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farm expert

Al Lohman

Al Lohman (January 15 1933, Sergeant Bluff, IowaOctober 14 2002, Rancho Mirage, California) was a Los Angeles, California radio personality who, along with Roger Barkley, had the top-rated morning drive The Lohman and Barkley Show on KFI Los Angeles through most of the 1970s and early 1980s. Their fame extended beyond the Los Angeles area as the duo were frequent guests on the "Ed Sullivan Show" and were hosts of two short-lived television shows. The first was a 1969 game show, "Lohman & Barkley's Name Droppers" while the second was a comedy/variety show from 1979 called "Bedtime Stories."

The "cast of characters"

Audiences tuned in by the thousands to hear Lohman's quick wit and vast array of character voices play against Barkley's straight man routine. Among Lohman’s characters were the obsequious con-man and alleged farm expert “Maynard Farmer,” whose toadying “That there’s the finest (whatever) that I’ve ever seen there, sir” won him numerous undeserved rewards; “Otis Elevator”, a good-natured handyman; "Judge Roy Bean," a hanging judge, former big band leader and supposed ex-member of the Bee Gees; and human interest reporter “Ted J. Baloney” and his wife “W. Eva Schneider-Baloney”, the poetry lady who seemed never to have any poetry, who supposedly drove to the Wilshire Boulevard studio each morning on Ted’s tractor (and later, a fire engine with W. clinging precariously to the back) from their home in a tree house in Brawley, a real town in Imperial County, nearly two hundred miles (320 km) away. These characters and others were also regular occurrences in a segment called "Light Of My Life," a spoof of daytime soap operas.

One character had a more lasting impact than the others. "Dominic Longo" was the real name of one of the show's sponsors, the owner of a fledgling Toyota dealership in nearby El Monte. The commercials for the dealership were live, mostly ad-libbed and might run as long as two minutes. Roger Barkley "interviewed" Lohman's Mafioso-sounding Longo in the commercials. Dominic Longo didn't simply "wheel and deal." Instead, he "whelt and dealt like no one ever whelt and dealt before." Longo also didn't habla español. He "hobbled spaniels," and so on. The commercials were an incredible success and played a huge part in helping make Longo Toyota the nation's largest Toyota dealer.

Among the more outrageous spoofs given its subject matter was a series of recurring commercials for the fictitious "Doc in the Box" medical group with their promise of "drive-thru vasectomies." The name in turn was a spoof of the American fast food chain, Jack in the Box.

The unexpected split and post-radio contributions

In 1986, Roger Barkley suddenly and unexpectedly quit the duo after twenty-two years, much to Lohman's shock and surprise. Barkley left KFI for a solo stint at KBIG-FM and later teamed with Ken Minyard on talk radio KABC as co-host of the morning drive show "The Ken and Barkley Company," a play on the station's call letters. Lohman and Barkley never spoke again after that. Lohman stayed at KFI and teamed for a while with Gary Owens, a legendary Los Angeles personality best known as the wisecracking announcer on the Laugh-In television show.

In the early 1990s, Lohman semi-retired to Palm Springs where he hosted a morning show on easy listening KPLM-FM. Upon the station's move to a contemporary country music format, Lohman moved his morning show to KCMJ-AM, Palm Springs' oldest radio station.

Lohman also appeared in film and was credited as simply "Lohman" for his parts as a film critic in the 1987 comedy Amazon Women on the Moon (Roger Barkley played alongside him and was credited as "Barkley") and the narrator of the 1988 comedy, Spies, Lies & Naked Thighs.

On October 28, 1999, Lohman appeared as part of an all-star panel of Los Angeles radio legends at the Museum of Television and Radio in Beverly Hills, CA. At the beginning of the event, recorded bits from each personality's past was played to introduce them. When Lohman was introduced, a segment of the Lohman and Barkley show called "Seven Second Delay" was played. After Lohman was brought on stage, he stated: "When you were playing the clips, that hit me, what a talented group of talented people I'm associated with. And including, in all fairness, I re-realized what an outstanding straight man Roger Barkley was" (Barkley had died two years prior). The house erupted into applause.

Al Lohman died October 14, 2002 at age 69 of complications from bladder cancer. Bandleader Ray Conniff died at about the same time, and while Conniff's obituary in the Los Angeles Times rated an entire column, Lohman's took up nearly three pages.

His partnership with Roger Barkley earned Lohman a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the only Palm Springs radio personality so honored.

Discography

  • Light Of My Life Volume One - The Breath of Dr. Duncan & Doc In The Box (LP and Cassette)
  • Light Of My Life Volume Two - The Arrest Of Dr. Duncan & Mouse In The Hole (LP and Cassette)

External links

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