Tales of... by Josh Alan Friedman
Summary: TALES OF. . . MY DEAD HEROES is the second season of podcasts from Josh Alan Friedman. But DEAD is a politically incorrect term. Their songs and books and records resonate everywhere, and if you haven’t heard their actual voices, pull up a chair and listen. Novelist Mario Puzo, songwriters Jerry Leiber (Leiber & Stoller) and Doc Pomus, Broadway composer Cy Coleman, original Thunderbirds bassist Keith Ferguson, Atlantic Records producer Joel Dorn, Tiny Tim. . . . And check out TALES OF TIMES SQUARE: THE TAPES. This 17-episodes series captures the voices of Lost New York. Old fighters, strippers, burly-Q men, peep show girls, cops and the priest who tried to save them. Come bend your ear. www.blackcracker.fm
Austin’s Greatest Fallen Music Hero - In a town known for its fallen musical heroes, Fabulous Thunderbirds bassist Keith Ferguson was a tour de force. He submerged into semi-retirement on his rustic estate, a hangout for wounded animals, reptiles and old pachuchos. The music biz turned ugly, but Austin’s beautiful losers—as well as the heroin—remained pure. And Keith was Numero Uno.
Writing songs with Jerry was, for me, like having a catch with Willie Mays or Joe DiMaggio—when they were old. But his genius was never far away. Cloistered in his exquisite home in Venice Beach, the awards for Leiber & Stoller’s achievments came in by the week. But only Mike Stoller showed up to receive them.
THE IRVING BERLIN OF ROCK ‘N’ ROLL - We worked on a book in which he would tell off the world, to be called Kiss My Big Black Ass. It remained unfinished. But Jerry Leiber blew my mind. And he was one bitch of a chef.
When Josh auditioned for Beatlemania in 1977, he was just one hopeful in the callbacks for George. Thousands of Beatle manqués descended from the hinterlands to audition for the Broadway show. There were only four parts, but no shortage of broken dreams.
Josh's dead heroes. Interviews, memories and short stories. First up, A 20-year-old Josh auditions for Beatlemania in 1977. Coming September 15.
Old Times Square was at the brink of extinction and my job was done. The finale of this series.
OLD FLESH AGENTS - Irv Charnoff and Jess Mack were the last remaining vaudeville/burlesque booking agents in 1984. They mourned the decline of wholesome American show-biz, as it devolved into pornography.
Al Kronish, one of the Melody Burlesk’s owners, was the first CPA to do tax returns for porn stars. Under constant legal harassment from the city, he kept Times Square’s last bastion of old burlesque open and spread-eagled.
No sooner than the neighborhood rid itself of filth, pimps and whores came dancing back into the hearts of Broadway. Composer Cy Coleman and writer David Newman discuss their hit musical in 1997.
Girls from all over the country gravitated to NY to make more money in street prostitution than anywhere else. Missionary Arlene Carmen ran a mobile van that gave them a respite from the cops, the tricks and their pimps.
Fanny Gold ran her family’s 42nd Street newsstand as an eight-year-old girl in 1915. Living in poverty one block away, she was enchanted by Times Square’s aristocratic era. And was mugged six times
FROM CAGNEY TO KUNG FU. Martin Levine, president of Brandt Theaters, booked most of the movies across 42nd Street for 50 years. His office reflects the faded glamour of a once mighty theater empire now reduced to kung-fu, grindhouse and porn flicks.
UNCLE LOU’S SCRAPBOOK - INNOCENT VICTIMS OF ADVERSITY. That’s how Uncle Lou, a geologist turned chauffeur, saw many of the girls in Times Square, who affectionately called him Uncle. His scrapbook documents an era of burlesque queens and porn starlets, whom he remains loyal to decades after their careers ended.
Episode 9: Oh Susanna! Copping a feel in Times Square. Show girls, moonlighting nurses, pickpockets and members of a fake marriage ring. Live Nude Girls 25¢ was the neon community catchphrase, and it was all about fast cash.
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH VS. TIMES SQUARE. Three priests of Holy Cross Church witnessed the rise and fall of Times Square. Father Robert Rappleyea, pastor during the era of porn, saw the human condition reach bottom. He put up a bold front.