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Now, some 50 years after his first radio gig, Blavat puts it all in perspective in this uniquely American tale of a “little cockroach kid” borne out of the immigrant experience who lived the American Dream.
“This soulful memoir by a “little cockroach kid from South Philadelphia” offers readers an insider’s view into the golden era of rock and roll and pop music and entertainment.”
Publishers Weekly, 7/15/11
“Writing a narrative that teems with zest and hipness, Blavat invites readers to accompany him on the inside track through the early days of doo wop and R&B to his national stature as an influential figure on the pop scene…This soulful memoir…offers readers an insider’s view into the golden era of rock and roll and pop music and entertainment.”
Philadelphia Daily News
"Trust us, it's a page turner...chock-full of family drama, music, business dirt, celebrity encounters, mob connections an even some juicy sex."
Peter Thornell, Hingham P.L., MA, Library Journal
“Although people always remember the music of their youth, they often forget who introduced them to it. For those who grew up in the Philadelphia area, chances are they heard the hits of the 1960s–70s because of Blavat, "The Geator with the Heator." Disc jockey, television personality, and all around musical entrepreneur, Blavat became a pioneer in the oldies radio format after starting out in the early days of Bandstand in Philadelphia. His experiences as a radio personality, nightclub owner, and friend of the local Mafia make his memoir a treasure trove of anecdotes featuring the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Frankie Valli, and others.
Verdict The writing is conversational and engaging if not exceptional…"
Bill Heller, New York Post
Required Reading….A fascinating look at a fascinating life.”
A longtime disk jockey spins a stack of memories about rock, the mob and surviving the music business.
Blavat spent the '60s crafting a fast-talking, larger-than-life radio persona that attracted hordes of teens to the record hops he hosted around Philadelphia. A sworn enemy of bubblegum and pop, he nicknamed himself the "Geator"—a portmanteau of "alligator" and "heater"—and assembled playlists stuffed with pugnacious rock 'n' roll. (He once played the Beatles on air just to field angry phone calls, showing a friend how much he'd encouraged his fans to dislike them.) Experienced, successful and now apparently eager to boast a little, Blavat spends the early chapters of his debut memoir tracking his rise from hardscrabble Jewish-Italian stock and how music provided a way out. He became a star dancer on the American Bandstand, a local program before Dick Clark took it national; before he was out of his teens, he'd road-managed Danny and the Juniors and launched his DJ career. Fame got him plenty of attention, both in the music industry and with women—Blavat's not shy about cataloging his sexual conquests. The author's equally interested in paying homage to the A-listers he hung out with, and the book is larded with genial remembrances of Frank Sinatra, Joan Crawford and Sammy Davis Jr. In the '80s and '90s, Blavat's acquaintances with mob types attracted the scrutiny of investigators; he was never charged with a crime, but he is compelled to clear his name regardless. That candor is admirable, but his narcissism, combined with his generally plodding prose style, saps much of the youthful energy of the early chapters.
Blavat has an excellent perspective on four decades of the music industry, though his remembrances too often drift into self-hagiography.
Foreword Dick Clark 13
1 Trouble on the Home Front: Louis the Gimp 17
2 Lifeline: Radio and TV 21
3 The Bandstand Years: Local Celebrity 35
4 The Street Was My Classroom 55
5 Road Managing: Danny and the Juniors 76
6 Breaking in as a Disc Jockey 101
7 The TV Years 167
8 Pied Piper: Going National 186
9 The Lean Years: Memories in Margate 223
10 Loyalty 265
11 Trouble with the Law 271
12 Beyond Teens 310
Posted October 3, 2011
Am not sure if this email will reach Jerry, had his email addy but lost it and others when I ...washed..my smartphone. Am Charles, the trainer at the Marriott in Ft Lauderdale..read Jerry's book and through it relived many of my teen years in the Wilmington-Philadelphia area back in the 50's and 60's. Just amazing having listened to many of those broadcasts and now finding out what actually happened behind the scenes...plus, after living and working in Philly for 40 years, the locations mentioned in the book jumped out at me...was like going back home to the good old days when life seemed so simple. The pics in the book of Jerry's early years and the celebs he came in contact with were riveting; life long idols brought to life! What a great story from a legend....I hope this message gets to Jerry
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Posted December 31, 2012
Bought reluctantly but it is fun to read about people and places you recognize. Blavat, in his own words, is a major mover and shaker. My late uncle, a retired Philly homocide detective, recalled to us that Jerry had once been on aMob hit list for talking too much about things that should have been left unsaid. A friend had the contract cancelled. Fabrication and exaggeration abound. But if you read with a grain or two of salt, it is a pleasent way to pass a couple of hours.
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Posted May 18, 2012
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Posted August 22, 2011
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