#7: King Heroin

The Toast of Broadway.

A lightweight contender in the 1920s, Manny Rosen worked in the kitchen of the Stage Delicatessen for 32 years—in charge of making toast. But he also wrote “King Heroin” for James Brown, after losing his daughter to heroin. He became the right-hand man of Bob Anthony, “Mr. Burlesk,” in the Melody Burlesk back office.

About the music in #7: King Heroin

The intro to this podcast uses Josh’s acoustic cover of “Theme From Shaft,” from his new album, Sixty Goddammit.

Incidental music appears from Josh’s albums throughout the podcast: Famous & PoorThe Worst!Blacks ’n’ JewsJosh Alan Band and Sixty Goddammit.

#6: The Peeps

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Peep Shows were a phenomenon as common to Times Square as slot machines to Las Vegas. Live Nude Girls became the neon community catchphrase. We visit Roger K as he creates the technology in his private laboratory at Show World.

About the music in #6: The Peeps

The intro to this podcast uses Josh’s acoustic cover of “Theme From Shaft,” from his new album, Sixty Goddammit.

Incidental music appears from Josh’s albums throughout the podcast: Famous & PoorThe Worst!Blacks ’n’ JewsJosh Alan Band and Sixty Goddammit.

"Pennies From Heaven” sung by Josh’s early ‘80s Do-wop group, City Limits

#5: Penny Arcade in Hell

Welcome to the bowels of 42nd Street.

It's 1983. Charles Rubinstein has run the penny arcade at 8th Avenue and 42nd Street since 1939. “This is the dumping grounds of 42nd Street. But I’m not a-scared of any individuals that tries to threaten me. You have to use that nightstick, and I say let ’em use it.”

ABOUT THE MUSIC IN #5: Penny Arcade in Hell

The intro to this podcast uses Josh’s acoustic cover of “Theme From Shaft,” from his new album, Sixty Goddammit.

Incidental music appears from Josh’s albums throughout the podcast: Famous & PoorThe Worst!Blacks ’n’ JewsJosh Alan Band and Sixty Goddammit.

#4: Raven

From Hells Angels to burlesque.

A Columbia Presbyterian nurse, then a drug counselor in the California prison system, Raven de la Croix busted loose as a burlesque star at the age of 32. She’d also spent eight years with the Hells Angels and starred in several Russ Meyer films. Here in the headliner’s dressing room of the Melody Burlesk, in 1982, the stripper prepares.

Josh interviews Raven at Melody Burlesk, 1982

About the Music in #4: Raven

This episode’s incidental music uses “The Honey Dripper—Part 2,” from Josh Alan Band. “Strippers Audition” from Josh’s album, The Worst!. And Josh’s 1988 single, “Thanksgiving at McDonald’s in Times Square.”

#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 through the millennia, but apparently not. They began at the Melody, as well as the first stage appearances of porn stars. Bob Anthony fought vice raids and roughnecks, running Times Square’s foremost burlesk theater.