Red Around Town, May 2016

Carole and I recently returned from a cruise around Australia and New Zealand. Thirty four days at sea, but it was a once in a lifetime trip and high on our “bucket” list. Upon returning I could not believe the number of my favourite personalities who have passed away. The list to date is unbelievable.

Senator Edward M. Lawson passed away February 29 at the age of 86. One of the youngest Canadians to be appointed to the Canadian senate where he served for 33 years. A great sense of humor.

Gary Shandling, known mostly for a super funny show titled The Larry Sanders Show. He was often a replacement for Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show on NBC.

Patty Duke: She was a youngster when her acting career began and her most noteworthy performance was in The Miracle Worker. Basically the Helen Keller story. She also had her own TV series for years, The Patty Duke Show.

Rob Ford: As Toronto’s mayor, he was constantly on the news. It was hard to believe that Toronto The Good could elect a man so “off the wall”.

George McLean: The golden voice of The National on CBC-TV for years. He worked in Penticton radio before being picked up by the CBC.

Frank Sinatra Jr: He could sing but his claim to fame was his ability to conduct orchestras. A younger Frank Jr. looked a lot like his dad and was kidnapped at one point in his life. Frank Sr. paid the ransom and Junior was freed. Frank Jr. played at the River Rock Casino in the past few years.

Tammy Moyer: News 1130 has lost a wonderful performer and the audience lost a well read and great news person. She will be missed.

Norman Sedawie: Best known for his 1978 production of Rich Little’s Christmas Carol. Norman was an Emmy Award-winning producer and worked with many top performers. He won an International Emmy for the Rich Little special. He worked with the greats including Marilyn Monroe, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Stan Kenton, Mel Torme, The Smothers Brothers and more. He was 87.

George Kennedy: Actor George Kennedy appeared in hundreds of movies and won an Oscar for his supporting role in Cool Hand Luke.

Ron Jacobs: Not a household name but he was a broadcasting legend. As program director of KHJ/Los Angeles he helped create Boss Radio (1965-1969). He was co-creator of American Top 40 with Casey Kasem. Ron was responsible for one of radio’s great documentaries, The History of Rock and Roll (to which I contributed some material). The Cruisin’ series was his concept. Radio has lost a pioneer.

Charlie Tuna: This Los Angeles radio icon was one of KHJ’s “Boss Jocks”. Other members of the team included Robert W. Morgan and The Real Don Steele. He was 71.

Sonny James: His first number one single was Young Love, which topped the pop and country charts in 1957 and followed up with 20 number one country hits. Sonny passed away in February at the age of 87.

I was saddened to read of the passing of Jim Howe. Jim ran the Lamplighter night club, the Bronze Boot and Cameo Supper Club over the decades. I can remember recording interviews with the various country and rock and roll acts he brought to his club. Gene Vincent made one of his final appearances at Jim’s club. Others included Merle Haggard, Bobby Bare, Waylon Jennings and Buck Owens.

In later years Jim founded Howe Sound, which put him on the road with his sound equipment on behalf of the B.C. Social Credit party. He provided his sound equipment for various political groups and others requiring on the spot sound. He provided sound for the likes of the Vancouver Board of Trade, B.C. Transit, the Molson Indy and many more.

When Ron Toigo offered our group of radio personalities the use of the Georgia and Cardero White Spot for our twice-yearly get togethers, Jim offered his services and the equipment at no charge. He knew so many of the people at the event and was always wearing a smile. He was 86. He will truly be missed.


On a happier note, Don Rickles turned 90 over the weekend. Here is a delightful photo of Don and his great grandchild. The likeness is uncanny. The good-natured Rickles was fun to be with and the entertainment world loves this guy. Happy Birthday, Don!