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calendar   Saturday - April 18, 2015

Al Collins ----- KFI --- chess and my wife and one could say, much better days

More major work to be done at our house next Wednesday.  So things have to get started on Monday moving things little by little into other rooms.

Tuesday the computer and everything in this corner get taken apart or disconnected and moved in prep for Wed. workmen due about 8:30am.
Judging by last years project with the windows, we’ll be lucky if they’re done by four.  So no way late in day will I try and put things back in place.
I’m hoping I don’t have to unplug the router and wi-fi connection and then have to re-enter info etc and codes.

But on to today.

In the 1930s, the building below had huge movie like neon lights. Or is that fluorescent?  Google KFI building images and scroll and you’ll see what I mean. In those days, it hosted major movie and radio stars of the time. The theater had less than 100 seats and the station broadcast major shows across country via recording for a different time zone. The celebs of their time were here. So the building in the 30s was decked out to reflect the glitz and glamour.
By my time there, the flashy lights were gone and so were the trolley tracks that ran down the center of Vermont Ave.

And btw ... across the street and down one block was the famed Palamar Ballroom where in August of 1935, The Swing Era began with the broadcast of Benny Goodman and his band.  Last I saw of the corner, it was a Kroger market.

image

April 18, 2015

I have been so out of touch with my past for so long, now when I learn about changes I’m either in shock or depression.

I only learned late yesterday, if what I read was correct, that my beloved KFI radio moved to new quarters quite a while ago from the original bldg. on Vermont Ave. in LA. Built in 1936 it was so splendid but I guess …. heck. I don’t know what to guess.

Anyone reading this will think I’ve lost the rest of my marbles, having already lost most of what I had to begin with.  But you’d have to understand how much that station and that bldg. came to mean to me. I ate, slept, dreamed was totally dedicated to them. KFI and that building were in a manner of speaking, my life’s blood.

It all changed of course. The station was sold off long ago, the format changed, and from once having the largest listening radio audience in all America, and that reader included any of New York’s largest stations, at one point KFI dropped to number 28.
A stab to my heart to learn that.  And now I read of the move.
What does that mean?

Odds are but I will not know until I call Calif. and soon I probably will. Or maybe I’ll just pretend the opposite of what I am sure has or will happen.
That beautiful bldg. and the old original radio theater inside, will be demolished.
Crushed to nothingness, rubble to be carted away. They may as well take me with em.
Bring out your dead.

I was sent a link to Wikipedia that told the story of KFI.  But they missed a thing or two that I know about cos I was there.  So I signed up to be able to edit but I must say that is a difficult site to work with. Of course, I was trying at four in the morning on a tablet. But after getting the welcome email and told I could now edit, I did after many glitches and Firefox crashes.  But I do not see it there today.

No word about the transmitter that Mr. Anthony built on his mom’s breadboard that broadcast for three blocks.
And when they listed past air personalities, not one word mentioning the king of Jazz DJs, my friend and mentor and guide, the very great Al “Jazzbeaux” Collins. Not a word.
The photo on the right here with Al and the flowers, was I am sure, his very last LP. This was the cover and I had it.

image

He had a couple of albums I remember, I had one of them from the great man himself, called, A lovely bunch of Al Collins, (above).  It was a collection of kid’s fairy tales for grown hipsters done to a jazzy background. I recall Terry Gibbs on vibes and the late Steve Allen (yeah, the TV comic) on cool jazz piano with Al telling the stories. 
Oh, and they never mentioned Scott Ellsworth who late night also did some jazz and interviewed some Jazz greats in conversation, those who were at the time still with us. 

I had met Steve Allen briefly one time when he came into KFI. He was as likeable in person as he was on TV.  Dave Garroway on the other hand, was kind of weird in a way. He was brought into KFI on the strength of his name and former national early morning TV show. But he didn’t last too long. He insisted that shades be installed in the studio so that nobody would come by and stare or watch him at work.  He was a very shy man.

A major high rated former Rock Jock from KHJ (I’m sure it was that station) was lured away by KFI which was strange, since KFI was not a rocker in any sense.
Dave Hull one of the majors back then along with Casey Kasem, who sadly passed away last year. 
Well, back to Dave Hull.

image

(PHOTO TAKEN AT KFI BY AL COX, A KFI ENGINEER)

He wasn’t too thrilled with my wife ( shown here) who wiped the floor with him playing chess.

He saw Jenn and I playing a game during our off time and issued a challenge, which I passed on but my wife picked up.

She nailed him in not too many moves. He said something about playing in a hurry or some kind of reasoning other than he was up against a very young (24 at the time) English girl who could outplay him.  So they played again, and again she cleaned his clock.

I don’t think he ever said as much as hello to her after that.
Imagine, having your chess socks beat off by …. a girl? 
Oh the shame of it. Life is sooooo hard.

Perhaps I should have warned him that she once played tournament chess, and came within a point or however they score things, of a champion player in England.

That’s one reason I married her.

I couldn’t stand the idea of anyone outside my own family that could beat me so consistently.  So I married her. LOL. 

-end-


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 04/18/2015 at 07:59 AM   
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