Ghost of Marilyn Monroe

Me, Jamie Sheriff, and the Ghost of Marilyn Monroe

Hi, this is Hal Aaron Cohen and welcome to my podcast Tales of the Road Warriors

No guest, today. Just me, Hal Aaron and I’ll be driving solo. You still get a great story , though. One of my own Tales of the Road Warriors. Fun times!

Today, I want to share what’s ahead for the Tales of the Road Warriors podcast, but first, let me tell you a little about what’s been going on, as well as what’s going on right now.

First, I want to thank all of you for listening, especially those of you who follow and share the show with your friends and on social media. I also want to thank everyone who has been a guest on the show, and thanks in advance to those who will be joining me on future episodes. Oh, and lest I forget – I’d like to give a big shoutout to my old friend Joe Walla for allowing me to use his instrumental, PLAYA DEL SPAIN, featuring his fretboard virtuosity and signature, Hola Gente! – as the opening theme music.  By the way, “Hola Gente” is Spanish for “Hello, People”

A couple of weeks ago, I recorded a live episode of TotRW with Lizanne Knott, her daughter Ciara and Philly folk-rock music icon and author, Dan May. It was a sweltering 102 degree day and I  can’t thank  them enough for participating. It was recorded live by Kev Gallagher at the Tattoed Mom on 5th & South Street in Philadelphia as part of the Philadelphia Podcast Festival. Kev is the host of a podcast called, Everything is Awesome and is the co-host of The Zombcast. Kev also writes for Dark Knight News and is working on a science fiction series and probably more projects I’m not privy to. He’s ALSO a dad to two kids. Despite all the stuff he’s got going on in his life, Kev volunteered to record all of the podcasts at the Tatooed Mom during the week of the Philly Pod Fest.

So a HUGE thanks to Kev  . Also a big thank you to Nathan and Taegan Kuruna the organizers of Philly Podcast Festival  – for including a new, still-in-the-baby-stages Tales of the Road Warriors. I am grateful for the opportunity, even if I did choke a little and probably squandered my opportunity a little bit. Tell you what…  I’m blaming the heat. In the meantime, Dan, Lizanne and Ciara were the perfect guests.

I haven’t edited that show yet and I apologize for getting behind, but, I got a healthy dose of last minute music gigs, and  that combined with trying to get ready for the live podcast and a big event in Orlando, Florida, I’ve just been short on time. I try to get an episode out every Thursday, but, as you know – Life happens. Being the Chief, Cook and Head  Bottle Washer, I can’t always be as consistent as I’d like right  now, but I’m working on solutions. Hopefully,  I can find a collaborator or possibly build a small team to keep the show running a little more efficiently.

So what’s next? Well, I’m going to take a brief hiatus because I’m heading for another Podcast event. This one is the big one. It’s called  Podcast Movement 2019 and they’re expecting about 3,000 podcasters from all over the world, all converging in Orlando, Florida. My goal is to learn all I can about the podcasting industry; meet some movers and shakers, check out new opportunities in podcasting, maybe acquire a sponsor or two, some new gear and ultimately make Tales of the Road Warriors better than ever.

I’m still in the process  of tweaking  the show, the format, curating great guests and stories and honing my own skills as a host. I know I have a long way to go, but as my old Pappy used to say, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts”.

So now that you’re all caught up, it’s time for a Tale from Uncle Hal… I call it Me, Jamie Sheriff, and the Ghost of Marilyn Monroe

If you’ve been listening to past Tales of the Road Warriors, then you already know I was a singing waiter for about six years. SO, this happened at the Great American Food and Beverage Company. Now, at the GA, we had two dining main dining areas – the Piano Room and the Green Room. Piano players couldn’t work in the green room because well, there was no piano in there. In the Piano Room, however , there was an old spinet which actually sounded pretty great considering the pounding it took night after night and there were some pretty good keyboard  players working there. There’s Chuck Francour, who still entertains around the Florida area and now calls himself Sweet Charlie, David Bloom, entertains American tourists in Mexico at a beautiful  resort, Joe Turano, who worked with Ricki Lee Jones, Michael Bolton and was musical director for Al Jarraeu for 17 years. There were a few others, but most noteably – Jamie Sheriff. Jamie went on to become an 80’s solo artist. His album, No Heroes was engineered by the legendary producer, Ken Scott – most noted for his work with David Bowie. To this day, we’re all still in touch on Facebook. I still talk to Jamie pretty regularly.

