In 1959 Larry King–born Lawrence Heiger–was a twenty-six year old Disc Jockey working in Miami. His first broadcast was on May 1, 1957, working as the disc jockey from 9 a.m. to noon. (He also did two afternoon newscasts and a sportscast, for which he was paid $50 a week). King has long been considered one of the luckiest guys in show-biz—like him or loathe him one thing we can all agree upon was that he went a very long way with only a minimal talent at best. As his considerable luck would have it, Hollywood came to Florida in late 1959 to shoot a syndicated television series called ‘Miami Confidential’.  The show, which starred Lee Bowman and Rocky Graziano (believe it or not) trafficked in hot crime topics of the day and in November of ’59 nothing was hotter than the Payola Scandal that was then shaking the radio and records industry. (Disc jockey’s were accused of accepting pay for playing records, with the great Alan Freed ultimately becoming the scapegoat for the entire fiasco). Seeking to capitalize on the public’s fascination with Payola, an episode of ‘Miami Confidential’ was devoted to the dirty practice of Payola. This meant they needed to cast local talent as disc jockeys. And somehow the young, ambitious and hungry-for-fame Larry King wound up cast in the episode. Above is his big scene. He looks exactly the same as he did fifty years later and, frankly, is a much more interesting actor than he was an interviewer. Though the show was shot in ’59 it didn’t air until 1961 due to limited time slots for syndicated series and an excess of shows that featured private investigators. From a look at the episode titles my guess is that this is either ‘Cha Cha Caper’ or ‘Demise Of An Artist’. If it’s the latter, is King the ‘artist of record?’ (Har). Until the thirty-plus episodes of the show are unearthed from whatever moldering vault they’re stored in I’m afraid we won’t know…though somehow I wouldn’t be surprised if he was.


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