Byron Allen: American Hero
I don’t know about you, but when I get my Sunday Times, I gut that sucker like a fish, extract the Real Estate section and go right to the “Hot Property” column, a.k.a., the celebrity real estate transactions. For me, reading these first thing has become a bit of a Sunday tradition, much like participation in a religious ceremony is for others. Frankie Muniz bought what? You don’t say. Penelope Cruz’s house has bamboo flooring? Well, she does love her Asian influences. Dennis Weaver is still alive and selling his Malibu home? And what will Diane Keaton restore next? These tidbits are well and good, but you can imagine my particular personal glee, when this past Sunday, the featured celebrity was Byron Allen–Fairfax High graduate, American hero.
Oh, Byron Allen, we go way back, back to the days of “Real People” (clearly a progenitor to today’s reality TV) where you held your own alongside Fran Tarkenton. Your easy manner and legendary fondness for sweaters were welcome additions to the jaded comedy scene of the late 80’s. “The Byron Allen Show” never really got a fair shake, and, as we know now, was an innocent victim of the Arsenio backlash. From these modest beginnings, on to the classic “Hangin’ With Byron Allen,” which pioneered the delivery of the 2-minute hotel junket interview, to your current “Entertainers with Byron Allen,” you have gone on to become quite the media mogul. I was taken aback with news that your Los Angeles-based production company is pulling together $2.2 billion to buy television stations around the country. But not entirely surprised, as your mind for business was always second to none.
On “EntertainmentStudios.com,” the predicatble softballs you lob to sub-A-listers to allow them to promote a “Butterfly Effect” or a “Constantine” are pure comfort. The warm cocoon of inane banter bounded by cardboard displays depicting the title of the movie, captured on two cameras, became my own private safe place. But more importantly though, Byron, are the rough late nights you have helped me weather with your delirious tete-a-tetes with the stars. How many times have we been up at 2:00 a.m., drunk, suicidal, in our underwear, only to remove revolvers from our mouths to take a closer listen to Tyra Banks talking to you about her upcoming talk show. I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been there.
I am thrilled to hear that you are purchasing your mother a new home in the Hills, and that this home features fingerprint-recognition technology.