Stories and insight in the world of showbiz and beyond.

Friday, August 18, 2006


According to a recent TV survey, the most dangerous job in the world is logging. I was only half listening when the announcement was made and thought what had been said was, “The most dangerous job in the world is BLOGGING!”

Perhaps what helped amplify my confusion was that I had just read the above “Pearls Before Swine” cartoon. Stephan Pastis, who creates this wonderfully funny cartoon, shows a mouse being throttled for nagging a blogger because he never seems to get any comments. My immediate concern was: What if that cute little nagging mouse had been a member of the Lloyd Thaxton Mouse Clique? AND the blogger had been ME?

I’m kind of new at this, but my limited experience in this potentially dangerous field of blogging tells me the way to assure lots of comments (and to keep mouse throttling down to a minimum) is to pose outlandish and provocative statements that rile the reader enough to pick up pen and pencil (keyboard and mouse) and vent their own opinions by adding equally outrageous comments that would rile others into jumping on the rock band wagon. In other words, to keep our Mouse Cliquers safe, we must get some inciteful comments going.

Here’s one that’s well worth debating:

“Because of SUVs, cell phones, iPods, computers, 500 TV channels, and Paris Hilton, the teen-agers of today are far better off than the teens of the 60s.”

Anyone care to “comment on this?”

… OR, add their OWN annoying, CHALLENGING, disturbing, EXCITING, galling, GOADING, heady, INCENSING, inciting, INFLUENCIAL, inspirational, INSULTING, intoxicating, OFFENSIVE, outrageous, PROVOKING, pushing, SPURING, and stimulating observations?

Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


I could also title this posting, “Remembering the body of one’s work.”

The results of my blog search for the Lloyd Thaxton Hot Rod were dismal at best. Not one of my fans seemed to remember the George Barris hot rod give-a-way event, much less have any idea who might have won it.

No problem. As I have done for years (a lot of years), I move on.

New question: Does anyone remember the fact that my persona was once preserved in wax and displayed amidst the figures of Marilyn Monroe and the Beatles at The Hollywood Wax Museum? I say, "once displayed," because it hasn't been there for years.

If you are not interested in what happens to celebrity car designer Hot Rods, you might at least be interested in what happens to celebrity wax figures when said celebrity is no longer in the limelight. My first thought was that perhaps when they sculpt the figure they insert a wick in the head just under the hair line. When the celebrity’s star fades, they simply uncover the wick and light it. There might even be a wax specialist who oversees this operation. Perhaps a person who does bikini waxes, for example, That way the melted wax is saved for future use. Recyclable celebrities, as it were.

Let me tell you what I REALLY believe.

But first: After the Lloyd Thaxton Show went off TV, I experimented in a lot of program areas and ended up producing and directing the syndicated program and NBC Today show regular “Fight Back! With David Horowitz” for 18 years. One of the most popular features of the show was our “Commercial Challenge.” They were done with tongues kept mostly in cheek and were tremendously fun to direct and shoot.

One such challenge was a writing pen commercial that made the claim their pen would write continuously for one mile without clogging or running out of ink. This was a great challenge. Better, actually, than most TV reality challenge shows of today (we were years ahead of our time).

To authenticate the challenge, we measured and determined that it was exactly one mile from Hollywood’s Pantages Theater to Mann’s Chinese Theatre at the western end of Hollywood Blvd.

Perfect! Not only a true challenge but with a lot of possible celebrity sightings along the way.

We arrived early morning with our TV production crew, several huge rolls of paper, one pen, and started rolling the paper down the sidewalk while Hollywood pedestrian volunteers and a few celebrities along the way kept a steady hand while writing on the paper. The challenge took from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m., segueing easily into the Hollywood Blvd nightlife scene and we had it all on tape.

Result: The pen passed the challenge with flying colors (black being all colors).

What has this to do with the Hollywood Wax Museum and the missing Lloyd Thaxton wax figure? Stay with me. About half way down the Boulevard, we came to the entrance of the museum and stopped to take a break. You can imagine how tiresome it was to keep laying down rolls of paper for one mile and then rolling them back up again afterwards (the ball of rolled up paper ended up being about five feet in diameter).

While we rested in the museums vestibule, show producer Gil CoFrancesco, decided to go in and try to find out what happened to my wax dummy (I never referred to it as a wax “dummy”). Had it been melted down? Was it now just a wax figurine? If not, where was it? These were questions that had to be answered before anyone would continue with the pen commercial challenge.

The curator of the museum, after checking his records, went to a set of drawers in the back and looked for my remains (remains? Not a good omen). All he could find was my head (what was my head doing in the curator’s drawers?).

Gil brought the head out to the street and I posed with it as everyone on the crew, and a few on the street, took pictures (one of which is shown above). They were all somewhat akin to the fisherman posing with his prize catch-of-the-day).

But the one question remained, “What happened to my body?” I’m glad to report that I now have the answer.

It’s obvious in this review of The Hollywood Wax Museum on the web-site,

“For all the shrieks you hear coming from the Hollywood Wax Museums Chamber of Horrors, it turns out to be a relatively tame hallway of wax movie monsters, enlivened only by an occasional unexpected gust of air and a single disembodied head that pops up howling (when you break an invisible beam of light). So don't be afraid to go inside. But be warned that some of the torture scenes and dismembered bodies depicted here get pretty gory, and might be considered unsuitable for young children.”

It is obvious that old wax dummies never die. They just cross-fade away into another scene, I’m glad to finally report that my brief venture into celebrity waxdom did amount to something worthwhile after all.

