Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Happy Birthday to my hero

If you’ll indulge me, I’m going to devote today’s post to wishing my father, Cliff the happiest of birthdays. Since he’s not on Facebook he won’t receive the flood of birthday greetings that everyone receives so he’ll have to make do celebrating old school – reading a blog post.

Dad turns 88 today. Happy to say he’s as sharp and feisty as ever. He lives in a retirement community and tells the women residents he’s a pornography director looking for new talent. He’ll excuse himself from breakfast saying he has to speak at the UN later. He’ll challenge residents in walkers to a race.

Gee, where do I get my sense of humor?

He once started a whipped cream fight at the dinner table when I was a kid. As a teenager, he took me to see Jack Benny, Bob Newhart, and Danny Thomas perform in Las Vegas. He introduced me to Laurel & Hardy, Jackie Gleason & Art Carney, Bilko, Looney Tunes, and the Three Stooges. He told me there was this new TV show he thought I’d like. It was THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW.

He worked as a radio executive for many years, first as the sales manager of KABC in Los Angeles and eventually the General Manager of 50,000 watt WLS in Chicago. John Records Landecker, on his last show a few weeks ago acknowledged my father.

But more than that, my dad is my hero. For all his many accomplishments, I am proudest of how highly regarded he is by all who have worked with him and all who know him. He treats everyone with respect and conducts business with grace and integrity. Could a kid have a better role model?

So Happy Birthday, Dad. I love you. And I think a whipped cream fight in the main dining room is long overdue. Just sayin’.


norm said...

What do you mean by John Records Landecker's last show?
Where was he on?

Peter said...

Mazel tov!

Your dad looks great at 88! Does he normally rock the Colonel Sanders look?

tells the women residents he’s a pornography director looking for new talent.

I can see a potential sitcom in that setting.

richard Y said...


Bill Avena said...

Federal Body Inspector badge not cutting it anymore? I'm also pleased my own father "became" wiser and wittier in his old age, as some of us are lucky enough to learn. Your pop should run into Sarah Silverman's father in Boca sometime.

Johnny Walker said...

Happy birthday, Cliff! Thanks for giving us Network notes during the Sitcom Room. I can't imagine a Network Executive being much friendlier.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

Happy birthday, Cliffie!

(When I first met you nearly ten years ago, I said, "I'm proud to meet the man who made the man who's show we're here to see...")

I bet you thought I was certifiable...


Many more for you!

Mark said...

Happy Birthday to your father. He is a year to the day younger then my mother. May we be as gracious in our late 80's as they are.

Mr. Hollywood said...

A fine man who has a fine son. Wonderful to see your love for your dad ... and his love for you.

You are blessed to have him in your life ... and may it be for at least another 88 years!

God Bless You Cliff ... and God Bless you Ken!

Canda said...

Glad you had a great Dad in your life. All of us who did should always be grateful.

H Johnson said...

You're a good son Ken Levine. Best wishes and much Aloha to your father.

VP81955 said...

Thank you, Cliff -- you raised a heckuva son.

AlaskaRay said...

Ken, Please pass along my birthday wishes to your dad, unless he reads your blog. In that case, happy birthday, Cliff. I hope you remember me.


spmsmith said...

"He treats everyone with respect and conducts business with grace and integrity." I'd enjoy working for your dad, I think. I hope he has a great birthday!

MikeK.Pa. said...

"John Records Landecker, on his last show a few weeks ago acknowledged my father."
JRL passed through here in the late 60s. Loved him and Long John Wade.

Your dad sounds like a scream to be around. Sense of humor goes a long way - especially, as he's probably found out, with the ladies.

VincentS said...

Happy birthday, Cliff!

Anonymous said...

John Records Landecker retired last month.
Really funny guy here in Chicago at WLS. Part of the great lineups of the late 1960's and 1970's along with Lujack and Fred Winston (see Beuhler, Ferris).

In the 1970's he used to do "Boogie check", a great bit.
Quick wit, and Records truly was his middle name.

DrBOP said... dad introduced me to Shecky Greene, Rusty Warren, Lenny Bruce and.....Muddy Waters.
No wonder my writing career went in a whole..... 'notha..... direction!
(Sorry, Peele)

Keep On Chooglin' Pop!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of integrity...any thoughts about actor Steve Rannazzisi and his wife lying about their exploits during 9/11? Apparently, they made up a dramatic story to make him more interesting during casting calls after he arrived in LA, and kept laying it on thicker as the years rolled by, until the NYT finally outed him:

I'm just wondering why his wife hasn't yet apologized, unless I missed it somehow.

Barry Traylor said...

Your Dad sounds like quite a card. Happy he is still around for you.