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March 29, 2015 / thackersam

March 29 – So long Butch

Vin Scelsa (2)Last night there were three consecutive posts on the WNEW-FM Fan Club Facebook page passing on the news that legendary radio personality Vin Scelsa had just announced his retirement. One stated that his last day on the air would be May 2nd, another said it would be May 1st, and the third had it at April 30th. I haven’t heard Vin’s voice in many, many years, but there was a time when his presence on the radio was important to me and to my Sunday mornings. I wrote about it, here on this very blog last July 19th. One of my fellow WNEW club members poked fun at me because I had thought the letters from Me and Razoo Kelly were real. Real in the sense that they were actually from listeners and not the creation of Scelsa, which I only learned while writing that article that they apparently were of his hand. Scelsa’s on-air reaction to the letters would lead anyone to believe they were new to him. And yes, I still have the kazoo I won from his show and the typed letter that came with it long, long ago.

I remember when Andy Rooney retired from 60 Minutes. After a long fascinating career as a journalist and as a fixture on the Sunday evening staple, he said of his leaving the show – “Writers don’t retire.” It’s not relevant that he passed away shortly after. He was 92 after all. So at the mere age of 67, I think I can reassure Vin Scelsa’s longtime devotees that he is not retiring, but going on to the next chapter in his life, and rather than saying goodbye to him, it would be more fitting to say “So long. See you later.”

If I would ever get around to taking my scanner out of its box, in which it has been sitting for a year, give or take, I could have shown you the letter on WNEW-FM stationary and signed by Vin. You should know however what I went through to find the kazoo, still in its envelope with the letter folded just as I had gotten it. It was actually only in the third place I looked, but with each peek inside a container, it was like opening a Pandora’s Box, only out rushes a series of memories that I must fend off to continue my search, for which I was triumphant.

The letter reads:

December 12, 1978 [please excuse the noise – that’s the screaming in my head as I realize how long ago that was – twwp]

Dear Kazooperson,

You won! I told you you would win this silly contest. No Billy Joel tickets, no Rolling Stones records, no trips to California – KAZOOS!!

Now you too can play along with the Bayonne Butch-Rockin’ Robin Kazoo Band. Welcome aboard!

Kazoos forever,

Vin Scelsa

Captain Kazoo

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