Lloyd Thaxton’s head is now popping up scaring teen-agers instead of entertaining them. And his “dismembered body might be considered unsuitable for young children.”

All things considered, I think I would rather be part of LA’s “melting pot.”

Stay tuned.

Monday, August 07, 2006

I was just KIDDING !!!

Before you scroll down to my new blog posting, “GOOGLE THIS,” I feel compelled to make the following declaration: “What we've got here is failure to communicate!”

That statement is from the movie “Cool Hand Luke” and is one of the most quoted lines in film. As I remember, it was said by actor Strother Martin, Captain of the prison guards, to Paul Newman just before he hit him over the head with a stick (he needed to get his attention).

“Failure to communicate.” I think I might have failed in my blog posting of “The Fat Cat.” I had suggested that in order to cure the nation’s spreading (pun intended) obesity epidemic, Girl Scouts might consider changing their annual Girl Scout COOKIE campaign to selling Girl Scout SALADS instead.

I now believe that my quirky sense of humor got the best of me and I erred on the side of what one might call, “pursuing a dumb idea.” Judging from the underwhelming amount of comments I have received (would you believe one?), I think that some of you took me a little bit too serious. Example: I received one email that explained in detail how selling salads outside in the heat of a supermarket parking lot was next to IMPOSSIBLE. The lettuce would wilt, etc., etc.

Or… the “failure” could have been the picture I used to introduce “The Fat Cat.” If that is so, I really can’t understand it. That happens to be my favorite picture of me. It was taken off the air by a fan while I was doing a special effects routine while lip-syncing the Al Hirt trumpet rendition of “Hello Dolly.” And, it is also my daughter Jennifer’s favorite picture of me. She displayed it prominently on her dorm dresser when she was away at school. When classmates asked who that person was, she proudly told them, “MY DAD!” Please scroll down and take another look at that picture. The beauty of it is in the beholder. And I would be beholding to you if you would give it a second chance.

All that said, I promise that I will never write again about weird thoughts I conjure up in the shower (highly considered as my best idea place). This communication failure not only caught me with my pants down, it verified the fact that I might have been just a little bit wet behind the ears.

Please let me know what you REALLY want me to write about on this blog and I will meekly comply. Like I do all of my singing, I will keep the funny stuff for the sound-around-sound of my drip-filled shower: me, judging from the response, being the biggest drip of them all.

Stay tuned.

Eh … how about Girl Scout fat-free Pastas?


The Internet is all-powerful. You want to find somebody (or something) you “Google.” Well, Google this.

Back in 1962-1963, before the afternoon Lloyd Thaxton Show went into syndication, I used to do one or two prime-time 90-minute Lloyd Thaxton Show specials a year on KCOP in Los Angeles. On one such special our guest stars were Trini Lopez (La Bamba), Wayne Newton (Danke Schoen), and April Stevens & Neno Tempo (Deep Purple). Does anyone remember that special?

See if this helps. One of the highlights on that show was The Lloyd Thaxton Hot Rod. Now this wasn’t just any old HOT ROD. This was a hot rod built and designed by famed custom car designer and builder George Barris. Barris designed the “Batmobile” for the Batman TV series, “The Munster’s Koach,” and hundreds of other fantastic custom cars for movies. He is “The King of Kustom.”

The George Barris designed Lloyd Thaxton Hot Rod was a 1930 Model A, using a big Buick engine with MT manifold and carbs. The Body was channeled 10” over the frame for lower effect. It was painted with a kandy apple red paint job with black leather interior. It was really “boss.”

I had the pleasure of driving this beauty to my daily show for about a week to plug the up-coming special, during which April Stevens and Nino Tempo performed their #1 hit record “Deep Purple” sitting up on the back of seats. Is this ringing any bells yet?
Here are some more hints. During the show, we awarded the Hot Rod to some lucky winner. Yes, we GAVE IT AWAY!!! I say “some” lucky winner because I don’t have a clue as to whom that someone might have been.

There was an recent article in the “Highway 1” section of the Los Angeles Times (Wednesday August 2nd 2006). It featured the most beautiful, son of a dogg motorcycle you have ever seen. It is aptly named “The Dutch Angel” because it was designed and built by Von Dutch Kustom Cycles. According to the LA Times writer, Susan Carpenter, “The behemoth 113-cubic inch V-twin was tricked out with slick candy-stick pin-striping, a high-end racing motor and enough chrome for a lady to check out her helmet hair.” Wow! The price? Well if you don’t have at least $50,000 in your pocket, forget it.

It was during the reading of the article that I yelled out, “Where is my George Barris Hot Rod?” You see when I was young and in my prime I used to do it all the time. Do what? Ride a motorcycle. And my bike was signed by Von Dutch (Long-time bikers will know why that is so cool). This thought took me back to George Barris. If I’m correct, Von Dutch pin-stripped a lot of Barris’s cars and I think pin-stripped the Lloyd Thaxton Hot Rod.
So where is IT now?

I’m asking all you Mouse Cliquers to help me out here. If you know or can find out who won the Lloyd Thaxton Hot Rod, let me know. I just want to check it out and see what happened to it. My wife, Barbara, says that it was probably sold and resold many times on eBay. I hope not. Anyway, eBay wasn’t around that long ago. I just hope the guy who won it is still driving it or, at the least, has it mounted on his bedroom wall (I wanted to do that with my bike but I didn’t have the nerve). I sold it back to Bud Ekins, the person from whom I bought it, 30 years later.
Get those mousies cliquing. If you find out what happened to my HOT Kandy Apple Red Rod, let me know.

And then …

Stay tuned.