OMG! Billy Mays has died suddenly! We knew Billy from our many years of doing public shows with him as an exhibitor. Bill was a really quiet, nice and organized exhibitor. He was the kind of pitchman that came to life when the light came on. Our prayers and thoughts are with his wife and family. RIP BILL
My friends Bobb and Karin Schmitz of Easy Way Products had this to say about Billy's death:
Bobb and Karin:
Yesterday Billy got home to Tampa from shooting a commercial in Philadelphia. There was a blow out on one of the plane's tires during the landing. Something fell down and hit Billy on the head. It was a very rough landing. Billy was interviewed by a Tampa TV station and he told them he was hit on the head but that he had a hard head.
This may be something similar to what happened to Natasha Richardson.
TAMPA, Fla. – Tampa police say Billy Mays, the television pitchman known for his boisterous hawking of products such as Orange Glo and OxiClean, has died. He was 50.
Authorities say Mays was pronounced dead Sunday morning after being found by his wife at home. There were no signs of a break-in, and investigators do not suspect foul play. The coroner's office expects to have an autopsy done by Monday afternoon.
Mays' wife, Deborah Mays, says the family doesn't expect to make any public statements and asked for privacy.
Mays was also featured on the reality TV show "Pitchmen" on the Discovery Channel, which followed Mays and Anthony Sullivan in their marketing jobs.
Posted by Retro Kimmer at 1:17 PM
One of the best songs to come out of the 1960s was the rock anthem "I FOUGHT THE LAW" by the Bobby Fuller 4. It had driving guitars and riveting beats. Love that song to this day and so do the new hot bands that have done covers of it like Green Day see their version HERE
WIKI BIO: BOBBY FULLER
Born in Baytown, Texas, Robert Gaston Fuller spent most of his youth in El Paso, Texas, where he idolized Buddy Holly, a fellow Texan (Holly was a native of Lubbock, Texas). He played in clubs and bars, and recorded on independent record labels in Texas, with a constantly-changing line-up, during the early 1960s. The only constant band members were Fuller himself (on vocals and guitar), and his younger brother, Randy Fuller on bass.
Fuller moved to Los Angeles in 1964 with his band The Bobby Fuller Four, and was signed to Mustang Records by producer Bob Keane, who was noted for discovering Ritchie Valens and producing many surf music groups. By this time, group consisted of Bobby and brother Randy on vocals/guitar and bass respectively, Jim Reese on guitar and DeWayne Quirico on drums.
Here is the Story of the Death of Bobby Fuller:
It was sometime during the hot late afternoon hours of Monday, July 18th, that Bobby Fuller's body was found, lying across the front seat of his mother's Oldsmobile, which was parked in the large lot beside the apartment he shared with his younger brother, bassist Randy Fuller.
The car had mysteriously appeared after hours of searching the local area had not turned up any clues to his whereabouts. The doors were unlocked, the windows were closed tight, and no keys to the vehicle were found inside. When the first Hollywood-division police officers arrived and opened the driver's side door, they noticed there was a book of matches on the seat beside Fuller on the front seat.
An eyewitness to the gruesome discovery remembers that Fuller had traces of dried blood around his chin and mouth, and that his face and chest were bruised as if he had been beaten. Fuller's hair and clothing were also soaked with gasoline, and his right hand still clenched a rubber siphoning-tube.
Crime scene investigators made so many baffling errors in judgment that it seems some kind of "police cover-up" may have actually taken place. An empty gas can, found in the back seat, was removed by a policeman (who apparently didn't consider it vital to the investigation) and thrown into a nearby dumpster.
The Olds was not dusted for fingerprints, nor was it ever impounded and searched for further clues. Members of the radio and television press at the scene were told that it looked to be a clear case of "suicide," despite much visual evidence to the contrary, and this off-hand remark was the first news of Fuller's death to be broadcasted to the world.
Many people still believe what they first heard that day to be the truth, and despite the fact that a coroner's autopsy report--which originally listed the death as suicide---was changed months later to read "accidental" due to "inhalation of gasoline." (The accompanying case report also stated that Fuller had been "despondent over job situation recently.")
There were also rumors that he had actually drank gasoline, though a Stanford University crime professor reported (in 1966) that "no one has ever successfully killed themselves by drinking gasoline. One could not be able to keep it down, if they could get it down. They would simply throw up before they could die from it."
