Stories and insight in the world of showbiz and beyond.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


On Don Barrett’s Los Angeles Radio People website (LARP), I read an email sent in by a fan who couldn’t get out of his head what he considered a major performance sham perpetrated by Dick and Dee Dee at a small town teen-age nightclub in the middle 60s.

It seems somehow sad that his only remembrance of their performance, was as fakers who were booed by their Clarkston, Washington fans for lip-syncing their records.

As you all are well aware, I myself have NEVER lip-synced records (my performances of the top records of the 60s, including Diana Ross, the other two Supremes and, lest we forget, Cher, were performed using my own beautifully modulated voice).

However, it was common knowledge that the largest majority of my guest artists lip-synced their hits. This was also a usual practice in small performance venues as well. In the 60s most stages didn't have the hi-tech facilities to duplicate the over-dubbed affect of what helped make records hits in the first place. In the recording studio artists many times performed to pre-recorded over-dubbed tracks. So Dick and Dee Dee singing along with their own records in the 60s was not a “sham.” When you think about it, their performance was actually just one more over-dub.

Dick and Dee Dee were always great Lloyd Thaxton show guests. They sang along with their records and the kids cheered.

My mother’s great lessen to me as a kid, “If you can’t say anything nice about a person, don’t say anything at all” should be a reality rule for everyone.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


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 or reading blogs 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.