CELEBRITY SHOW HOST GALLERY

JOE MANTEGNA- actor, author, playwrite, producer, director, voice-overs

October 2017   (Photo courtesy Joe)

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Joe was Celeb Host for our “Houdini’s Secret Life original radio drama. He is a multi-talented dynamo of stage, films, and television. TV viewers recognize him as the character David Rossi in the hit series “Criminal Minds.” Audio Producer Bob Allen and I met up with Joe in Los Angeles. He breezed through his segments. Joe is no stranger to voice-overs, being the voice of Fat Tony in “The Simpsons.” Although always busy he says, “Nothing interferes with my doing “The Simpsons.” Joe enjoyed the magic coin trick I surprised him with and I showed him how to perform it. Joe’s star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame is next to his boyhood hero Errol Flynn. He won an Emmy for “Bleacher Bums” which he conceived and co-wrote, Tony and Jefferson Awards for Glengarry Glen Ross, and among his films starred in the now cult classic “House of Games.” Joe produces and hosts “GUNN Stories” and is producing and hosting another. He’s authored several books. Joe is in the cast of “Kill Me Deadly,” a film noir spoof produced by Criminal Minds cast-mate Kirsten Vangness. Joe invites you to visit his website at: www.joemantegna.com   

AWARDS: To be determined.


BOB EUBANKS- National Show Host, Emcee, Commercial Announcer

December 2016   (Photo by Bob Allen- Director James Wortman with Host Bob Eubanks)

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Bob was Celeb Host for our “Eve of Christmas” radio drama that picked up two international awards and one national award. More to be added here. CELEB HOST— Our search lead us to actor-producer-game show emcee Bob Eubanks. Bob was “passing the baton” from many years of hosting Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses Parade on KTLA TV with Stephanie Edwards. Recording Bob’s host segments in time became tight. Bob was healing up from recent surgery. He made it up the stairs, albeit carefully. Bob breezed through recording show transitions and dramatically performed the break factoids. He graciously posed for a photo and signed my Director’s book. Very nice guy. Bob has many backstories about time spent with the Beatles.  

AWARDS: This 2016 show won: 2017 International COMMUNICATOR Gold Award, 2017 International MUSE Rose Gold Award, 2017 National HEAR NOW Audio Festival Award.


TOM SPENCE On-Air Talent & Program Director NewsTalk 1590 KVTA

October 2016   (Photo courtesy Colleen Spence)

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Tom Spence was our Celeb Host for our original, "Halloween with Grandpa" starring his daugther Aubrey. I was asked to put together a show highlighting episodes from our past award winning Halloween broadcasts. “Spence" is a fan of our shows. So, when approached, he gladly volunteered himself to Celeb Host, and his daughter to star. Tom is a veteran broadcaster with decades behind the mic. His somewhat unusual voice is unmistakable when heard. He is the lead morning personality and Program Director for NewsTalk 1590 KVTA. Spence appeared as a bad guy in our original, “Shorty Cut Across” radio drama that featured 13 local media personalities along with top local actors. A champion of the community, Spence takes part in and helps publicize dozens of community events. Aside from that, he’s a great guy and family man.  On-air info at: www.kvta.com 

NOTE: Show not entered for awards. It was selected acts from past shows.


BARRY PEARL actor, director, theatre game instructor

October 2015   (Photo courtesy Barry)

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Perhaps best known as Doody from “Grease,” Barry Pearl was Celeb Host for ASSIGNMENT EARTH.  He’s a 50 year veteran of professional theatre, with many credits in film and TV. He teaches theatre game techniques at various venues around the country and can often be spotted performing improv in the Los Angeles area. Thanks to music historian Cary Ginell, we connected with Barry, who had just appeared in a TV remake of “Grease,” playing a different character.  Visit his website at: www.barrypearl.com   

AWARDS: This 2015 show received: 2016 International COMMUNICATOR Gold Award of Excellence, 2016 Selected Participant National HEAR NOW Audio Festival.


JANE SEYMOUR film & TV actor, author, painter, entrepreneur, philanthropist 

December 2014   (Photo- Bob Allen)

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Jane Seymour was drafted for us by Malcolm McDowell to be Celebrity Host for “Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story.” When Malcolm volunteered to play Scrooge, he asked if we had a host yet. He made a phone call. Days later, we met Jane at her Malibu cliff-side home. We learned she likes to garden and grow her own food. Jane is quite the business woman with her own line of cosmetics, furniture, jewelry, artwork, and more. On this day, she breezed through her scripted host parts, then agreed to also perform as Spirit of Christmas Past. We finished recording and some quick photos all in about 35 minutes. Jane’s credits for stage, film and TV are numerous. Many remember her from the TV series “Doctor Quinn: Medicine Woman. We found her to be delightfully charming. Visit her website at: www.janeseymour.com  


AWARDS: This 2014 show received: 2015 International NEW YORK FESTIVAL Gold Award Best Entertainment Special, 2015 International COMMUNICATOR Gold Award of Excellence, 2015 International GABRIEL Award of Merit, 2015 Selected Participant National HEAR NOW Audio Festival.


CHRIS HILLMAN rock Hall-of-Famer, radio theatre actor.

