I’ve Become The London Lee Repository

There must not be a lot written about London Lee, because when people search his name, they often end up here. Most notes begin by acknowledging he was drop dead funny. I’ve heard from his friends, relatives, a few folks who despise him (London, trust me, stay clear of your cousin in Boca) and a woman who claims to have known him in Europe.

A while ago, I wrote about London Lee, the iconic young Jewish comic of the mid and late 60s. I’m afraid for those just a few years younger than me, his name means nothing.

London Lee was huge. He was on Sullivan. He was on the Tonight Show. He was a comic on a meteoric rise… and then… you know… stuff happens.

There must not be a lot written about London Lee, because when people search his name, they often end up here. Most notes begin by acknowledging he was drop dead funny. I’ve heard from his friends, relatives, a few folks who despise him (London, trust me, stay clear of your cousin in Boca) and a woman who claims to have known him in Europe.

It’s funny, but I was just thinking about “London Lee”. I did the search and found your site.

London Lee was really the son of a wealthy garment center guy. His real name was Alan Levine and he lived on Central Park South NYC. That was in 1960-1-2.

My boyfriend at the time, who was a hustler and pool sharp (later to be a heroin addict), was staying with London in his studio there and that was how I met Alan/London.

I was impressed when I first saw him on TV and surprised at how really funny he was. I guess it was because it was all true stories and insecurities.

Amazingly, he does seem to have fallen off the face of the earth. Would have been in his mid to late 70’s I wonder if he is still alive…….

Maybe Miami Beach?


He’s alive. I believe it’s Broward County, just to the north of Miami Beach. By the way, isn’t it more than a little unnerving to read her boyfriend/heroin reference of 45 years ago!

Today I got this:

Just read about London Lee.

He is performing at the Hillcrest Golf and Country Club in Hollywood, FL on Sunday October 29, 2006.

Thought your friend who e-mailed you might be interested.


So, obviously he is alive an well. There is quite a “Borscht Belt II” circuit playing for retirees in South Florida. He is in good company.

The real reason I’m posting this is this remarkable photo I got from Harry Watts. How lucky am I that Harry took it in August 1968, kept it safe all these years, digitized it and then sent it to me via email nearly 40 years after the fact?

The scene is the Boardwalk in pre-casino Atlantic City. This photo is looking north and the ocean is off camera to the right. Back then A.C. was a hopping resort town.

Steel Pier was, and is again, located at Virginia and Boardwalk. It was known for it’s diving horse (whether it was actually a free will diving horse is another story) and it’s big name acts.

Appearing along with London Lee was John Fred and his Playboy Band. Their hit, “Judy in Disguise” went to number one in January 1968. Also on the bill, somewhat incongruously, was Don Glasser’s Orchestra, a “smooth as glass” dance band.&#185

The photo is a one of a kind, and I’m deeply grateful to Harry for allowing me to post it.

Take a look at the people and what they’re wearing. Atlantic City was where you went, even on this gray summer day, to get away from the heat, forget about the rest of the world, and have a little fun.

&#185 – Amazingly, Don’s band still performs, though without Don.

Because this page is so often searched and found, it has been reopened for comments.

Katrina Goes South

The Hurricane Center says, don’t fixate on the center line. How can you not?

Katrina made land around Hallandale Beach in Southern Broward County. Then, instead of heading west, it headed southwest. It’s now in Central Dade County – in the swamp I believe.

I’ll watch the news out of Florida tomorrow, and I expect to see angry people… unprepared people… because this tracked south of the line.

My guess, based on radar imagery, is we’ll see 10″+ rain from around Miami Beach. Maybe more.

On To The Weekend

First things first. My tooth pain has greatly subsided. There’s still swelling on the gum, but I’m hoping that’s from the injections. The tooth is in my drawer, where it now belongs.

Let me add, though I took a sick day from work Thursday, Friday was already scheduled as a vacation day. Bad timing on my part.

We once had an employee at the station who tried to explain to my boss that since she was sick on her vacation day, it should count as a sick day. That’s chutzpah.

I was well enough to head to the shoreline for a planned family celebration. I’ve been told to keep my mouth shut on what was being celebrated, but we went to Lenny’s in Branford.

I was petrified to go! I’d run into Lenny’s daughter while having my hair cut and she told me how the place had been remodeled. Didn’t she understand? The charm of Lenny’s was that it looked like it was built out of whatever was stored in someone’s garage.

