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My talk with Wayne Dammert on July 5, 2009 was a real eye opener. He was a longtime employee at the famed Beverly Hills Supper Club near Cincinnati and he was there the night of the mother of all modern nightclub fires in 1977.
He and others on the scene that night are convinced it was deliberately set and that one of the nation's worst mass murderers got clean away. He also tells me about the wild days when Newport, Kentucky was an "open town" with illegal gambling joints all over the place.
Wayne wants to get this story out because, at every turn since the beginning of the investigation, too many people have been willing to turn a blind eye to the possibility of arson. If it's true, the 165 victims deserve justice.
From Wikipedia: On October 28, 2008, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear appointed a panel to investigate claims that arson may have been the cause of the fire. In March 2009, the panel, in recommending that the investigation not be reopened, characterized the new accusations as "a very tiny shred of evidence of arson and a huge mountain of conjecture, unsupported speculation and personal opinion."
The ruins sit relatively undisturbed over the last 30 plus years, surely there's an enterprising TV producer with a Cold Case type show that could bring together a forensic team to go over the site and look for evidence. It doesn't appear that the Governor's panel did that.
You can read more about this tragic event in the book Inside the Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire by Ronald E. Elliott and based on an original story by survivor Wayne Dammert.
Thursday, July 9, 2009 - 12:18pm
THREE UPCOMING EVENTS
Another fab event is the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, an annual 3-day film festival for vintage TV and movies (and REALLY rare TV). The event benefits the St. Jude Children's Hospital -- literally.
Besides a charity auction and nostalgic TV shows screened, we also have celebrities signing autographs for fans. In the past we have had Edd Byrnes (Kookie from 77 SUNSET STRIP), David Hedison (Commander Crane from VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA), Marta Kristen (LOST IN SPACE), Erin Gray (Wilma Deering on BUCK ROGERS), Annette Andre (THE PRISONER, RANDALL AND HOPKIRK), Larry Storch (F-TROOP) and Jon Provost (Timmy on LASSIE) to name a few.
This year's guests include Lee Meriwether (Catwoman on BATMAN), Bob Hastings (Lt. Carpenter on McHALE'S NAVY), Johnny Whitaker (FAMILY AFFAIR) and others.
And it's all for a good cause. August 27 - 29, 2009, The Clarion Hotel in Aberdeen, Maryland.
Julian West invites you to this: On Thursday, July 9th, at 7:00 p.m. I'll be appearing at the Best of Times Book Store, 425 West 3rd Street in Red Wing, MN 55066 (Tel: 651-388-1003). I'll be going solo this time, but I will be featuring some video and audio clips in addition to reading from my book. And of course, I'll be happy to sign copies of "What a Card!" (I will also sign autograph books, stray scraps of paper, Kleenex (preferably unused), or pretty much anything with a writing surface).
Thursday, July 9, 2009 - 11:00am
So true. I always thought those Playgirl layouts were so antiseptic, nothing sexy about them at all. I actually knew someone who posed for Playgirl, Warren Cuccurullo when he was with the band Missing Persons before he joined Duran Duran as their guitarist. Playgirl was a last ditch effort to garner some kind of publicity - I mean, who would want to see John Davidson's wee wee? But the resulting bonanza of ink Burt Reynolds got for posing nude convinced people for years that it could be a good career move. Today, of course, you have to make a full on sex tape to get that kind of publicity.
This is funny! Watch this hapless local TV reporter completely lose his cool and ditch his professional demeanor after a bug flies in his mouth. (Not safe for work.)
Wednesday, July 8, 2009 - 9:00am
NEW DVD RELEASES
Here's another hot one I thought I'd never see on DVD - the four wonderful Lola Falana specials that aired on ABC in 1976. This was the Cher show if it had been produced by the guys who did the Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. Poor Lola - she hates her show biz career and won't do interviews about it. Read all about Lola Falana here. Odd that they call it The Lola Falana Show - I think I'm the only one that referred to this four week series spread out over three months that way. I believe all of the 'specials' went under the title Lola.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009 - 10:13am
Sean Dougherty tells us that June Foray's biography is soon to be hot off the presses. Now that's going to be a great read! Check out some of the other classic TV related books the publisher has - I'd love to read most of those but had no idea there was a book on, for instance, Car 54 Where Are You or 12 O'Clock High. I read their book on Baby Peggy and it's one of the best bios I've read, highly recommended.
Last summer's documentary season on HBO was a riveting collection of amazing true stories and this summer the series is back. Here's the line-up:
Tuesday, July 7, 2009 - 9:00am
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