Dan Aron On Musicradio77 WABC Salesman Larry Wynn
By Scott Benjamin
Dan Aron said that “the story was in 1968 or ‘69 that there was a meeting where they listed the top 10 wage-earners at ABC Inc. and Larry Wynn was number nine.”
“Leonard Goldenson [the chairman of the board] asked, ‘Who is Larry Wynn?’ ” Dan added. “When he was told that he sold time for WABC radio, Leonard immediately cut the sales commissions from seven to six percent.”
“The station was becoming so popular at that time that the rates were going up and we didn’t lose that much money,” recalled Dan, who was a salesman at WABC from 1966 until October 1970 and now owns and operates No Soap Productions in New York City, which produces radio commercials.
Linda Meilan, a former longtime program and sales staff member at WABC, said in a September 2006 phone interview with Musicradio77.com that management’s “logic was crazy” since they should have had Larry teach other account executives how to improve their sales.
However, Dan Aron said, “You couldn’t train somebody to be as good as Larry Wynn.”
“He was flamboyant,” he said. “He could sell you the shirt off your back.”
Although Larry became a legend within the sales department at WABC, The New York Times described him in an October 1999 obituary as the lyricist for “Five Guys Named Moe,” which was recorded for Decca by Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five and later became a hit Broadway play.
The newspaper reported that Larry, who died at age 89, “once said that six decades ago he had listened to a group of musicians whose names he could not recall so he referred to them as five guys named Moe,” and then decided that, ‘That’s a title begging for a song.’ “
Dan said that at one time Larry had a daily show on WMCA in New York City during which he played a ukulele.
“He was very personable,” he said of his interaction with Larry. “However, he didn’t take crap from anybody.”
“There were sales managers over Larry, but they didn’t tell him what to do,” Dan said.
‘He was about money,” he said. ‘He was very protective of his turf,” Dan said in a July 15, 2008 phone interview.
He said Larry - who handled some of the larger accounts, such as Cover Girl and Noxema - understood the value of maintaining long-term relations with advertisers, but that he sometimes took a hard line.
“His position was that WABC was a strong leader in the market and if you didn’t come there with your advertising, you were making a mistake,” Dan said.
“I remember he was on the phone one day and he told someone, don’t make that kind of commitment for Noxema,” he said. “Don’t call me back until you have a real order.”
Larry also had the account for Dennison, the men’s clothier on Route 22 in Union, N.J., which sponsored the all-night show with Charlie Greer, and later, Jay Reynolds, who each read six live commercials for the store every hour.
Former Musicradio77 WABC air personality Les Marshak said in a 2006 phone interview with Musicradio77.com that Max Strelsin, who lived in a high rise apartment building on 57th Street, wrote the commercials, which, as Les said, “didn’t make literal sense” at times.
Musicradio77.com has stated that they were “specifically written in iambic pentameter. . . just like Shakespeare.”
The commercials became part of the New York City radio lore. To this day, Musicradio77 WABC fans think of Dennison whenever they discuss Charlie Greer, who began doing the commercials in 1966.
Among other things, Larry Wynn is known for being the salesman responsible for the Dennison commercials that were read live on the all-night show with Charlie Greer and then Jay Reynolds from the mid-1960’s to the early 1970’s on Musicradio77 WABC.
Here is the script of a Dennison spot that Musicradio77 late-night air personality Chuck Leonard read while substituting for Charlie Greer on the all-night show on Friday, Dec. 27, 1968.
Dennison, the men’s clothier, Route 22, Union, N.J., says: Did you ever borrow jack that you couldn’t pay back?
Not that you wouldn’t, you just couldn’t.
You didn’t have the jack to pay it back.
You don’t believe it, but that was a fact. Fact or no fact, I can prove it. It was the jack I liked that made me go to hock what I got, and that was a lot.
But that was a little. So I told the guy that’s too little to get for a big fiddle.
I say, “Hey, guy.” And he said, “Big fiddle or little fiddle, it makes no difference to me, guy. You won’t get any more with your big or little fiddle, even if it had strings in the middle.”
So folk, let’s cut out the jokes and string along with me.
Just listen to the song of WABC to keep awake so you don’t drive into the lake for goodness sake.
You get down to my men’s store to take a coffee break with coffee from Peru that takes like stew.
And the workout you get from my college dropout crew who needs your dough but doesn’t need you, only to see you in a suit or two.
So you better know, we’ll like you, but we’ll like your dough more. Just bring it, we’ll ring it to fill the till; and that’s the till that’s nil.
Famous brands of men’s apparel are yours.
How much? What you got. Whether it’s a little or a lot, money will talk and you won’t walk at Dennison Clothes, Route 22, Union, N.J., open from 10 a.m. until 5 the next morning.
Recognized charge plans accepted. They’re open now.
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