let me take a moment to apologize to my readers for my negligence of adding to my blog. I know that too much time goes by between posts and one shouldn’t promise interesting stories and than not deliver. My reason is a good one (or a bad one according to how one might look at it.)

I’ve had some health problems which I will discuss when and if it ever becomes an important topic (I’m writing a book about it). Please be aware that I’m still the guy who used to act silly in front of millions of people on TV.

And now, back to, “How to Get Your Own National TV Show.”


Speaking of acting silly, here I am in my very first appearance in front of an audience (that’s me in the back). It was 1944 and the stage setting was The Devilbiss Deviltries, a student musical show at my high school in Toledo, Ohio. This was the beginning of Lloyd Thaxton, the entertainer. The act was called the flying Fools and my partner was Dick Weinberg. He was my friend then and he is still my friend today. He moved to Hollywood before I did and was a big help in getting me settled in when I came to the land of dreams.

Dick Weinberg was a Network Television director and was responsible for many of the first Bob Hope Shows and The Colgate Comedy Hours starring Martin and Lewis. He introduced me to Jerry Lewis, who was also a big help in my career. Dick Weinberg still lives about a mile and a half from my home. To think that we started our careers as “The Flying Fools,” part of the act of the comedy team “Thaxton and Weinberg,” is quite amazing to me. The second most amazing thing is that I still have the above picture.

One clue I offer here for those wanting your own TV show, is that you have to discover how you want to spend your life as early as possible. I’ve always considered myself to be blessed. I discovered my goal very early, worked hard at it and for the rest of my life I went to work with a smile on my face. Work was not work. Work became my life. Only a few enjoy life through their careers, but, it is worth devoting your young life finding your niche and dedicating all your energy in that direction. Too many students in high school don’t even think about their future. The making of a loser.

On graduating from high school, I was sucked (slurp) right into the Navy. Actually, I enlisted barely hours before I would have been drafted (the war was still on but drawing to a close). Above, you see me (front row) and the choir I organized (I was making the navy work for me).

There was a famous Navy choir called “The Blue Jacket Choir.” We put together our own version of this famous group and we called it “The Blue Jack O#f Choir.” While The Blue Jacket Choir was singing patriotic inspiring songs, we were singing dirty limericks. The guys in the barracks loved it, and laughed and applauded our efforts so much, that this experience cemented my desire to be an entertainer.

My first real stroke of luck came in a package called “The GI Bill.” The greatest legislation congress ever passed. I was now entitled to four years of college on my release from the navy.

I picked Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. I did so because it had the best media communications school in the country. Without the GI Bill, my parents would never been able to afford such an expensive college for me. Thank you Uncle Sam. Now do the same thing for the G.I.s coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

I call all this luck. But remember, it was my choice. I followed up on my good fortune by carefully planning and acting on my future. I was only 19 years old.

If I seem to give the impression that I did this all alone, forgive me. I have to take a moment and say that I had the best parents anybody could ever possibly hope for. They were always totally supportive of where I wanted my life to go. They were always there to support me all through my school days. They came to all my events, joined the PTA, and devoted time to all my schools. Unfortunately, too many students or schools do not have this support and, to me, it is vital to ensure that kids not only get a good education, but that they get support from mom AND dad for their goals in life.

I got it and I will be forever thankful to my family. Without them, it would never have happened.

I’ll talk about this picture in Chapter Three (that’s me on the right). Looking back, I think this picture represents the most fun I ever had in my entire life.

Stay hip ... Stay tuned.