This Is Me--2019 A to Z Theme

My A to Z Theme for 2022 is My Vinyl Record Collection. This will be about the music I still have on my shelf. Be sure to check the links for samples of the albums and music I'll be talking about. There will be a lot of interesting music ahead for your listening enjoyment.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Publicity Photo

                The photo that now appears in my header was taken in the early spring of 1976.    Since the name of my blog makes a reference to my background as a juggler, I decided that I would add the personal touch with a photo of me related to juggling.   Today I will explain what this photo represents.

      By the summer of 1975, I had found myself at a place in my life where the road into my future was diverging toward uncertainties and I was faced with having to make a decision about what I was going to do next with my life.  Three of my friends and I had just been ousted from a beautiful mountain cabin we had been sharing and living in for the previous four months.  Now I was suddenly back living at home with my parents at age twenty-four. 

        Out of work and running low on money, I felt stuck in a rut.  I had sold my van months before and was dependent on my parents or friends for transportation.   I needed to find a way out of the mess I had gotten into. 

         In late June, I started working with a show promoter in Knoxville, Tennessee.  He was promoting a show where my family's juggling act was going to be performing in July.  I made some spending money helping to sell tickets and advertising for this show.

          Performing with us was a magician and his wife--Ken Griffin and Roberta.  They had a touring stage show that was nationally known.  After working with them on this show, my parents invited them over for dinner at our house.  Apparently I had impressed them with my helpfulness to them at the show we were working and during the course of their visit with us they offered me a job.   It was perfect timing for me.  I readily accepted.

          My family had one more upcoming date with the Emmett Kelly Jr. Circus and it was decided that I should play that show with our juggling act before meeting up with the Griffins in Durham, North Carolina. We played our show with the circus in Cleveland, Tennessee and the next morning I was on a Greyhound bus to Durham with my juggling equipment and personal belongings.  My career as a solo performer had begun.

          By the end of the year the Griffins and I had ended up in Terre Haute, Indiana working on show promoting.  I was really enjoying the performing and the travelling.  This was my kind of life.   The show promoting was not my favorite part, but the thrill of the performances was a lot of fun. 

           Spring of 1976 found us in the small town of Spencer, Indiana where we were promoting a show that we were to be performing in a lovely old vaudeville theater.  Since I was now hooked on the show biz life working on my own as a performer, I had come to the conclusion that I would be doing this for a while.  The Griffins were very happy with me and wanted to keep me on board with their show.

           They needed me to have photos made to be included in the press kit they sent out for show publicity.   While in Spencer I found a photography studio where I arranged to have my photos done.  Donning one of the tuxedos I used for my juggling act, I went for the photo shoot.  The color photo used in the header was basically a vanity shot for me to have and to give to my parents.  The actual publicity shots intended for reproduction in newspapers and the like had to be in black and white.  One of these publicity photos can be seen below.

           This shot was reproduced in various newspaper articles throughout the United States about shows in which I was going to be appearing.  In fact, I even used this photo for publicity after I left the Ken Griffin Show in 1977.  Below are a couple of examples of articles that used this photo.

                 This article from THE MORNING REPORTER in Morgantown, West Virginia is dated May 27, 1977 announces a show that would be taking place a few days later on June 1.   The paper felt that my story was newsworthy since my parents had both come from the Morgantown area.   I would often submit a photo and story in towns where I had some connection and the stories were almost always published.

 Here's a story from the front page of the May 12, 1977 edition of the BARNESVILLE ENTERPRISE in Barnesville, Ohio.   I'm not sure why they used my photo for this story.  I was not the "famed magician".  Maybe someone at the paper just liked my photo better than the other ones in the press kit.   Needless to say I was kind of pleased to my photo on the front page of the paper.

           That is the story of the origin of this funky 70s photograph.   At the same time I took these, I also had photos taken of me with my violin since I was billed as The Juggling Violinist.  I don't think any of those photos were ever used for newspaper articles; at least I don't have any articles with any of those photos.  Perhaps one day I'll post the violin photos. 

            Have you had professional photos taken for press purposes or book jackets?   Did you go to a photographer who specialized in this sort of photography, a regular portait photographer, or someone else?  Do you have a press kit assembled to send out for publicity and other purposes? 



  1. Very impressive Mo!
    about 20yrs ago I was in a photo to promote the Gold Coast Indie Race. I wore an outfit resembling a bikini and sat on the bonnet of one of the race cars - if I took it again now, the before and after shot would be a bit scary!

  2. That sounds like a wonderful way to live. I really like the pictures too. :-)

  3. Some years ago I did some Charity poetry postcards for Daniel O Donnells charity
    "The Romanian Charity Appeal". I wrote to a weekly newspaper who published my story alongside copies of the postcards. I raised quite a bit of cash over a period of time then When I presented the chequeue to Daniel I had my photo taken and sent that off to the nespaper
    to let their readers how much was collected.

    It was great fun and very satisfying.

    Enjoyed your post today, most interesting to read.


