Monday, November 20, 2006

We Die at Dawn!

Gene Klavan was one-half of the 1960s morning radio show "Klavan and Finch." He died on April 8 2004 from complications of multiple myeloma. He was 79 and you've probably never heard of him.

Klavan actually launched his radio career at WTOP-TV in Washington D.C. It was the opposite of the normal media transition. He moved to New York in 1952 to join Dee Finch on the 1130 WNEW-AM morning show. Finch was the straight man to Klavan's wacy jokes. For the next 14 years, the duo improvised the popular four-hour program. Dee Finch retired in 1968, leaving Gene Klavan to do the AM Drive alone. He stuck with the solo act for another 9 years finally ditching WNEW for a gig at WOR-AM

He was voice of the afternoon drive time for another three years. Then he returned to WNEW for weekends in 1986. I do recommend reading his NY Times Obit. In his own way he was an early shock jock. It's tame by today's standards but his way of antagonizing his sponsors with his zany humor was considered risque at the time. It peaked when he threatened to fire a popular but fictional guest traffic reporter Trevor. WNEW was deluged with calls.

But Klavan only semi-retired. He hosted American Movie Classics on TNN and worked as a columnist for Newsday. In his career he found time to published two books: "We Die at Dawn" and "Turn That Damn Thing Off." We Die At Dawn is a cult classic among morning men, and required reading for those that have lived through the daily grind that is morning zoo. It's hard to find a readable copy for less than $100 these days.

There's an aircheck of gene here. Audio courtesy of You should visit them, they are truly an amazing.