In the Sunnyside High School band I was playing the B-flat trumpet when I be-came fascinated with the sound of the E-sharp flugelhorn.  But, of course the E-sharp fingering was totally different from that of the trumpet – like learning a foreign language.  Nevertheless, during my senior year I did make the change. 


When principal photography was completed on “The Harrad Experiment,” I met with composer Artie Butler to go over the score.  In the upstairs composing and screening room of his Beverly Hills home, Artie played the musical score on the piano while I watched the scenes on a Movieola. 


I loved the music and we locked in the sound track score over a three day period.  I then inquired about the instrumentation.  He advised that for most of the cuts he intended to use a trumpet lead.  I didn’t say anything at the time, but my mind was working overtime.  


While Artie Butler was putting the final touches on the compositions and arrange-ments, I met with my musical producer, Neely Plumb, who was an award winning record producer but at the time was best known as the father of Eve Plumb, who played Jan Brady on the TV series, “The Brady Bunch.”  I asked Neely to con-

vince Artie Butler to allow me to play the trumpet lead during the recording ses-sions for the “Harrad” soundtrack; but that instead of playing the trumpet, I would play the flugelhorn.  


To say that Neely was shocked would be the proverbial understatement.  I ex-plained that I had briefly played the flugelhorn in high school.  “How long ago was that,” he inquired?  “Fifteen years,” I admitted.  Neely was flabbergasted.  “Do you even own a flugelhorn,” he gasped.  “No, but I can always rent one,” was my determined reply.  Neely’s noncommittal reply was that he would discuss it with Artie but suggested that I not give up my day job.  


Artie Butler’s comment was that I was the producer and as such it was my film.  I could do whatever I wanted, but that he would have a studio musician standing by.  If I didn’t turn in a flawless performance on the first take, the studio musician would step in.  I had one week to find a horn, practice, and get my armature back before the recording session at Capital Records’ Studio A.  


As an aside, I had the advantage over the studio musicians in that I had the score ahead of time and was able to practice the numbers.  A studio musician, which represents the best-of-the-best, goes on the clock – is handed the arrangement – given a couple of minutes to go over it, and then plays his or her instrument without the luxury of any rehearsal.  They are able to play flawlessly in a cold reading and that’s why they get the big bucks. 


My neighbor, Academy Award composer Hugo Friedhofer (1901 -1981) let me use his soundproof studio to practice and over the next five days I spend from 7 to 11 p.m. rehearsing the score, over and over.  


When the moment of truth arrived, I was ready.  Afterwards, the studio musicians who knew that I was not a member of the union but the film’s producer (playing under the Taft-Hartley Act) were impressed and to a person told me so.  But it was Artie and Neely’s reaction that I was concerned about.  I needn’t have wor-ried.  Artie was willing to sponsor my membership into the Studio Musician’s union and Neely was standing by to book me on future recording sessions. 


ONE YEAR LATER:   A year later, when composer Pat Williams was composing the music for the “Experiment” sequel, “Harrad Summer,” I once again approach-ed my musical producer.  


Neely Plumb read my mind and said, “I know.  You want Pat to use a flugelhorn lead and give you a week or so to get your armature back.”  Like Artie Butler, Pat Williams was not about to take any chances.  He had Chuck Magione standing by in case the “Harrad Experiment” session was a fluke.  Between takes, Chuck and I became close friends and I could tell he admired my work, especially in that I was a mere amateur.  


Pat was so impressed that after the first recording session, he quickly arranged a duet version featuring several of my flugelhorn solos and booked Capital Records’ Studio B (the smaller studio) wherein I overdubbed myself.  According to Doovid Barskin, Capital Records’ A&R man, this overdub was what made the record album memorable. 


SEVEN YEARS LATER:   It was seven years later before I once again picked up the Flugelhorn.  In 1981, having just returned from covering the Zimbabwe War of Independence for Reuters, I was producing and directing a television program entitled “Ad Lib,” later to be aired on the newly formed Black Entertainment Network (BET).   


