Arrival Time

In Hollywood back in 1978, getting your name in TV Guide was an early indication that you had “arrived.”

That was then. It was my very first network television role and on a top-ten rated show! And, whaddya know… suddenly, POW! There I was – in TV Guide! Okay, maybe I wasn’t quite ready to start writing an Emmy* acceptance speech yet, but I did feel like I was finally in the ‘big leagues” – even if I was still only a bat boy on the team.

Network Television Debut – TV GUIDE – 12 December 1978.

Now, exactly forty-one years later, through wistful eyes, it all seems rather naive, amusing – and, in some ways, sad. Penny Marshall is gone. So is her brother, legendary comedy producer Garry Marshall – and Jack Somack, who starred in the classic 1969 “Spicy meatball” Alka Seltzer commercial. My buddy Phil Foster, too – along with so many others.

I look at who we beat the pants off of in the ratings that week, and I see TV icon Merv Griffin and one of my boyhood idols, Jack Paar, along with the hilarious Dody Goodman and brilliant Hans Conried. Also, TV perennial Dr. Joyce Brothers, comic Stu Gilliam and the insanely funny Pat McCormick, who later became one of my dear pals. At 6’7″, he was often (and aptly) referred to as “The World’s Tallest Leprechaun.”

I miss them. They’re all gone now – and so is the authoritative importance of TV Guide – along with that entire innocent and wonderfully funny world of network TV comedy which we all inhabited – so at home in that combination stage, playground and madhouse.

But forty-one years ago today, at the age of 28, I was starting to feel like I had finally “arrived” – on a cloud of enthusiasm and blissfully unaware of the ultimately tenuous nature of it all – and of us.


12 December 2019

*The term “Emmy” is a registered trademark of The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, (NATAS).


As a very young boy, JFK and the 1960 Presidential campaign represented my initial awareness of politics – a civics awakening.

Like most others my age, on November 22, 1963, I was in school, (in Mr. Leonetti’s Biology Class), when the P.A. system suddenly and quite unexpectedly blared loud static and then a voice, rudely interrupting our puzzled teacher mid-sentence. Of course, we all laughed.

But there was no school announcement. Just a radio newscast.

We initially thought it was a prank – until we listened to the words. Those horrifying words.

It wasn’t long before the entire school was dismissed and we all started wandering home, with tears flowing and a suddenly unsettling empty place inside each of us which I don’t believe has ever been refilled – even to this day.

How does a young American boy grieve and demonstrate honor and respect for a fallen President?

After the usual ways, I used my meager young lad piggy-bank money, saved from my weekend job, to purchase this bronze memorial medallion and this plate block of memorial US stamps in honor of our President.

They’ve been a personal treasure for over a half century.

I took them out to hold them for a moment today. There was an uneasy familiarity about them. It’s been a long time.

While I can’t say that they bring me any pleasure, I can say that they’re important to me because they represent my tiny bit of personal connectivity to that tragic moment in our history when I believe our nation’s innocence was lost – and those of us who remember it, feel like we were all right there together when it happened.

But I think they’re most important to me for a different reason: They also bring back just a glimmer of a poignant reminder of how truly magical and full of hope and promise the world felt to a young boy — on November Twenty-FIRST, 1963.

What a difference a day made.



I’ve never claimed to be a Sinatra impressionist or “tribute artist” (although he was certainly a tremendous influence on me – and every other singer of The Great American Songbook).

But singing a classic Cole Porter tune like “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” with a big band swinging the Sinatra trademark Nelson Riddle arrangement, I just couldn’t resist paying homage and tribute to “Ol’ Blue Eyes” and “The Chairman of the Board.”

So I hope you enjoy this brief glimpse of my humble but joyous voyage into Sinatra Land with the Shout Section Big Band.

Click on the photo below to view the free video.

With the Shout Section Big Band at Fitzgerald’s Night Club


Fondly Remembering HARRY “THE HIPSTER” GIBSON…
… On His 102nd Birthday.

Frantic and eccentric … Rockin’ and Rollin’ twenty years before Elvis, Harry was a true master of boogie woogie piano — and every other musical style, too!

HARRY “The Hipster” GIBSON

Julliard trained, he blazed his own musical trail and was popular during the mid-1940’s during the heyday of the “Zoot suit with the drape shape and the reet pleat.”  Today, Harry is often remembered for the dubious distinction of being arrested with jazz pal and drug buddy Billie Holiday.  

Continue reading “WHEN IT WAS HIP TO BE HEP”

Memorial Day: The WHAT, WHY — and WHY NOT

This shouldn’t have to be a “day to vent” for me or anyone, but I really need to get something off my chest today.

At “Villa Wayno,” our American flag waves proudly but respectfully at half-staff on Memorial Day.

It’s Memorial Day – and I’m concerned as  I begin to wonder what’s happening to our country as it gradually declines into a self-centered “participation award” pop pseudo-culture. Continue reading “Memorial Day: The WHAT, WHY — and WHY NOT”



I can’t let today go by without acknowledging one of my greatest mentors and benefactors, never to be forgotten.
Upon arriving in L.A. back in 1976, I was greatly blessed to work for Henry, eventually administering all his music publishing for a short time before moving on to build my performance career – the original purpose in my relocating to the west coast.


Making Up With Harry Morgan


Depending on your age, you’ll probably remember actor Harry Morgan fondly from one or more of his over 100 films – or, on TV, from the original “Dragnet” (1951-1959), “December Bride” (1954-1959), “Pete and Gladys” (1960-1962) or “M*A*S*H” (1972-1983).

Harry and Hal Linden. “Blacke’s Magic” (1986)

Harry also starred in another largely (but unfairly) forgotten TV series.  In 1986, I had the great pleasure of guesting on “Blacke’s Magic,” a delightful but short-lived series starring Hal Linden and Harry Morgan – as a magician/sleuth and his father, who served as his assistant in his off-stage adventures.

Continue reading “Making Up With Harry Morgan”