Another rumor was that Fuller had overdosed on LSD or some other kind of hallucinogenic drug at a Malibu Beach party the night before. The people at the parties were celebrities, and to avoid a scandal, they poured gasoline down his throat, saturated his hair and they planned to torch the car---to make it look like a "mob slaying"--yet no trace of drugs appear in the autopsy report, and no traces of gasoline had actually been swallowed. Fuller was buried four days later at Forest Lawn Cemetary in Burbank. Case closed.
According to the official Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office autopsy report, "Deceased was found lying face down in front seat of car--a gas can, 1/3 full, cover open--windows were all rolled up & doors shut, not locked--keys not in ignition".
**NEW INFO From a reader**
Nicely done...one issue though....the gas can was on the right front floorboard ...and...there was a second can in the trunk of the car, the one that belonged to the car! The can with Bobby came from where? It was never thrown into a trash can that was NOT there...that was a Bob Keane CONCOCTION! Janis Joplin 4 years later would walk across the street from her apt and meet the pusher man on the bench on the corner just 50-60' from where Bobby was found in his car....then she would go back to her apt and take some uncut bad drugs and die......250' from where Bobby died. There are a few other tidbits ..... later.....
The report also noted excessive bruising on his chest and shoulders, and attributed the cause of death to asphyxiation "due to inhalation of gasoline". Bobby had been drenched with the gasoline, and he was in a state of rigor mortis. His body appeared battered, and his right finger was broken, as if it had been bent back.
The police attributed his death to suicide, with the report stating that there was "no evidence of foul play." So basically he beat himself up, broke his finger, and then drenched himself with gasoline. Oh yeah, that makes sense. The case remains closed and sealed under California law.
Where the Stars Died Bobby Fuller
1776 N. Sycamore Avenue (above Hollywood Blvd.), Hollywood: the apartment of Bobby Fuller, the singer who (as lead singer of 'The Bobby Fuller Four') gave us "I Fought The Law (And The Law Won)." In 1966, just five months after that song hit the Top Ten, Fuller died mysteriously from gasoline asphyxiation in his car (at age 22), while parked outside his apartment, just around the corner from Grauman's Chinese Theatre.
Police labeled it a suicide, but the possibility of foul play has also been mentioned. According to his road manager at the time, "Bobby was found in his mother's car on the vacant lot north of the building, where there is now a small park - about 50' from Franklin & about 50' from Sycamore and about 50' from the apartment house." Map HERE
Michael Jackson's Life on People Magazine Covers HERE
OMG we just got a CBS News Alert that Michael Jackson died today at age 50. Though nothing would surprise after all the other media stunts he has pulled over the past 40 some years. However, we are still shocked and sad over the loss.
RK loved him so much as a kid. He was just three years younger than myself and I grew up watching his life. Knowing the massive talent MJ possessed and the mentally unstable childhood he endured made it a pain filled view.
We wonder what will happen to those children... At least the drama is over.
CBS News has confirmed Jackson's death, but the Los Angeles Fire Department Thursday confirmed that he was rushed to UCLA Medical Center, reports KCBS in Los Angeles.
Jackson was not breathing when paramedics arrived.
Capt. Steve Ruda said paramedics responded to a call at Jackson's home around 12:26 p.m. The paramedics performed CPR and took him to UCLA Medical Center, Ruda told The Los Angeles Times.
The emergency entrance at the UCLA Medical Center, which is near Jackson's rented home, was roped off Thursday with police tape.
News trucks were gathered, helicopters flew overhead, and orange cones were laid out to redirect traffic.
"We have no statements as far as transporting Michael Jackson,'' Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Devin Gales said.
Jackson had planned to hit the stage at the O2 Arena in London for 50 concerts this summer. Tickets for the series, which kicks off on July 8, sold out in a matter of hours on March 13. By the time the shows end in February 2010, more than 1 million people will have seen Jackson perform.
Jackson, 50, has been in the public eye for more than 40 years.
With his unforgettable catchy Jackson Five tunes and incredible stage presence, the public has been infatuated with the shining child star turned awkward adult, who reached international superstardom. As soon as Jackson glided across the stage with his signature moonwalk dance, it was all over from there - fans were immediately hooked.
His album "Thriller," released in 1982, was a chart-topper that set the bar for pop music.
In recent years, however, the pop icon has become more of a recluse and somewhat of a lost soul.
Headlines about Jackson were no longer about his music; instead there were stories of plastic surgery and strange behavior. He dangled his baby from a balcony and most damaging to his image was his 2005 trial for child molestation.
April 1986. Anthony Spilotro with His Wife - Corbis
This story is too good not to share...
It's been 21 years since Tough Tony Spilotro, the reputed rackets boss of Las Vegas, was murdered along with his brother, presumably by members of "The Outfit" in Chicago. But the best-known version of how the men were killed is simply wrong, according to federal prosecutors in Chicago, who are preparing to out away the men responsible.
Movie fans around the world are familiar with the bloody end met by Las Vegas mob boss Tony "The Ant" Spilotro and his brother Michael. In the film "Casino," the characters based the Spilotro brothers were taken to an Indiana cornfield, then were beaten to a pulp, one at a time, with baseball bats, and then buried while still alive.
In Chicago, federal prosecutors are prepared to make the Spilotro murders a centerpiece of the massive prosecution of 14 mob figures. The case that will be presented at the Dirksen Courthouse lists 18 murders in all, along with many other crimes, but because of their movie notoriety, the Spilotro's are likely to get top billing.
Rick Halprin, Chicago defense attorney, said, "The event is depicted in a movie, and anybody sitting on a jury, or most of the jury, is going to associate the two. The judge is going to have to deal with that when we select a jury."
Chief Investigative Reporter George Knapp: "But the movie version is wrong. Mobster-turned-informant Nick Calabrese is ready to testify that the Spilotro brothers were killed, not in Indiana, but instead, here in a quiet suburb of Bensenville."
Why should a jury believe Nick Calabrese about the Spilotro murders? Because Calabrese admits that he was one of the killers. He's also fessed up to participating in 14 other mob murders and is ready to tell all he knows about the Chicago outfit, including his own brother Frank.
This is the story told by Calabrese and corroborated by the FBI with other sources. Tony Spilotro, who was facing three indictments in Las Vegas, returned to Chicago in the belief that he might be in line for a promotion in his hometown.
Former mob associate "Slick" Hanner said, "The reason they got killed was because they were going back to Chicago to take over The Outfit. He was telling his crew we're going back to Chicago."
Acting boss Joe Ferriola, now deceased, saw it differently and ordered the murders. Spilotro's presumed boss, Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, allegedly signed off on the hit. The Spilotro brothers were wary about going to a meeting, but changed their minds about taking guns along, presumably because someone close to them put their minds at ease.
According to Calabrese, the Spilotro's were picked up by James Marcello, currently listed as boss of The Outfit, and were driven to a house in the Bensenville suburb. Tony was supposed to get a promotion. Michael was to become a made member. When they got to the house, they were taken to the basement for the ceremony, and that's where Marcello, Calabrese, and four other men beat them to death.
At least two men, including hitman John Fecarotta, put the bodies in a car and jumped on the highway. As the I-Team learned, one of the first signs they would have seen directs them toward Indiana and the cornfield. Former Spilotro underling, hitman Frank Cullotta, tried to put Spilotro away, but is still bothered by the imagery.
Cullotta said, "If I had to kill him, I couldn't kill him that way. I'd a just shot him. I couldn't beat him to death like that, let his brother watch. I just assume they were showing one or the other, you're not such a tough guy after all."
FULL STORY HERE
While RK was hanging with the DoGs last week, awesome Mary Kay DoG told me about her friend Heather Harris who shot all of the really good publicity stills for the DoGs. MK mentioned that she would talk to Heather about sending me some images for their new blog TheDoGs1970.
Heather with Ron Asheton, Scott Richardson and Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
The DoGS by Heather Harris
The Who in 1970
Heather kindly emailed me and is sending a disc of images for The DoGs. HH sent me her website too and I got lost in there looking at all the famous rock stars she has framed. She had an access backstage pass to Rock N Roll History. Heather has all her fabulous images for sale on her
Some of my personal favorites are The Who in 1970, Buffalo Springfield (love the Nehru jacket) Johnny Rivers, taken last year, and Jeff Beck taken back in the retro days...
Sigh... Jeff Beck was so awesome to see live. Luckily I did seem him in the very early 70's. The tickets were a birthday present from my friends.
RK asked Ms. Harris who her favorite artist was to shoot and she replied:
The only time I've been interviewed in the last two decades someone also asked me who my favorite artist to shoot was. My answer then and now:
Iggy. He is as comfortable and planned in making shapes for the camera as a high fashion model, live or studio.
From Heather's Website:
Heather Harris' photographs of musicians have been published in Rolling Stone, MOJO, Billboard, the Los Angeles Times, Hits, Creem, Music Connection and countless others. Spanning the Buffalo Springfield to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, her work includes many of the most important figures in rock that came through her native Los Angeles throughout the past four decades.
