Possibly 99 percent of you who came across the obituary this week of radio and television host Les Crane would not have recognized the name. That is certainly understandable as Mr. Crane's public fame waned about 35 years ago but here are three fascinating things about the man we lost Sunday at age 74.
1. In the early 1960s he was one of the early pioneers of modern talk radio with his frank opinions and confrontational style on KGO San Francisco. He was one of the first to take live listener calls on the air too.
2. The first American television appearance of the Rolling Stones was on Crane's late night ABC show in June 1964. That summer the program aired at 11:30 p.m., becoming one of the many shows to fall to young Johnny Carson's ratings dominance.
3. He was married five times - his fourth wife was Tina Louise, "Ginger" from TV's Gilligan's Island.
However even without any of that, Les Crane's passing would have been notable for his memorable Top Ten pop single from 1971. He even won a Grammy for his spoken-word recording of a 1927 poem called The Desiderata. This was the 70s version of that silly Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen) song that was a hit by Baz Luhrmann about ten years ago.
As nearly vacant as the memories of my early years are, I vividly remember hearing The Desiderata (Latin for "desired things," by the way) on the radio during its chart run.
And like millions of other young people back then I also had a poster on my bedroom wall of the lyrics to the poem.
If you are old like me, click on the player below to relive your own memory of the song. And you are lucky enough to be young, hit play too and prepare to be embarrassed for my generation that this song was actually taken seriously at the time.
R.I.P. Les Crane. Go placidly amid the noise and the haste...