The Dick Summer Connection – 2007 #1

An old friend called it a career and moved to Florida a few weeks ago. I guess the word “friend” is a little out of line. WNEW radio was “my station” while I was growing up in Brooklyn. Working there was a childhood fantasy that came true. I got to do morning drive on WNEW-FM, and then overnights and weekends on WNEW-AM, but they never got around to including me in their list of “alumni.” Just ego I guess, but I have to admit that hurts. Guess it’s because, as I said, it was a childhood fantasy actually working with Gene Klavan, Dee Finch, William B. Williams, Allison Steele, Jazzbeaux Collins, Rosco, Scott Muni, Jon Schwartz, Pat St. John, John Zacherle, and Teddy Brown, and it would be kind of nice to be included with them in what passes for radio history. I know I was there…honest. I have pictures and an air check to prove it, and even more important, I’ve met and even become friends with some of the people who used to listen to me in those days.WNEW could only have been born in New York City…Skyscraper National Park. It was the sound of New York while I was growing up, and while I worked there…even though it didn’t have WABC’s ratings. But like so many tired New Yorkers, WNEW just gave up and moved to Florida when the time came to chuck it all and retire a few weeks ago. One of the reasons I’m so sad to see that happen is because WNEW and WNEW-FM represented all the best of both the “Standards” and the “Classic Rock” forms of the kind of genuine personality radio I’ve always loved. And love dies hard. The music was very different. Sinatra, Bennett and Basie were regular guests on the AM, and Lennon, Clapton and Jagger hung out at the FM side. But the guys on the air on both AM and FM all had pretty much the same warm, confident, and quietly passionate sound. It was New York. It’s not anymore. All the guys are gone. Only the call letters remain…living out their last days in retirement in some Florida swamp. And that makes me sad.

Trying to be honest about it, I guess WNEW’s passing makes me realize how fast the years are going by, and I don’t want to get old. I’m just not going to do it. And I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to do it either. Proud PodProgram Participant Jim King says, “Inside every old guy, there’s a young guy who wonders what happened.” When I was a very young guy, I met Tinkerbell in a book called “Peter Pan”…and I fell helplessly in love with her. I knew it wasn’t going to work, because she was in love with Peter, even though she knew there wasn’t anything in it for her. She was a fairy and he was a human. No three bedrooms with a white picket fence around it in a set up like that. And besides that, he didn’t really care about her. All he wanted from her was her magic fairy dust so he could keep flying and stay young. Like lots of guys, he was an immature jerk. But she loved him anyway…even though there wasn’t anything in it for her. Nothing. That’s love. Real love. What Tinkerbell did for Peter is a lot like what my lady Wonder Wench did for me…when there wasn’t anything in it for her. I’ll tell you about that another time.

Magic lives. Not the pull the rabbit out of the hat kind. That’s not magic, that’s just a good trick. I’m talking about Tinkerbell’s kind of magic. Here’s how you can tell the difference: Trick magic you have to see to believe. Real magic, Tinkerbell’s kind, you have to believe first, before you get to see it. Trick magic is great fun. Real magic keeps you young…and makes you able to fly.

The book said that if we want to keep Tinkerbell alive, we’ve got to believe in her. And we need to let her know we believe by clapping our hands for her. I think the longer we’re around, the more we’d better clap our hands for Tink if we don’t want to get old and crumbly.

When you think about it, we all need someone to clap hands for us, to let us know that someone believes in us. What do you do at a concert, or a play, or a ball game ? You applaud the performer to let him know you think he’s magic, and wonderful…to let him know you believe in him. If you didn’t applaud, in no time at all Mick Jagger and Tony Bennett, and Pedro Martinez would become just another bunch of worn out old men dressed up in funny clothes.

I’m going to work on a new story “Personal Audio” cd. It’s going to be about people like me. I can still swing a pretty good softball bat, but these days I’m playing first base instead of center field. I’m a few weeks past springtime, and there’s nothing I can do about that…except keep believing in magic… keep clapping for Tinkerbell.

So the working title for my new album is, “Keep Clapping for Tinkerbell.” You can hear a couple of cuts from it by clicking here for the current PodProgram. (It’s free.) I need your help. I need you to tell me if that title makes sense to you, and if you’d be interested in hearing some short stories about people like me and the kind of loving and magic I’m determined to keep going in my life. I also need to know if your friends would be interested. I would be very grateful if you’d send me an email (  ) and let me know. If you like, add your snail mail address, and when/if I get the album done, I’ll send you a free copy as a “Thanks for helping” gift.

