Linden A Wide-Ranging Talent

DJ's Music Trivia

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The Tonto Community Concert Association has yet another dandy event to present to the community on Monday night. “An Evening with Hal Linden” is scheduled to get under way at 7 p.m. in the Payson High School Auditorium.

Many probably re­member Linden as the police precinct captain on the mid-1970s/early 1980s situation comedy TV show “Barney Miller.” But what many may not be aware of is that in addition to being a fine actor, Linden has a long history as an accomplished musician and stage performer.

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“An Evening with Hal Linden” is scheduled to get under way at 7 p.m., Monday in the Payson High School Auditorium.

Born Harold Lipshitz in New York City, the youngest son of Frances and Charles Lipshitz, Lithuanian Jews who immigrated to the United States in 1910, Linden attended the High School of Performing Arts and went on to study music at Queens College, City University of New York. He aspired to be a big band bandleader.

But before embarking on a career in music, Linden made what I’m sure turned out to be a very wise decision. He changed his name stating, “‘Swing and Sway with Harold Lipshitz’ just didn’t sound quite right.”

Linden started his career as a big band musician and singer in the 1950s. After a stint in the United States Army, he began a career in off-Broadway productions.

During this time, Linden toured with Sammy Kaye, Bobby Sherwood, and other big bands of the era. He played the saxophone and clarinet and also sang. He later played in the United States Army Band.

Linden found success on Broadway when he replaced Sydney Chaplin in the musical “Bells Are Ringing.” In 1971, he won a Best Actor Tony Award for his portrayal of Mayer Rothschild in the musical “The Rothschilds.”

After the success of “Barney Miller,” Linden revived his music career with various night club acts. In his acts, he has played the clarinet, performed pop and Broadway standards backed by a big band and discussed his life and career. Since March 2011, he has been touring with his cabaret show “An Evening with Hal Linden.”

But although Linden has had a very successful and lengthy career, primarily as a musician, to me he will always be known as Barney Miller.

This week’s question

Along with Hal Linden, some of the regular actors and their respective character parts on the “Barney Miller” show were Max Gail (Wojo), Ron Glass (detective Ron Harris) and Jack Soo (Sergeant Nick Yemana). For the series’ first three years, another regular cast member was actor Abe Vigoda.

This week’s question is: What was Abe Vigoda’s character’s nickname? Was it A) Meathead, B) The Fonz, C) Fish, or D) Tattoo?

If you are the sixth caller and have the correct answer, you’ll win two tickets (a $70 value) to Monday’s Hal Linden concert. Good luck!

Last week’s question

Last week’s question asked if you could name the punky 1980s female artist who placed eight songs in the top-10 on Billboard’s Hot-100 Chart, which included her two No. 1 hits, “Time After Time” and “True Colors.”

The choices were A) Madonna, B) Whitney Houston, C) Sheena Easton, and D) Cyndi Lauper.

The correct answer was Cyndi Lauper.

Congratulations to this past week’s first-time music trivia winner, Robin Adcock, who told me this was a very easy question for her, since she idolized Lauper as a teenager — attending the star’s concerts and even dressing as her one Halloween.

Robin was born in Minneapolis, then at 5 years old moved with her family to Phoenix, “to get away from the cold and snow,” said Robin.

After finishing school at Camelback High School and working for a while, she married and started a family. In 1997, the family moved to the Rim Country “to escape the heat and crowds of the Valley. We had traveled through Payson a number of times on our way to camping and fishing, and just loved the town,” said Robin. She has two sons, Carl, a student at Payson High School and Randy, an eighth-grader at Rim Country Middle School.

In addition to working her full-time job in student services at Gila Community College, Robin now enjoys watching her boys play sports, hiking, traveling and taking care of her two dogs. She enjoys all types of music, especially the new pop sound of Katy Perry, Bruno Mars and the group Fun.

A couple of final notes

  1. Please remember that the sixth annual Lip Sync Concert, hosted by the Rim Country Optimist Club and a whole host of other area organizations, will take place at the high school auditorium this Saturday evening. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., so that patrons may view and bid on a huge array of silent auction items.

This year the Lip Sync Concert will feature 14 student acts and several teacher acts, as well — syncing musical favorites from Ray Charles and Nat King Cole to Michael Jackson and Miley Cyrus.

The evening promises to be a whole lot of fun, with the proceeds going to a great cause — funding area student scholarships.

  1. New pictures that I’ve added to my Web site are from the recently held Hashknife Pony Express celebration at the Payson Post Office.

Have a great Rim Country weekend!

DJ Craig, (928) 468-1482, www.djcraiginpayson.com

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