Lloyd Thaxton, Los Angeles TV vet dies at 81

Thaxton Show
Lloyd Thaxton created and hosted a popular dance show for teenagers in the 1960s, later produced segments for NBC's "Today" and directed “Fight Back! With David Horowitz,” and most recently had been blogging. His wife Barbara posted a farewell entry and invites comments on the blog. Friend Ken Levine also blogs an appreciation:

For every teenager growing up in Los Angeles in the 60s, THE LLOYD THAXTON SHOW was appointment television. Each afternoon from 5-6 Lloyd Thaxton hosted a live dance party show on KCOP, channel 13. If his budget was more than $4.95 a show I’d be shocked.

His set consisted of four panels (probably cardboard) with musical notes drawn on them. Kids from local high schools were invited to dance on a soundstage the size of an elevator. He won his time slot daily, trouncing the competing news broadcasts.

What made the show special was Lloyd Thaxton. Most shows like this were hosted by disc jockeys. They were content to just introduce the records and step aside while the kids did the Twist, Jerk, Fly, Popeye, Monkey, Frug, Mash Potato, Locomotion, and whatever other inane dance was the rage that minute. Lloyd was the first to realize “this was TELEVISION”, you had to do something VISUAL. So he would find ways to comically present the songs, even with his paltry budget. This elf-looking redhead would lip sync, mime playing instruments, use finger puppets, don wigs, do duets with rubber masks, cut out the lips on an album cover and substitute his own – anything to make the songs fun.

Here's the L.A. Times' online obituary. In 2006 I grabbed this from Thaxton's new blog:

When I was doing the Lloyd Thaxton Show, I was living in Laurel Canyon myself. It was not unusual to go to the Canyon Store just down from my house and see Cass Elliot of the Mamas and Papas buying groceries, or the Byrd’s David Crosby pulling in on his Triumph Bonneville motorcycle with his cape flowing behind, or Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, or the Turtle’s Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman.

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