Stories and insight in the world of showbiz and beyond.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


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.