Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Sunday Memory Drawer - Hey, It's Larry King!!

So I'm watching the Mets play the Dodgers the other night and, from my season ticket in the loge, I saw him.   Trolling around the baseline seats behind home plate.   Looking for some place to nest.   And making sure that the centerfield camera picked up his shriveled face whenever somebody was at bat.

Yep, he's back.  

Larry King.   And, as this screen shot clearly demonstrates, he has an uncanny ability to get his mug on television.

It's actually fascinating to watch.   You can always see him instantly downstairs. Slouched over with a posture that is Quasimodo-like.   His knuckles probably scrape the pavement as he slinks around.    He walks down to the first row behind home plate and, unfortunately, some poor slob will have the misfortune of having an empty adjacent seat.   And then Larry will be "his guest" for the next two hours.

Several seasons ago, there was a much-publicized incident where Larry's wife allegedly took a fistful of pills in an unsuccessful suicide attempt and I wouldn't blame.   Despite this family tragedy, Larry was at Dodger Stadium the very next night.   Looking to get his fright mask in front of the cameras.   You would think the husband of a woman who had supposedly tried to kill herself would have better things to do than munching on a Dodger Dog.

But, then again, there have always been questions about Larry King.

Horror stories about Larry have run rampant. His famous jail term in the early 70s for bouncing checks. His latest marriage to some chick about sixty years younger than he is. The fear that celebrities and politicians have when they appear on his show. Apparently, if you sit downwind across from Larry, the smells are akin to an explosion of the Helsinki sewer system. Larry is allegedly very gassy and does his CNN show to the accompaniment of a large horn section, if you know what I mean.

Of course, I, too, can add my own Larry King tale of terror.

It was back in the early 90s when I was living a previous career in NY at a national radio company. Everybody forgets that Larry got his first national foothold as an overnight radio host. And we syndicated his program which ran from about 11PM to 3AM from studios in Washington, DC.

For about three years, one of our company's projects was to do a survey of the callers into Larry's show. This required several of us to go down there and monitor one of his programs live in his studio. I did it all three years and pretty much found Larry to be cordial but incredibly crude. He would belch up whatever deli sandwich he had for dinner fairly liberally. Sniff, sniff, hmm, Larry, is that pastrami on rye I smell? 

He would have a TV going in the studio and pretty much trashed whoever was on it during the commercial breaks. But, indeed, it was my last visit there that was the most memorable. And horrifying.

That year, I went down with two colleagues, one male and one female. She was young and very wet behind the ears, perhaps only a year out of a liberal arts course in college. The drill that year was the same. I was stationed next to Larry in the studio, ingesting the second hand smells of whatever was that night's special at the Jewish deli. My co-workers were positioned in the control room. 

The surveying went as usual. Larry, to me, seemed particularly ornery that evening. Perhaps, he hadn't taken his Pepcid. But, other than that, the night shaped up to be pretty unmemorable.

Until he broke for news on the hour at midnight. A fifteen minute interruption of his program. A perfect opportunity for me and my male colleague to go get a soda from the machine down the hall. As we walked back to the control room, Cokes in hand, our female co-worker came out. Her face was ashen. She looked like a deer trying to cross the Long Island Expressway at rush hour.

"I have to go back to the hotel. I'm sorry."

We asked her what was wrong.

"I have to go back to the hotel. Now! I'm sorry." 

She left skidmarks down the hall. My friend and I looked at each other with bewilderment. We entered the control room. And then understood it all.

Through the glass, we could see Larry at his studio desk. His hand was hidden, but clearly in motion on his lap. And he was on the phone with whatever wife he was bethrothed to at the time.

"Are you wearing the panties I like?"

"Are you slipping that nightgown down past your shoulder?"

"Are you lying across the bed on your back or your stomach?"

Larry was pleasuring himself to the sound of his wife. And with a Mutual news report on in the background. We looked incredulously at his engineer seated at the console. He was unimpressed.

"Yeah? And?"

Apparently, this little news break action happened nightly. We continued on with the rest of the survey. Speechless.

As we left several hours later, neither of us shook Larry King's hand on the way out.

And, to this day, when I see him at Dodger Stadium, I avoid him like the plague. That's easy to do since my seats don't get a lot of TV camera time.

Dinner last night:  Double double burger at In N' Out.

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