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by Rollye James
Rollye: “By far, the happiest news I've gotten in the last week came from Claude”…
Claude Hall: “Gang, I’m recovering. Heart valve replacement was considered a bad risk.
Specialist said I might survive longer than real quick if I lost 10 pounds of water weight and
five pounds of body fat. Have an oxygen generator in the house. Nurse comes once a month.
“So Barbara put me on a low-salt diet. I’m now at 163 pounds. Sleeping a lot but feeling
better day by day and am now allowed to have a little salt. Such as a low-sodium In-N-Out
burger. So, we’ll see. You can not imagine how great one of those things tastes!
“Got back to working on my novel “George and Me” on April 12. Started over to build up the
major fictional character, a secret agent.
“Rollye James, God bless her, has taken over the weekly Vox Jox internet publication. I’m
going to contribute when and if I can. After more than 60 years, why not? My love to each
Rollye: “Why not, indeed. I let Claude know my vote is for him to get back to the lead role,
but that I'll gladly stand in how much or how little he’d like. Time will tell.”
Bob Sherwood: “So glad to learn that you came through the daunting process in fine fettle.
I’m guessing that a lot of prayers were answered. It’s delightful to know that you’re back
doing what you love to do and do so well….write. Rollye’s terrific and carrying the Vox Jox
flag prominently. Looking forward to your next report.”
Don Graham: “ Hi Ya Claude! This is fabulous news!….Unfortunately, there is an In-n-Out
burger about two blocks from my office…I make a real effort not to drive by it, as my car
automatically turns into it!.. I can certainly relate to your passion for their burgers…I always
have the “Double-Double” (with extra onions!) and a chocolate shake…(the best on the
planet!)…I have cut it down to one per month, from one per week…my cardiologist tells us
that salt is p-o-i-s-o-n ! …Keep up your good work, Claude, and get lots of deserved rest…
Rollye: “That reminds me of something Robert W. Morgan used to claim when I lived at
9th and Flower (long before it was gentrified and frightfully expensive). I had a lot of
friends— mostly those, like Jack Armstrong, who needed free parking downtown for
appearances and such. It didn’t hurt that I was a block from the Original Pantry. But Morgan
complained that while driving home on the 101 he would invariably develop car trouble. At
Rampart and Beverly his car would veer into Tommy’s.
Burt Sherwood: “I am sending this to Claude , though I know Rollye will handle it....I have a
question....Danny Davis....he was a recording talent that made the crossover to record
promotion. We were quite friendly and I helped him all I could...he was as clean as a
“whistle”...never even a hint of anything like payola...WMCA was “death” on payola////so we
were told to stay away from the promoters///almost impossible.....they all had a good laugh on
me at the station....there was one little guy (cannot recall his name) that looked like he was
hungry....he began talking to me and I took him across the street for coffee and doughnuts on
me....the poor little guy was the one who built Alan Freed’s swimming pool! I still can hear
the laughter....so much for a naiveté....I was a long way from Peoria. Back to my original...is
this the same Danny Davis? If so I am sorry to learn of this....it is all a long time ago....
“Last month I wrote a long letter with deep affection to Claude....I thought about it for a long
time before sending it...I must have offended you ...is all I can think, hope not.....hope all is
well and that Claude gets his valve fixed soon...bests always.”
Rollye: “I’m sure Claude was very pleased to read your email, Burt, and I’m equally sure he
didn’t see it when you wrote it. He’s just now getting back in the swing of checking email
now, but for a while there, he just flat out wasn’t up to it. But there’s no doubt that sentiments
like yours have gone a long way to motivate him to be there for all of us.
“As for Danny Davis— good question, but as far as I know he wasn’t a musician. A Borscht
Belt comic, yes. I first knew of him around 1960 when he was at Big Top Records. I believe
he was at Kapp and Decca previously. I think he’s from Philly originally. After Big Top, he
was head of promotion for Philles, and undoubtedly has tons of good Phil Spector stories.
Later he was head of pop promotion for Motown, and by 1979 was VP of promotion for
Casablanca (where I know, based on interviews and book excerpts, he had even better, or
worse stories, depending on your perspective). Since I seem to remember he was based in
New York when he was with Big Top, I guess it’s possible it’s the same one, but the musician
past is throwing me.