I’m glad to say the main dining room has been remodeled… the particle board removed from the walls… but it’s lost none of its charm. That’s a tall order. It looks nice – really, not just compared to its older self.

We weren’t going to Lenny’s for the ambiance. We were going for fried shrimp for the girls and the shore dinner for me.

Even with only one half of my mouth operating, it was great! The lobster, the mussels, the corn – excellent. Why you only get two clams is beyond me, but that ‘s what the dinner calls for. My only ‘customization’ was getting a bowl of Rhode Island clam chowder&#185 instead of a cup.

Through dinner and the rest of the evening I was a little woozy. It wasn’t enough to stop me, but I certainly was in no condition to operate heavy equipment. Helaine drove and I was grateful to be her passenger.

When we got home, I napped. I couldn’t sleep all night because there was a test to be taken for my Oceanography class.

I took the test around 3:00 AM. This should be an interesting grade because I wasn’t really able to concentrate on reading the text necessary to answer the questions. I had the attention span of a toy poodle.

Back to bed at 4:00.

By the time I woke up this morning, I had gotten over 16 hours of sleep in the last 24. On the other hand, I was feeling better, which was good because I had long standing plans for a friend to visit.

I’ve known Bob since my first professional day in radio, early fall 1969. Bob was a disk jockey at WSAR in Fall River, MA, where I started.

When I first me him he was Skippy Ross, then Skip Tyler, now (for over thirty years) Bob Lacey. With his partner Sheri Lynch, Bob presides over a very successful, syndicated morning radio show. It’s a show considered ‘woman friendly.’

Bob had left Charlotte, NC Thursday afternoon and had been hanging around New England since Thursday evening. Though I’d tried getting him on his cell phone a few times, he was unreachable.

By early this morning there was a discussion whether Bob was actually going to show or not. It was starting to look like ‘not’ had won when the phone rang.

He showed up an hour later and we hopped in the convertible on what had turned into a spectacular spring day. The sky was blue, temperature warm, humidity about right. We were heading toward the shoreline.

Bob had actually grown up around New Haven and knows those parts of the area that haven’t changed over the last 40 years – which is most of it!

First stop was lunch. We went to a place call “The Place” in Guilford. “The Place” is one of a kind.

You sit outside (in the open or under a tent-like cover) on old tree stumps. The food (lobster, clams, chicken and the like) are cooked out of door on a long wood fired grill. When your order is ready, the grill it cooked on is brought to your table.

The owner, Vaughn, kvetched about the weather. I would think to a place like this good weather means good business and a May like we had means… well, it wasn’t a good sign.

Bob had a lobster and I had clams. I’m sorry to be positive about everything, but it was great.

Next up we drove down the Turnpike into Old Lyme and then headed randomly into an area called “Miami Beach.” We drove down Hartford Avenue and I was astounded – 21 years in Connecticut and I’d never been to this cool, vest pocket, beach community.

A friendly cop showed us where we could park and we were off. This is a really nice beach. As Connecticut’s Long Island Sound beaches go, it is broad and white. There are plenty of stones which makes barefoot walking a little tougher.

Of course Bob and I were dressed totally wrong for a day at the beach – both wearing long pants.

We moved off the beach itself and into an open air beachfront bar. Bob had a beer and I a Diet Coke ($5+$2 tip). Reggae music was wafting in and it was perfect on this idyllic day.

Like “The Place,” I have to wonder how open air establishments like this make it in the ratified air of a short season Connecticut summer, and with total dependence on good weather. Every season has got to be make or break. I thought about that as I sipped my Coke.

We didn’t have long. Bob had dinner plans with some friends he’s known longer than me. We continued east to Mohegan Sun, the closer of the two Connecticut mega casinos.

Bob was stunned. It is a very impressive place. And, the shopping area with its upscale shops connecting the old and new casinos is elegantly glitzy.

Bob wanted to play craps, though he hadn’t played in years. I pulled $60 out of my pocket and quickly turned it into $15 – good going. Bob had similar luck, but on a lesser scale.

We headed for the car and headed back home.

Bob will be back in Connecticut in the middle of August. We’re hoping to see the Red Sox and visit WSAR’s studio. Truth is, hanging with a friend is the important part. The rest is just icing on the cake.

&#185 – I had never heard of Rhode Island clam chowder until I moved to Connecticut. Manhattan is red, New England is creamy and Rhode Island is a clear broth. When properly spiced, it’s great and nowhere as heavy as New England. As for Manhattan clam chowder – please! Who’s eating that?