  4. Fascinating story Lee! Did you get any photos done with your violin? I'd love to see them. :)

    Yes, I have had "head shots" done over the years by professional photographers that specialized in photography for stage, television and film.

    No, on a current press kit, but it wouldn't take me too long to assemble an update.

  5. Q 1 - No
    Q 2 - No
    Q 3 - No

    The closest I have to a press kit is a resume and photo as I move to re-enter the ministry full time.

    Great story!
    I did want to break into the music business and perform. What a blessing you had the opportunity.

  6. Lee- what a fun story and great photos! Thanks for sharing that adventurous part of your young life. Very interesting!

  7. Wow, I know someone really famous! That's awesome, Lee.
    And you know how I feel about photographs...

  8. You're from a family of jugglers and lived as a traveling performer?! Sheesh-you don't NEED fiction! I somehow thought that was the kind of stuff people made up, and I had no idea that pic was REALLy you! (though I DID know it was really 1976--I remember the hair and mustache thing!

  9. Look at you - so young!

    I've had LOTS of publicity photos taken over the years. Several I've done myself and a couple others have taken for free. (Pays to be a pro-photographer with connections!)

  10. As a dancer, I'm always having my photo taken, for promotion or otherwise... I've had some interesting photos of me dancing in my tap shoes, and for my burlesque shows... : )

    Love the photo and thanks for sharing your story!

  11. ...had about 30 seconds of fame once. in a photo of with the new york daily news one day. i figure that's about how long it would take to read the caption under my photo. then i quickly joined the trash of the households/offices those papers were in.

    but your end of it was/is fascinating. enjoyed reading it.

  12. r-LEE-b ~
    I really like how the photo at the top of your blog shows the juggling pins (or whatever the professional term for them is) in color and everything else in sepia. That is very cool.

    But, hey, what happened to all the polka dots in the right half of your blog heading? I liked that, too, it added some pizzaz. It even made me think of “juggling balls”.

    When I commented before that I hoped you would keep the blog simple and not add too many things to it, I didn’t mean you should get rid of the things I LIKE!!!

    Yeah, back in the day, I had publicity photos taken of me by professional photographers, but ya wanna know the truth? A buddy of mine who was always into photography and had thrown together his own darkroom in his basement, he actually took the photo I liked the best. And he did it for nuttin’ ‘cause he was a friend of mine. I used the head shot he took of me for many years and I STILL think it’s one of the better pictures ever taken of me. (It’s the one on that cassette case from “The Soundtrack Of My Life” blog bit.)

    Lee, the first moment I saw this picture of you at the top of your blog, it immediately reminded me of THIS GUY!

    ~ Stephen
    "As a dog returns to his own vomit,
    so a fool repeats his folly."
    ~ Proverbs 26:11

  13. Wow, such an interesting, fun life you had as a traveling performer. Love the pics and would love to hear more about your younger days and see more pics. I had professional portraits done and even did commercials, when I used to sell real estate, many moons ago!

  14. That's really neat especially when they chose your picture for the front page. I had my photo in the paper with you when I was 4. I was also was the in the REMAX magazine a few months ago.

  15. great story as usual, Lee :)
    Is it true that ladies loved men with mustaches back in those days? :))))

  16. Charmaine -- You should put your picture up on your site. I'm sure we'd all enjoying seeing it and hearing the story.

    Misha -- Thanks-- the traveling shows were a great life.

    Yvonne -- Daniel must be very thankful to have great fans like you.

    Paula-- Perhaps one day I'll put up the violinist photos I had taken at the same session. My parents had some professional theatrical photos taken, but I never did because I was never in a place where those kinds of studios were.

    Gregg-- I am very thankful that I worked at doing something I really loved for so long. I guess prospective churches need to take into consideration the way the pastor looks?????

    Rae -- Thanks for visting and for your kind comment.

  17. Alex -- Do you have a picture of you on your bookjacket? I think people enjoy seeing what the author of a book looks like.

    Hart -- I should write a book about it someday. Maybe I will.

    L.Diane -- Paying for professional photos can get expensive which is why I never sprung for them that often. I was fortunate that the shows I worked for mostly had photos taken and I really didn't need the photos of me that often.

    Ginny -- You should do a post about your dancing complete with photos.

    Bud -- Did you keep a copy for your scrapbook?

    StMc-- I'm still playing with my page and trying to prep for putting my title in the empty space.
    I can see the resemblance-- in fact there were a lot of us that looked kind of like that.

    Marguerite -- I'm sure I'll do more posts about my show biz days, complete with pix. Any decent real estate agent has to have a good head shot to put with their listings.

    Emilee-- Yes, my daughters got their pictures in the papers occasionally courtesy of the newspaper photographers. Those were always some fun pictures. Like I just told Marguerite, real estate agents need to have publicity photos.

    Dezmond -- Thanks as always. I don't know about the mustaches and ladies, but there were a lot of us guys sporting them at that time.

