Episode 22 - The Enduring Influence of Doc Giffen and the Cheers Theme Song - The Use All The Crayons Podcast

Episode 22 April 03, 2024 00:09:52
Episode 22 - The Enduring Influence of Doc Giffen and the Cheers Theme Song - The Use All The Crayons Podcast
Use All The Crayons with Chris Rodell
Episode 22 - The Enduring Influence of Doc Giffen and the Cheers Theme Song - The Use All The Crayons Podcast

Apr 03 2024 | 00:09:52

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Hosted By

Chris Rodell

Show Notes

Where we delve into the colorful world of Doc Giffen, a legendary figure in the town of Latrobe, known for his close association with golfing icon Arnold Palmer. Host Chris Rodell shares personal anecdotes and insights into the life of this extraordinary individual, who played a pivotal role in the career of Arnold Palmer. The episode also explores the significance of the iconic theme from Cheers and pays tribute to the talented writer and performer behind it. Join us as we celebrate the remarkable lives of Doc Giffen and Gary Portnoy, and discover the intriguing stories that make them so unforgettable.

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Episode Transcript

Chris Rodell [00:00:00]: Today, the doctor is in. Well, in Latrobe, this doc is never out. Doc Giffen was in the in crowd with Arnold Palmer for more than 50 years. He's as essential to Latrobe's character as either Arnold Palmer or Fred Rogers. Well, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but only because Palmer and Rogers live such monumental lives. I'm also going to talk about the significance of the theme from Cheers. At the end, I'm gonna read a poem. Hi. Chris Rodell [00:00:26]: I'm Chris Rodell. I've written stories and features for just about every magazine or publication in America. This is the use all the crayons podcast where I will share those colorful stories with you. They asked me in August 2022 to compose a poem in honor of our friend, Doc Giffen. My reaction was pure resistance. Man, I said, I've never even read a poem. Giffen, as everyone should know, was Arnold Palmer's assistant for more than 50 years. That alone qualifies him for status of legend. Chris Rodell [00:00:55]: He chronicled Palmer's rise and, well, there was no fall. Palmer just rose ever higher. So in that way, Palmer was historically greater than the Roman Empire, which famously had a fall. I revered doc long before I ever met him. I knew he was the first of his kind. He was Palmer's scheduling secretary, screener, media rep broker, sounding board, and confidant. Today, professional athletes have a name for all that. That name is posse. Chris Rodell [00:01:20]: But Doc just did it himself. They have 7 or 8 dudes who each do an eighth of what Doc did, where they'll park. Doc was suspicious of me at first. When he found out a guy who was working for Golf Magazine lived less than a mile away, he sensed I was bound to be a nosy pain in the ass. He was correct. That's exactly what I am. But I sensed that that was not the right approach. In fact, I'd stop by the Palmer office just once a year, the the week before Christmas, to deliver 2 copies, one for a doc and one for mister Palmer, those wacky page a day golf calendars I'd used to do. Chris Rodell [00:01:51]: I never pestered them for a thing. And one day, doc asked if I'd like to join him at his as his guest for a stag outing at the Latrobe Country Club. This sort of chummy breakthrough usually happened after introductions. With Doc, it took me 5 years. Understand, I was still very nervous around Doc. He was so proper, so aloof, so stoic. It seemed we had nothing in common. Social distance carried on through our first round together. Chris Rodell [00:02:15]: My jokes fell flat. I said nothing of substance. There was no buddy buddy bonding until we got to the bar. What do you have, Chris? I finally felt sure of myself. I was on my home turf. I'll have a double Jack Daniels on the The, no straw. Why no straw? Because I don't suck. I've seldom seen a more dramatic or positive change in a person's demeanor. Chris Rodell [00:02:36]: He looked at me as if he was seeing me for the first time and said, my man. And that was the beginning of what was to become my most treasured friendship. Our friendship was not without abrasion. We had a 3 year estrangement where we spoke not a word. I pointed out it was very childish behavior between 2 grown men with a combined age of a 152 years. It would take a big man to overcome the rift. It It would take a man of grace, perspective, and understanding to instigate the mend. But don't look at me. Chris Rodell [00:03:04]: In a way, I'm glad we went through the painful episode. Now every moment I spend with him is a treasure. So if you see me smiling today as I ramble through the neighborhood, you'll be redundant to tell me to have a great day. I'm already destined for one of the best. I'm having lunch with Doc Giffen. Hey. This is Jim Beatty. Well, nobody knows it, but I'm Chris's bodyguard. Buck Pawlosky [00:03:31]: Oh, I see. I'm Buck Pawlowski, owner of the Tin Lizzy here in Youngstown, PA. I put up with Chris Rodell every day. Mike [00:03:39]: Hi. This is Mike with 512 Coffee and Ice Cream, and our colorful tip of the day is number 921. Be a Johnny Nappleseed. Tell friends about studies that shown power nappers experience benefits in both mind and body, and it worked for renowned nappers like Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, and Leonardo da Vinci. Chris Rodell [00:04:14]: Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got. Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot. Chris Rodell [00:04:25]: Wouldn't you like to get away? Chris Rodell [00:04:28]: You know the chorus. Sing it with me. Chris Rodell [00:04:31]: Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came. You wanna go where people know. People are Chris Rodell [00:04:46]: all the same. You wanna go where everybody knows your name. In an era of chaste isolation and self quarantine, could there be a more poignant and tuneful lyrical urine than Gary Porte Noise Where Everybody Knows Your Name? The 1982 bar anthem he cowrote with Judy Hartangelo. Cheers still holds up. It's still hilarious. And a big part of its charm will forever be Portnoy's understated yet euphoric theme song, The slender ninety one word diddy that TV Guide editors in 2013 declared The greatest TV theme of all time. Where everybody knows your name is to sitcom theme songs, what John Lennon's imagine is to humanity. It's an aspirational reflection on the flawed yet jubilant communal transactions that take place when, well, a bunch of mostly dysfunctional white people who like to drink and complain get together. Chris Rodell [00:05:32]: And damn if that son of a bitch isn't catchy as hell. I wonder about Portnoy, 63. Ian Hart Angelo also shared writing credit for sitcom theme songs that kicked off mister Belvedere and Punky Brewster. He's released 4 albums, the most recent being songs along the way from 2010. This must be a peculiar kind of fame. Or is it the The, a peculiar kind of obscurity? He's best known for performing what is arguably one of the most popular songs in history. A whopping 84,400,000 viewers watched the May 20, 1993 Cheers finale, double All in the Family finale, and second only to MASH, 105,900,000. And guaranteed most of us at least hummed along with Portnoy. Chris Rodell [00:06:15]: I saw a pre COVID 19 item that listed dates where you could still see Portnoy live. So he's performing where everybody knows your name in places full of people who don't know his. I doubt the songs made him rich, which is a pity because circumstances may lead him to resent it. Portnoy on stage. Any requests? Yeah. Play the theme from Cheers. I just played it. I know. Chris Rodell [00:06:37]: Play it again. Then play it again after that. It's narrow minded of me, I admit, But I'm with the drunk. I could listen to that song over and over. Makes me feel good. Makes me feel welcome. Makes me feel optimistic. You could say it makes me, well, cheerful. Chris Rodell [00:06:52]: I wonder if we'll ever feel comfortable congregating rooms full of strangers on the faithful belief that we're all in a happy place where people go because we intuitively know our troubles are all the same. So cheers to Gary Portnoy. Cheers just wouldn't be the same without you. The poem I wrote for Doc Giffen. He pretends to be a common man, this fellow we're salutin, Unworthy of attention. Not special or highfalutin. But he stands apart from the rest of us. No ands, buts, or ifons. Chris Rodell [00:07:22]: This legendary Tonto. The one, the only Donald Doc Giffen. He came to us from the newspaper biz knocking out stories before the sun rizzed. But soon the PGA beckoned. I'll make my dough there, this Giffin guy reckoned. He barnstormed the country providing stats, facts, and quotes. The sportswriters had had an MVP, Giffin would have gotten the votes. At a time for normalcy, it was not because on the rise was a latrobe born sensation, once in a lifetime talent who would charm the nation. Chris Rodell [00:07:51]: He needed someone trustworthy to respond to all the offers. His men needed to be diplomatic organized to help fill all the coffers. On scheduling details, he'd best be a hawk. But Arnold Palmer didn't need a pit bull. Arnold Palmer needed a dock. His duties soon multiplied, adviser, broker, spokesman. The roles it seemed were to have no end. Perhaps that's why Palmer began to refer to Doc with one tidy title, Doc was Palmer's friend. Chris Rodell [00:08:18]: He became a jetsetter, swank destinations all around the globe. But there's one place he liked even better. The place was right here. The place was Latrobe. It was here he found stability and dispositions Sunny. Found pasta protein. For his tea, he found honey. He enjoyed recreation leisure, made friends by the Tunney. Chris Rodell [00:08:37]: And sweeter than his honey, he found his funny, sunny, oney. He found his darling Sunny, honey, funny, one e. I'm stuck. Can anyone help me think of something snappy that rhymes with his wife's first name, Bernadette? Everybody calls her Bunny. Through decades of faithful service, he became a legend on his own. If you needed something from Palmer, you'd best get Giffen on the phone. He never exacerbated, frightened, or played the alarm. He was cool. Chris Rodell [00:09:04]: He was steady. He was a Palmer calmer. So celebrate Doc Giffen Day. Rejoice and act merrily. A man like our friend comes along only rarely. Wife, grab your husband. Husband, hug your wife Because in latrobe on doc Giffen day, what we're really celebrating is doc Giffen's life. If you enjoy the podcast, we urge you to complete the podcast Road to Success Triathlon of share, rate, and review. Chris Rodell [00:09:31]: Be sure to tell all your friends and urge them to do the same. Thanks Thanks to our friends at Headspace Media in Latrobe for technological expertise and for always being gentle in their criticisms, and thanks to Robindale Energy for their gracious and essential support. Interested in visiting All Trobe in the lovely Laurel Highlands? Start your journey at go Laurel Highlands dotcom, or stop at the The Tin Lizzie just down the street from world famous Late Latrobe Country Club and ask for me. John Jamison [00:09:57]: Learn the fine art of knowing precisely when to quit. Chris Rodell [00:10:02]: Thank you. Yes.

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