Part 19: A C-FUN Flashback

"Memories of nearly 50 years in the Biz"

Part 19: A C-FUN Flashback

Postby Brian Lord » Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:47 am

Brian Lord's Radio Stories

A C-FUN Flashback


Back in the 60's radio station DJ's thought that they should call records something. As an example: a hit from a few years ago was a "Flashback" or some such designation to let the listener know what he or she already knew, that it was a record that had been popular a year or so ago but was now classified much the same way golfers are on the senior men's tour. It was old. "Flashback" is what C-Fun called them but I've heard "Rebound Sounds", "A hit from.... Yesterday" and "Oldies but Goodies". These names were all sung by which ever company sold the station it's Jingle Package and played as an intro to the tune.

The only one with any real legitimacy to this thankfully ghost of a feature was an LA DJ named Art Leboe. He dreamed up the term "Oldies but Goodies" and there was even a song done buy Little Caesar and the Romans "Those Oldies but Goodies Remind Me of You", perhaps the worst song ever recorded in the annals of rock 'n' roll. Be that as it may, the thing was a hit in Southern California. Art Laboe cleaned up -- not because of the song or the ensuing designation -- but because he was the first person to make an LP using different artists from different labels and calling it "Oldies but Goodies". It stayed on the Billboard chart for three years and spawned a raft of follow-ups numbered sequentially, included was the dog produced by Little Caesar and the Romans. There were also bird groups like the Orioles and the Penguins, the Larks. And groups named after household objects: the Platters and the Coasters; fish, the Murmaids and the Rays; cars, the Cadillac’s; weeds: the Clovers. I'm sure you get the idea... anyway all this has nothing to do with what I want to relate.

I'm calling this column a "Flashback" because it's about an incident which occurred when I was still working at CFUN and forgot to include it when I was writing about those days.

Jerry "Lee" Landa was our all-nighter and he was the DJ who actually brought this story to fruition if only as a kick-off rather than a play called in the huddle. I was driving home from the Georgia Hotel beer parlor one December night around 1PM and Jerry was talking about The Christmas Bureau. Now, the Christmas Bureau was a legit charity in those days that collected money, clothing, toys and packaged them up. It had a list they'd compiled from somewhere and on Christmas Eve volunteers drove around the city dispersing parcels and toys to the needy folks on the list. Dave McCormick and Al Jordan decided that I was the DJ with the most time on my hands and informed me that I was going to look after collecting money, etc. for the Christmas Bureau because CFUN had decided it was a good charitable thing to do and in keeping with the Christmas Spirit.

So I wrote and recorded a bunch of "Christmas Bureau-style" promos and slapped them on the program log to run twice or three times and hour. I also put a note up in the control room with a bunch of line-liners written in order to squeeze people out of a few bucks for our new found charity. It was a good promotion and made us DJ's, who blasted out rock 'n' roll 24/7, prove to people that we weren't just a bunch of music freaks who's mentality went no further than being able to recite the hits of Johnny and the Hurricanes (1). I liaised with a guy at the real Christmas Bureau and set up a plan to turn over anything we received (toys, clothing, canned goods but mostly money) once a week. It was not a startling success but we brought in over 100 dollars in the first three days. The jocks got behind it and hyped it up and we were doing okay up until the moment I heard Jerry Landa on that cold December night talking about some guy who would give away a car to the winner. This was decidedly odd because there wasn't supposed to be a winner.

I did a U-turn, raced back to the station, let myself in the back door and walked into the control room to see what in hell Jerry was talking about. He wasn't alone. There was a guy sitting on the shelf against the back wall and he had two huge Doberman Pinschers, like the Nazi's used in prisoner of war camps in World War Two, sitting at his feet thankfully on leashes which the guy was holding. This gave me momentary fright but the dogs were docile and just looked at me like puppies. Jerry said, "Oh, Joe, this is one of our DJ's, Brian Lord, he's running the Christmas Bureau for the station. Brian, meet Joe Hargett". Joe stood up, shook my hand a huge grin plastered on his face which would have disarmed anyone who could possibly think ill of such a big, good-looking, well groomed man. He looked and dressed like a movie star.

What took place after that was pretty simple. Joe told me he owned a Used Car Lot on Kingsway and he was willing to give one of his cars away to the winner. He thought there was a contest. It didn't take much intellect to dream up a simple contest. I said, you are serious, and he said sure, we shook on it and I changed the rules the next day. Send your cheques or money orders to the station in an envelope with a return address on it and on Christmas Eve we'll draw a name who will be the winner of a car from Joe's Used Car Lot on Kingsway. Not too creative but what could be easier?

