Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Vladimir and The Grave Diggers

Vladimir Twist

Drac Walk

 Mel Par 45-1006
October 1962

Review from Kicks Magazine #6
 Inscription on the Billy Miller's copy reads
"when you hear this 'abortion' don't tell
anyone you know me!"

Vladimir, aka Ronald Klugman, aka Ron Barry

Born in Newark, N.J., Ronald Klugman was a son of Fani (Pickar) Klugman of Springfield, N.J., and Samuel Klugman. Actor Jack Klugman was his uncle.   A 1966 graduate of Emerson College, Boston (B.S. in Speech Broadcasting), he was a radio personality, under the name Ron Barry, with WEST and WEEX, Easton, and WBAX, Wilkes-Barre.  As big a fan Ron was of Dark Shadows, he was an even bigger fan of Laurel and Hardy, and as an adult got to know and befriend Stan Laurel.
Ron Barry has been collecting Elvis Presley records since 1956. "Being born and raised in New Jersey," said Barry, "we never heard the original Sun records, because their distribution was limited to the South. So Elvis had already made the five Sun records before I heard about him. But once I saw him on the Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey "Stage Show," I knew he was going to be a big star." It was then that Ron started building his file of Presley discs. 

In 1961 when Barry was working as a production assistant for WPIX-11 TV New York, he asked his boss for Stan Laurel's address in hope of acquiring an autographed picture. After a few weeks the photo came, and, to Barry's surprise, a personal letter from the famed comedian.

That first letter developed into a four-year pen pal relationship between young Barry and the aging Laurel. "Very few carried on pen pal relationships with Stan," Barry said, adding that he received the last letter just two weeks before Laurel's death. "He wrote me every two weeks whether I did or not."

Later, while at W.E.S.T. in Easton,Pa. as the story goes, Ron was home sick one day and turned on the t.v. where he saw an episode of Dark Shadows. He became so enamored with the show that he eventually would make several trips down to the NYC studios to visit with and get to know the actors, as well as watch tapings of the show.  Over a 2-3 year period he interviewed many of the actors on his radio show, either in person in the Easton studio, or over the phone.  Using members of his radio show production crew, Ron created a parody version of Dark Shadows entitled 'Dumb Shadows'.

As far as I know the Mel-Par single was his only record.  But young Ronnie certainly wrote other songs.  One of these was sent to Stan Laurel in 1962.  In a letter addressed to Richard [Sloan] dated Nov. 28th, 1962, the actor wrote :
 No, I've never talked on the phone with Ronnie Klugman, but have heard him on tape a couple of times, he sounds a normal nice chap then suddenly lapses into that 'Horror' character mentality - I imagine he 'Hugs' the character too (a la that picture!!) Am enclosing you a tape of his latest idea for a record he sent me, I think its titled 'The Lumbago Limbo" or something - he requested my opinion - I of course am not familiar with this type of Opera - told him I was strictly a "Siatica Shuffle" man with a touch of 'Hi Nonny Nonny'.!

1 comment:

  1. Nice to have more info on this record. Thanks!
    Barry also authored a book on Elvis: