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Bruce Belland—The Four Preps Newsletter

Jeopardy – A Great Summer Read –
Guess Who? – Breaking News!

June 26, 2024

Hi Guys!
Well, spring sprung and then split.
Now summer’s here and I still haven’t regained my svelte bikini body—back on the treadmill.
Fun memories keep coming my way. Here’s a new one. It’s no biggie but kind of a kick.
As some of you know, my checkered career includes a stint as a programming executive with NBC.
My third book will be about the bizarre world of Daytime television in the 70’s. It’s called THE LIVES OF OUR DAYS and is chock full of adventures that are… well, as I said—BIZARRE.
(The subtitle: Game Shows, Soaps, Divas and Dopes sort of captures its essence.)
One of my responsibilities at the network was grooming new game show hosts, including Chuck Woolery a handsome country singer from Kentucky who’s set to host a new show we’re putting together called “Wheel of Fortune.”
(Lots about “Wheel,” its nearly-disastrous pilot, and Chuck in Book #3.)
And then came a dashing young man from Canada named Alex Trebek, whose first time at bat is a short-lived game show called Wizard of Odds.
That show—produced by future sitcom star Alan Thicke—doesn’t last long. But we all know Alex is destined for a huge career once we find the right vehicle for his unique combination of charm and intelligence.
Soon along comes Merv Griffin with Jeopardy and the die is cast for Alex’s long and esteemed career as its host.
(Lots about Alex—and his mustache—and Merv in Book #2 )
I’m a whacko nut for Jeopardy. I sometimes watch old shows over again late into the wee small hours.
I guess about 10% of the answers, but I’ve always loved a show that makes you feel smarter after watching it (or dumber?!). And my long connection with Alex enhances it all.
So, forget gold records or breaking the sound barrier. To me, a peak experience would be getting mentioned in a question on Jep.’
I was told that happened a few years ago, but I somehow never saw that particular episode.
Until the other day when a friend calls to tell me he’s unearthed a copy of the show on which a Four Preps song is quoted … and I finally get my wish—being referred to on my favorite show!
Here it is...

Okay. I know what you’re thinking, and I admit it’s a pretty oblique reference to The Four Preps... all right—it’s really oblique!
Sheesh! They could have said “Four Preps hit” instead of “old song.” And it’s only about eight seconds long!
What a letdown.
But then it hits me… Jeopardy actually quoted—and Alex Trebek voiced—a phrase I created when I was in high school 70 years ago.
I’ll take it.
But here’s a bummer—No one guessed the answer!
Where have they been living—Mars?!
But I soon get a pick-up from the letdown.
My marketing and art director is a whizbang genius at putting together eye-catching promo pieces for ICONS.
We’re mounting a second phase promotional campaign and here’s his latest...

A message from Bruce:

The Four Preps have always been closely identified with summer and the beach lifestyle. Of course, it started with “26 Miles” – which in fact, I began writing on the beach in the Summer of 1954(!).

Then came our first LP with a cover that reinforced that reputation.

Next, we followed “26 Miles” and “Big Man” with our third hit “Lazy Summer Night.”

And topped that off by starring in “Gidget” — the first surfer movie.

So cheap, exploitative whore that I am, it occurred to me that my book makes a great summer read.

Some people have been saying nice things about it.

“so colorfully told — a pure joy to read.”
~ Nancy Sinatra

“Rich experiences with the Preps riding the crest!”
~ Pat Boone

“Great stories from a master storyteller.”
~ Jim Yester — The Association

“The Preps lent a charge of inspiration to the material Brian (Wilson) was developing.”
~ Timothy White — The Nearest Faraway Place

“An extraordinary first-person account. An essential read that is worth revisiting again and again.”
BLITZ — The Rock and Roll Magazine For Thinking People

Read the full BLITZ review

Read the Amazon reviews

Set against the backdrop of vintage Hollywood in the fab 50’s, Bruce’s colorful memoir recounts adventures with greats from Ozzie & Harriet, to Elvis, Sinatra to The Beatles, George Burns to the Beach Boys, as four pals from Hollywood High get dropped into the fast lane of Pop music stardom while still in their teens. Riveting tales one reviewer called, “... wild ribald, at times poignant and always hugely entertaining.”

Buy Icons, Idols and Idiots of Hollywood —
My Adventures in America's First Boy Band

 About the Author

BRUCE BELLAND is a multi-Emmy nominated Entertainer, Singer, Songwriter, Recording & Concert Artist, Screenwriter, Director, former NBC Programming Executive, Public Speaker, Playwright, Producer, Voiceover Artist and Radio Host. He attended Hollywood High School and UCLA with a major in English. Bruce and his wife, Simone Alexander, a prominent fashion designer now on the faculty of Fashion Institute of Design in Los Angeles, live in Woodland Hills, California with their dog “Murphy.” ICONS, IDOLS and IDIOTS is his first book.

“It’s safe to say that anyone who’s ever sung along with the radio, watched television, attended a concert, or enjoyed a movie has, at some time, been touched by his talent.”
Los Angeles Herald Examiner

Pretty cool huh?! Or as we said back in the 50’s: “Totally bitchin’!”
Now I’ll swallow my pride and get down on my knees—or is it “get down on my knees and swallow my pride”…? whatever.
ICONS, IDOLS and IDIOTS of HOLLYWOOD is a great Summer read… don’cha think?!
Got any relatives or friends (or even enemies) you think might enjoy my story this Summer? Give ‘em a copy! (It’s on Amazon.)  Or at least, give ‘em a call or an email and pitch the boy singer’s saga. Maybe forward this promo piece to ‘em!
C’mon! The kids need milk.
Now to serious business—our up-coming “I.D. the Celebrity” contest.
Any reader who correctly identifies all 26 celebs will win:

  • A HARDCOVER, personally-inscribed ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) of FAMOUS FRIENDS.
  • Any three Collector-quality vintage VINYL FOUR PREPS LPs—or CDs.
  • A framed and autographed copy of the sheet music for “26 Miles.”

Here’s one more “teaser” sample of what to expect...

Clue: 1959. Backstage Honolulu Civic with two country rock pioneers who share the same last name.
I honestly have no idea how difficult this one may be or how many of you are gonna play along.
But for those who have enthusiastically responded to the contest idea (thank you!), stand by ‘cause there’s a lot more coming your way next time.
ANSWER: Please scroll down to the bottom of this newsletter (below the caricature of me) to see the answer to this one.
Well that’s it for now. Thanks for taking time to check out what I had to say.
I once heard a wonderful quotation: “Sometimes the kindest thing you can do is listen to an old person reminisce.”
Yep. And I appreciate it. And you know something? I really don’t mind being called an “oldie”—as long as I’m also called a “goodie.”
Until next time, take good care of yourself and each other.

I just confirmed my participation in the up-coming Coronado Film Festival screening of Gidget on Friday night, July 12th on the beach at the legendary Hotel Coronado in San Diego.
If any of you in the area would like to attend here’s how to get details.

Click Here for Coronado Island Filme Festival Info

Entertainer, Singer, Songwriter, Recording & Concert Artist, Screenwriter, Actor, Director, Public Speaker, Playwright, Producer, Voiceover Performer, Radio Host, Humorist, Author.

ANSWER: It’s Don and Phil—The Everly Brothers. Two soulful, highly-charged, sometimes whacky guys.

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