Saturday, May 25, 2013

On the Road with an Eccentric Tiny Tim

While composing an oral history a couple of years ago I talked with musical director Tim Fowlar, he reminisced about his time in the 1970s with the Roy Radin Vaudeville Review... or as Tiny Tim called it, "the cavalcade of has-beens."

Roy Radin was a notorious promoter (and soon to be the victim in the notorious Cotton Club Murder) who cobbled together stars like Milton Berle, Donald O'Connor, The Drifters, Frank Fontaine (aka Crazy Guggenheim, who had a heart attack on the bus), Ronnie Spector, and Georgie Jessel, then poured their drunken carcasses on to a bus for shows in VFW halls and school auditoriums all over the northeast. It was a grueling pace but it gave folks in the hinterlands an opportunity to see the stars they loved.

Tim was just getting started in the business when he joined the Radin cavalcade and he would go on to great heights in Las Vegas and television. Here he tells us about being on the road with Jackie Vernon and Tiny Tim, two rather eccentric performers. Vernon is best known to modern audiences as the voice of Frosty the Snowman in the first TV holiday special. Tiny Tim... I wouldn't know where to start, but he was weird bird with a hang-up about venereal disease... and crossing the street. He was also a musical genius I invite you to explore.

The late, great Tiny Tim: