Klein’s Korner: July 2018 Part 2 – Remembering Dan Ingram – Recently, one of the most important people of my younger years passed away. The legendary Dan Ingram left us on June 24th. If you know me, one of the several threads of my life is now forever missing one of the key voices. I, like many of my contemporaries grew up listening to the radio as our way of learning about new music and listening to the human voice of the person bringing us said music.
In New York, we were especially blessed during the 1960’s and 70’s with some of the greatest ever to be seated behind a mic. Several of them are still on the radio, whether it’s Sirius XM or commercial radio stations in both New York and other places around the country but to a person they would almost all tell you “Big Dan“ was the one they all respected and wanted to be. To show how much I like listening to Big Dan, I was, just about to listen to a brilliant 6-hour program titled the “Life and Times of Dan Ingram“. Just to hear his bits, even without the whole song is still a special treat. If you listened to him you always adapted certain things he said as your way of discussing music.
During the program, he even talked about one of his mottos. You see, Dan talked back to some of the people on the radio commercials but he stressed he never made fun of any product. He understood the advertisements were paying his salary and it is acceptable to tease and talk back to the characters but never make fun of who was actually paying the bills. A good lesson for us in the card business, we can be honest and fair with the card companies but to accuse any of them of malfeasance is a bit much. I like to point out I did box reviews for nearly seven years and only twice in those seven years I did not receive what was promised in the box. To me, the only responsibility of the card company is to deliver on what was promised but we all have to understand not every box will contain a Mike Trout autograph nor a one-of-one of Juan Soto or whomever the hot player of the day is. As long as I get what was supposed to come out of the box. I’m satisfied.
Now, I’m far from perfect and we had a situation at my last two-day show where one of the vendors sold a box which the customer could not find the promised autograph. When the customer emailed me about the situation, I remembered who was selling those boxes and sent him an email immediately. The dealer sent a prompt reply and said: “just remind me the next time I see you and I’ll give you the money back and you can keep whatever you pulled from the box“. The dealer understood that reputation was extremely important to his brand just as Big Dan understood his personal brand.
Here Dan is pictured with Ron Lundy who preceded him each day at WABC for nearly 17 years.
More importantly what Big Dan brought us was a shared experience. Before 1973, automobiles were not required to have FM radios so the only way you could have noise in the car was to have the AM stations playing. I know, hard to imagine a day where we only had 3 television stations and a limited number of radio stations. We all read the newspaper and basically all knew the same everything. Now today. the world is far different and we have a lot more than one base set for a year and we can probably lose count of how many insert and parallel sets are in some typical Panini product. I kid about Panini because I’ve actually asked Panini reps about this and their serious answer is their customers love having that many different versions of each card. I will say when you open a Panini box and there is an insert, parallel or other hit in each pack you end up feeling pretty good about what you opened because even if you don’t get a Kevin Durant autograph you do get plenty of fun cards to play with.
But back to Big Dan. we can never replace him and the hurt is permanent for those who loved listening to him and his acerbic but gentle wit. Just as we can never replace any of our other heroes from our younger as they leave us. When Tony Gwynn, who is approximately my age, died of a needless cancer at such as a young age one of the great baseball personages left us. Here is the funny commercial he did with Bip Roberts:
I was fortunate enough because one of my college friends was a producer for the WPLJ talk shows and we got to go to WABC on several occasions and I was tongue-tied whenever I met Big Dan. They were all nice people at WABC but I understood even as a teenager just how great Dan was.
Dan, we’ll miss you!