Saturday, October 03, 2009

5 Things You Don't Know About Me

A new meme going around asks: “what are five things people don’t know about you?”

1. When I worked at Wallichs Music City, an LA record store, in the 60’s I used to throw Neil Young out of the listening booths for smoking pot. Once every two weeks. If only he had shared!

2. Ann Jillian was my childhood friend (and still is).

3. As a teenager I was offered a job writing for LAUGH-IN. I declined in order to go to college. So I missed my chance to write comedy for Richard Nixon.

4. I’m an idiot savant trivia expert when it comes to Top 40 music of the 60’s. Titles, artists, even labels – I pretty much remember them all. Is it any wonder my sex life in high school was nil? Ask Ann Jillian.

5. And finally – O.J. Simpson was at my wedding. Now this requires explaining. He wasn’t invited. We got married in the outdoor patio of the Beverly Hills Hotel. O.J. had just finished playing a game of tennis, saw the ceremony going on and stood in the back and watched. He wasn’t there for the reception however. He was probably breaking into our room.

28 comments :

Matt Patton said...

I would have preferred to write comedy for Ann Jillian, personally. She's actually funny . . .

Bob Wilson said...

Ken ...titles, artists, labels...but did you know the songs on the B sides? and the colors of the labels?
That used to be my specialty :>)
Bob Wilson

KEN LEVINE said...

Color of labels yes. B-sides no.

VP81955 said...

In other words, Ken, if you had played your cards right, you might have been Kurt Russell. Or at least Gus Trikonis.

wv: "ovary" (as Jack Paar would say, I kid you not; that's what actually came up). Speaking of Goldie Hawn, or if the rumors are true, Kate Hudson and Alex Rodriguez...

benson said...

Thirty years ago, a friend and I would play "name that tune" in our music library/prod studio. And he would not only name the title and artist, but also the color of the label. It was only after I'd left the station that he told me he could see the reflection of the turntable on the prod room's glass wall. Talent, in this case, was nothing more than a cheap trick.

wv: tostec (the cool new way to make toast) Nowhere near as interesting as ovary.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

OK, (no Google access now) what's the flip side of Larry Verne's "Mr. Custer" the 1960 hit?

Why do I know these things? Is there a special place in heaven for me called, "Dumbhead Place?"

Gosh, this is fun stuff to know...

J S Swanson said...

So,OJ was @ your wedding. Whoa. Please tell us that your wife has never given you gloves or Bruno Magli shoes as presents. For her sake ....

Gib said...

Ken:

Forgive me if this is recounted elsewhere (I've been reading your blog for a while, but not since the beginning)...

...but what qualified you, i.e., what had you actually done, as a teenager, to be offered a job writing for what was one of the hottest TV shows of its time, "LAUGH-IN"?

Very curious,

Gib

Michael said...

My wife's ex-husband had the same talent you do with 1960s music, Ken. Not that she misses it. But what distresses her is that I can do that for country music of the 1960s.

Great Big Radio Guy said...

The slogan on the Swan Records label ("She Loves You" by the Beatles) was...?

(And LAUGH-IN? That's really TMI, Ken. Brrrr.)

WV: rutritu - What Scooby Doo says when he wants to know what's with you.

Mike Barer said...

Great posts: Leaves room for lots of quips and jokes, but I'll leave that to the professionals.

KEN LEVINE said...

At the time of LAUGH-IN, I was working at KMPC radio as a sports intern. I was also writing material for Gary Owens who was their afternoon disc jockey. Gary of course, was also on LAUGH-IN. He gave some of my stuff to George Schlautter who was impressed enough to want to bring me aboard.

But it would have meant losing my school deferment and I'd be trading LAUGH-IN for Viet Nam.

LAprGuy said...

Five things, and a great punch line to boot!

alan said...

I always loved "Jennifer Slept Here," and "It's a Living."

I'm really glad I never had any child hood friends that hot.

Pamela Jaye said...

I used to know Title, Artist, Album Name, Year (occasionally label, rarely b-side - I got my stuff from Casey Kasem) but that was in the 70s and early 80s, and now it's been pushed out by, in this order, Bible verses and Television show facts.

Some of it I can still pull up. Some would take me forever.

Saddest part? I know the lyrics to Weird Al Parodies of original songs I've never heard.
(and I didn't have MTV till 1989 by which time I didn't care enough to watch it. I've seen very few music videos)

Paul Duca said...

Did Ann Jillian share any stories with you on the playground (or wherever) when she was on-set?
(when she was a child actress, most notably in the film version of GYPSY, alongside Rosalind Russell...and Natalie Wood)

Mary Stella said...

Pamela Jaye said:
Saddest part? I know the lyrics to Weird Al Parodies of original songs I've never heard.

Is that sadder than the fact that my friends and I went to a Weird Al concert in NYC eons ago?

Never saw Michael Jackson in concert but saw Weird Al parody his songs live.

Yep. That's sad.

David said...

Lots of us are into that sixties oldies minutia detail trivia stuff. You'd love Kent Kotal's Forgotten Hits website, and his blog page, and his email newsletters. Heck, most of us still hear Bill Drake's, Gary Owen's, and all the WLS DJ's voices in our heads when we (attempt) sleep.

Roger Owen Green said...

Not all songs, but I got pretty good at Beatles running times; one could tell the difference between the US Penny Lane and the Canadian because the latter was slightly longer, a full 3:00.
Knowing this hurts my head.

benson said...

Yes, and another friend of mine, who's done mornings in several major markets, once said that you can point out the radio person in a restaurant. He's the one talking up the songs on the jukebox and hitting the post!

Buttermilk Sky said...

So is OJ in any of your wedding pictures? If so, do you show them to people without comment and wait for the "What the hell...?" reaction?

Gib said...

Ken:

Thanks for the follow-up about "LAUGH-IN".

I know it was a different era, but it's still amazing George Schlatter would offer any kind of writing job on one of TV's top shows to a teenager. Is there even a remote chance that could happen today? Hard to imagine...

...especially in an era when it seems an adolescent is much more likely to get a network job.

Gib

KEN LEVINE said...

I could easily see sketch shows hiring a teenager if he had the goods. Why not? It would be harder to land a sitcom staff job because more training is involved but sure, if a 19 year old has the requisite talent I think he's got a shot. He'd be quite an investment. If he's good at 19 imagine how much better he'll be at 25.

jviolette73 said...

Seth Rogen worked as a writer for Undeclared at age 18 or 19. Seems to have worked out well for him and Apatow, whether or not they're your thing.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Speaking of Niel Young, I saw a show earlier today about model trains. Young is a big fan and collector of these great old toys. And speaking of that, do kids play with trains today? None of the young punks I work with do nor did they when they were growing up.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I meant Neil Young. Gotta learn to poorfread.

Roger Owen Green said...

FYI - Your old friend in the Albany, NY area tomorrow: SEX SYMBOL TURNED SURVIVOR: Ann Jillian brings hopeful cancer message to region

jackieswanson said...

NEIL YOUNG!!!!!! Ken, I LOVE Neil. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!!!!!
Did you really kick him out?!? Come on, p l e a s e tell me you guys smoked pot together!?!
Ken Levine and Neil Young!
Excellent.