A dramatic night at the Italian American Club recently where one of my oldest friends, Shecky Greene, who will turn 91 years young on April 8, was having dinner in the VIP room.
My good friend and photographer Ed Foster had called me with the news that Shecky had a fall and broke his leg. On stage was comedian/musician Dennis Blair, who had just finished his set. Everybody was alarmed; paramedics had to be called. But, leave it to Mr. Greene – still doing one-liners as he was put into the ambulance not knowing the extent of his injuries. About 15 years ago Shecky had a hip replacement.
When I came to Vegas in 1968 Shecky was at Caesars Palace and was a must-see comedian of his time. Unpredictable, funny, shooting from the hip. It goes back to a time when entertainers were really entertainers. No four letter words, just naturally funny guys.
He was taken to St. Rose Dominican Hospital Siena Campus, where he underwent surgery. I would love all my readers to send get well wishes to him.
Gong, not forgotten
Chuck Barris – producer, writer, host of “The Gong Show,” creator of The Newlywed Game and The Dating Game – passed away March 21. A few years ago he wrote a book called “Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind” where he alluded that he was a CIA agent. Many, of course, did not believe him.
Barris was a man who was part of a new kind of talent show. “The Gong Show” was not “America’s Got Talent,” but rather America Has No Talent. They should bring it back. He was really one of our unsung heroes who always underplayed his success. He was every man’s man… an innovator in television.
Stars shine at Caesars
The stars assembled at Caesars Palace last week for the sixth annual convention of The National Association of Theater Owners, the largest cinema trade show in the world, CinemaCon. It attracted some 5,000 attendees from more than 80 countries and jumpstarts the buzz and excitement of our summer season at the movies.
Among the celebs at Caesars were Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson, Charlize Theron, Kevin Hart and Bradley Cooper to name a few.
Vegas loses a legend
One of the greatest people, and a friend who I will miss, the great Vincent Falcone died March 24 at the age of 78. Bob Anderson, who is at the Venetian Theater with his show, “Frank, The Man and His Music,” was a favorite of Vinnie’s. I met Falcone when I first got to town and he was conducting for Joe Williams at UNLV for the Joe Williams Scholarship Fund.
Of course I went many times to see Pia Zadora’s show and Vinnie would want me to be on stage but I wouldn’t. I saw him about two years ago with Pia at Piero’s. He really was an incredible conductor, arranger, and piano player and so well known for conducting Sinatra for many years. He also conducted for Jack Jones and I saw him with Steve & Eydie, too. He will be missed by the music industry.
Happy 95th, Marty
The 95th birthday celebration at the South Point Showroom for Marty Allen included beautiful videos and a slew of celebrity pals such as our Mayor Carolyn Goodman and her husband Oscar Goodman. Marty’s wife, Karon Kate Blackwell, performed. He said he’ll probably live to 100 and still be performing.
I know Marty from New York from the Merv Griffin show. He was always so supportive of me as a performer, writer and columnist.
It was a great celebration for a great guy.