Now, I played mostly guitar, but occasionally switched to piano for a song or two. I’m no virtuoso, but I play well enough to accompany myself on piano for some songs. One of those songs  was Candle in the Wind by Elton John. But, if Jamie had time between customers, he would offer to accompany me on the piano while I played guitar.

One night Jamie suggested something novel… He asked me if I ever thought about just singing the song without the guitar while  he accompanied me on the piano, so I could concentrate on the vocal. I felt completely naked an totally insecure if I wasn’t holding a guitar while performing, but I’d seen others, who didn’t know how to play an instrument, get up and sing, so I thought why not, and agreed to give it a shot.

Now, hanging on the wall, just to the right of the piano were these mirrors. Painted onto the mirrors were silhouettes of famous -people, these mirrors were very popular in the sixties  and 70’s. One had  Elvis. There was one each of all four Beatles (I think – Maybe just John Lennon)… and then the one closest to the piano was Marilyn Monroe.

So Jamie starts playing the Candle In  The Wind, I’m just standing there like a poor man’s Wayne Newton or some lounge lizard, feeling completely stupid. So , then, I just jumped right into the first verse. Hey, you know what? It wasn’t horrible. Once I started, I felt a little more comfortable.  While, in the midst of singing, that Marilyn mirror caught my eye. So I quickly thought, “Hey, here’s an idea… I’ll take the mirror off the  wall during the instrumental and then during the third verse, I’ll  hold it up to the crowd and that’ll be really cool!”

But Marilyn had  an even grander idea… I removed the mirror from the wall easily enough. I didn’t drop it. Everything was going as planned. As Jamie’s piano solo was concluding, I set the mirror at my feet, planning to pick it up as I sang, “Goodbye Norma Jean, from the young man  in the 22nd row…”

But before that happened,  I noticed a few people staring at the ceiling and murmuring, so I looked up to see what they were looking at… The mirror was sitting at my feet at such an angle that when the light above the piano hit it, it projected a blue, ghostly image of Marilyn Monroe, smiling down at the people dining at the table in front of me. Not everyone in the room saw it until I got to that part of the song. SO I milked it for all it was worth. I dropped to my knees and gazed into Marilyn’s haunting eyes as I sang the last verse. A quiet reverence took hold  of the room and when the song ended, the crowd just sat there stunned for a second or two, then burst into a huge applause. It couldn’t have been better if we had planned it.

Of course, from then on, Jamie and I made that song a permanent part of the evening, whenever we worked together. I like to think that Marilyn herself was smiling at me with approval that night.

I hope you enjoyed my little story. Please add Tales of the Road Warriors to your favorite podcast app. If you’re on an iPhone, you can listen on Apple Podcasts.  For Android, there are several options. My favorite is Himalaya. If you go the Tales of the Road Warriors home page, there are links  to several of the most popular apps for podcasts.

Oh! Hey!! The reminds me. It’s come to my attention that there are still plenty of people who don’t listen to podcasts. Not this one, not any. I’ve come to discover that some of you haven’t discovered podcasts, don’t know how to listen to them, don’t understand the advantage of having podcasts in their life. So, I’m working on a “how-to” video, to demonstrate the different ways to listen to podcasts in order to make it easier to get into them. I’ll let you know when it’s ready, so this  e of you who already enjoy podcasts can finally share the experience with friends.

All right, I think I’m done here. Mission accomplished! So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going for a drive!

Listen to Tales of the Road Warriors on HIMALAYA

Please listen, share and comment below. There’s also a Tales of the Road Warriors Facebook Group if you want to start or contribute to the conversation there. Anyway, let me know what’s on your mind, one way or another.

Thanks !


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