Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Gordy Ringoen - 15 MINUTES OF FAME

Andy Warhol said of our generation that we will all have 15 minutes of fame. In the early 70’s we kept an apartment at 6th and 56th in Manhattan, a block from Radio City where the ABC television studios are located. Carole and our youngest son, Jay, and I were passing the studios one evening when our young son said he would like to have his mother take him to see a TV show. A guard at ABC headquarters told us that a new show was starting the next morning and if they showed up about 8:30 am they would likely be able to be part of the studio audience.

The next morning, about 8:00am, as I was about to leave for work, I woke Carole to see if she wanted me to wake Jay. She said, “forget it,” it was only 5:00 am California time. Too late, Jay had awakened. They threw on their clothes and rushed to get in line for the “new show.”

When I got home that evening, Carole was in the tub. I asked her about their day. The answer, “interesting.” By the time they arrived, there was already a long line and they doubted that it was worth the effort. Just as they were about to leave, a woman came up to her and asked if she would like to be on the show. Carole said that they weren’t even going to be able to get in the studio. No problem. The “host” would go into the audience talk to a couple of people and then select her to come up to the stage for the rest of the show. Jay said, “mom, let’s get out of here.” Too late. The host asked her why she had come to New York, the answer, “to keep my husband happy.” She was introduced to America as a member of “the world’s oldest profession.” Over the next couple of days people stopped her on the street and in stores to tell her that they had seen her on the show. Long lost friends from across the country called. Even though it was the early days of video recordings, a friend got a copy of the show from ABC and perhaps one day I will put it on Chuck’s blog.

So, if you ever have the trivia question of who, from Highline ’56, was the guest star on the first David Letterman show you will know that it was Carole Hawkinson Ringoen.

My claim to fame was being selected by Hall of Fame Announcer, Lon Simmons, as being the “player of the game” in a San Francisco Giants 4 to 3 win. Now, some of you might be skeptical of how that could be so. Well, let me tell you. Carole is a real Giants fan. We have seats that are surrounded by corporate season ticket holders. And, when the business talk around us gets too annoying for her, she puts on her ear phones and listens to the game on the radio. On one such evening, it was the top of 7th inning; the Giants were leading by one run, no outs, and two runners on. A relief pitcher came in, and, in a double switch, also a new centerfielder. The announcers did not notice. The next batter hit a deep fly ball on which the center fielder made a fine running catch. Carole said Lon Simmons said it was Lofton, not Sinjo, the new center fielder. Two plays later, Sinjo made a spectacular, game saving diving catch on a sinking line drive. Carole kept telling me that they were continuing to give credit to wrong player. By the 9th inning, Carole was totally annoyed that they had not got it right. And, I was totally annoyed about continuing to hear about it. Finally, in exasperation, I had enough. I stepped out in the aisle, turned to the open radio booth 4 rows back and yelled “IT WAS SINJO, NOT LOFTON.” I could tell by the total shock on Lon’s face that he then knew. Carole quickly informed me that they had now got it right.

On the drive home we turned on the Giant’s post-game broadcast and, after 15 minutes of commercials, a recap of the game an all other scores, the announcers get around to picking the “players of the game.” The two color commentators, Krukow and Kuiper, were mercilessly teasing Lon about not knowing who was playing centerfield. And, after playing the recording of “IT WAS SINJO, NOT LOFTON,” they made Simmons choose the fan who saved the game for the radio announcers as “the player of the game.” The producer of the show must want me to hold that record because, since that time, they have posted a guard in front of the booth to discourage fans from yelling over the air.

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