December 2013   (Photo courtesy Chris)

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Our original radio drama, "Wearing Santa’s Suit,” had more of a spiritual bent. I thought one of our previous Celeb Hosts would get what we were trying to accomplish. CHRIS HILLMAN wanted to help, but said he couldn’t because of traveling the country performing concerts. We searched and we searched again. Time ran out. By chance, I called Chris again on the last day we could do it. I got a quick call back. He was now home, very tired, but would help us out. We met at the studio that afternoon. Audio Producer Bob Allen and I had him in and out in 20 minutes. I presented him with a star ornament and gave his wife Connie a box of Trader Joe’s Vanilla-Cinnamon Tea. Both smiled. Before leaving, Chris made it clear he’s very interested in being involved with our new radio mystery series. No stranger to us, Chris previously Celeb Hosted our multi-international award-winning broadcast of “Scrooge’s Sanity Hearing.” Rock classic fans know Chris as a co-founder of "The Byrds" rock group along with future stars David Crosby, Alan Parsons and Roger McQuinn. A Ventura County resident, Chris is often cited as one of the early pioneers of the country-rock genre. His past bands include Manassas, The Desert Rose Band, The Flying Burrito Brothers and Souther-Hillman-Furay. In his early days, it was the Scotsville Squirrel Barkers. Chris grew up on his parent’s ranch in Northern San Diego County.  His website is  www.chrishillman.com

AWARDS: This 2013 show received: 2014 International COMMUNICATOR Gold Award, 2014 Selected participant National HEAR NOW Audio Festival


MISS CALIFORNIA 2012 DEDRIA BRUNETT

December 2012   (Photo courtesy VC Star)

A LOVING TRANSFORMATION: I was surprised when DEDRIA BRUNETT Miss California 2012, dropped by the station to record her host segments for "1947 Dickens Christmas Carol." Her long blond hair was now brunette. She laughed saying, “I have better luck job interviewing as a brunette. Dedria had just landed a job. As for pageants, she noted, "Having a pageant title isn't about me, the point of having the position is to help people, not to spend it on yourself." As for her crowns, “I let my siblings play with them.”

I first met Dedria in her mom's office. At that time, she was “Miss Camarillo” getting ready to run for Miss California. You would never guess what she's overcome in her life.  Hosting our radio drama benefiting foster children is dear to Dedria's heart. Born to a drug-addicted mother, homeless and without resources, the blond haired, green-eyed little girl acted out her frustrations destroying what she could. She was taken in as a resident at Casa Pacifica and by the time she was six, the institution deemed her their ward saying she was unadoptable.

“They told me I'd be there until I was 18. I was a monster. Every time someone brought me home, I'd start fires or break things. Moving from foster home to foster home, all I had was a trash bag to throw my few belongings into. It was so sad and humiliating." A counselor at Casa Pacifica, decided to intervene. "She took the initiative of having me as a friend and a daughter and we formed a close bond. All it took for me was love and patience. I found my main purpose in life, to mentor and advocate for homeless shelters and foster children.” Dedria used her notoriety to form and promote the 501(c)(3) Luggage of Love. It seeks out and provides new luggage for foster children. "It gives them something of their very own. It lets them know people care!" Dedria invites you to help her help others at Luggage of Love.  

AWARD: This 2012 show received: 2013 Local Conejo Players HARLEQUIN Award, noting live stage excellence and for two sold out houses benefiting theatre and foster children.


ELVIRA “MISTRESS OF THE DARK” actor, singer, author, entrepreneur 

October 2011   (Photo courtesy “Elvira”)

For many, only one person comes to mind when they hear the name, “Elvira.” Legendary and ageless TV movie host "Elvira Mistress of the Dark," aka Cassandra Peterson, has carved out a niche as one of the most original and outrageous characters in American pop culture with an international following. Elvira was the first horror movie host ever to be nationally syndicated. A local resident, Cassandra arrived with coffee in hand and a relaxed smile, ready to host our original radio drama, LOVE HALLOWEEN STYLE. I found her strikingly beautiful and a quick-witted delight. If I had to describe her in three words: light, loving and uplifting. Between takes, I gave her an idea for yet another Elvira licensed product. She liked my idea.

Cassandra Peterson was born in Manhattan, Kansas, on 17 September, 1951. She was raised in Colorado. Her mom and aunt ran a costume shop, often using little Cassandra to model scaled-down outfits. After graduating high school, she traveled to Las Vegas. At 17, Cassandra became the youngest showgirl in Las Vegas history. She met Elvis Presley, who encouraged her singing career. Cassandra toured Europe as lead singer in an Italian rock band. While there, she appeared in several films, including Federico Fellini's Roma. Returning to America, Cassandra toured as star of her own musical-comedy review, "Mama's Boys." She then settled in Hollywood, spending more than four years as a member of the Groundlings improvisational comedy group.

In 1981, Cassandra was hired by KHJ-TV in Los Angeles at $350 per week, replacing the deceased Seymour, to host their weekly movie series. KHJ wanted a character take-off of Morticia from the Addams Family. Make-up artist friend Robert Redding came up with a brilliant take on a spooky female and "Elvira" was born. Offering up wry and sarcastic quips on B-movies, Movie Macabre became an overnight sensation.

Cassandra co-wrote, produced and starred in Elvira, Mistress of the Dark and Elvira's Haunted Hills. She's appeared in national ad campaigns, recorded five music CDs, published four books and licensed more than 400 products including: theme-park rides, action figures, guitars, comic books, slot machines, perfume, micro-brew beer, wine, and the best selling female costume of all time. She makes numerous appearances raising funds for various causes. "I like being two different people," said Cassandra. "I like having a normal side and a weird side!” Elvira, the reigning Queen of Halloween, invites you to visit her website at www.Elvira.com.

