Stories and insight in the world of showbiz and beyond.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

FROM 0 TO 80 IN 30

It all started a couple of months ago when I was asked to speak at LA’s downtown Jonathan Club, a very old and prestigious men and women’s social club.

When my wife, Barbara, told her aunt my speech was titled, “The Life Of Lloyd Thaxton," her aunt said, “I hate to be blunt, but what’s so astounding about the life of Lloyd Thaxton?”

Blunt? Yes! But, a very good question.

I considered the invitation quite an honor, especially after I read the list of former speakers which included Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and Richard Nixon. Wow! That previous list does make my life seem somewhat less than “astounding.”

I looked up some pictures of these great men just to see how I would compare. This painting of President Clinton was quite intimidating. He looked so … Presidential.

The picture of a young President Nixon shows a man of great … eh … potential. Oh, what stories he must have told.

I was beginning to get a little nervous. Do the words “So What” strike a familiar note?

You see, I had never really done a formal speech before. You know, like, sitting at a head table, being formally introduced, standing up, and walking to the dais to face some of LA’s top business executive men and women. The topic, “The Life Of Lloyd Thaxton” was their choice. What could they possibly be expecting?

I finally looked at a picture of Ronald Reagan. He, like me, was in show business, but he still managed to look presidential. Especially with that American flag draped all around him.

Then I looked at my picture.

No way. I'll never be able to pull this off. Then I looked again at Reagan.

I started to prepare my speech.

Fade to a few days before this momentous event. While sitting around during a break in the editing of my DVD at Research Video (CLICK HERE FOR THEIR WEBSITE), One of the younger editors asked me if I had ever done TV in the 50s. That question started an hour of Thaxton story telling. I discovered that I had experienced a lot of fascinating and funny behind-the-scenes stuff that was totally unknown to the majority of TV audiences.

It was on the way home that I had an epiphany. I realized that that little editing room bull session WAS my life and the telling of those stories was my speech. I was now ready to trot.

Being a breakfast affair, most of the club members had day jobs to go to, so they gave me thirty minutes.

I re-titled my speech: “The Life Of Lloyd Thaxton: 0 to 80 in 30 minutes.”

I really can’t prove whether or not the speech was a success, however last week I was invited to speak again. This time it was to a full house at the LA Rotary Club (LA5) lunch (can a dinner be far behind?). It was there that I realized most of the members of both clubs fell into the 49 to 60 year old category, which just so happens to be the average age of the Lloyd Thaxton Show fan base. They were highly successful men and women who unselfishly spent a lot of their time working with many different charity organizations. Yet, they all seemed so young and vital and refused to “act their age.” I am beginning to love my new career.

I don’t know whose quote this is, but it surely is a good one: “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?” I ask myself this question almost every day. It’s what helps keep me “Old Fogy” proof . I think it was at the Berlin Wall that President Reagan said "Ich Bin Ein Fogy"(but, don't quote me).

Along that vein, I recently received this email and picture from Larry Tamblyn of The Standells.

“Well, the reviews are in: The general consensus is that the Standell’s accapella rendition of the national anthem (in four part harmony), performed at Game 1 of the American League playoffs, was pretty damn good for a bunch of old rock & rollers.

"From left to right are all of the original Standells, Gary Lane, Dick Dodd, Tony Valentino, and me. The anthem came complete with a well-timed flyover by four F-16's, followed immediately by a performance of Dirty Water. Aside from performing before a wild crowd of 36,000, one of the biggest thrills was meeting the four pilots afterward (along with many pilots who just returned from active duty in Iraq). One of them looked young enough to be my grandson!”

The Standells were guests on The Lloyd Thaxton Show 45 years ago and here they are still bringing audiences to their feet.

I wonder how old these guys would be if they didn’t know how old they were?

Stay young.


Blogger Gary said...

I LOVE the Mickey Mouse patch on Dickie's pants! As you all may or may not know, Dickie Dodd was one of the original Mousketeers on The Mickey Mouse Club.
Congrats to you, Uncle Lloyd! I hope you get a dinner date out of this, too.

2:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my very favorite new blog! I watched your show when I was a little kid, dancing in front of my tv set! Glad to see you are still around and as clever as ever!

Much love, Lisa

1:35 PM

Blogger daniel said...

You have a great story to tell...You won't be lacking material...I know you were an influence on me when i was a little kid...I just thought you were the coolest guy on TV...So as a 6 year old kid i decided i would be on the radio...By age 14 i was on the air at my hometown radio station...Now reading your blog many years later...reminds me of the big dreams of a small boy...Inspired by a crazy guy i saw on TV...Lloyd Thaxton.

8:28 AM

Blogger Mike Barer said...

I think anyone who is off TV for 30 years and still remembered definitely has a story to tell. You made an impact.

10:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go for it Lloyd - dinner is always a good goal! You're never too old for a new career, especially when you're still trying to figure out how old you would be, if you didn't already know!

I've been in a time warp myself lately and discovering that I should have done what I'm attempting to do now, back when I WAS the age I wish I was now! Then again I wouldn't have the experience or knowledge I have now back then, right?

1:11 PM

Blogger Mickey said...

Good morning Mr. Thaxton. I really enjoy reading these blogs. It is all new to me and is quit fun. I am posting this message and hope it reaches you. I have been trying for several years to find out how to get in touch with you. The reason is, my brother was on your show and was chosen to do the lip sync segment. I am trying to find out if it is possible to obtain the tape of the show he appeared on. Frankie Laine was the guest star and the show was in late 1962 or early 1963. My brother performed Mr. Base Man with a friend. It brought the house down. I wanted to surprise my brother with the tape for many reasons, mostly though for giving so much in his 30 plus year career as a High School Teacher in Southern California, including donating one of his lungs to a student. I wanted to find something special to give back to him. I hope this reaches you and you would advise me if the tape is available. Thank you so much, best regards, Mickey

6:51 AM

Blogger Lloyd Thaxton said...

Hi Mickey:

Sorry, but the show was not taped until 1964 when it went into national syndication. All the shows were live and once they went off they were (sadly) gone forever. I remember his rendition of "Mr. Bass Man." You are right. It brought the house down.

They did it better than I ever did.


8:45 AM

Blogger Fred@Dreamtime said...

Hi Mr. Thaxton.

Excuse me for being off-subject, but I'm doing some research on a R&B singer whose career ran from circa 1954-65, a Fay Simmons. One of her last recordings, done probably sometime between 1962-65 was for a label called "LT Productions." I wanted to check with you and confirm that wasn't *your* LT Productions. Also, given your lengthy career in the business, do you happen to have any information on Simmons?

11:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a big fan of yours, when AB, Shebang [with Casey Kasem] and 9th Street West [Sam Riddle], were taking themselves and the music so seriously, you provided fun, energy and would really talk to the artists beyond the standard AB/DC stuff 'What are your influences?' I think it may have been Ann Landers who coined the 'how old would you be if you didn't..' phrase in answer to a question from a guy who said if he went to medical school now, he wouldn't be a Dr. till age 42, and be much older than his classmates. Don't go by me, I could be wrong. When are the DVDs coming out? I can hardly wait, but how old will I be if I don't wait????

2:31 AM

Blogger freQazoidiac said...

ok, so you were there with one of the Legends of of the first Punk rock groups, what gives with the Jets flying over? Why would that be thrilling? Like, I know you hosted some great bands of the 60's, but most spread a message AGAINST war, and the war machine is still going on strong as ever. What kind of honor is achieved meeting people who are programmed to destroy other life forms on this planet? Can you imagine your grandson being blown to a million bits? The war is one sided, and it must end. Hope you don't censor this comment, it is relevant and I'm trying to incite some thought here.

3:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there

do you have an email contact for Larry Tamblyn please? I have a Standells article I'd like to run past him


8:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My email for Larry Tamblyn is

You can view my site at:

8:46 AM


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