Stories and insight in the world of showbiz and beyond.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


About 30 years ago, I met Barry Menes, a young, energetic, talented, and forward-thinking attorney. Barry’s last name is pronounced “Menace,” as in “Dennis the Menace.” (Is that a great name for an attorney or what?). Barry became my lawyer representing me when I was producing TV shows back in the 70s. He also became a friend. However, as stuff in life so often happens, our business affairs changed directions and we lost touch.

As most of you regular readers of my blog know, I have been in the process of putting together a Lloyd Thaxton Show DVD, “My Name is Lloyd Thaxton – So What” This project is most likely the one most dear to my heart. It is also something that I could not do alone.

The idea hit me like a flash. Suddenly after not seeing Barry for over 25 years, it dawned on me. Music was always his specialty and he was not only good at it, everyone in the music industry respected him. And, he was a friend. Perfect!

I picked up the phone and called his office. It was so great. Barry loved the idea. He radiated enthusiastic confidence and without one moment’s hesitation, I suggested a partnership and Barry immediately agreed.

Everything happened so quickly. We not only structured a deal, we put our long absent friendship back together again. It was obvious that this was to be the beginning of a very exciting era for both of us.

We spoke on Friday October 6, 2006. We were going to meet on the following Tuesday, October 10th, to put the final touches on an agreement and finally move forward on the DVD. Late Saturday night, October 7th, while dining alone at a local restaurant, Barry got a piece of meat stuck in his throat and died ... poof ... gone!

He was 59 years old.

It was a blow unlike anything my wife Barbara and I had ever felt. Less than five days later while watching Barry’s casket lowered into the ground, we couldn’t help thinking (actually hoping) it was all just a movie. We kept waiting for the director to yell "Cut!" It was all just too quick. Too unreal to be true.

There were hundreds of people at the funeral and at the reception that followed in their home; a testament to the positive impact that Barry had on so many lives.

It wasn’t fair.

Barbara and I sat there stunned. Watching the many mourners who lined up to hug Barry’s grieving family, my mind started to drift and I asked myself, “Have these people ever hugged each other before?” I thought of a video I had recently seen on YouTube called “Free Hugs.” It was crazy. I suddenly wanted to run out and make my own “Free Hugs” sign and hold it up for everyone to see. It would be a wide open offer.

If you missed this video, take a few minutes and look right now.


And then, go hug someone. Your wife, your mother, your sister, daughter, husband, kids and all your friends. Yes, all of them. That’s why I’m writing this blog; to remind you to do it NOW!

I will never forget the moment Barbara and I saw Barry for the first time after all those years apart. We were waiting in a restaurant ready to have lunch together. Happily I reached out to shake his hand as he walked toward us. But, Barry opened his arms wide and gave both of us a big hug.

He was that kind of guy.

Stay tuned


Blogger Gary said...

Man, oh man........I am truly sorry to hear about the loss of your friend, Lloyd. My condolences go out to his family and to you and Barbara.
I hate death. I don't care if it is inevitable.....I hate it.

4:09 PM

Blogger bhone2000 said...

Hi Lloyd,

So sorry to hear this story. How awful! As with Gary's comments, my condolences to your family and his. I hope that you carry on with your plans for your DVD. From the way you've described Barry I'm sure he'd want it that way.


9:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a scene from Walt Disney's movie Pollyanna starring Hayley Mills and Karl Malden... Karl plays the town pastor ... he's up on the pulpit giving a sermon... the church's congregation is very quit waiting the good words from the pastor... Karl's voice cuts through the silent's with.... "DEATH CAME UNEXPECTED! ! !" ... everyone in the audience jumps in surprise to the comments. The truth to the matter is always there.

However it went pretty much the other way as for years I had not heard from Lloyd since his days here at NBC as the producer of FIGHT BACK!. One day I put a search in the Google to see if I could find him. And low and behold I found the web page where he was selling his book. There was a place to contact him. I did and much to my SURPRISE... I got an email back from him... and we carried on just like you do at a high school reunion. We talked by way of email. It was a joyous moment to hear from him.