AWARDS: This 2011 show received: 2012 International DAVEY Gold Best-in-Show Award, 2012 International OMNI Bronze Award, International COMMUNICATOR Silver Award of Distinction

 


JAMES J. McHUGH former C.O., Captain Naval Base Ventura County

December 2010   (Photo courtesy US Navy)

We wanted someone with a military connection to host "Twas the Night Before," our original holiday radio drama about military families affected by WW2. After reading his bio, Captain James J McHugh, then Commanding Officer of Naval Base Ventura County was the perfect choice. "Captain Jim" arrived in uniform. He breezed through reading his host segments and added his own show dedication. We found him to be personable and delighted to be involved. While chatting, we discovered his command included the Pt. Mugu Air Base, the Naval Construction Battalion at Port Hueneme, and nearby San Nicolas Island.

Captain McHugh's background is impressive.  He earned a Bachelor's Degree and two Masters Degrees.  After Naval Flight Officer training in Pensacola, Florida, McHugh reported to Naval Air Station Miramar in San Diego. While there, he completed an around the world deployment onboard USS Enterprise and an around the horn deployment onboard USS Abraham Lincoln. Later McHugh was stationed at North Island in San Diego onboard USS Constellation. During this tour, he was deployed to the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf. Later, after graduating Naval War College in Rhode Island, McHugh deployed onboard USS Nimitz for another around the world tour. In 1999, he reported to the Joint Staff in the Pentagon. Skipping ahead to February 2009, McHugh assumed command of Naval Base Ventura County. He has accumulated more than 2,800 flight hours and over 400 carrier arrested landings. McHugh has numerous personal decorations.  He is now assigned to the Pentagon. We thank him for his continued service.   

AWARDS: This 2010 show received: 2011 International DAVEY Gold Award Best-in-Show, 2012 International OMNI Silver Award, 2012 International COMMUNICATOR Silver Award, 


CHUCK MUNCIE former San Diego Charger Running Back

October 2010   (Studio photo- James W. Other photos courtesy Chuck.)

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I'd known former San Diego Charger Chuck Muncie as a friend through media friends. Chuck is impressive on many levels. His biceps are larger than many people’s heads. Muncie arrived to record his Celebrity Host segments for our original Halloween radio drama, “Shorty Cut Across” in a bright red jogging suit. His familiar big smile soon turned to laughter as he deftly adlibbed parts of his performance.

Chuck was born Harry Vance Muncie on March 17th, 1953, in the coal mining town of Uniontown, Pennsylvania. He was eventually recruited by the University of California, Berkeley. Muncie was a star running back during the 1970s. He was big, fast and elusive, and was also a good receiver. Muncie set six school rushing records. He was a strong candidate for the Heisman Trophy and finished second in the voting in 1975. After graduating, the New Orleans Saints selected him in the 1st round of the 1976 NFL Draft.

Muncie played for the New Orleans Saints and the San Diego Chargers from 1976 to 1984. He was considered by many as one of the best running backs in the NFL. Muncie was selected to the Pro Bowl three times. He helped lead the Chargers to two AFC West division championships. Muncie appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated three times. The next chapter in Chuck Muncie’s life would eclipse his first.

Muncie committed himself to mentoring at-risk youth by creating his own non-profit organization called the Chuck Muncie Youth Foundation, a nonprofit based in Oxnard, California. His foundation helped youngsters avoid bad decisions, providing youth with alternatives to the street and offering a tattoo-removal program.  

Muncie has business interests in sports marketing and clothing. He’s also a partner in several additional businesses, among them a high school football recruiting service. Chuck invites you visit his website at:  www.chuckmuncie.org .  

NOTE: Not entered due to lack of funds.

 

ROSE MARIE Co-Star of “Dick Van Dyke” Show

September 2010   (Photo courtesy Rose Marie)

There she sat wearing a big smile. Her voice was deeper and more measured from age. Asked about her incredible career as actor, singer and comedienne, Rose Marie's memory was razor sharp. After a few fun stories, we recorded her as Celebrity Host of GRANDMAS ROCK! in time for National Grandparents Day. Rose Marie is perhaps most familiar to TV audiences as “Sally Rogers,” the sidekick writer on the classic Dick Van Dyke Show, which earned her three Emmy nominations. Born Rose Marie Mazetta in New York City, she was delivered on the same day as the Broadway musical “Rose Marie” opened in 1923.

Rose Marie has enjoyed two separate acting careers. The first began at age five as “Baby Rose Marie” in the 1920s. "It was a weekly radio show. I’d sing songs and joke with the band." The radio network got letters and calls saying no child could sing that well. “To prove it, NBC sent me around the country performing on live stages." At age 15, Rose Marie dropped “Baby” from her stage name. Her second career began in the 1940s. Among her many stage credits, she toured more than eight years in the musical revue, “4 Girls 4,” with Rosemary Clooney, Helen O’Connell, and Margaret Whiting. Rose Marie made history as one of the headliners who opened the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. She married musician Bobby Guy, who was at one time lead trumpeter for the NBC's “Tonight Show.”  

Rose Marie’s lengthy list of television credits amassed over decades reads like a list of all the popular shows ever found in TV Guide. She's appeared with most of the top comedians of her time including Milton Berle, Dean Martin, Steve Allen, Jonathan Winters, Danny Thomas and Red Skelton. I found one film credit personally amusing.  Rose Marie is listed as “uncredited” for the voice of Norma Bates, Norman’s mother, in the 1998 remake of “Psycho.”

Most book stores carry her acclaimed book of experiences, Hold The Roses. Rose Marie received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2001. Interviewers note Rose Marie never revealed the secret meaning behind her frequently worn hair bow.  At the end of our recording session, I looked her right in the eye and said, "You're never going to tell about that hair bow are you." She lit up, leaned forward, gave me a big sly smile and softly said, "Never!”  

NOTE: Show not entered.


4 CELEBS HOST WITH DIRECTORS

December 2009   (Host photos courtesy them)

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To celebrate the 20th year of being Ventura County’s longest running select troupe for broadcast, we called upon talents from four of our former celeb hosts-- Cheryl Ladd, Jamie Farr, Tim Conway and Charlene Tilton.  As co-Directors, we kicked off the show and turned it over to them.  The selected all volunteer cast was one of the best ever.  Our two sound engineers, David Tuomi and Bob Allen, masterfully recorded and designed the best sound.  The result was another award winning radio drama.

AWARDS: This 2009 show received: 2011 International COMMUNICATOR Gold Award of Excellence, 2010 International OMNI Silver Award, 2010 International DAVEY Silver Award. 



RICHARD SENATE Internationally Known Ghost Hunter- Author

October 2009   (Photo courtesy Richard)

RICHARD SENATE is cited as one of the top ghost investigators. Being a fan of our shows, he warmly accepted being Celebrity Host for our original ghost-infused radio drama mystery, RIP VAN WINKLE’S SECRET. As an internationally-known ghost hunter and author, Richard is a sought-after speaker, lecturer and tour guide. Renowned for knowing paranormal hotspots, I eagerly awaited seeing him at the studio to ask about local haunts. Seven of Richard’s “13 Places to Most Likely Meet a Ghost in Southern California” are right around here.

Richard materialized with his affable smile ready to record. During our session, he related stories about the local Olivas Adobe and the formerly abandoned Camarillo State Mental Hospital site. By the way, Richard believes the most haunted city in America is Washington D.C..

Richard’s family came to California in the 1920’s. Several family members became involved in the film industry. He didn’t start off looking for ghosts—he happened upon one.

While on a dig at the San Antonio de Padua Mission in California, he was up late one night cataloguing artifacts for their museum. Richard got hungry and headed across the unlit courtyard for food. He saw a small flame, like a candle. As Richard drew closer, he saw the figure of a monk. The figure disappeared, flame and all. There was no wind and no door to slip through. A chill shot down Richard’s spine. He lost all interest in eating.

The next morning, Richard told the mission brothers. They yawned, saying they’d seen many ghosts and that they help people. Intrigued, Richard decided to learn all he could about apparitions. He read widely, interviewed others and toured haunted sites and assembled files. His early investigations included Hollywood studios and mansions.

Richard has authored dozens of books, taught classes, given tours, and has appeared on many TV shows. He invites you to explore his website at www.ghost-stalker.com.  

AWARD This 2009 show received:  2011 International COMMUNICATOR Silver Award of Distinction 


CHRIS HILLMAN Rock-n-Roll Hall of Famer, Co-Founder “The Byrds” rock group 

December 2008   (Photo courtesy Chris)

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It’s true. CHRIS HILLMAN is one of the nicest guys in Ventura County. We met at the studio to record as Celeb Host for our original radio drama, “Scrooge’s Sanity Hearing.” We swapped stories about both of us growing up in San Diego. Chris wanted to join us as an actor. 2014 marked his acting debut.

Chris was born in Los Angeles on December 4, 1944. He’s the only authentic cowboy to ever be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Raised on his family’s ranch in rural North San Diego County, he showed an early interest in music. So, mom bought him a $10 Tijuana guitar. Chris began listening to folk and bluegrass music. He fell in love with the mandolin. Chris became well-known in San Diego’s folk music community and then progressed into bluegrass and country bands. A chance invitation to hear three guys on acoustic guitars singing Beatles tunes led Chris into a new band with David Crosby, Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark. Chris quickly mastered the bass guitar. The band clicked.

Chris soared to international acclaim as a founding member of the classic rock group, “The Byrds,” hailed by critics then as America’s answer to the Beatles. The Byrds kicked out monster hits including “Mr. Tambourine Man,” and “Turn, Turn, Turn.” Yes, that’s Chris playing the famous thundering bass run on “8 Miles High.” Together with bluegrass friend Clarence White, Chris recorded a tune that critics regard as the first Country-Rock song. After leaving The Byrds, Chris joined “The Flying Burrito Brothers” and then “Manassas” with Stephen Stills. Later, he returned to his Bluegrass and Country roots with the acclaimed, “Desert Rose Band.”

Today Chris continues to write, record and tour. He’s a devoted family man and active in his church. Chris invites you to visit his website at www.chrishillman.com.   

AWARDS: This 2008 broadcast received: 2009 International OMNI Bronze Award, 2009 International DAVEY Gold Award, 2010 International COMMUNICATOR Silver Award of Distinction


DAVID SELBY Star of “Dark Shadows”

October 2008  (Photo courtesy David)

To be our Celeb Host for HALLOWEEN INVADERS, DAVID SELBY with wife Chip, had just landed at LAX and drove up the coast to meet us at the studio. The next stop would be Berkeley to visit their daughter. David assumed an ominous voice and dramatically pronounced his host segments. When finished, his countenance transformed from sinister to smiley. David’s affable nature flooded the studio with upbeat energy matching his energetic nature. When leaving, I watched his long and lean stature contort to fit inside of a subcompact car.

