If you knew me in high school, you knew that I wasn’t the most “motivated” of students. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life until my second semester senior year, which is cutting it kind of close.
During that semester my high school started a new and “innovative” class for the emerging new technology called cable TV(I know it was a long time ago). The class was called Giants in Action, it gave students a hands on opportunity to make their own weekly TV news cast, I was hooked.
At the time like many people in Chicago, I was a fan of WLS-AM and Animal Stories with “Uncle” Larry Lujak and “Little” Tommy Edwards, listening to them talk about various mishaps and accidents down on the farm was one of my favorite things to do.
With that in mind, I decided to make my final project an interview with Uncle Larry and Little Tommy. The problem was I had no idea how to reach either of them and if I failed to complete the project, I would fail the class, not graduate and end up a broke ass writer in his pajamas….wait???
Anyway, I spent the entire semester trying to make contact with the dynamic duo and never heard back. My teacher, kept putting the pressure on me to do something else, but I stayed focused on the “prize,” getting to meet Larry Lujak and Tommy Edwards.
With three weeks left in the semester, I finally got a call, it was Larry Lujack on the other end of the phone inviting me to come and do the interview! “Kid you are a persistent little SOB, you’re going to be the next Fahey Flynn if you keep this up.”
Larry Lujack called my house! I was more than likely going to graduate and he said I was like Fahey Flynn, I had lived a full life.
When the day came and we got to the studio, Uncle Larry was sick and looked like hell, he couldn’t do the interview(he may have been hung over?), Little Tommy did and they both took the time to show us around, give us free t-shirts and sign a bunch of stuff.
I got my interview, got an A in the class, graduated and went off to college, where I used my interview as an entry to a senior level TV production class, which got me an internship after my freshman year and 28 short years later, I have been working in the television ever since.
I doubt either remembers that day, but it is something I will never forget. Celebrities took 15 minutes out of their lives to share a little kindness and it guided the rest of my life.
With the loss of Lujack, another Chicago icon is gone, but to those of us who were lucky enough to hear him on the radio, we will never forget.
Now one last time, Animal Stories.
Rest in Peace "Uncle Larry."