Monday, November 19, 2012

The perfect holiday gift for this year

I know it sounds like just another plug for my book but hear me out. This one’s legit! With the holidays just hours away, THE ME GENERATION… BY ME (GROWING UP IN THE ‘60s) would make the perfect gift for friends and family members who fondly remember that magic era when the surf was up, gas prices were down, music was psychedelic, and we kids didn't have a care in the world except Viet Nam and total nuclear annihilation.  Seriously, it’s a fun read. And it comes in three flavors: Kindle version. Paperback version (order now so it’s there on time). And audibook.

To help get you into the mood for the season here are two brief warm and touching excerpts:

Thanksgiving finally arrived and with it the cheese-rich Santa Claus Lane Parade down Hollywood Blvd. Unlike Macy’s with giant balloons and impressive marching bands, we had Hollywood B-actors, second bananas, local fringe celebrities riding in cars with their names hand-painted on the sides, and a few 100-year-old guys from an American Legion Post blowing their livers out through trombones. The big finale was the arrival of Santa Claus; usually on a float that looked like a Cub Scout project gone horribly wrong.

I never actually attended the parade. My parents were not about to wade through a million people so I could see talk show guest Oscar Levant either waving to the crowd or having another seizure. If we couldn’t walk to it (like the 4th of July parade) my folks weren’t interested. But I didn’t care. It was a TV event anyway.

Bill Welsh on Channel 11 would interview all the “stars” as they passed. How do you ask Gypsy Boots what his upcoming project was with a straight face? Gypsy Boots was a local health nut who was part Grizzly Adams/part Bozo the Clown. His upcoming project??? Appear in next year’s parade. Back in the ’50s, Natalie Wood or Bing Crosby would be the grand marshal. Now it was Iron Eyes Cody.


I couldn’t fathom why anyone would watch the Andy Williams variety show on NBC if they didn’t own a color TV. It was so wholesome your teeth ached. Whatever “edge” the show had was provided by the Osmond Family. But it was in color and production numbers always featured grinning All-American kids in brightly colored sweaters holding brightly colored balloons. Not having a color TV and not being gay I never watched The Andy Williams Show… except…

When it was time for the annual Christmas special.

Andy would always have his beautiful family on the show. Mrs. Williams & Andy and the adorable towheads would sing Carols, exchange presents, and their message of love and holiday good cheer would melt even the coldest heart. That’s not why I watched it, of course. I wanted to screw Andy’s wife.

Claudine Longet (Mrs. W.) was a willowy brunette with exquisite doe eyes and luscious lips. Laura Petrie but French. She was also a successful recording artist but believe me, if she looked like Charles De Gaulle she couldn’t give away one record. But I found her incredibly sexy, even when she was singing Silent Night in front of a crucifix. She and Andy divorced in the ’70s and two years later she shot her boyfriend, Olympic skier Spider Sabich to death. I stopped wanting to screw her then.

I’ll be on parole for Christmas.


Mike Barer said...

I also had a crush on Claudine Longet. Andy Williams show was a guilty pleasure and I really loved the bear.

Mike Barer said...

I would recomend Ken's book as a Christmas/Chanukka gift.

Jerry Krull said...

I thought Ken's book was great! It helps explain what the 60's experience was for those that grew up middle class outside of a major city.

It wasn't all drugs and protests. Radio/music and television were the main activities and measuring sticks of most generations from the 60's on.

I'm sure the rural experience was different and I'm waiting for Tom Wopat (Dukes of Hazzard) to write his 60's history about growing up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin.

(Ok I had to Google "Celebrities who grew up on a farm" to find a person who actually grew up in the 60's on a farm)

Mike Botula said...

Andy and Claudine came by KMPC one morning while I was there, to visit Geoff Edwards. Those eyes,OMG. By the way who played the dancing bear on Andy's show. Was it Bob Einstein?

OrangeTom said...

Yeah, I think Claudine Longet sped up my advance to puberty by at least two years.

And who from that era can forget the SNL skit her homicide inspired. "The Claudine Longet Invitational"--a ski tournament which featured random participants getting shot down on the course while Claudine kept apologizing: "It was an accident, it was an accident"

Was so slanderous might have been the only time SNL had to issue an on-air apology the following week.

chicoruiz said...

I believe the bear was played by Janos Prohaska. Don't ask me how I remember this; I can barely remember my own zip code...

chas said...

Back in the day LA radio personalities Lohman & Barkley had a late Saturday nite tv show. In one memorable sketch the did a send up of Andy Williams featuring the family gathered around the Christmas tree, just like the photo you posted. The mom's singing was so bad that first the kids got up and left, then the dad, then the dog and finally the Christmas tree, leaving the Claudine clone all alone. Hilarious.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to go off-topic, but the four "Almost Perfect" episodes on YouTube got me hooked.

Will the remaining 30 ever see the light of day?

Matt Patton said...

For those who need a further Claudine Longet fix, she was also in the 1968 movie THE PARTY with Peter Sellers. She looks lovely, sings a very pretty song, and gets buried in soap suds, as does most of the cast. As is revealed in one of the novellas that makes up the book LIVER, author Will Self does not like the movie. He probably doesn't like Claudine Longet either . . .

LouOCNY said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LouOCNY said...

All together now:


Now Claudine's back in jail again
Claudine's back in jail again
Claudine's back in jail again, Claudine

Claudine's back in jail again
Claudine's back in jail again
She only does it at weekends

Now only Spider knows for sure
But he ain't talkin' about it any more
Is he, Claudine?

There was blood in the chalet
And blood in the snow
She washed her hands of the whole damn show, Claudine

Shot him once right through the head
Shot him twice right through the chest
The judge says it was an accident, Claudine
Accidents will happen

Claudine's back in jail again
Claudine's back in jail again
Claudine's back in jail again

Claudine's back in jail again
Claudine's back in jail again
Claudine's back in jail again
Claudine Yeah

Poor Claudine
Poor Claudine

Claudine's back in jail again
Claudine's back in jail again
Claudine's back in jail again, Claudine

Poor Claudine
Poor Claudine
Poor poor Claudine

Now I threaten my wife with a gun
I always leave the safety on
I don't really mean it, Claudine

Yes she pistol whipped me once or twice
But she never tried to take my life
What do you think about that, Claudine

Claudine's back in jail again
Claudine's back in jail again
Claudine's back in jail again
She only does it at weekends, Claudine

Oooo ...poor Claudine
What about the children, baby?
Poor, poor children

You're the prettiest girl I ever seen
I saw you on the movie screen
Hope you don't try to make a sacrifice of me, Claudine
Don't get trigger happy with me, Claudine
No itchy fingers!

Claudine's back in jail again
Claudine's back in jail again
Claudine's back in jail again, Claudine

Oh Claudine

Up to last year, when it finally got legally released, perhaps THE Great Lost Stones Track

Dave said...

This book has actually been on my Amazon wishlist for a couple of months...since I only have 2 books on there right now, I think it's a good bet I'll be getting it for Christmas!

James said...

Who was more sacchrine: the Andy Williams Xmas special or The King Family Xmas Special?

I'd bet my house on the latter.

Julius LaRosa said...

Keep forgetting to ask: any update on Norm's condition?

Kirk said...

I remember the bear on Andy Williams always trying to finagle him out of cookies.

High concept, to say the least.

Ron Rettig said...

Gypsy Boots was frequent guest on various incarnation of the Steve Allen Show.