My favorite radio talk show host was David Paul. He was very silly. He loved to bring up something controversial everyday, and the audience would call in to talk about it. They were often angry, and often funny. I called in one time and I think I was very funny.
The subject was whether or not dinasaurs ever existed. I called in and played like I didn't understand the question. I said I knew for a fact that Dinah Shore existed because I'd seen her TV show before.
I got my love of talk radio from my grandmother, Mommo. She'd sit up all night long, playing solitaire, while chain-smoking and listening to the Ludlow Porch Show on the radio. She didn't know it, but my brothers and I would be listening to the radio in the bedroom-- waiting to hear Mommo on the radio. She called in nightly to talk to Ludlow-- she usually called herself Catherine when she got past the screener. She would come on the radio and play the part of a twenty year old single woman-- she'd discuss sex and politics without skipping a beat. She had a young voice for an older woman- you'd never guess that the catty woman on the radio had a husband and three grandchildren sleeping in the next room. Sometimes I'd creep into the unlighted living room-- and watch "Catherine's" back as she talked on the phone to the radio host. She'd shuffle her cards, and puff on the filterless cigarette as she enjoyed her 15 minutes of fame each night, while a 7 year old Brian watched her backside with admiration. She was the coolest thing you ever saw, or heard on the radio.
She inspired me-- if not for her, I never would've made friends with Ophelia on the local version of QVC. Years later, I started watching her show on cable. This was before all of the home shopping networks sprang up. Ophelia was on a local channel- all of her products were crap- and she was a crappy hostess. But, because I was raised by a "spotlight-addicted" grandmother, I would call Ophelia every night and order a Cappa de Monte vase, or a painted ceramic mask and get a chance to talk to Ophelia herself. I'd even record it on my VCR, as if this was a real brush with greatness.
My brushes with David Paul and Ophelia never measured up to my grandmother's secret calls to Ludlow, but I think I come close sometimes. I'm still fascinated by celebrities- even B-list, or C-list ones. I work with Jeffery Dewberry from "Hell's Kitchen" and tonight I shared a booth at the Tavern with "Rock Star INXS" star Heather Lutrell. I know they are reality celebs, but so what. Ludlow Porch was never a household name. I think Mommo would be proud of me for trying.