Many recognize David Selby as the character Quentin Collins from the vintage TV series and film, “Dark Shadows,” a show whose fans have held annual conventions since 1983. David was the character Richard Channing on TV’s classic “Falcon Crest.” He has since appeared in numerous stage productions, films and TV shows including “Richie Richer,” “Raising the Bar,” “Cold Case,” “Touched by an Angel,” and “Ally McBeal.” David has also voiced many radio dramas for LA Theatre Works.

David is a well-known author of several books including, “Lincoln’s Better Angel,” where Lincoln’s ghost appears to a Vietnam Vet on July 4th at Washington’s Vietnam War Memorial commenting on current events. David has played Lincoln many times on stage and TV. When we met, David was looking forward to portraying Lincoln in the newly-renovated Ford’s Theater.

Born in Morgantown, West Virginia, David went on to earn three academic degrees, a distinguished alumnus honor, a life-time achievement award, an honorary doctorate degree, along with several more honors and awards. David and wife Chip ran a summer children’s musical theatre in New York for 10 years before moving to Los Angeles. David serves on several nonprofit boards and is very active in his local church. The Selbys have three children. David invites you to visit his website at www.davidselby.com.   

AWARDS: This 2008 broadcast received: International OMNI Bronze Award 2009


LANE DAVIES Stage and TV star including “Lois & Clark,” “3rd Rock, “Scrubs.”

December 2007   (Photo courtesy Lane)

LANE DAVIES has amassed impressive TV and film credits including Chancellor Duncan in TV’s “3rd Rock from the Sun,” Dr. Simon Reid on “Scrubs,” Tempus on “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” (his character told Lois who Clark Kent really was) and Mel Gibson’s “Complete Savages.” From 1984 to 1989, he played Mason Capwell in the TV soap “Santa Barbara.” Additional soaps include “The Bold and the Beautiful,” “General Hospital,” and “Days of Our Lives.” Lane was Artistic Director for the Santa Susana Repertory Company. He'd performed many times as Scrooge in the Rep’s “Christmas Carol” stage productions at Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.

As our Scrooge radio drama Celeb Host for 2007, I welcomed Lane’s dry humor and wit. I discovered he knew many of our cast as friends and performers. He took careful notes on pronouncing each of our cast and crew names.

Born July 31, 1950 in Dalton, Georgia, Lane comes from a family of performers. Young Lane built sets for local productions. The acting bug soon bit him. As a high school sophomore, Lane performed a three-page soliloquy that left his audience cheering for more. He pursued Speech and Theatre degrees in Tennessee. Relocating to L.A., Lane’s career began to climb, appearing in TV’s “CHiPs,” the feature film “The Magic of Lassie,” and several movies of the week. These days, Lane splits his time between L.A. and Georgia, where he loves performing in Shakespearean roles and spending time with his two sons. Lane invites you to visit his website at www.lane-davies.com.

AWARDS: This 2007 broadcast received: 2008 International OMNI Intermedia Silver Award, 2008 International DAVEY Gold Award


MALCOLM McDOWELL  Stage, Film, TV Star

October 2007   (Photo courtesy Malcolm)

MALCOLM MCDOWELL recorded his Celeb Host segments for our “Sleepy Hollow—The Lost Diaries” radio drama at his country-style home, secluded among oak trees in Ojai, California. Magnificent, to-scale animal carvings inhabit the private drive that trails up his forested foothill. A canopy of tangled trees with forest floor ever-brush was reminiscent of “Sleepy Hollow.” Knocking on the back screen door, a distant “Yeah,” hailed me inside to a peaceful and unpretentious world. The country kitchen led me to a spacious main room with large windows and huge hearth, where stood the smiling British actor. As we recorded, my then co-director Linda Stiegler arrived in time to hear Malcolm struggling to pronounce her last name. They both laughed. Then Malcolm teased us.

“Now let me understand—you all volunteer to do this, then you make your cast pay for being in the show by selling them CD copies?” We explained all the funds make up our yearly donation to the radio station’s holiday children’s services fund. Malcolm grinned and quipped, “That’s great!” Then Malcolm’s smiling 2-year-old son joined us, sporting a colorful striped robe that his mom had outfitted him with—a reminder that famous actors and their families are just people, too.

Cited as the “finest actor of his generation,” Malcolm was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, England in 1943. He worked for a time in his parents’ pub as a bartender. Malcolm began acting in the early 1960’s in repertory companies. In film, his boyish charisma, coupled with his electrifying portrayal as a blithely amoral anarchist, brought him to the attention of international audiences—most notably in “A Clockwork Orange” and “O Lucky Man!” Malcolm can be chilling or charming, as in his engaging good-guy portrayal as time-traveling H.G. Wells pursuing Jack the Ripper to modern day San Francisco in “Time After Time.” In 1994, Malcolm gained his widest film exposure for knocking off “Star Trek’s” Captain Kirk. He played “Doctor Loomis” in the remake of “Halloween.” Malcolm McDowell remains one of the busiest actors around. To relax, he loves to golf.

