Thursday, March 16, 2006

Somewhat Obscure TV Fun Time! (Now With Answers!)

Can you name this late 70's New York City game show host, the show he hosted, AND his famous comic actress/musician daughter?

As a hint, here's a bumper card for his show when it went to commercial, with the show's name blurred out:

First commenter with the correct answers gets to pick my next posting topic! (Winner must choose from this list: stuff in an old TV Guide, stuff in an old newspaper, or something having to do with the seventies.)

3/19 update: Naturally, it was Google-savvy Mike (Lantern Fishworks) who hit the trifecta with the answers "Larry Kenney," "Bowling For Dollars," and Reno 911!'s "Kerri Kenney-Silver." Here's the unobscured pic, and a couple more...

Jackpot indeed, Fishworker! Not that you've really won anything, though I did facetiously promise to let you choose my next topic within the boundaries outlined. Feel free to take me up on that, but let's be clear that whatever that number is on the jackpot board, it ain't involved no how.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Moffo, Go Home, You're Dead!

I really only know Anna Moffo as occasional crossword fodder, but I couldn't resist using this ridiculously obscure, Larry King-inspired pun.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Six Degrees of Charles Manson.

As anyone who has even casually perused this blog can tell you, I have an unhealthy fixation with the era of my childhood, loosely fixed at 1974-1983. An extension of this fixation, somewhere between an obsession and a hobby, is my collection of video of the time, particularly commercials. I have thousands of them from many different sources, and my favorites are the New York City-area ones I've managed to dig up. Since I watched way too much telly as a child, those are especially time-trippy for me.

I made a compilation tape of local NYC ads which I sell on eBay, but it was just short of two hours, and I wanted to fill it out. I went back through my collection to see what I had missed, and found a commercial that I had forgotten I had. It's for the "Tribute to Vaudeville" show at Bally's in Atlantic City. Featuring Joey Bishop as host, it also starred such long-waned luminaries as Tessie O'Shea and the Harmonica Rascals. I'm sure I zipped through this ad more than once without noticing that the guy standing next to Bishop is the producer of the show, none other than Roy Radin. This discovery feeds neatly into other realms of my peculiar fascinations: serial killing, celebrity corruption, and the abysmal depths of human depravity. In Radin's story, these perversions intersect appallingly and magnificently.

Roy Radin was a self-described impresario with designs on producing Hollywood films. He had become very wealthy as a producer, though that seems inexplicable as he only handled hokey vaudeville touring acts--inexplicable, that is, until you hear of what else he had his fingers in. An acquaintance of his, Karen Greenberger (probably his coke connection, as she was a major dealer and Radin indulged heavily) introduced him to Robert Evans, and the three were soon set to produce "The Cotton Club" for Francis Ford Coppola. Radin, however, cut Greenberger out of the deal, paying her only a finder's fee. Not long after, Radin disappeared (last seen after meeting Greenberger for dinner), and a few weeks later his body was found with his head blown to bits. Found near Radin's rotting body was a bible, open to the passage in Isaiah including "let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die." The two thugs arrested for the murder implicated Evans in the crime, but he was questioned and released.

Radin was said to be a leader in Anton LaVey's Church of Satan, and his gluttonous desire for food and cocaine would have been qualification alone. Of course, there was also his insatiable appetite for pornography, which may have reached a zenith with the legendary (or apocryphal) snuff film made by David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz. Allegedly, Radin commissioned the making of the film, helmed either by Berkowitz or an accomplice. The tape supposedly shows the July 31, 1977 murder of Stacey Moskowitz (and, I imagine, the blinding of her boyfriend, who was in the car with her). Other Son of Sam murders are said to have been filmed as well, though it is disputed by some whether they were actually committed by Berkowitz or other members of a Satanic group he belonged to called "The Children," which Radin held sway over.

Radin's mansion on Long Island was later the scene of the brutal beating and rape, inflicted by his wealthy Satanic friends, of an actress named Melonie Haller, best known for her brief role on "Welcome Back, Kotter" in 1978. She also was featured in Playboy around the time of her assault in 1980. The rape was videotaped, and police later found an astounding stash of porno in Radin's home, some of it starring Radin himself. Researching this, I never found the outcome of the case against Radin, though it would appear he escaped jail time. The details can be found in Maury Terry's "The Ultimate Evil," a bewildering epic account of all the horrible mayhem touched on here. Unfortunately, I no longer have a copy. Also, the Cotton Club deal is covered in Steve Wick's "Bad Company," which I have not read.

As for the title of this post, check out this link for a fascinating chain of horror and depravity in Hollywood which encompasses Radin's sordid story. Feel free to surmise how much of it is accurate.

Here are a couple of shots from that commercial featuring Roy Radin and Joey Bishop (associate of Sammy Davis Jr., also a player in LaVey's Church). It's from 1982, about a year before Radin's Friday the 13th disappearance.

Speaking no evil, Roy?

3/6/17 add: I went ahead and uploaded the ad to YouTube. I'm embedding it here, but go ahead and check out my whole channel. It's a fuckin' doozy. (Another great Vaudeville act, btw, "The Fuckin' Doozies.")