Monday, December 31, 2007


Anyone who grew up in Dallas knows that it was a very conservative town at one time. It probably still is. The management at WFAA TV would sometimes decide that a show on the ABC TV network was too racy or controversial to be broadcast on their
channel 8 to go into Dallas living rooms.

"Hair" producers wanted to come to Dallas right after the 18 year olds got the vote. KNUS general manager, Bart McLendon, and I had decided that we would approach the city council meeting where they had vetoed the musical in Dallas. Bart was going to be the spokesman for KNUS FM to propose a live performance of the musical on the stage of one of the McLendon's downtown theatres as a station voter registration promotion.

Bart was supposed to pitch the council of the idea of free showings of a "sanitized"version of the musical on stage at one of the McLendon downtown theatres. We naively thought that the city council would approve the theatrical performance of the musical.

Just the week before, the the city council said that "Hair" could not be performed in Dallas. After all. there was brief nudity, language objections, and a controversial subject matter. It was a flat "NO WAY, NO HOW,NEVER."

Bart's name was on the city council agenda as the station spokesman. I was there for moral support only. The council just knew that it was about KNUS FM wanting the city's blessing for a voter registration drive. Bart suddenly got laryngitis (read stagefright) and whispered to me that I was to do the pitch to the council instead of him. I wasn't prepared to talk, but at least I knew that facts of the promotion.

When I stood up and told the City Council that KNUS wanted to do a "sanitized" version of "Hair" for a voter registration drive, there was a collective gasp in the room. I thought that the elderly and a couple of council members would faint. After all, the city had banned the Musical in Dallas for all days. This young upstart standing before them wanted permission to defy the collective wisdom of the city fathers and present Hair to get 18-20 years olds to register to vote.

As the groans, rustling, and irregular breathing of the council and the room's crowd died away, all of the TV news cameras were whirring. I was on center stage for my 15 minutes of fame, or infamy, or possible arrest if the council so decided. Once the shock of the council and crowd was over, I sensed that I just could possibly sell the council on the idea of a sanitized version of the musical to be presented in the public interest.

The producers really wanted a foothold in Dallas and had agreed to "clean up" the things that the City Council wanted. Tbe admission ticket was for theatre goers to show a voter registration certificate. Of course, all of the KNUS air staff were sworn in as deputy registrars, and anyone could register to vote through KNUS FM staff. I had gone to high school with M.L.Aday (Meatloaf) who was with the Hollywood production of hair, but I don't remember if the was with the trevelling group.

Hair came and went. We got a lot of voter registrations, a full theatre, and headlines on TV and the newspapers.

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