AWARDS: This 2007 broadcast received: 2008 International OMNI Intermedia Bronze Award, 2008 International COMMUNICATOR Silver Award of Distinction, 2008 International DAVEY Silver Award

 

CHERYL LADD Stage, Film, TV Star, Author

December 2006   (Photo courtesy Cheryl)

Nestled in the foothills overlooking the Santa Ynez Valley was the ranch-style home of actor-author CHERYL LADD and her husband, film producer Brian Russell. A barefoot Cheryl greeted me at the door with her hip-high black poodle "Marley." Cheryl breezed through recording her Celeb Host segments and offered up a fun cameo moment for inclusion in our Scrooge radio drama.

She was born Cheryl Jean Stoppelmoor in Huron, South Dakota, December 7, 1951. Her first professional break was singing the voice of "Melody" on the cartoon series "Josie and the Pussycats." Cheryl adopted her last name of Ladd from former husband, actor David Ladd, son of film luminary Alan Ladd. She was catapulted to international stardom when Aaron Spelling cast her as "Kris Munroe" on the TV series "Charlie's Angels," replacing Farrah Fawcett. While still on that series, Cheryl developed and starred in a film about child abuse. She became an ambassador for ChildHelp USA, dedicated to child abuse issues and prevention.

Cheryl starred in NBC TV's "Las Vegas," as wife of casino owner James Caan. Along with her crowded schedule of TV and film roles, Cheryl is a tireless, award-winning humanitarian and author. With Scottish-born husband Brian, she penned the children's book, "The Adventures of Little Nettie Windship," teaching values of good citizenship and championship. Recognized as a leading female celeb golfer on the Pro-Am circuit, her book, "Token Chick: A Woman's Guide To Golfing With The Boys," is a best seller. Cheryl invites you to visit her website at www.cherylladd.com.

AWARDS: This 2006 broadcast received: 2007 International DAVEY "Best of" Gold Award, 2007 International OMNI Bronze Award, 2007 International COMMUNICATOR Gold Award of Excellence

 

CHARLENE TILTON Co-Star of “Dallas” Producer, Actor

December 2005   (Photo courtesy Charlene)

Charming CHARLENE TILTON greeted me graciously at her Studio City townhouse.  Twinkling holiday lights decorated every direction. Voicing her Celeb Host Scrooge segments flowed easily for this svelte, bubbly ball of energy. Charlene’s adorable giggle was captured in our production, both in her hosting and performing her cast cameo with then KVTA radio talent Dave Ciniero.

Joining us repeatedly was Charlene’s curious cat Angel. With silent stealth, Angel crept up on the dining area table top—smelling the script, pawing the microphone. Although Angel’s volunteered purring, sniffing and licking sounds didn’t make it into our show, his enthusiasm was warmly welcomed. 

Charlene Tilton earned international stardom with her curvaceous character “Lucy Ewing” in the epic TV series “Dallas.” She was born in San Diego, California in 1958. Her family soon moved to Hollywood. Charlene attended Hollywood High. Her first job in the entertainment industry was working concessions in a movie theater. Her good looks and spunk got her quickly noticed.

These days, Charlene is involved in numerous TV and film projects, both as actor and producer. The love of her life is her talented daughter Cherish. Charlene invites you to visit her website at www.charlenetilton.biz.

AWARDS: This 2005 broadcast received: International 2006 OMNI Intermedia Silver Award, 2006 International GABRIEL Award, 2006 International COMMUNICATOR Crystal Award, 2006 International DAVEY Silver Award of Distinction


JAMIE FARR Stage, Film, TV Star, Author

December 2004   Photo courtesy Jamie

JAMIE FARR invited me to his home for the recording of his Celeb Host Scrooge segments. The Farrs reside high atop a canyon ridge, bordering Ventura and L.A. counties. I found Jamie to be exactly what I had heard of him—gracious and down-to-earth. Setting up the recorder, I was immediately struck by the exquisite beauty of huge holiday wreaths framing the living and dining room windows.“My wife makes those,” said Jamie. “I want her to make more so I can retire.” Jamie’s voice was in good form, having just returned from the South, performing “An Evening with Ozzie Nelson.” One-take Jamie breezed through our morning recording session.

Born Jameel Farah, he was hired for one day’s work during an early episode of TV’s hit comedy, M*A*S*H. Jamie was so outrageous as Corporal Max Klinger, that his one-day job became an 11-year career. Jamie’s first acting success was winning a local acting contest at age 11. The prize was two dollars. Along with numerous TV and film roles, his stage appearances included portraying “Ebeneezer Scrooge.”

Jamie finds ways to give back to the community, like his annual Jamie Farr Kroger Golf Classic… and helping us tell a tale that must be told. Visit Jamie Farr's own website at www.jamiefarr.com.

AWARDS: This 2004 broadcast received: 2005 National SILVER MICROPHONE Award, 2005 International OMNI Intermedia Bronze Award, 2005 International COMMUNICATOR Crystal Award


TIM CONWAY Stage, Film, TV Star

December 2003   (Photo courtesy Tim)

The first time I called TIM CONWAY’s office, I left a message proclaiming him a “Comedic Gawd.” Two days later, I picked up the phone to hear a soft, low voice proclaim, “James, this is 'Gawd' calling.” After a quick glance upwards, I realized who it really was. In our conversation, he twisted my straight lines in more directions than a drunken plow horse. Tim Conway was raised in Chagrin Falls. Perhaps that explains it.

Like all in-demand celebrities, Tim’s timetable was tight. He managed to tape our host script sandwiched between returning from his Canadian tour with pal Harvey Korman and flying off to the East for a Carol Burnett tribute. A master of mirth technique, Tim transformed our Celeb Host Scrooge script using running gags, exaggerations, mispronunciations, accents and inane inferences—all with impeccable timing.

