Thursday, February 6, 2014


They talk about six degrees of separation and it's really true. We all crawl on each other's spider webs more than we know. And this little paragraph or two shows what happened between me and the guy who took the baton from Johnny Carson. 

The REAL Jersey Shore... late seventies (VERY late seventies). I was glorified cub reporter/writer for a nice little glossy called ATLANTIC CITY BOARDWALKER MAGAZINE. Did Best 'n Worst features... What's Hot & What's Not and anything else we could steal from PHILADELPHIA MAGAZINE ( a BIG, THICK book, kind of like LOS ANGELES MAGAZINE), where I interned before that.  Celebrity pieces were done by the big bosses, not by me. 

But one night in the RESORTS INTERNATIONAL gift shop, I give a look and the guy standing next to me buying sundries or snacks, or something is a young, shaggy haired comic named Jay Leno, in town to appear on DINA SHORE. (He'd already successfully appeared on many other shows) .  And I never did things like this, but I said - Oh, Jay? Jay Leno? Hi, I'm Billy Kravitz. I write for ATLANTIC CITY BOARDWALKER and, uh, could we do a piece on you? Could I interview you while you're in town? Do you think? Would that be okay? ... He thought for a few moments, nodded and in that trademark 'Jay Leno' voice said - Yeah, sure. You can do a piece on me..... Instantly I felt my heart pounding high up in my chest where it meets my neck. He told me to meet him the next day... BACKSTAGE at THE DINA SHORE SHOW. Think they were filming right there in the hotel. A.C. has big hotels with media set ups and everything, even back then they had them. So I go and I meet him and we talk and I experience the GREEN ROOM (an official major, nationally televised program's green room with food and drinks and chairs and everything) and the make-up room (like an ultra bright barber's or beauticians... the make-up girl looked like Lisa Kudrow) and other generic 'backstage' areas. Jay sees Frankie Avalon. He knows Frankie Avalon. They talk. And I get introduced too. And the kids from FAME, the GLEE of its day, are there. Hello's all around. I'm ALMOST FAMOUS, just like in the movie. An unbelievable experience. 

And all the time Jay talks... about Boston... his family... comedy... his degree in speech pathology.... and (the take away) NEVER take a day job that pays decent money, if you really want to do something else. Because once you cash that first comfy paycheck and spend a little at MEN'S WAREHOUSE or HOME GOODS the 'hunger' diminishes a little and the big shiny dream begins to fade.

Remember that...'cause it's true.

That's all. No ghosts or vampires tonight. Just a much loved memory from back in the day. Thank you to a first rate, gracious guy for giving me a peek into the real 'wonderland.' 


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