Thursday, March 22, 2012

The History of Rock

At a History Of Rock Presentation (Sir Oliver Mowat Collegiate)

As I mentioned earlier the CHUM, in school, “History of Rock” presentations opened the door for us to meet our primary audience face to face and up close.  The show was presented as an assembly, and the school administrators would contact us to schedule one of them. It was carefully scripted and presented with a sensational movie/slide show which highlighted rock's genealogy from 1955 on.   One or two of us would travel to the school, and perform the presentation.  With CHUM's massive popularity that could occasionally prove problematic since anyone who worked on the air at CHUM, and especially Terry Steele and I who worked the night shifts, were considered huge stars by our teenage listeners.

I recall one instance at a school in Etobicoke.  At the time I drove a white, Mercedes sports car, and since it was a beautiful, spring day I'd decided to put the top down.  I parked just outside the school and walked in to, what to me, would be just another presentation.  I had no idea that this school was attended primarily by rabid CHUM fanatics... not only that, but rabid Scott Carpenter fanatics!

Everything started out normally, the MC who did most of the presentation was onstage giving his usual welcoming rap and, as usual, asked the audience to give a big round of applause for “CHUM's night time DJ, SCOTT CARPENTER!!!”  I walked out, and the place erupted in applause!  That in itself was not unusual, what WAS unusual was the huge surge of teenage girls who immediately left their seats and rushed down the the front of the stage.  Audiences normally would come to the stage after the show to get autographs and so forth, but this time they were heading for the stage before the show had even started!   The school officials quickly rushed in and restored order so that we could proceed with the presentation.

My part of the show was to banter back and forth with the MC at the beginning and end, other than that I was offstage, so when the thing ended I was called back out to say a few parting words.  That's when the place came unglued.   This time when the girls rushed the stage the school officials couldn't control them.  The principal, who'd been backstage with me during the presentation, grabbed me by the arm and hustled me into his office, locked the door, and ran back out.  Eventually the police were called to restore order, and I was asked... in a polite but firm matter... to follow them to the door and they'd accompany me to my car.

As I walked through the corridors, surrounded on both sides by Toronto's finest, I saw girls gathered by the windows in their classroom doors gazing out and waving.  I looked for all purposes like a culprit being escorted to the clink.   When I got to my car another little surprise was waiting for me.  My pure, white Mercedes 280SL was covered with messages, written in various shades of lipstick, promising everything from dinner to a date and anything else you can imagine.  I could only imagine what Madeline was going to say when she saw this mess!   I took off for a car wash immediately.

It took three, complete turns through the car wash to get all the lipstick off the car.  Also, there were dozens of notes lying all over the interior, which I dutifully gathered and tossed.   I gave the car a once over. “Looks pretty good” I thought, so I fired her up and drove home.

Madeline was waiting for me when I got there since we had to go out for lunch that day.  I nonchalantly opened her door and she slid in.  Then she opened the glove box, and to my horror it was stuffed with love notes, all in lipstick, and all containing phone numbers, addresses and times the parents would not be home.   As dozens of paper slips spilled out of the glove box and onto the floor she gave me the dirtiest once over I'd ever seen.

It's a damn good thing looks can't kill!