Sunday, March 9, 2014

Happy Birthday, Joe Franklin

"Richard Skipper Is Riveting As Carol Channing. . . I Could Watch This Performance Forever!" --JOE Franklin

The above quote means the world to me. 
I first discovered Joe Franklin in the summer of 1978. I was working at Grand Strand Amusement Park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I operated the Junior Hot Rods Attraction. 
There was no curfew at the park. The owner would make a decision to close the park each night once the attendance would die down. It could be anywhere between midnight and 2AM. 
It was a family affair. My Dad ran the kiddie section of the park. My mom worked in the ticket booth. 
My sister worked in the concession stand. My brothers ran around 
the park doing as they liked. I don't think that is something that could be done in today's climate. Everyone who worked in the park were always looking after each other. It was an extended family. 
I had a little transistor radio and anytime there was a lull, I would be searching for programming that I liked. This was in the midst of a big nostalgia craze, especially after the success of That's Entertainment
I grew up loving The Wizard of Oz which led to a love of all these old MGM movies. Books and television specials also helped me satisfy my cravings.

I was obsessed! Well, one Saturday night as the crowds were thinning down at Grand Strand Amusement Park, I grabbed my un trustworthy transistor radio and started channel surfing.
If the wind was just right, I never knew what I would find. Well, this particular night, I found Judy Garland and Micky Rooney. 
Not only did I hear duets from their films, but, as an added bonus, there were clips from Judy Garland's TV show in which Mickey Rooney had appeared. I was in MGM heaven! The man who was making this happen was Joe Franklin
It didn't stop there. He played other artists from the golden age of film, television, and recordings. My quest, mostly unsuccessfully, was to reconnect with Joe Franklin's Saturday night romps down memory lane.I found out that he was broadcasting from WOR in New York. That made my quest to get to New York even more appetizing. The following year at that time, I WAS in New York. 
One night, shortly after getting to New York, one late night while channel surfing on TV, I heard a familiar voice. It was Joe Franklin with his late night talk show on WOR-TV, channel 9. I loved his show! Not only did he have the older stars that I admired on the show from time to time, he also gave many unknowns there first exposure. 
One night, he kept introducing his special guest, Ann Hampton Callaway. I'm expecting Cab Calloway's daughter and then this amazon of a gorgeous woman walked on stage. 
I instantly became a fan. 
I was saddened when he went off of TV. I did continue to listen to him on the radio. One night after a Saturday night gig, Danny, my partner, and I were driving home on the West Side Highway late at night listening to Joe.
I said he had been stumped for weeks. Someone wrote to him wanting to know what song the following lyrics were taken from, "I'd like to remind you of the day of horseless carriages and divorce less marriages". He couldn't remember what it was. I KNEW it was from the 45 recording that Judy Garland and Gene Kelly did of When You Wore a Tulip.They sang the song in For Me and My Girl. The Decca 45 recording had a playful introduction. I think they were written by Roger Edens.
The bottom line was that I knew what he was trying to find the answer to.  
I immediately called in and explained to the screener why I was calling. He immediately put me on the air.
I gave Joe what he was looking for and told him that when I got home, I would get the album so he could play it on the radio which I did. 
Joe Franklin promised me a Baby Watson Cheesecake, his sponsor, which he delivered! We have eventually become friends and he has become
a major supporter over the years! I LOVE YOU, JOE FRANKLIN!  

 I am thankful for the King of Nostalgia, Joe Franklin, and the support he has given me over the years. Joe Franklin (born Joseph Fortgang on March 9, 1926, Bronx, New York) is an American radio and television personality. From New York City, Franklin is sometimes credited with hosting the first television talk show. The show began in 1951 on WJZ-TV (later WABC-TV) and moved to WOR-TV (later WWOR-TV) from 1962 to 1993.
 After retiring from the television show, Franklin concentrated on an overnight radio show, playing old records on WOR-AM on Saturday evenings. This was when I first discovered Joe.
He currently interviews celebrities on the Bloomberg Radio Network and audio podcasts of his 2008 interviews are available at
 An author, Franklin has written 23 books, including Classics of the Silent Screen.[3] His 1995 autobiography Up Late with Joe Franklin chronicles his long career and includes the astounding claims that

he had dalliances with Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, and that Veronica Lake "threw herself at me, but I always refrained." He has appeared as himself in countless films, notably Ghostbusters and Broadway Danny Rose.

Let's start celebrating artists again rather than tearing them down. TMZ has done nothing to add to our cultural landscape.
Thank you ALL of the artists mentioned in this blog for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!

 With grateful XOXOXs ,

Check out my site celebrating the FIRST Fifty years of  Hello, Dolly!

I desire this to be a definitive account of Hello, Dolly!  If any of you reading this have appeared in any production of Dolly, I'm interested in speaking with you!
If you have anything to add or share, please contact me at


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!    
               Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog!

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!

With grateful XOXOXs for your support!
Richard Skipper 845-365-0720

                                                                  Keeping Entertainment ALIVE!
                                                                   Richard Skipper Celebrates


No comments:

Post a Comment