G’BYE DERE, MARTY

Best known for his “Hello Dere” greeting and comedy team partnership with Steve Rossi – wild-haired, bug-eyed Marty Allen died last night at the ripe old age of 95. 

 *
Amazingly, he was still working up until several months ago with his wife, Karon. performing the “straight man” role.
 *
Marty was a TV mainstay during the 60’s and 70’s on talk shows, game shows, variety shows, (including appearances on 44 Ed Sullivan Shows) and even dramatic roles.  
*

I first met and worked with him many years ago.  While chatting backstage, I told him about my favorite of his routines — a rarely performed pantomime of a clown applying and removing his makeup. It was a very poignant and powerful piece.

A few weeks later, a package arrived for me at my agent’s office. It was from Marty and contained an inscribed photo of him performing that classic routine I loved so much. 

Truly a class act.
G’bye dere, Marty.
***
MARTY ALLEN
(Morton David Alpern)
23 March 1922 – 12 February 2018

WHEN IT WAS HIP TO BE HEP

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”

HE WAS MY ENTRY INTO HOLLYWOOD

TODAY WOULD HAVE BEEN HENRY MANCINI’S 93rd BIRTHDAY.

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.

Continue reading “HE WAS MY ENTRY INTO HOLLYWOOD”

Making Up With Harry Morgan

TODAY IS HARRY MORGAN’S 102nd BIRTHDAY.

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”

Still Scoey After All These Years

Today is the 87th birthday of one of my dear friends and colleagues for many years, Scoey Mitchlll. I wanted to be sure to remember my buddy’s birthday.

During the 1960s and 70s, Scoey was a trailblazer for African Americans in the world of standup comedy, appearing regularly on the Ed Sullivan Show and so many other variety shows and game shows. He also went on to blaze more trails, however, behind the camera as a successful writer / producer / director. Continue reading “Still Scoey After All These Years”

“Hello Dolly” – An Evening with Carol Channing

HAPPY 96th BIRTHDAY, Carol Channing, the great star of Broadway, film, television, recordings and even a Super Bowl half-time show!

The enchanting Ms. Channing.

The last time I saw Carol was quite a few years ago. I was performing at Vine St. Bar & Grill, a then-famous Hollywood jazz show room. We followed Anita O’Day, who loved our music and invited me to come see her perform the next night in Beverly Hills. Continue reading ““Hello Dolly” – An Evening with Carol Channing”