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blast from the past

January 17, 2013

Good Neighbour Chris came by a few days ago, making bad on his threat to keep visiting until I blog again.  The man is ruthless, so I have no choice.

I had something to share, anyway: a gem of a moment, a burst of serendipity most welcome as I continue to slog through winter.

Yesterday I was meandering through my favourite website IMDb, a treasure trove of info about TV and the movies.  A convoluted selection of link choices brought me to a name I hadn’t thought of in decades, C.C. Courtney.  He was the evening DJ for WNOE, a popular AM station in New Orleans, in the mid-60’s.  That was about the time AM started losing ground (air, really) to FM.  It was the era of Top 40 lists, pick hits and payola scandals.

I had just dropped out of college and moved to the Big Easy.  WNOE was my constant companion as I drove around the city and stayed in my French Quarter apartment, trying to figure out how to be hip. I never succeeded.  As best I remember, C.C. had the 6 – 10 p.m. slot, followed by Lou Kirby until 2 a.m. and Al Casey (who broadcast as “Him” with tunes from his Himbook) until 6 a.m.

C.C. would end his show by saying “Remember, no one lives in Murphy’s Canyon but my brother, Mele Kilikamaka.”  On Saturdays, he would read a passage from “On Love”, a section of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, then play “Lovers Never Say Goodbye” by the Flamingos.  This was supposedly to encourage couples listening to him on Lovers’ Lanes.

He and Kirby had an act called “Their Singing Bodies”.  They had a regional hit with a cover of Buddy Holly’s “Maybe Baby”, and once performed it in black tights with the rest of their singing bodies painted metallic gold.

Courtney moved to New York City in the late 60’s and found success as an actor on the soap opera “The Doctors”.  He co-wrote and starred in a rock musical called Salvation, which helped the early careers of Joe Morton, Barry Bostwick and Bette Midler.  One of its songs, “If You Let Me Make Love to You, Then Why Can’t I Touch You?”, was covered by Ronnie Dyson.  It sold more than a million copies.  Other songs from the musical include “Let’s Get Lost in Now”, “Tomorrow Is the First Day of the Rest of My Life”, “Ballin'” and “There Ain’t No Flies on Jesus”.

All that came rushing back to me just from that semi-chance encounter.  So for a brief, exhilirating while, I was not a senior citizen surrounded by snow in Canada, but a teenager cruising the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain singing along with Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders.  Parenthood, Vietnam and the Bush administrations were still ahead of me.  Who wouldn’t marinate in such a moment?

  1. January 17, 2013 8:18 pm

    i remember C.C. Courtney from the doctors. my mom watched that soup when i was a kid though we watched general hospital more.. i was pretty young when she stopped watching th edoctors.. i think he was on more in the early 60’s but i don’t know. i may remember him from other things too.

    • January 19, 2013 12:30 pm

      He was on “The Doctors” in ’68 -’69, then went on the move. He started a family in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, went back to New Orleans briefly to try (unsuccessfully) to help WNOE regain its mid-60’s glory, then on to Costa Rica and back to New York City to teach acting, which I think he does to this day. You Tube has some recent clips of him addressing acting classes. This is from the most recent movie he made.

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