But at my 40th year high school reunion I learned of the passing of SOOOOOOOO many people that I had known and thought of as a friends. It sadden me. As it does from day to day when I learn that someone that I cared for as left this old planet. ... The pain in the heart that you feel is felt by all who are something of a normal human being. No one likes to have it happen. But it does and we all mourn for that person. Stop and have a flash back to a time when you may have done something fun together with that person. Like remembering the time that me and one of my lost friends took all four wheels off the car of the fellow that stole my girl friend from me. Left the wheels and tire close by with the lug nuts tucked in the middle of the stack. It was a pleasant memory for me to stop and smile and remember that I had with my friend that's gone from this planet now. The other part is that I did not have the luxury of knowing the exact time when he passed. I didn't get to go and pay my respects. I was months after the reunion that I did go visit the grave stone. There I reminisced about the above mentioned event. From whatever way you want to imagine it. You hope that it brought a smile to the dearly departed.

Yes, DEATH DOES COME UNEXPECTED! ! ! Giving hugs is a wonderful idea to do to all the remaining good people that you care for. Give them as often as you can. Each day as I leave for work, I kiss and give a hearty hug to my wife as I'm saying, "I LOVE YOU!" As you know driving on the L..A. freeways every day can be a deadly experience. You hope you make it. When I get home... same thing... My mother in law keeps saying .... "gee's don't you guys ever get tired of doing that stuff?" And together we reply.... NO! ! ! ....

I know this was a lot of babble.... But Lloyd ... I DO KNOW how you are feeling... I've been there many a time. and unfortunately ... I'll be there again. It's just one of bad bumps in this life we live. Remember the good times ... and dedicate the DVD project to him. My heart felt sorrow goes with you sir. And the day you get with in arms reach of me... You'll be gettin' that hug.

Later my friend,
Robert V

3:58 PM

Blogger Mike Barer said...

My sympathie to you and your family.

12:43 PM

Blogger Lloyd Thaxton said...

Gary, hug Marty. Marty, hug Robert. Robert, hug Mike.

Get the idea? Free hugs?


3:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And so it goes ...

never knew Barry but I think he is waiting, with a big hug and smile, for you to go ahead and make the DVD.

What is it? If you hear a bell ring or a child laugh, the angels are happy.

Lets hear it for Barry with bells and laughter. Think he would be happy.

12:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And so it goes ...

never knew Barry but I think he is waiting, with a big hug and smile, for you to go ahead and make the DVD.

What is it? If you hear a bell ring or a child laugh, the angels are happy.

12:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear about your loss, Lloyd! Loosing a friend so soon after finding him again must be difficult. Like the others have said - Barry would want you to continue with the DVD project.

I know how excited you were about the project - so excited that you even showed up at our CPHS reunion! Like the "show must go on," one way or another, the DVD project must go on. Your audience is waiting and if you don't do this - someone else might ...

Look what I just found on

Actually, it's probably not possible for someone else to do what you have in mind. One video clip does not make a DVD! ONLY Lloyd Thaxton can produce a DVD of the Lloyd Thaxton Show!!

Hugs to all!!

10:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Uncle Barry" as he was known to me. ... was my father''s good friend who really helped us out when my father was experiencing some legal hardships back in the early 1980's. I was only 17 yrs old then -when he invited us to stay at his home and gave me my first job as a file clerk at "Goller,Gillen & Menes". He was a very talented,unique & good-hearted man. There was never a dull moment working for Barry (smile)... Barry ALWAYS made us laugh...., my father and I will miss him.

7:30 PM

Blogger chas1133 said...

I knew Barry and his brother Paul from "back in the days" in L.A. in the early 80's...I was involved in a limousine service out of Studio City and met many people through Barry and Paul. Why after all these years I just started thinking about him I cannot say. I know he has been gone for several years but memories of him remain...what a great guy he was and all those reading this know good thoughts, deeds and memories last a lifetime. That's how you live on when you leave this planet.God Speed Barry...

Charlie W

5:18 AM


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