Missing at The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

There are stories I remember about my dad and there are stories I remember my dad telling. Today seems like the right day to share a story dad told often.

Dad and his team worked on 18 Academy Awards, including the first stereo broadcast, which is pretty much the audio equivalent of going from black & white to color.

For reasons that have never been entirely clear to me, dad decided to take his toddler son with him to one of the Oscar prep days.

The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion a few days before the Oscars is a study in productive chaos. Crews build sets, lighting and sound teams move heavy equipment, and periodically the work stops for rehearsals.

Soon after we arrived, dad got pulled in a “million different directions,” so he handed me to a PA. A little while later, that PA passed me off to someone else. Soon it became a game of hot potato, and soon after that someone said, “hey Larry, where’s your kid?”

Dad looked around quickly and realized that he did not know where I was.

“Oh shit,” dad said. “Linda is going to kill me.”

But as dad explained later, he wasn’t worried about my safety. He had the venue wired for comms and he had a walkie talkie. He could find his son.

Calls went out over the radio and comms to “find Larry’s kid.” Soon a call came back for Larry to come to one of the dressing rooms.

“There’s Michael sitting on the floor and he’s sharing a donut with Frank Sinatra.”

Dad always beamed when he got to the punchline of this story. But once, as an adult, I asked why he loved telling a story that made him look so irresponsible? I mean it turned out happy and I got to share a donut with a music legend, but who just hands their kid to a PA?

Mom chimed in with an answer.

“Your father does,” she said. “He’s crazy, and if he had lost you I would’ve strangled him.”

I looked over at dad, his smile stretched from ear to ear.

“But I didn’t lose you,” he said. “And you have to admit it’s a pretty cool story.”

It’s true. Dad gave the people he knew and loved many crazy-cool stories. He also (sometimes) gave mom fits. And while he was at it, he helped give the world some spectacular shows.

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