Tim Conway served in the Eighth Army Assignment Team, where he actually managed to misplace a boatload of 7500 replacement troops. When Tim and the army mutually parted company, Tim secured a job amusingly answering mail for a Cleveland radio DJ. He became an instant hit and eventually landed a spot on the Steve Allen Show. A year later, Tim was signed to play “Ensign Doug Parker” on the hit TV series “McHale’s Navy.” He went on to become a supporting comic on “The Carol Burnett Show” and star in a series of Disney films. The next step up in his career was performing as our celebrity guest host.

AWARDS: This 2003 broadcast received: 2004 National SILVER MICROPHONE Award, 2004 International COMMUNICATOR Crystal Award, 2004 International AXIEM Award


STEPHANIE ZIMBALIST Stage, Film, TV Star

December 2002   Photo courtesy Stephanie

STEPHANIE ZIMBALIST stated she would rather be in the show, but commitments collided. In the studio, she carefully studied her Celeb Host Scrooge script, making careful notes to correctly pronounce every actor’s name. I found that refreshing. Her serious, dutiful nature was an enticing opportunity to create an impromptu moment. As Stephanie solemnly voiced the closing credits, she was softly pinched in the posterior for a cue, then suddenly joined by the character of Santa Clause. Without a pause, Stephanie’s voice changed to playful, matching Santa’s as light loving and uplifting. It made for a great upbeat ending to that year’s award winning show.

Over dinner that night, we spoke of her father, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. Her eyes grew soft with an obvious fondness for him. Born in New York, Stephanie began her career on stage. Later, she went on to play a series of problem-of-the-week TV movies. Then came the role of Laura Holt on “Remington Steele,” also starring, oh yes, that James Bond guy. A striking, serious-looking, sought after actress, Stephanie’s stage and TV career keep her very busy. She enjoys performing locally at Ventura's Rubicon Theatre.

AWARDS: This 2002 broadcast received: 2003 National SILVER MICROPHONE Award, 2003 International OMNI Intermedia Bronze Award


LEE “Radio Hall-of-Famer” MARSHALL Radio Talent, Author, TV Wrestling Commentator

December 2001   (Photo courtesy Lee)

LEE MARSHALL had that deep rich voice that most broadcast professionals can only dream of developing. Former Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda said, “If God wanted to give a speech, Lee would get the call.” We cast Lee as “Narrator” one year and he also co-hosted over his station with then morning show side-kick Kari Michaelsen. This time, he was our Celeb Host for Scrooge. Lee shared our mission of having fun and being creative on radio.

“I love radio the way it was, but I hate the way radio is today,” Lee said. “Radio used to be reserved for the best, brightest, funniest and most creative people. Now, most of what you hear comes from a satellite broadcasting service. There’s no personality and no relationship with the audience.” Lee’s book in progress, “Turn Up The Volume, Break Off the Knobs,” was filled with broadcast industry insights.

Lee’s career included the “Boss Radio” days of 93/KHJ in Los Angeles, CKLW in Detroit, KDAY teamed with the man who would become Wolfman Jack, back to KHJ teamed with then newcomer Rick Dees and KABC teamed with Bud “Steamer” Furillo. Lee hosted several WCW TV wrestling series shows and has countless credits for national voice overs, including being one of two contracted voices for “Tony the Tiger.” Lee is listed in Ohio’s “Rock & Roll Hall of Fame” museum and Detroit’s “Legends of Motor City Radio” museum.


KARI MICHAELSEN  Film, TV Star

December 2000   Photo courtesy Kari

KARI MICHAELSEN rose to national recognition in the 1980’s starring as Katie Kanisky in the TV series “Gimme a Break,” beating out Helen Hunt for the role. We couldn’t reach Helen for comment. Kari appeared in numerous 1980’s TV shows and later in films. For her Celeb Host Scrooge taping, we teamed Kari with her then morning radio show co-host, Lee Marshall. Together, their impromptu banter created lively energy. That year our radio show ran on three stations almost simultaneously. Months after this show, Kari left that station to host a weekly TV program interviewing celebs and probing into community issues.


 

DOCTOR DEMENTO Broadcast Radio Legend, Musicologist, Author

December 1999   (Photo courtesy Dr. Demento)

Barry Hansen, aka DR. DEMENTO, and his wife Sue are two of the warmest human beings I’ve ever met. The good Doctor arrived for his Celeb Host Scrooge taping sporting his customary top hat, tailcoat and red bowtie. His lively larynx energized our host script to new heights. On a brief break, Doctor D related some personal stories: …of owning so many records that the floor of his home buckled under the weight; …of procuring a Bob’s Big Boy restaurant statue for his backyard, so that friends could find his home; …of giving the first air play to Weird Al; …of his early radio days at KPFK, KPPC and KMET; and of being a roadie for the rock groups “Canned Heat” and “Spirit.”

The year of this show, mechanical gremlins struck the recording equipment and the Doctor’s host segments were lost. Facing a tight deadline, he graciously agreed to re-cut the segments in his home studio. Thanks to the good Doctor, his segments arrived in time and, as theatre tradition demands, the show did go on.

These days, the Dr. Demento Radio Show thrives at stations worldwide. His show and fan club attract generations of new listeners. By the way, the Doctor is a doctor of musicology. Along with his show, Dr. Demento keeps busy with music research projects, writing articles and making public appearances. He is truly a radio legend and a great human being. Visit his website at www.drdemento.com.


