Friday, July 13, 2012

Name Dropper? Sometimes.

I have had the opportunity in my life to meet and even become friends with some great people and even some not great people.  At one point in time my Dad had the number one rated talk radio show in Atlanta and did so for many years. I also worked hand and hand with Lewis Grizzard for about three years in the early to mid 80s, and as my default career for the last 25 years or so I’ve worked on and off as a professional chauffeur.

I questioned myself for even writing this post because I really don't need people saying "Who does he think he is bragging about meeting and knowing all of those people?" 

Well, I got some advice from some wise people and they told me this blog was mainly for me, and I'm just sharing it for those that are interested and those that have no interest in the post don't have to read it. There will be several editions of this type because frankly I have met a lot of interesting people and I want to share a who is a good guy and who is a jerk list.

To tell the truth there are WAY more good guys than jerks.


Growing up with Ludlow Porch was a lot of fun for many different reasons, but one of them was meeting the people he got to interview. One of these people was Charlton Heston. Chuck, as he wanted us to call him, was in Atlanta promoting Airport 1975, and was booked on my Dad’s show.


I begged and begged to go to the studio that day, and if I recall I missed a day of school in order to meet Chuck. 

Darn.

He was a nice and humble man from the first hand shake till the time he got in the car to leave.  You felt like you had just made a new best friend. He would look you in the eye and talk to you like he really cared about what you were saying. I know deep in my heart he cared nothing about what a 16 year old kid from Georgia was talking about, but he made me believe he did, and that made him one of the good guys. Him and my Dad became instant buddies,  and they talked frequently. It was not long after he announced that he had Alzheimer's, he called my Dad one last time. He said he wanted to say goodbye to his buddies while he still could. 

Charlton Heston – Class A act!


Another wonderful man I begged to go meet was The Greatest.....Really he was, it was Muhammad Ali. Another good guy. Off camera and off microphone he was a very quite man but once that light came on he became "The Greatest". He would also look you in the eye and talk to you very softly and he had/has very soft hands and for some reason that surprised me.


Jerry Reed had been on the air with my Dad a couple of times before I had the chance to meet him, and it was an instant friendship that lasted till his death a few years back. When you see Jerry Reed in a movie you are NOT seeing him playing someone else.

 He always played Jerry Reed using a different name. He said he could not be anybody else since he had been him all his life. There was a get together at Callaway Gardens back when I worked for Lewis Grizzard, and some of the entertainment for the evening was Lewis, Jerry Reed, Tom T Hall, and Chet Atkins.

Needless to say it was a hell of a night.

Somehow after the show the five of us ended up in a hospitality suite and Jerry and Chet had their guitars. I wish I had a tape recorder that night. I think the jam session  broke up about 3:30 a.m.

Another man that was "ON" all the time was Jerry Clower – an absolute wild man at all times. Jerry had been friends with my Dad and Lewis for many years before I ever met him. He was in town for some reason and wanted to meet Lewis for lunch. We met him at a hotel down by the airport, and when Lewis introduced me to Jerry he hollered, “You don't need to introduce me him to me!”  

He then grabbed me in a bear hug and said "Boy, your Daddy marked you like an angus bull!"

I guess he did.
A couple of years after that Jerry was doing a show at the old Lanier Land, and I asked my Dad to get me tickets.  My buddy Big Ed and I drove up to see Jerry Clower’s show.   He had left word that I was to come back stage.  All I had to do was ask for him and that's just what I did. He came running out the back door and said, “Come with me there's somebody that wants to meet you.”

We went back to the dressing room and there was Ray Stevens who was also playing that night. Well Ray got up to shake my hand and  told me Jerry had been telling him all about me.  Ray said, “I love your Daddy!”  That’s about the time I remembered Ray is a Georgia boy as well.  .

That’s it for now.   I have a lot more of these stories, but  I think I'll spread them out over time. 

Overall I think I've had a pretty good life.......so far!

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