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On Campus Yesterday

Steve Allen

In 1968, Steve Allen was so popular that he served as the grand marshal of UC's Homecoming parade and seemed to be a focal point of this presentation from UC's Department of Speech and Theater Arts. Although we can only guess at the event, posters on the backdrop salute the TV personality, who poses as the outrageous singer Tiny Tim in one image, as well as several long-gone TV programs. Perhaps a reader can provide a few details about this mystery event and identify the two students.

Today, the average student may have never heard of the "Steve Allen Show," but its star has certainly remained popular with those studying jazz at the College-Conservatory of Music. Last fall, they requested Allen, a well-known jazz musician, to be their guest lecturer and performer for a fund-raising gala. Allen's agent accepted the invitation, but explained that his client does not perform with students. Of course, that was before Allen had heard the caliber of CCM performers for himself. After receiving a CD from the jazz students, he changed his mind and agreed to a joint performance in February. Unfortunately, he died a few days after he agreed to perform, on Oct. 30, of an apparent heart attack. He was 78.


The man in the photo was subsequently identified in a Letter to the Editor:

The young man in the "On Campus Yesterday" photograph [January 2001] is 1969 College-Conservatory of Music graduate Mike Morton. Mike is a native Cincinnatian and a '65 graduate of Western Hills High School. When I last spoke to Mike in 1990, he was living, working and performing in the Chicago area.
Sharon Luth Fenicle, DAAP '70
Via the Internet

Editor's note: Ralph Beasley, A&S '69, MD '73, wrote to identify Michael, then Michael contacted us personally. Calling from his home in Chicago, he explained that keeping track of him might have been difficult since he changed his name after graduation. Because another performer was working under the name of Michael Morton, our Michael selected the last name Laird, in honor of Helen Laird, the head of the musical theater department at CCM. "Helen taught me everything I knew," Michael says, "and she didn't have any children. So now she has a Michael Laird."

Although Michael doesn't remember the exact reason the photo was taken at UC, he does recall that Steve Allen came to campus in 1968 in connection with a "big event at the Pavilion Caprice." Michael and Pamela Myers, two of nine graduates from CCM's first musical theater class in '68, sang at the event. He suspects the photo was staged in conjunction with the visit, but he cannot remember the name of the female student with him.

Michael has performed at many cabarets and lounges since those days and currently plays piano and sings at Maggiano, a large Italian restaurant in the Chicago area.

On Campus Yesterday archive