Last Sunday, Lloyd Thaxton, host of a popular Los Angeles TV dance show in the 1960s, passed away at the age of 81. After being diagnosed with multiple myeloma back in May, he passed away at his home in Studio City, survived by his wife, Barbara.
The Los Angeles Times provided a nice overview of this his career:
A television personality from Toledo, Ohio, who arrived in Hollywood in 1957, Thaxton launched “Lloyd Thaxton’s Record Shop” on KCOP-TV Channel 13 in 1959. The show featured records, guest stars and Thaxton’s flair for humor.
Revamped and renamed “Thaxton’s Hop” in 1962, the live, low-budget, late-afternoon program became such a hit with young Southern Californians that it was syndicated nationally in 1964.
Like “American Bandstand,” Dick Clark‘s popular TV dance show out of Philadelphia that went national in 1957 on ABC-TV, what came to be called “The Lloyd Thaxton Show” featured teenagers dancing to records and guest appearances by top recording artists such as the Byrds, Jan and Dean, the Righteous Brothers, Sonny and Cher, and the Turtles.
But new viewers quickly realized that the 30-something Thaxton was more than just a genial, dapperly dressed host.
Humorously lip-syncing — and doing assorted variations thereof — to the hit records of the day was his signature.
Here’s a little sample of the Lloyd Thaxton Show, courtesy of Los Angeles Times’ own video department.
For years, I’ve been trying to find a clip of a specific music performance from this TV show. During the height of LOUIE LOUIE fever during the 1960s, Jack Ely, the original singer of LOUIE LOUIE with the Kingsmen, was no longer welcome to sing with the original band, so he assembled another band known as Jack Ely & the Kingsmen, which was later renamed as Jack Ely & the Courtmen after a lawsuit from the other Kingsmen. The Lloyd Thaxton Show was one of the few TV shows that Jack performed on during the 1960s.
I remember talking talking to someone close to Thaxton about existing footage from the Lloyd Thaxton Show, and was told that most of the video masters were erased, and sold to other TV stations as blank tape media. There’s only small handful of TV video clips saved from the show, and Jack’s appearance from this show is probably is probably lost forever. I’m still hoping that someone has a 16mm kineoscope of that appearance, but that’s really a long shot. Jack also appeared on a teen dance party TV show in Deluth, Minnesota, but I haven’t had any luck finding that one either.
I still have hope. Maybe someone will find this blog posting, and send me an email about the video footage they've been hoarding all these years.
Hey… stranger things have happened, right?
After his show came to an end, Thaxton became the host of the 1967 ABC game show “Everybody’s Talking,” “Showcase ’68″ (an NBC summer series spotlighting young entertainers) and the 1968-69 ABC game show “Funny You Should Ask.” He also was a director on the 1990-94 ABC show “America’s Funniest People,” among other credits.
From 1976 to 1992, Thaxton produced and directed a TV show that became “Fight Back! With David Horowitz,” for which he won five Emmys. Thaxton also appeared with Horowitz on consumer segments for the NBC “Today” show.
For the past three years, Lloyd maintained his own blog at
Back in May, around the time his myeloma was diagnosed,
he wrote a blog posting called THE DO-IT-YOURSELF-OBIT where he wrote these suggestions:
Go to a cemetery (in the daytime please and skip the dead cat). Note that on the gravestones they have a name and a couple of dates. For example “Charles Swindoll, 1840-1932” and between those two dates there’s that tiny little dash. That dash (-) is supposed to represent Charles Swindle’s entire life. 92 years. What a put-down. That infinitesimal dash says nothing about the people he helped and nurtured. It says nothing about the children Mr. Swindoll might have raised or sired. It tells nothing about how he lived his life; the kind of person he was. Here’s the big question:
WHAT WILL YOUR DASH STAND FOR?
That brings me to the subject of this blog, “Deadlines.” Do you read the obituaries in the paper? Of course you do. Obits are interesting and sometimes very enlightening to read. What some people have accomplished in their lives is fascinating copy. Don’t you find it kind of sad when you read a tiny little obit about someone? That’s telling you that this person’s “dash” meant so little no one wrote anything down.
Don’t let this happen to you. How you ask? Easy. We call it
Yes, that’s right. You write your own obituary. NOW!
Come on. This is going to be fun. Take out a piece of paper and start right now. Gruesome? No way. This is life we’re talking about here. Not death (however there is a deadline of sorts). Start out by listing the people you love and who love you. Note the accomplishments you’ve made in your life no matter how small. Married? Raised kids? Job’s you’ve held. Charities you’ve worked on. Anything. Do you consider yourself a good person, a kind person? Write it down. If you feel your list is too short, add the things you want to accomplish in the rest of your life. Write it as if you have already done it. That’s OK. That is if you start doing it. If you want your dash to mean something, you have to start now. Then all during your life, take out your Do-It-Yourself-Obit and check how you are doing. Got the idea?
Start it now. Today. This minute. Do it whether you are young or old. What you are doing is writing about what you wish to be, and than doing it so it will become the true you. What you want your life to be, and then “living” that life. You are just filling in your “dash.” It’s in the book!
As I read more about Lloyd Thaxton, I learned that he had a special sign-off saying at the end of his show, “The name of the show is ‘The Lloyd Thaxton Show,’ and my name is Lloyd Thaxton.”
On cue, every time Lloyd would say this, the teen dancers in the studio would shout out in unison, “SO WHAT?“
We’re going to miss you, Mr. Thaxton.