I got to know Joe Hargett. He was as interested in the CFUN Christmas Bureau as I was and I did everything I could to keep him on a leash, speaking of which, his Doberman's followed him everywhere. The whole promotion snowballed. We started getting a hundred, two hundred envelopes a day. We gave it the full hype and the money rolled in and I think we ended up with around seven thousand dollars which was three times the amount that Ernie, down at the Christmas Bureau had thought we'd collect. For the rest of December Joe and I had a few belts together most nights. He invited my wife and me over to meet his wife. We reciprocated and it as fun. Then Joe started to tell me about himself.

First off -- he was a crook. He used to own a Used Car lot name of Stonehouse Motors on Burrard next to the Vancouver Hotel. He worked a scam for a couple of years until the police sent him to jail for literally hosing the public. What he'd do was greet some person who wandered on to his lot looking for a car and with his friendly manner end up selling it to the guy. He'd draw up all the papers, take a cash deposit or the whole cost and then just before he handed the buyer the keys, he held them back saying "I'm sorry sir, that car comes with a radio". "Oh that's okay, I don't...." "Sir I have to sell it with a radio, because it was advertised with a radio in the paper. Sir, here's a buck, go next door to the hotel and have a cup of coffee, come back in 20 minutes and the radio'll be in the vehicle." All spoken with the incredible charm that Joe could muster at the drop of a hat. The guy goes to the hotel, comes back in 20 minutes, says "Where's my Ford, is it ready yet?" "What Ford?" "The white 56 Ford two-door, I just bought it, you're installing a radio." "Nobody bought a 56 Ford two-door off THIS lot buddy; we haven't got one for sale." "But.. but, you.. what... this is..." "Sir, shut up, you're embarrassing me and we have other customers, please leave" "But, you bast... what blah blah blah.." "Okay sir I told ya to leave, I warned ya...." And with that Joe would pick up the car-washing hose, turn it on and soaked the guy with a blast of water till he ran off the lot. And if that didn't get him off, Joe's Doberman's would. Police? No problem. His word against theirs.

I kept this quiet. I was beginning to get a rather murky feeling about good, old Joe Hargett. On Christmas Eve we had a draw over the air and told the winner, a young woman, to come over to the Used Car Lot on Kingsway tomorrow at noon. "Merry Christmas, m'am -- here's your car". It was a 1952 Chevrolet ragtop which looked really presentable. Trouble is it didn't want to start. I was instantly embarrassed but Joe, he just said "Ma'm do you know how to pop the clutch?" And he told her how. So Joe and I rolled this turd out onto Kingsway and pushed it until Joe yelled "NOW" and it kind of belched and began jerking, a spastic looking imitation of what a car would look like if it was running on Vodka. We watched this poor woman drive that car, gain a little speed, the engine spewing exhaust like fog, lurching down Kingsway and finally out of sight. Wasn't that nice. A couple of days later a tow-truck arrived at Joe's lot and delivered the '52 Chev. The woman wanted a car that ran. After a hassle which I mercifully missed, Joe gave the woman $500 and that was that. She was not the kind to raise a stink and CFUN got out without a scratch.

Years later, I mentioned Joe Hargett to the late, great Roy Jacques who knew him... loved him... but was emphatic about one thing. Never trust him. The last I heard of Joe Hargett -- he'd made a bunch of money, illegally of course, selling junk-cars. He and a friend took off and blew it all on a wild party in Cleveland or somewhere back there and finally drove up to Canada and gave himself up. The party was over. Joe was in the slammer in Toronto doing a stretch. His hosing days ended.

Next time: The Insane Asylum.
Brian Lord
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Re: Part 19: A C-FUN Flashback

Postby Steve Sanderson » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:03 am

HA!HA!HA!....Another great story Brian!
Luckily for you he didn't scam you out of the Christmas money!
I was expecting you to say Jerry Landa was sitting there eating a Splitz burger
for some reason!
:wink:
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Re: Part 19: A C-FUN Flashback

Postby Brian Lord » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:56 pm

Those were good, Steve... we can't get anything but fast food burgers here.
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Re: Part 19: A C-FUN Flashback

Postby hagopian » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:21 pm

Glad to see Melonhead on the box, we were getting worried the stories were drying up.

Thanks for the hilarious stories.

When are you going to tell us what really happened on That Christmas morning at CFUN when Paul Ski caught you improvising the Christmas music list, just a bit?


Aw, come on.....


LOL
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