  18. Incredible story!
    You should use that photo more often.

  19. I am super impressed -- you are a Famed Magician! I also admire anyone that can juggle as it's so difficult to do. I can manage to juggle 2 oranges or apples or baseballs but can't figure out how to get a 3rd one in there without dropping it. I know it's all about timing.

    Nice that you also got to travel & see various parts of the country.

  20. That's one cool story!

    I cannot juggle for the life of me. I can toss balls around and not break windows, but that's about it.

  21. Looks like you've had a colorful life, Lee.

  22. no Lee, my older brother kept a copy of it. i know he was hoping to be in it as well. it's the only time in my life i ever got "one up" on him and i savored it:)

  23. Andrew -- I'll use the photo on this blog for a while, but it is just a bit dated now.

    Lisa -- Just goes to show you: You can't believe everything you read in the paper.

    Golden Eagle -- If you start breaking windows, then juggling's not cool.

    Wanda -- I have had a few interesting experiences.

    Bud-- Why were you in the paper? It would be interesting to see this photo.

  24. What a great story! So interesting to read, and having the articles there really added to it. I love knowing the stories of the people whose blogs I read--yours is fascinating.

  25. What a multi-talented author you are. And, what a fun story and photograph. So far, my husband has been my photographer. I really do need to update my photo and press kit. Thanks for the reminder.

  26. Wow, that's great! I'd love to see you juggle! Jugglers always fascinate me. I'm good at dropping things but could never do something like that. The photographer who provided the photos for my newest poetry book did my picture for book cover and promotions.

  27. Lee-

    Isn't that a picture of Father Guido Sarducci?


  28. Lee-

    My only "publicity" photo was on the back cover of some poetry compilations I self published. Calling it a publicity photo is a stretch, and it was from a normal camera.

    But this was a low budget affair.

    Come to think of it, calling them poems is a stretch, too. But everyone who has ever read them agrees they're some butt-kickin' song lyrics.

    I have a box full of various novels in different stages of progress, some fantasy/sci-fi where I just lost the passion for the genre, and several mystery (hard-boiled in a style like Robert B. Parker) where I just got stuck on what the heck happens next.

    If I ever keep my promise to myself and finish one, then find an agent, and THEN be lucky enough to get is published, I'll have a real photo taken for that dust cover.

    But by then, everything will be on Kindles.


  29. Hi Lee,
    Nice pic, I love how theatrical you are! I can see why they chose your photo, handsome and mysterious~ I think you could write a book, using your background, it would make a fascinating story!

    Me, I was online, a fitness site. A woman said she was writing an article for Health magazine. I wrote to her and she asked me to send her photos. I googled her name; she had written for several mags. I sent in the pics and ended up being flown to NY to be in Health Magazine March 2002 issue. I flew Dec 2001, after 911; I had to go to Manhattan for the photo shoot. My family didn't want me to go, but I had an e-ticket, info and went anyway. My 15min of fame~

  30. P.S. I was in a prior life, a First Lady. married
    to President Woodrow Wilson! ;-D

  31. Amie -- I am glad you stopped by to read and thanks for your commment.

    Jane -- I need to get a family member to take some current photos of me so I can have an updated publicity shot.

    Connie -- You are fortunate to be able to have a photographer to collaborate with.

    Larry -- I'd like to see some of your poetry. Do you still have copies of the book? I like to hear your story about that. Maybe you should participate in NaNoWriMo.
    I hope hard copy books will always be around. Ebooks are just not the same.

    Ellie --Sounds like a good story for a post. And Woodrow Wilson? Now there's a name you don't hear much anymore.

  32. Lee-

    I'm with you-something about newspapers and books being made of...PAPER...just feels right.

    If you e-mail me your snail mail address, I can send you a copy of the lyrics.


  33. Larry -- Yeah and in some kind of nuclear war or some weird interstellar cataclysmic event a massive electromagnetic pulse would probably be generated that would destroy all of the electronic storage and all and for the few of us who remained, all we would have is our primitive books.

  34. Oh heavens No Arlee! My infamy speaks for itself being descended from Ivan the Terrible! No publicity for me please!
    I did enjoy your retro photos. What a fun an interesting life you seem to have lived thus far!
    I would love to see the violin photos as well!
    Love Di ♥

  35. Hello long lost but recently found buddy Lee,
    After reading your story I joined the show at the mid point of your time with Ken and Bert. I joined the show at the end of August 1976 in Oceola, Arkansas and worked it through July 1977 at the SAM National Convention in Hollywood, Florida. You were a hard worker and I know Ken and Roberta trusted you with everything. It was a pleasure sharing the stage with you and enjoying all the traveling. Be well and don't blow any arrows! Your friend, Al The Only,

  36. Al -- How cool to get a comment so long after a blog post published. Especially when it comes from an old friend.

    I had no idea you were on Blogger and since 2005 yet! You sure have a lot of blogs listed. Why so many? Do you actively post on any now? The ones I looked at were fairly outdated for the last posting.

    Those were great times of which I have fond memories.

    Thanks for the pleasant surprise of this comment.



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