THE 4:31AM JUMP

It’s time to settle an old score. I’m not sure this is the forum to do so, but I have no choice. The pain and feelings of abandonment have kept me quiet for 17 years. No more. Here goes.

Your eyes, tell me how you want me…

Pointer1In 1994, January 17th to be exact, I was on an all-time high. It was 3AM and I’m busy stacking the four hours of The KTLA Morning News at the Sunset lot in Los Angeles. I’m so excited because one of my favorite female groups of all times would be performing on the show today! Don’t judge me! I’m talking about The Pointer Sisters. Yes, I would be in the presence of Ruth, Anita and June Pointer, the only divas who could ever get me out onto the dance floor…when Jump! (For My Love) would play in the clubs. No, seriously, don’t judge me!

I can feel it in your heartbeat…

With the rundowns finished, I give the writers their assignments and then start working on the teases. At about 4:15, my boss, Joel Tator (you may know him as Mr. Tickets), arrives and we discuss the live shot I’m sending Eric Spillman on. Joel asks me if I brought my CD for the Pointer Sisters to sign? I sure did! I brought the Breakout album which is my favorite, except for maybe Hot Together! I mentioned to Joel how I had seen the Pointers in concert at Timberwolf in Cincinnati several years back. I can feel you judging me!

I know you like what you see…

As 4:30 approaches, Eric arrives and assignment editor Toni Molle and I discuss the details of his story. Eric isn’t all that thrilled with the assignment, but says he doesn’t have any better ideas, so grudgingly agrees. Toni returns to the desk. Caroline The Bee Queen, my A.P., mentions in passing that she once slept with a baby deer. I continue writing teases. Everything is as usual. Four hours to go until “P.S.” time! Can’t wait for the sound check!

You’re so excited I can feel you getting hotter…Oh, Baby!

QuakeThen it happens. 4:31AM. An earthquake. Not just any earthquake. The 6.7 Northridge Earthquake begins shaking the newsroom. Monitors are falling, lights are swinging, and everyone is running out to the parking lot for fear the building was going to fall on top of us. The electricity was cut. And on this moonless night, you literally could not see your hand in front of your face, it was that dark. Car alarms were echoing throughout Hollywood in the pitch blackness. Joel and I were holding on to each other because we couldn’t see anything and kept tripping over those concrete car stops that littered the parking lot. Finally, someone found their car and turned on their headlights. Able to see again, we take a head count and make sure everyone on staff was OK.

I’ll take you down, I’ll take you down, where no one’s ever gone before

Within minutes, thanks to a back-up generator, we were on the air, first, with breaking news of the earthquake. For the next twelve hours or so, we stayed on air until Hal Fishman and the night crew came to replace us in the control room, the set and the newsroom.

And if you want more, if you want more, more, more….

But this is not a post about that fricking earthquake. I’m not writing about how spectacular our coverage was and all the Emmy Awards that followed. Four. Maybe Five. No! Read my stinking bio if you want to know about that crap. That stupid little tremor robbed me of my one moment of true and utter happiness. There’s no way you’re not judging me now! The Pointer Sisters had to be cancelled because we had to go into breaking news mode. We had no choice. Believe me, I went back and forth over it in my head…we could fit them in between breaking live shots, couldn’t we? (You think I’m kidding!) Let me say that again. The Pointer Sisters would not be appearing on the show. I would not get to meet Ruth, Anita or June. I would go home autographless. I can tell you’ve already judged me!

Then Jump for my love. Jump in and feel my touch…

The Pointer Sisters were never rescheduled. Why not? I don’t know. Maybe Toni Molle or Bonnie Tiegel would care to tell us that. To this day, we have never met. Nor shall we since we lost June several years ago. Their autographs do not join the others, Olivia (do I really need to include the Newton-John part?), The Bionic Woman Lindsay Wagner, the greatest songwriter in history Carole Bayer Sager, and, of course, that grade school temptress and Disney Diva, Miss Hayley Mills. The autographs of these legends will never reside together in my “Autograph Garden”. I have carried this anger and bitterness around with me for longer than I care to think about. I am letting it go. And your judgment is neither desired nor required!

If you want to taste my kisses in the night then…

A post script now. Just last year, my new boss, a dude named Lee Abrams, hired me to start a new syndicated show. In doing my homework on Lee, I discovered something that totally blew me away. As a former radio & record executive, he even started XM Radio, he once worked as a consultant with the ladies in question – yes, The Pointer Sisters. They were unhappy with the direction of their career. Know what Lee told them? “Record that Springsteen song, ‘Fire‘.” They did and made a spectacular return to the charts with their biggest hits ever.

SomeoneIknowtoldthefrickingpointersisterstorecordfireandtheydid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jump, Jump for my love!

I hope you’ve learned some valuable lessons from all of this: a) Life ain’t fair, b) don’t judge people by their undefendable musical tastes, and c) an earthquake can really fuck up your day!

Ray Signature

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