Share a Cuppa Tea with Jimmy Mack

Feb 2019 Share a Cuppa Tea with Jimmy Mack

SHARE A CUPPA TEA with American Broadcasting
Legend Jimmy Mack speaks of Stones, Nehru Jackets
and Goatees, WWII, AND MORE!

Secret talents of an icon of our time

JIMMY MACK is an American broadcasting icon. He is also the most youthful 96- year-old I am likely ever to share a cuppa tea with.

The conversational possibilities are mind boggling. Starting out as a radio DJ, Jimmy Mack’s extensive TV career included every­thing from presenter to writer, producer, announcer, and weekend weatherman, as well as singing with piano or organ accompaniment.

His popular music/dance TV programme, Bandstand 13, aired from 1965 to 1969 – the very best years of the Sixties. The list of artists who appeared on Bandstand 13 is long and impressive, and includes Steve Winwood, Sonny and Cher, the Kingsmen, Bobby Rydell, Paul Revere & The Raiders, The Boys Next Door, The Turtles, and Chad and Jeremy plus so many more. Jimmy Mack was a lovable host and the bands were lining up to appear on his show. When The Beatles came along Jimmy even donned a Nehru jacket. Cool…

Mr Mack is full of banter and stories of WWII, pop/rock bands, TV and radio, the Sixties and onwards – and more – and then even more after all that!

This is what he said about the Rolling Stones (and the video footage of the encounter is on You Tube!):

“I was at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum the night The Stones appeared in 1966. By then I had a goat­ee. I was inside waiting for The Stones to enter the Coliseum, and I saw them exit their limousine. We had the cameras rolling. I had my microphone in hand, and The Stones ran by as fast as they could. All that I got was a few mumbles from Mick, Keith, and Charlie. Ah, the life of a disc jockey.”

I didn’t tell Jimmy that I, too, was at The Stones gig that very night. What a small world we inhabit.

Jimmy is sipping tea and telling tales. He says he met Steve Winwood (Spencer David Group, Traffic, and much more) back in the 1960s. Then, in 2016, the two recon­nected and revived their friendship. I try to imagine their chats.

Another of Jimmy’s stories took place before my day. He had been a medic dur­ing World War II stationed in England. He also sang in his unit’s band. His band was scheduled to play in London one night when they heard a commotion outside – it was VE Day at Piccadilly Circus. The Euro­pean half of World War II had officially ended. The celebrations are legendary. Jimmy’s lasting memory is of a young lady who somehow had lost her attire and was dancing in London’s streets clad only in her fur coat.

I live in hope that the teapot will never become empty, for I want these delicious stories to go on and on. A page is not near­ly enough. We need a book and a fat book at that. But, for now, it is time to turn this tea party over to the amazing Jimmy Mack. Let us begin.

  1. Nebraska or Indiana?

I am from Nebraska but lived many years in Indiana.

  1. Who was your childhood celebrity crush?

Doris Day and Deanna Durbin

  1. What is your secret talent?

I can play the ukulele and guitar.

  1. Tell us your earliest memory.

Strapping on a pair of roller skates and skating from the top of the hill down to my house.

  1. Who would you trade places for a day?

My singing idol Bing Crosby.

  1. Is love all you need?

Yes…and music.

  1. If you could have invited anybody, living or dead, to this tea party, who would it have been?

Dan Hall, a very close friend.

  1. What is the best thing about you?

I am always able to make up a song.

  1. Where do you keep your moral compass?

Very close to my heart.

  1. Did your dreams come true?

Yes. And I am still able to sing music and record plus I am proud of my record and book collections.

Our teapot is empty now, so I bid a fond farewell to Mr Mack. What a lovely time it has been.

©Jane Quinn

A very special thank you to Bonnie Hin­kle and David Humphrey for their assistance in organising this Tea Party.