Jon Hendricks (Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, later Lambert, Hendricks & Bavan) was one of the first guest artists to appear in the series.  Hendricks once made an album with Clark Terry, who played both the trumpet and flugelhorn.  At the time Terry was with the Tonight Show and had his own recording contract with Main-stream Records.  He also appeared on the concert circuit with a group of Tonight Show musicians, sans Doc Severinsen, called The Tonight Show All-stars, led by trumpeter Eugene “Snooky” Young.  I asked Jon Hendricks if he would use his influence to get the Tonight Show All-Stars to appear on “Ad Lib.”  He did, and they did.  


During lunch at Musso & Franks, in Hollywood, Jon introduced me to Clark Terry who in turned introduced me to “Snooky” Young.  I explained that I wanted the Tonight Show All-Stars to do an entire half-hour “Ad Lib” show, which normally consisted of five tunes.  I further explained that I wanted the All-Stars to play three tunes of their choosing and two tunes of my choosing.  


The two tunes of my choosing were “Coincidence,” and “Child of the Earth,” both written and made famous by trumpeter Hugh Mesekela.  On “Coincidence,” my intent was to merely sit in with the All-Stars.  However, on “Child of the Earth,” I arranged a version that pitted Clark Terry and me in a Flugelhorn battle broken only when Terry breaks into a vocal; the same vocal sang by Masekela on his MGM album, “The Lasting Impression of Hugh Maselela.” 


At the time I was doing two such TV shows; “Ad Lib,” and a show called “The Rocky Road,” the latter for the Armed Forces Radio & Television Service (AFRTS).  We taped the 26 “Ad Lib” episodes at various recording studios over a two day period – every four weeks.  The 59 episodes of “Rocky Road” were all shot during a one week period on the Chaplin Stage – at A & M Records – where we shot from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m.   While we were videotaping a band on one end of the stage, a second band was setting up on the other end.  When finished with one group all we had to do was turn the cameras around and begin shooting the second group.   I directed all the “Ad Lib” shows and shared directorial duties with the veteran, Chris Donavan, on “Rocky Road.”   


Both shows featured the best groups – Jazz and Rock & Roll – that were available, many coming from as far as Chicago, St. Lewis and New Orleans to appear on the show.   Episodes included groups like Missing Persons, Tower of Power, Bus Boys, Roach & the White Boys, Romeo Void, James Harmon Band, Lost Angeles, Great Buildings, Huey Lewis and many other popular names. 


On the day we were to tape the Tonight Show All-Stars, everything was going according to schedule.  That morning we had completed a show featuring Jimmy Witherspoon and another with Linda Hopkins.  After lunch, we completed the third show for the day, with Freda Payne.  It was shortly after 2:45 p.m. when we started taping the Tonight Show All-Stars.  


At 3:20 p.m. we had completed the first three tunes and now it was my turn to join the All-Star group for the final two numbers.  It was at this point that “Snooky” Young received a phone call from Doc Severinsen.  Severinsen wanted the band assembled immediately to rehearse a number that had been added to that nightsbroadcast, at the last minute.  Needless to say, the three previous musical numbers were all we were able to get from the Tonight Show All-Stars.  And, unfortunately, we were unable to get them back. 


I was so devastated that I never again touched a musical instrument.  But that didn’t mean the end of my flirtation with musical programming.  The lead singer for the Bus Boys, Brian O’Neal (“The Boys are Back in Town”) introduced me to Huey Lewis.  Having previously appeared at the Purple Onion, Hugh Anthony Cregg, III (Huey Lewis) and I hit it off from the start. 


Huey wanted a series of musical videos to promote his albums and the two of us met at Huey’s Marin County home, just north of San Francisco to discuss making of the video that America would embrace and could not get enough of. 


I was pushing for either myself or Chris Donovan to direct.  However, Huey decided to go with his own choice; which turned out to be a good one.  However, Lewis anointed my company (Cinema Arts Productions, Inc.) as the official production service company for the project.  


From the moment the video was aired on MTV, in June of 1984, The Heart of Rock ‘N Roll started on its road to becoming an instant hit.  In 1985, Huey Lewis & the News opened the Grammy Awards with the tune.  In October 1985, “Sports” was certified multiplatinum in the US and Canada; silver in the UK and Australia.  A few months later, the album went gold in Japan as well.  I like to think that the video that I had a hand in producing might have had something to do with it.