Black Cracker presents

Tales of Times Square: The Tapes

By Josh Alan Friedman

This podcast presents voices of strippers, old fighters, burly-Q men, peep show girls, hustlers, cops and the priest who tried to save them.

I’m Josh Alan Friedman, reporting to you from Times Square in the ’70s and ’80s. The people you will hear—now ghosts of Old Broadway—spilled their souls for my book, Tales of Times Square.

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Listen to the Podcast

#1: Pee Wee

PEE WEE MARQUETTE WAS THE CAUSTIC M.C. AT HISTORIC JAZZ CLUB, BIRDLAND, DURING THE 1940’S AND ’50S. The short-tempered midget spent the last 25 years of his life as doorman-greeter for Hawaii Kai, a schlock tourist restaurant next door to the Winter Garden Theatre in Times Square. Come bend your ear to another voice of…

#2: The Ghetto Avenger

TO HEAR IZZY GROVE IS TO UNDERSTAND DAMON RUNYON. UNNERSTAND? One of the last Guys & Dolls characters to survive into the porn era, Grove was a welterweight fighter known as The Ghetto Avenger in the 1920s. In 1983, he is being thrown out of his office. Hustling in Times Square for 60 years, he…

#3: Mr. Burlesk

WELCOME TO THE BACK OFFICE OF THE MELODY BURLESK. Frank Sinatra’s boyhood pal and first bodyguard, Bob Anthony, also became a big band singer. Tougher than Frank, but devoid of hit records, he went on to found the Melody Burlesk in Times Square. Like the Heimlich maneuver, you might assume a lap dance occurred somewhere…

About the podcast

Writer-guitarist Josh Alan Friedman was born in New York City in 1956. He was Senior Editor of Screw magazine when most of these cassettes were made on the fly. In a city of 50,000 writers, Josh was nearly the only one covering the Times Square beat, for the men’s magazines of the era. (His parents might have preferred he work for The New Yorker, but he also wrote for National Lampoon, Soho Weekly News and New York magazine.) By 1987, he’d had enough and followed his wife to Texas, a year after Tales of Times Square—the subject of this podcast—was published.

About the music in this podcast

The intro to this podcast uses Josh’s acoustic guitar cover of “Theme From Shaft,” from his new album, Sixty Goddammit.
Incidental music appears from Josh’s albums throughout the podcast: Famous & Poor, The Worst!, Blacks ’n’ Jews, Josh Alan Band and Sixty Goddammit.