“There’s another New York Danny Davis, who was definitely a musician. He was with MGM
records in the early ’60s, but as a producer not a promoter— I’ve heard he was responsible for
Herman’s Hermits coming to the label (“Herman” who I’ll always picture in that WMCA good
guys sweatshirt on a 1966 album cover— now there was a coup, planned or not), but I’m not
sure of the timing as I thought this Danny Davis was at RCA by then. RCA transferred him to
Nashville, and Chet Atkins signed off on what New York wouldn’t— a country album
featuring brass, hence Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass was born. Doesn’t sound like this
is your guy.
“Then there’s Danny Davis the disc jockey. I got a few emails from former coworkers fearing
we were discussing him. Though he’s been off the air a while (last stop, mornings at KOY in
Phoenix— he left in ’13 after over 15 years with the station— before that he was at KOOL in
Phoenix for several years, in Portland for a while, and in Denver from ’68 to ’83-- KIMN and
has his contact info. He’s definitely not the same one.
“So… I’m thinking it’s the first Danny Davis, and I just didn’t know he was a musician. I
wrote to Don Graham for confirmation but haven't heard back. By all reports, this Danny
was straight as an arrow— which made it interesting in the Casablanca culture. And probably
very interesting when he worked for Joe Isrgo. If memory serves, he testified about payola—
which he said he never paid. Told a great story about working for Big Top where he was
asked to go to Philly to pay off a jock. He said he got there and didn’t have it in him to do it.
“I was thinking a lot about payola this weekend. I read the reports of the bill a US Rep from
Brentwood, TN is sponsoring to force radio to pay RIAA royalties. She got over 200
musicians to lobby for it last week. I’m always in awe of what I think of as the celestial
pendulum. When most of us were getting into radio, record labels were bending over to pay
radio stations (thinking of it not as commercial bribery which it was labeled, but more like a
commission, since there was no doubt that airplay equated sales). Now record labels want to
be paid— but funny thing, they’re still counting on radio as their promotion arm. Seems to
me that if radio has to pay, stations ought to operate under the premise that they only play
million sellers. That way the labels will be forced to find another promotion method to get
those sales. (Yeah, it can be argued that the web is a major factor today— and while there’s a
lot of proof for that contention [and no doubt some problems for radio if it abdicated its
"breaking" role], take radio out of the equation and watch what happens.) My, how the
Rollye: “The memorial for Ron Jacobs was held Saturday. I knew with Kevin Gershan
involved it would be spectacular and I was sorry I couldn't witness it in person. Less than 24
hours later, Kevin already produced and uploaded a video tribute.”
Rollye: “As usual, if you're reading this in your inbox, the youtube video is not visible. So
Timmy Manocheo about the event”...
Timmy Manocheo: “Well, it turned out to be a solid, beautiful evening at Le Petit Chateau
yesterday. It was evident from when Harvey Miller, my wife Irene & I arrived early, that
Kevin Gershan sparred no expense putting forth an effort to create a joyous atmosphere for
all to remember. People kept coming, for hours, packing into the great classic North
Hollywood restaurant. Let's see, if I can recall some of the cheerful folks who were there --
Mike Wagner, Michael C. Gwynne, Don Elliot, Chuck Street, Wink Martindale & his
lovely wife, Jeffrey Leonard, Dandy Don Whittemore, Don Graham & wife, the ever
gorgeous Keri Kasem, Jim Carson, Brian Roberts, Ken & Kelly Orchard, Barbara
Rounds, Beau Weaver, he's the guy with hair longer than mine, Neil Ross, Norm Garr,
Shelley Morgan, Steve Resnik, as well as dozens of so many other delightful people, & it
was all videoed by the expert writer/videographer/photographer, Mr. Gary Strobl.
“I also have to applaud the staff of the Le Petit, for their professional & courteous behavior,
that type of service if a dwindling genre, in itself. And, I must tell you, I was impressed with
how happy every one was, there on that occasion. I found something out during the speeches,
one of the speakers, maybe Kevin himself, brought up the fact that MANY people were
threatened by R.J. to be sued. I was under the impression, that I was the only one! Wow, what
a revelation, hilarious... But all & all, in seriousness, as Humble Harve succinctly put it,
"Jacobs was a genius". Anyway, I just wanted to get in with my take on the event. Claude, you
would have loved it, & you were in the thoughts of most of the people there, I'm sure.”
