This Gun’s for Hire

September 23rd, 2009

You may not recall what you were doing exactly 25 years ago tonight…but I remember where I was. At the time, I produced shows for a cable sports channel. That was shortly after MTV debuted, so my co-producer and I decided to take advantage of our access to technology and record music videos for about a month, then throw a party at my apartment complex for our friends to watch them.

A week before the big event, with the help of our director and engineer, we entered the studio after hours and recorded segments to introduce the videos. As amateur versions of J.J. Jackson and Mark Goodman, we named our program “Me and Lee TV.” Once the party rolled around, we were quite surprised – first by the number of people crammed into such a small place, and second that whenever the videos played folks would be loudly socializing…yet as soon as the two of us appeared on the gigantic 24″ screen everyone would run over and listen in silence to our improvisational comedy routine.

The reason I know the date – September 23, 1984 – is because the apogee of our production was the ‘world premiere’ of Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark – and it happened to be in celebration of his 35th birthday. The Boss turned 60 today, which means most of the people at that party soon are hitting 50. While I’m amazed at how fast the years flew, today my thoughts are about lifelong friends who are always just a phone call, e-mail or reunion away, specifically Lee, Chris, Mark and Paul…

Once we made a promise we swore we’d always remember
No retreat, baby, no surrender
Blood brothers in a stormy night
With a vow to defend
No retreat, baby, no surrender

© Bruce Springsteen 1984

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