Author of the books "Punk Rock 'n' Roll," and "Bob Marley - Rastaman Vibration," (both of Almo Publications), she is readying a photojournalistic collection of her music photography and overview of Los Angeles' unique local music scene, "Fast Film." You can view samples of more than 4 decades of rock & roll photography here, along with a complete chapter excerpt.
Heather Harris is available for studio portraiture 24/7, and for live concert, location or event photography. Original signed and framed museum-quality photographic prints of these historical images, plus thousands more, are available for purchase.
Heather also sent me a link to Child of the Moon
This blog has a great post on the magical psychedelic art of muralist Marijke. We plan to do a really detailed post on her work soon.
Thank you very much Ms Harris for sharing your history and fabulous images today.
As RK was digging for cool retro stuff we found this really fabulous slide show on the history of Las Vegas and the Mobsters that built the city and casinos there. We really wish that Hollywood would make a blockbuster film about the whole story. We have had of course Casino with Robert Deniro, Bugsy with Warren Beatty, and Sugartime with John Turturro. A bit of fictional depictions in the Godfather were good too. But... A TOTALLY true film featuring the real characters of Las Vegas. Maybe I'll launch a film production company myself... hmmm
Rosentahl, Giancana, Siegal, Virgina Hill Rosselli and the Spilotro Brothers all in one film?
RK would be there!
These characters make an interesting slide show from the Las Vegas Sun.
See the full Slide show HERE
RK loved it!
RK had a blast and stayed up way too late on a work night! RK got to finally meet Loren the leader of the DoGs pack! Just love him and the rest of the pack, Mary Kay and Tony (tone dog) too. We just created a blog for the DoGs see it here: TheD0Gs1970.com
RK was charmed by the dazzling antics of one Detroit Jack of Tokyo.. What an amazingly high energy music fan, producer and promoter. RK will be creating a new blog for Jack this week end so stay tuned for his blogosphere launch soon.
The Dogs are playing tonight in Cleveland click HERE for the venue and start time. Haven't had such a wild time since the 80's!
Gabe Heiss and his friend Kelly
The most gorgeous of the Beach Boy's Wilson brothers, Dennis Wilson lived on the edge and walked on the wild side. His hard partying with drugs and alcohol and associations with undesirables led to his untimely death at age 39. He was buried at sea before such things became illegal.
The tale commences with the Beach Boys' Dennis Wilson, who first encountered Manson and his dreams of rock stardom in Southern California sometime in 1968.
The Beach Boys drummer was blown away by the demos written and recorded by the recently freed ex-convict -- suffice to say Wilson was equally impressed by the free-love attitudes of the female members of the Manson Family cult.
The charismatic leader and his followers went as far as relocating lock, stock and barrel to Wilson's house, and the Beach Boy proceeded to shop Manson's songs to various record labels, even introducing him to hip young producer and Columbia Records A&R man Terry Melcher, son of the famous singer-actress Doris Day.
Terry Melcher had just moved out of !0050 Cielo Dr. and Poor Sharon Tate moved in with her husband director Roman Polanski. Insiders have said that Manson picked that house planning on murdering Terry Melcher for rejecting his desire for a recording contract. Dennis is said to have felt terrible guilt for the rest of his short life.
So Manson was desperate for a record deal. Wilson was his connection to Melcher, who agreed to meet the twisted guru and some of his gang at Wilson’s home. But the music magnate grew more interested in one of Charlie’s girls, Ruth Ann Moorehouse, the runaway daughter of a former Congregationalist minister, than the group’s leader.
Melcher wanted to move Moorehouse into his Cielo Drive home as a housekeeper, “but Candy Bergen knew what kind of housekeeping chores Terry had in mind and vetoed the plan,” says Guinn.
Manson grew livid that he never got an invite to attend Melcher’s star-studded parties, and felt doubly humiliated when the record exec was a no-show to hear Charlie sing at Spahn Ranch, the family’s San Fernando Valley base.
The snub was the kiss of death to Manson, who wanted Melcher butchered. But Melcher and Bergen moved into a beach house Doris Day owned – saving them from certain death. Instead, Tate and her guests – hairdresser Jay Sebring, aspiring screenwriter Wojciech Frykowski and Folger coffee fortune heiress Abigail Folger – paid the deadly price of being in the house that fateful night.
Writes Guinn, “Manson had NO idea Melcher didn’t live at Cielo anymore.”
Dennis was once questioned about the integrity of recording that song, and he responded by saying that Charlie didn’t want writing credit – he wanted cash. He’d stolen enough from Dennis that he felt justified in recording the song, and not giving Manson any residuals.
Nice pics of Dennis in this video