The other side of the Mic

While doing the show at the Desert Inn, I worked Sunday afternoons at Vegas’ KORKam. After the show closed, I was mid-day and then given the reponsibilty of Operations with a Big Band format. There are many former “Stars” who participated in the Big Band Era living there.  On any given Sunday afternoon I would be visited by one of them such as Joe Williams, Don Cherry, Robert Goulet, the DeCastro and McGuire Sisters, Sy Zentner or Johnny Haig.They would “co-host” for a while, telling stories of their days on the road.  I was thrilled to have a telephone interview with Frankie Laine.  I was told that he was reluctant to do one, but he did with me.  Each of the touring stars had a publicity director whose responsibility was to line up interviews. I seemed to be chosen by the represenatives of the most difficult performers.  There were some who would tolerate doing them but could care less about doing publicity. (much of the blame was due to the inane questions asked by the interviewers) These people were reputed to be totally rude and mono-syllabic, but there were three that proved to be most interesting and interested as well.  The first was Paula Kelly when she was featured in “Sophisticated Lady” at the Desert Inn. She was a cast member of the television series, “Night Court” also.Paula’s agent told me that she would only visit for “15 or 20 minutes”, but she remained for over an  hour.   Robert Blake  (Little Beaver and Baretta, was charged in the death of his wife, but never convicted) He was active in the anti-nuclear demonstrations of the 80’s. During a walk across America, the group stopped overnight in Vegas and he came by for a ‘brief’ visit and stayed for over an hour.  James MacArthur of “Hiwaii Five-O” was a tough nut to crack, but he finally warmed up and revealed some very interesting facts about his young life with his mom Helen Hayes. I learned the most important technique in interviewing the famous was to ask a question and shut up.  Even if they mumble, if I sat and smiled and waited and waited and waited, they would eventually start talking.  I had always heard that “Silence is Golden”, but it never was so evident before. I was privileged to begin my celebrity interviews while working  at KRAY in Amarillo.  That’s a pretty good story, too.  I wish I had saved all those tapes, donchaknow.  I never attempted to ‘scoop’, but allowed the other person to share as they would.  It worked and for that I am eternally thankful.   AMEN

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