Monday, March 24, 2014

Historic Moments in Show Business

Historic Moments in Show Business for the Attention Span challenged.
The Secrets of Life and Ventriloquism intexted.

*A blog for people who multi-task, have Attention Defect Disorder, surf and watch more than one television channel at a time; people who forget what they are saying and repeat themselves, because they forgot what they were saying and people who need more focus, not to repeat themselves. 

Historic Moments in Show Business.  Is that an oxymoron? Are there historic moments in show business like there are in science? Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, is there an entertainment equivalent?  Did Jack Benny invent the slow take? Who wrote the first joke. What's the name of the juggler who spun the first plate on a stick?  
The juggler that first put plate spinning in his act? 
The first plate spinner?
Who. Who's the guy that invented plate spinning. (Fill in the rest  of the routine at your leisure)
The point is, moments of show business history are difficult to pinpoint because there is no patent date on inspiration. Intellectual ideas can lead to intellectual properties which can be dated and copy protected, but when was the first spark for that idea?    
That moment of instantaneous artistic inspiration  is compelling to think about.  I don't know how often it happens  but I have been witness to that flash point in the career of two very successful and completely different people.

In the event that someone is reading my blog only to learn ventriloquism. Skip to the (red lettered sections and complete those lessons ) 

(Writer's note) To continue this story I have to drop three names. The word "drop" is used to designate celebrity status. I could have changed their names, but the very point of the story is: they became successfully known.  I did not get permission from any of them to use their stories in my blog.  They may disavow any knowledge of having known me, worked with me or deny this moment ever happened. 

It was in an Atlanta, Georgia Comedy Club called "A- Comic Cafe".  
(repeat the phrase "Comedy Club called "A- Comic Cafe" 20 times, it will strengthen your gutturals. But don't strain your throat. Don't repeat the exercise more than 20 times in 24 hours 
I was the headliner for the week and the middle act was a local guy who had just gone into comedy full time.  He was editing jokes hand written on several pages of lined notebook paper in the green room.  The opening comic was on stage for 15 minutes. It was just the two of us waiting our turn to go on stage. The local comic turns to me and with a heavy Georgia accent says, "Do you think this is funny?" 
He then rattled off several very funny jokes that began, 'You Might be a Redneck, if..." It was the first week Jeff Foxworthy performed his now trademark material. I can't take all of the credit for Jeff's incredible career, but... at that flash point of his art form, when he asked me if I "thought it was funny"? I said. Yes.

In an entirely different world many years before performing in those Comedy Clubs I worked the summer between college at the Desert Fiesta Theatre in Carlsbad, New Mexico.  It was a "theme park show" musical extravaganza for the tourists heading to visit Carlsbad Caverns. The show featured a full orchestra and a cast of 30 college age performers in an original variety show conceived by producer/director Charles R. Meeker, Jr.  
Desert Fiesta Dressing Room -  July 1970
The Desert Fiesta theatre seated 1200 people  and for opening night we had 1210 in the audience. It was a spectacular opening and after party. There was Champagne in collectors glassware.
The next day there were 17 people total in the audience for a matinee. To make it seem even more empty the audience was not sitting together.  Only six people were in most expensive orchestra seats,  the rest were scattered around the back sections. That performance had more people back stage than in the audience.  We never did more than half capacity for the entire rest of the summer. The cast and crew became a very close fraternity/sorority, It was a great "summer away from college - job" for a bunch of really talented people from all over the country. I remember it well. 
The theatre manager's name was Mike Brown. 
(Phonetically the words "Mike Brown" are incredibly difficult to say with no lips. Don't try it. Change the name to something you can say and move on, get past it go forward with your life.) 
Mike was married to a beautiful Texas lady named Sandra, whom I think was a Six Flags alumni as well.
It was the end of the summer and most of us were going back to college.  Mike and Sandra had graduated and were moving back to Texas to seek their fame and fortune. I asked them what they planned to do.  
Mike said he wanted to be a television Anchorman. Years later I was on Mike Browns's television show  on WFAA the Dallas ABC affiliate.  It was a network publicity tour for SOAP. There are moments, like going back to your home town promoting your network television show, that you never forget. Mike Brown and I seemed to be doing exactly what we had both dreamed of doing. 

Mike's wife wanted to be a writer. Sandra knew she could write those Harlequin Romance Novels which were extremely popular at the time.  She began to write.  First under some pen names and then under her own name.  Sandra Brown. Yes, that Sandra Brown  the famous writer. To pass time I counted the number of Sandra Brown Novels on the New York Best Sellers shelf at Airport bookstore by the time I could remember one of her titles there were three more books to replace it at the top.  Soon it was hard to find the title below her name. Didn't matter what the title was... is was a Sandra Brown novel... it's all you needed to know.
There you have it,  two Historic Moments in show business,
(As a cool down gently say "Historic Moments in Show Business" in an FM radio tone of voice. Feel free to record yourself saying it several different ways. If you have learned the echo effect this would be a good time to practice it.)

The creative moment when someone had an idea to do
(Your echo should have stopped by now. Practice "Zentriloquism" completely silent ventriloquism. The Postman gave Corky the test of silence to prove his sanity. How long can you exists in silence?)
when someone has an idea to do something in their career and life and accomplish it. It happens all the time and to lots of people willing to do what it takes to see their ideas come into bloom.  
 But... Oops.... Time's up.  I only rented this soap box for an hour.  Oh yeah and:
Ventriloquists - This first session is free.
As you were,

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