Rollye: “Earlier in the week, we got another email from Timmy with his “formal invitation”
from Jeff Leonard. I’m pretty sure Jeff is including all the Southern California radio crowd
in the invite, so here are the details”…
Jeff Leonard through Timmy Manocheo: “Once again it's time to join our past radio friends
for lunch, old stories and fun. Our "Spring into Summer" reunion is scheduled for: Saturday,
June 18th, 11 am - 4 pm, Fuddruckers, 221 N. San Fernando Blvd., Burbank, 91502
“It would be great if you could join us. Please RSVP to this e-mail address
as soon as possible
so we can get a head count. As always, there will be a large crowd so get there early!”
(GRHOF) newsletter for April 1, 2016, you'll see a brief story about a new benefactor to the
GRHOF…me! And, I'm glad to do it. I have some really wonderful equipment and I will be
very, very pleased for it to be on display for a long time to come for many others to enjoy and
to reminisce. Thanks to John Long and Steve Hill for a really nice visit with Annie and me in
“I do have to make some corrections, though. I never worked for WOBS (a fantastic Rhythm
& Blues station in Jacksonville) and it was WPDQ…not WPDA…that helped pay my way
through college and where I spent some of the happiest times of my life while attending the
University of Florida! That beautiful era, i.e., the late fifties and early sixties, will never, ever
be equaled in the annals of Top 40 radio broadcasting! Never!!!”
Rollye: “Thank you Carl! As a new member of the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame (and at $25
for a lifetime membershp, anyone who owns a radio and can find Georgia on a map should
join), I'm appreciative. And I share your sentiments. If I could live in any era, the late
’50s/early ’60s would be it for me too. Sociologically it may best be remembered for the
generational shared experience it created. For instance, back then, every kid in town (any
town) was listening to the same night jock, the same records (and the same creative
commercials which are also long gone). Radio was aimed right at them. A decade or two later,
it made the oldies format easy to program. Everybody knew the same songs and grew up with
a connection to radio.
“Later as demographics ruled, programmers considered “blowing off the teens” an
accomplishment. No wonder we have the problems we do today. Those teens grew up too—
with no bond to radio whatsoever. And today’s teens have so many media opportunities that
it’s not even a given that they share the same music exposure, let alone a passing thought
about radio. When Pandora will play your favorite records (reasonably speaking, based on the
algorithm they use), it’s folly for a radio station’s positioning to claim it plays your favorites—
but maybe that can become somewhat irrelevant.
“If a station could come up with entertainment that was not duplicable (in the form of
compelling personalities), it would win. It’s a semantic argument to talk about FM or XM or
Online or even AM— that’s a discussion about the delivery truck. When the delivery truck
pulls up with our order, all we care about is what’s on it. With radio, if it's compelling and
relevant, people will find it wherever it is. But radio's economic reality right now seems to
preclude building any level of entertainment value. Give it some time though— after the
bankruptcies wipe the insane amount of debt of the books, someone will figure it out. Getting
off the soap box now”…
: “I'm still plugging away and working hard on my new blog site. This is a
dear friend. He’d often come by my office unannounced to say, “Lev, lemme ask your advice
about something.” He’d listen, nod approvingly, then run off and do whatever he already had
in mind before sitting down with me. You hadda love him…”
Rollye: “A few weeks ago we mentioned the passing of Larry Cohen. He was known by so
many and beloved by all. I’ve been saddened at not seeing much of anything online about his
death. He is worthy of many remembrances. I chalked it up to we’re all getting older, and
maybe to many we’re also old news, dead or alive.
“But then this past week, I learned of the passing of John Cook. John was Jay Cook’s son.
(You’ll remember Jay from, among many stops, his days in Memphis, and Philadelphia, and
as president of Gannett Radio. His death in 1999 caused many appropriate and lengthy obits.)
John died on April 12th, and I wouldn’t have known a thing about it had it not been for a blurb
written by Joel Denver
, who worked for his dad in Philadephia. I don’t
know how old John was— I’m guessing somewhere around 50. I do know he had a resume
including some of the biggest call letters in our industry. So I was certain I’d find an obit, at
the very least some blog mentions.
“Other than a a few words in this column last year when someone was trying to locate him
(and I believe Ken Dowe came to the rescue), the newest item I could find was from 2008
when he was fired as a programmer for CBS in Philly over the antics of his morning man. It’s
as if he vanished. I’m sure John is in that proverbial better place now, but I’m wondering
where he’s been for the past eight years, and hoping that the journey included many happy
moments along the way. Hopefully Ken can shed some light, but if you have more info, I’d
love to print it —or anything else you have to say, for that matter. This really is your column.