Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Skillful, Funny, and Downright Blasphemous

So on the surface, this is a really great article. It's from 1981, and it talks about Imus' recent "comeback," his adventures with his "writer-friend," and all of the crazy success he's been having. And, of course, the article is chock-full of scary, ironic parallels to 2007. So these reasons alone make it a classic.

But then...well...let's just say that near the very end of the article...something is thrown in that put me a little off-guard. (And by "off-guard," I mean "laughing hysterically and going 'Oh no they DIDN'T!'") Maybe I'm just immature - I'll let you guys be the judge of that.

Anyway, sit back and enjoy this article off the AP wire, written by Tom Jory and published June 23, 1981.

For fans in places as widely separated as Cleveland, Sacramento and Palmdale, Calif., Don Imus is back in the Big City with more regular listeners than ever before and an hilarious first novel about to be published.

"I'm not filthy anymore," says Imus, morning man -- for the second time -- at New York's WNBC.

"I'd say things that would embarass people, including me," he says of his first go-round in New York radio, a six-year fling that ended in summary discharge and return -- another one of those -- to Cleveland.

"We work a lot harder now," he says, including Charles McCord, his writer-friend and the news announcer on his morning show, in the equation, "and I think the show is a lot better."

"I'd won all the awards -- was Disc Jockey of the Year -- and every guy in radio knew me," Imus says. "You've worked in New York, then you're fired, and you go to Cleveland -- you never get back.

"When I couldn't get another job in New York, it wasn't that I wasn't any good anymore. It was because I was -- to put it crudely -- a jerk."

Because radio today is essentially a local medium, Imus' name may mean little or nothing to even heavy listeners outside of the cities in which he has worked -- the aforementioned, plus Stockton, Calif.

Suffice it to say the audience for the morning show on WNBC more than quadrupled after his return from Cleveland in September 1979 -- to an estimated 1.7 million each week. "Without a doubt," says his boss at WNBC, general manager Bob Sherman, "Don Imus has the largest audience of any disc jockey in the country."

Sherman credits Imus, a graduate of the Don Martin School of Radio and Television Arts and Sciences in Hollywood, with helping boost WNBC out of the city's broadcast boondocks.

Imus cleaned up his on-air act while at Cleveland's WHK -- he was fired by WNBC in '77 -- though he still may be the most outrageous character in radio. In any case, his novel, "God's Other Son: The Life and Times of the Rev. Billy Sol Hargus," certainly is no disappointment in that regard.

It's skilfully written and consistently funny -- though it's not for every taste. Indeed, some will find it downright blasphemous.

The book is based on a character Imus created for his radio show.

"I could have done one of those ripoff things -- 'The Rev. Hargus' Sermons' -- but I'd never do that," he says.

"I understand the feeling some people have, too, that it's arrogant and presumptious of me to think I could write a novel. Well, I felt I could do it, and now we have a tremendous sequel, 'God's President."'

Don Imus' career in radio began as an $80-a-week DJ in Palmdale, and a year later he was in Stockton, making $800 a month at KJOY. That second job didn't last long -- he was fired after announcing "The Eldridge Cleaver Look-Alike Contest," with a first prize of five years in jail.

He worked at KXOA in Sacramento, then at Cleveland's WGAR, and in 1971, at the age of 31, took the job at WNBC -- and quickly became the city's No. 1 DJ.

"I'd gone from $80 a week to a couple hundred thousand a year," he says, "and I couldn't handle it.

"Part of the reason people have problems -- the Freddy Prinzes -- is this enormous success comes so fast. In your heart, you know you don't deserve it.

"When I got fired, I went to Cleveland. In my mind, I was willing to do that," Imus says. "And now we work as hard as we do -- I certainly don't feel guilty anymore."

He and McCord wrote "God's Only Son" after the show each day and on weekends, and as a result of that effort, they've been hired by Paramount Pictures to script three movies. They were at work rewriting the screenplay for "National Lampoon's Joy of Sex" when the screenwriter's strike intervened.

Despite the recent success outside of radio, Imus says he'll stick with the work for the time being.

"It's a lot of fun. You can say what you want, do what you want -- it's a unique job in radio."

OK, just for a moment, ignore all the creepy references to coming back and not being rude anymore and saying anything on the radio.

They were at work writing WHAT?


laree said...

College Girl,

This is underway, Censorship under the guise of cleaning up the airwaves...As Nancy Reagan would say "Just Say No"

Imus -Industry and degrading sterotypes a sub committee is looking into it.


Al said...

Isn't it GREAT to be a at least tad immature, Girl? lol

Wonder what those 2 have been writing about now that they have all this FREE time on their hands...The Joy of watching MSNBC slowly disintegrate?

The Joy of cashing the huge settlement check from CBS?

laree said...

College Girl

The link to the actual happening!!


CollegeGirl said...

LAree, I saw that. I agree that it's pretty ridiculous, but don't worry - I'm sure it'll be as successful as the last time Congress tried to do this, in the 80s.

I just wish they didn't have to drag Imus' name in it, though...

CollegeGirl said...

Al, I don't even WANT to think about what sorts of horrible things Imus and McCord have been harboring for the past five months...well, actually, I do...

imusfan said...

Oh so do I! I've had some wonderful revenge fantasies in my life, but my imagination can't come close to the minds of Imus, Charles, and Bernard... They HAVE to come back; they have enough material for a lifetime.

laree said...

College Girl,

Your right, what was I thinking of, Congress doing anything relevant or effective for the American Citizen, when was the last time that happened?

I think these politicians have some cahonees on them. I didn't ask anyone to censor anyone? If people don't like hip hop stop listening to it, and buying it!!! Otherwise leave them alone, they are already under FCC rules. "Got Free Speech" not if a politician in Illinois can help it.

CollegeGirl said...

Imusfan, I just hope that the Imus crew hasn't read any Greek or Shakespeare revenge plays, where the characters torture their betrayers and do all sorts of gory terrible things. The Imus gang might get ideas...

Laree, I think I read somewhere that the Congress approval rating is actually in the teens (like 15%), which is the lowest on record. And yes, too many people seem to think that "free speech" = "what I want to hear."

Al said...

That Congressional Panel wanted to have Imus testify in front of them, but THEY CAN'T FIND HIM...

The I-Man seems to have left the Planet?!


laree said...

In the meantime, this needs to be put in front of every person's face, that thought "Removing" Imus and his program Imus in the Morning, from the Airwaves was such a great public service....remember back on the day he was holding his marathon for his children charities and they took him off the Air, they couldn't wait one day so he could finish his marathon for children with Cancer,Autism,Blood Disorders, Children who have died from SIDS, sickelcell....and let Imus and the Imus Crew, say goodbye to us. I am never, ever going to forget, what those WEASELS did.

What do you call these kind of people?
Fat Bastards, Fat Pussy Bastards, Fat Weasel Pussy Bastards.