MARK METCALF Stage, TV, Film Star

December 1998   (Photo courtesy Mark. Photo assemblage- Jim Barker)

At this writing, MARK METCALF is probably best remembered as the sadistic fraternity leader “Douglas C. Neidermeyer” in the movie “Animal House.” Rehearsing our Celeb Host Scrooge script, Mark was meticulously precise with pronunciation and graded our grammar, while dutifully delivering dialogue. At the time, Mark was living in the area with his wife who managed the Whale’s Tail Restaurant. It’s there we discussed acting, Dickens and the radio show. Mark accepted hosting immediately. At first, Mark seemed hard on himself during taping, then relaxed and had fun with it. On his way out of the studio, he shared where-are-they-now stories about the “Animal House” cast and anecdotes about his film with Tom Arnold.

Mark has a long list of stage credits and film roles. Many recognize him from a couple of “Twisted Sister” music videos. I found him to be extremely sharp, well read and having a quick, dry wit. Regardless, a stern look from Mark sends one instantly visualizing his R.O.T.C. uniformed “Animal House” character who sadistically bellowed, “Drop and give me 20!”


JERRY DUNPHY Legendary Southern California News Anchor

December 1997   (Photo courtesy Jerry)

We rolled tape. “Welcome to Charles Ghickens…wait…let’s start over.” JERRY DUNPHY turned red. Together we laughed. One of the most recognized TV news anchors in Los Angeles for 40 years, a man paid millions per year to read on-air, had just blown his first line as our Celebrity Scrooge Host. Later, voicing our show’s final credits, Jerry couldn’t resist slipping in his then signature line, “…from the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California.”

Jerry Dunphy started his TV career in 1953 and by 1960 became anchorman at KNXT in Los Angeles. He remained in an anchor chair on L.A. stations until his death in May of 2002. Hollywood frequently called upon Jerry to portray a news anchor in countless films.

The day of our taping, he arrived with his wife and young daughter who watched through the studio window. Waving to his daughter while listening to the playback of his celebrity host segments, Jerry confided that his daughter wasn’t doing well in math. “That just means she’ll grow up to be more of a creative person than a bean counter,” I said. Jerry thought a moment. “You’re right,” he said. Then he winked.


BARBARA BILLINGSLEY Film, TV Star

December 1996   (Photo courtesy Barbara)

BARBARA BILLINGSLEY showed up for her Celebrity Host Scrooge taping in a bright yellow dress with matching shoes, white pearls about her neck and her sunshine blonde hair in a familiar upswing do. She was, in appearance, manner and voice, her TV character “June Cleaver.” Although decades had passed since TV’s most recognizable mom appeared on the “Leave It To Beaver” series, Barbara seemed not to have aged a bit.

With grace and subtle elegance befitting her TV counterpart, Barbara began to read her lines, then suddenly stopped. She reached in her matching handbag and pulled out reading glasses, the only tip off TV’s mom had aged. She breezed through her lines. Afterwards, she shared a few brief “Beve” stories and admitted she hadn’t heard much from the brown-nosing “Eddy Haskel” played by Ken Osmond. Ken, of course, had gone on to become an L.A. cop. Imagine being pulled over by “Eddy Haskel.”

Prior to becoming “June Cleaver,” Barbara appeared in many lesser-known films. After the “Beve” series, she went into semi retirement, opting to concentrate on raising her two sons and traveling with her husband. Barbara appeared in numerous film and TV cameos.


KEVIN BROOKS  Top Rated Local Radio Talent, Voice Over Artist

December 1995   Photo courtesy Kevin

A familiar radio personality for decades, KEVIN BROOKS pulled strong ratings with his smiling voice until his untimely death in 2004. Even on days when feeling under the weather, Kevin maintained that rare announcing ability of human warmth and sincerity. He introduced me to and trained me in computerized sound editing.  

In 1990, the first year of our show, we cast Kevin as young Peter Cratchit. Another year, we cast him as young Scrooge. “Oh great!’ he snapped. “People will think it’s type casting.”  Kevin was our Celeb Show Host for Scrooge this year and for several of our radio dramas including both Christmas Carol and Halloween Invasion in 1995. The Halloween show was repeated by listener request in 1996.  

The first time Kevin was our celeb holiday host, we traveled to a county facility for homeless and abused children. Together we taped their Christmas wishes. They ranged from a teenage girl asking for “a kidney for my mom,” to a young boy pleading “I want my family together again,” to a tiny little girl who could barely pronounce “Barbie.” A masterful sound engineer, Kevin created a rip-your-heart-out collage that aired countless times during the holidays. His piece was highly praised by listeners and his station’s GM.

Kevin’s voice, coupled with his sound mixing wizardry, perked up ears and teased imaginations on endless radio and TV stations. He was an encouraging friend. I miss him.


PREVIOUS SHOW YEARS BELOW

OCT 1995 “Halloween Invasion” / Celeb Host KEVIN BROOKS / KBBY

DEC 1994 “Christmas Carol” / Celeb Host KEVIN BROOKS / KBBY

DEC 1993 “Christmas Carol” / Celeb Host KEVIN BROOKS / KBBY

DEC 1992 “Christmas Carol” / Celeb Host ERICH HEINKE / KBBY

DEC 1991 “Christmas Carol” / Celeb Host ERICH HEINKE / KXBS

DEC 1990 “Christmas Carol” / Celeb Host BOB CARTER / KXBS


 

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