A Vat of Chocolate, Vicious Pumas, and Moms: Memories of Tommy Smothers


My heart is heavy today with the news Tommy Smothers of the legendary Smothers Brothers passed away. Growing up I idolized Tommy Smothers. My sisters and I spent countless hours listening to their comedy albums. To this day, I will quote lines from his comedy.


I think people have forgotten the role Tommy and Dickie Smothers played in the counter-culture movement of the 60’s – their opposition to the Vietnam War and their support of the struggle for equal rights for African Americans and the Women’s movement. They had a way of making thought provoking comments about issues through comedy, and sometimes that got the brothers in hot water with the censors at CBS. This led to the “Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” being cancelled. Tommy even had a role in rock and roll history with his relationship with John Lennon. He even had John Lennon kicked out of club where Tommy was performing solo.

Look for him playing guitar on “Give Peace a Chance.”

One of the highlights of my life came when a friend of mine, the late Bruce Clark of KBLC-TV, called and asked if I wanted to interview Tommy Smothers. I calmly said, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”


A few hours later I was on the phone with one of my idols. We talked about his life and his relationship with one of the best straight men ever, his brother Dick Smothers. Here is that interview. 




After we talked, Tommy asked if I could do him a favor. He wanted my opinion of a YouTube video he and Dick were considering putting back in the act. He then gave me his cell phone number. I HAD TOMMY SMOTHERS’ CELL NUMBER.


Over the years, I have thought back to that day when I got to talk to one of my idols. He was so much fun to spend a few minutes with.


My favorite routine the Smothers Brothers did was about a historic moment in this country’s expansion westward. The event was the driving of the golden spike to connect a railroad from east to west.


Tommy was a master of the yo-yo. In their shows he became “THE YO-YO MAN.”


As you can tell, Tommy and Dick Smothers had a great influence in my life. “MOM LIKED YOU BEST” was one of the best catch phrases of all time, for a comedy legend.


RIP, Tom. Don’t fall in a vat of chocolate on your way to heaven.   



It has been several months since I put fingers to keyboard for a Radio Guy Reflections Blog post. Why?

My dog ate my post! No, that was my homework. The best part is I don’t own a dog. The real reason is I’ve been sick.

Without going into too much detail, I was in the hospital for 12 days. I had been to see a few doctors and, of course, I had many tests performed. I  even had a doctor’s appointment to discuss findings.   I didn’t make the appointment because I was in the hospital.

I woke up on Saturday morning feeling yuck-o. My wife asked if I wanted to go to the ER and off we go. And, in the hospital I went, for 12 days.


Being released from the hospital doesn’t mean you are released. Because you still feel yuck-o. Just not as yuck-o.

After coming home from the hospital my doctor asked me if I wanted to try a new medicine that usually helps people lose weight. One problem, my insurance will not cover it, so my wife and I decided to pay out of pocket. Ouch! Let’s just say I need deep pockets, but my pockets are shallow.

Another issue has  hit that really slowed down my recovery.  All my life I have never had a bad reaction to medication, until now. You know those disclaimers on medication commercials? Well, they can be true.


So, after several months, I feel well enough to try to start up the blogs again and most will deal with my experiences in my radio career. So, check back every couple of weeks for more Radio Guy Reflections..









I was watching football Saturday night when I got the phone no one wants to get. It was my sister Judy telling me that our sister Sandra had passed away.

My emotions went in all directions, from sadness to accepting the fact that she had passed. I even experienced some moments of happiness as I remembered some of the things that made Sandra the kind, loving woman she was here on this earth.

So here are some of the things that make me smile even as I mourn the loss of my sister.

As the little brother in our family, it was my job to annoy my sisters; and I did my job to the best of my abilities. I would even sneak into her bedroom and wake her up by placing a cold spoon between her toes! I did it so much that I could make her laugh out loud just by saying “spoon between the toes.”  

Sandra loved music and would sing along to the radio. Like many young ladies of the 60’s, she had a huge crush on Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits. During the height of the British invasion, she went with some friends to see Herman’s Hermits in concert, and we were told she was the first one to scream like the teenage girl she was.

Her love of Herman’s Hermits became fodder for her baby brother. I remember being in the car listening to the radio and every time the song “There’s a Kind of Hush” came on the radio, I would sing my own lyrics to the top of my lungs – “THERE’S A KIND OF FLUSH ALL OVER THE WORLD TONIGHT,” then I would make the sound of a toilet flushing. Our mother would scold me as Sandra fumed and I laughed.

Years later, I was in the car with Sandra when the song “Down Under” came on the radio and Sandra was singing along; except while she was singing, she was leading the music like a church song leader and adding background vocals that were not on the original song. Sandra loved to sing, and, yes, she could sing very well.

One of my favorite memories of Sandra was always at Christmas time. The family would always try to guess which present would make her cry. The one I remember most was when our mother gave her a cedar chest. I think she cried so much she became dehydrated.

There were a couple of other things Sandra loved. The TV show “Little House on the Prairie” and Shirley Temple movies. So much so that while I was on a weekend outing, I stopped at Laura Ingles Wilder’s home in Southwest Missouri just so I could buy her something and call her from the place that meant so much to her. One year at Christmas time, I was so excited to send her a gift that I had found at an antique store in Logan, Utah. It was a package of Shirley Temple paper dolls. I hoped my gift made her shed a tear that year.

Sandra always loved her friends and her family and would open her home to anyone in need. She did that for me when I was down on my luck looking for work. She and Kelly opened their small apartment for me to stay in while I looked for a job.

While I was staying with Sandra and Kelly, I met my future wife Teresa. When Teresa and I decided to get married, I was so excited to tell all my sisters. Sandra’s reaction was typical Sandra. When I said, “I want you to say hello to my fiancé,” all I could hear was her saying, “I beg your pardon.”

So, I say an earthly goodbye to yet another of my sisters. I shed a few tears; but like a good Christmas present, I cry tears of joy because Sandra was a treasured gift in my life.


This is for Sandra and I won’t even add sound effects