DICK’S DETAILS QUIZ – (Click here for the answers which are all in the current PodProgram.)

1- Why did I say a horse named “Upset” was so good with “de-feet.”

2- What movie star’s picture was used as the model for Tinkerbell in the Peter Pan movie.

3- What does famous tenor Pavarotti keep in his pocket to help hit the high notes.

Scoring: Three right – You’re flying. Two right, you’re safe from Capt. Hook. One right, Wendy won’t date you. Zero right…crumble, crumble, crumble.

So, what have we learned: Guess it’s about time I got to work on a new cd. I really need your help, because the title I’d like to use is “Keep Clapping Hands For Tinkerbell” and I’m not sure anybody will understand what I’m talking about. So I’d really appreciate it if you’d drop me a note at and let me know what you think. And before you become the young guy inside some old guy’s body “wondering what happened”… if you start seriously considering giving up and going to retire in some Florida swamp like WNEW… just remember to clap your hands for Tinkerbell. You will automatically be issued your minimum adult daily requirement of magic, love and fairy dust.


7 Responses to “The Dick Summer Connection – 2007 #1”

  1. Annon says:

    Sounds like a good new album idea to me. I like Bedtime Stories because it’s about grown ups.

  2. Jim says:

    Hi Dick,

    Just listened to your latest entry, “Keep Clapping Hands For Tinkerbelle.” Very good; I love your unique voice, ideas, background music chosen. Excellent stuff! You are most creative, sir.
    Yes, I fully endorse your idea for a CD which encompasses the thoughts and realities which ARE the lives of us “old folks!” DO IT!!!

  3. Bob Conklin says:

    I am sitting here reading your blog as I listen to your podcast…YES I love your new CD. The story you placed on your podcast, the untitled one,
    should be titled (IMHO)…”Not too old for a second chance”. No matter what, even those whose life has come to the end of one love at any age can get that second chance. At this time in my life I am a week or so past spring. (just had my birthday on the 4th.) One shy of 50, not too old but a few weeks past spring!
    I would suggest the CD be titled “Keep clapping for Tink!” Those of us, a few weeks past spring, will know what it means.
    Cheers my friend!
    A moment of silence for a parting of another great real radio station WNEW, may she rest in peace.


  4. Robert says:

    Yeah. “you don’t stop making love because you’re middle aged, you get to be middle aged because you stop making love.” Go for it. Robert

  5. Brian says:

    Regarding your latest podcast:
    (1) I think if you use the title “Keep Clapping Hands For Tinkerbell” it would really be a mouthful and could turn some people off as a result. What if you shorten it to “Clapping For Tinkerbell”?
    (2) I would be interested in a CD like this, although I know my friends would be split down the middle. To “get” what you do, people have to be in touch with their emotions and as you know, not everyone is.
    (3) As for the second segment you played that you have no name for, what about “Second Chances, Second Doubts”? Again, just a thought.

  6. Linda says:

    Than you so much for your podcasts and CD’s I always look forward to
    > finding a new podcast ready to download to my ipod. I think I am having a
    > pavlovian reflex to your voice when you start to “tuck me in” it sends me
    > gently into the land of nod. I often have to listen twice as miss the end
    > of the story as I have gone. zzzzzzzzzzzz
    > I have fibromyalgia so often sleep poorly or am awake in the night so
    > having your stories and your gentle voice to listen to has been a god-send
    > and I thank you.
    > I love the new story line I have just had my fiftieth birthday and
    > although my kids think hey you are parents you don’t do that kind of thing
    > , little do they know…
    > I quite like the title of clap hands for tinkerbell because it make me
    > think that not only are you never to old to believe in fairies yoiu are
    > never to old to believe in fairy stories. The kind of stoires that you
    > tell so well.
    > If you are making a new CD just one thing you have a long note starting
    > the beginnig of some of your shorter tracks- As a fibromite who is
    > sensitive to sounds this is actually quite painful for me to listen to now
    > I know that probably doesn’t affect too many of your listeners but just
    > thought I would mention it.
    > Will look forward to a whole new album as soon as you can- no pressure lol

  7. Jim King says:

    One thing I would like to hear is more subject matter on guys as they age, get to the Old Goats era which many of us are approaching. Of course, that includes more than women (though nothing wrong with including them!!). Our (mens’) fears, hopes, our reflecting back upon our lives, what may have been, should have been, could have been. The friends we’ve had, experiences, places we’ve been.