Party for Hank Sandoval, Jr.!

And a great party it was! The Fulton 55 Club was packed with family, friends, and fans of the late Hank Sandoval,Jr.,last night and there is absolutely no doubt that Hank would have approved. Although there was a certain feel of sadness in the air, there was also a celebration going throughout the night as well. Hank Sandoval was a man with many friends. He was always quick to share his very honest smile to friends, and new friends wherever he went. He was glad to see you and you were glad to see him. Helping to spread those good vibes in the air were his loving family, led by his mom and dad, Delores, and Hank,Sr as well as Hank’s son, Joseph,and daughter,Stephanie Espinosa, and also their mother, Sylvia Escalera Lopez. There also was a large crowd of Hank’s friends and also fans from his many great years as a loving and supporting friend, musician, performer, and television personality.
Club 55, what can we say(?),the joint was jumpin’ to the great music,funny stories, great friendship, and a whole lot of love, all in tribute to the bassman known as “Hambone”, “Hankster” and just as an all round great personality. Truthfully a man who would do anything asked by family friends, neighbors, and people who knew him from TV.

During the course of the party, many of Hank’s friends, got up and spoke about the man and there were many smiles, laughter, and some tears as well as this great human being was talked about in such well deserved and loving terms.Certainly a highlight too, was when Hank, Sr. took the stage to talk about his son and the crowd loved it. He spoke about his son’s accomplishments, his sense of humor, how he loved his family and friends, in particular his children, Joseph,and Stephanie.

Hank played in many bands over the years and one of his major talents was that he had a great “feel” for any kind of music. He was a founding member of the “On Tonight All-Star Band, on TV’s “On Tonight with Chris Terrence” show which was on the air in Central California from 1990s into the 2000s, five nights a week on KAIL TV Ch 53, and KGMC-TV, Ch 43 in the Valley. The very versatile music man had a great talent of adjusting to many different kinds of music in backing so many different styles on the show. He worked in the band with Dr. Maynard Williams, John Shafer, Larry Gittens of Kool & the Gang, the Stevie Wonder Band, the Stylistics, Johnny “The Stick” Valenzuela (WAR, Santana), Bruce Conte and Paul Perez(Tower of Power) and on and on. When guest needed backing, Hank was right there with Malo, Johnny Lee, Mike Dana, Barry McGuire, and the proverbial many, many others.

On this great night of celebration of Hank’s life, many of the Hankster’s friends joined in on stage and a great time was had by all. From the Tex-Mex sounds of the Twilighters, featuring Ernie and Virge Martinez,then the Night Moves band, rocked and rolled through the evening. Ernie and Virge were joined on stage by Hank Sandoval, Sr, and the party was on. Hank, Sr sang, played the harp,to the soulful tunes by Virgie, and also during the evening there were many guest performances from bands such as Malo, and others and it was just a great evening of music and love. The event was organized by Arcelio “Malo” Garcia, along with Ernie, Virge and many others. There were also great sets and dancing to the music of the band, Heavy Weather, and a couple of up and coming hip hop artists, Sam Olivas, Jr., and Matt Gonzales.

I personally, along with all of us connected with the On Tonight Show, will never, ever, forget Hank Sandoval. He was with us from the beginning to the end and thought he was a talented, incredibly versatile musician, he was truly a great friend through thick and thin, no matter. I remember when Maynard Williams, brought him on the show to play in our band. He told me, “This guy can play anything, pus he is a great guy to be around.” Correct on both, Maynard.

RIP, Hank. We sure miss you.

Mathias, Schaap, Terrence – I was in Good Company



imgres-1The Bob Mathias, Dick Schaap, Chris Terrence, Connection

“Ask and ye shall receive” is a biblical statement from the Book of Matthew, in the Bible, and I remember it was one of the many expressions my mother would say to us kids when she was tying to teach us things to help us growing up. “If you don’t ask or seek, or work at an idea,  how are you going to get it?”   It is a good thought and I’ve seen it ring true many times. One time, in the late 1970’s,


I was taimgresking a late flight from Los  to New York. The man who sat next to me on the redeye was someone who looked very familiar to me, but I couldn’t put the name on the face. However, after we exchanged greetings, it hit me – I was sitting next to Dick Schaap, the top sports guy from ABC-TV! Great author of many sports books, host of network sports specials, and one of the most respected names ever to report on the sports stories of the day.

At first I was just thrilled to meet him, even a little nervous, but as the flight wore on, and neither of us was ready to sleep, we had a very nice conversation for a couple of the hours or so of the five hour long flight while most of the people on the ground below us, and many fellow passengers on the flight, slept. We talked about sports of course, me being a sports nut and him being a sports guru was awesome, but the best part was that we talked of other things as well. Like discussing our families, the world in general, and how things were going in general. I was so impressed with him because of the way he listened as well as spoke, just sharing a friendly conversation with not one of his huge circle of celebrities, or leaders he knew as friends and colleagues, but rather to an everyday guy from Clovis, California or Vestal, New York. What a great guy.

I saw Dick again a couple of years after that in Chicago at the McCormick Center, where he was doing a book signing at the National Sporting Goods convention and as he was signing a book for me, I mentioned our flight and weather or not he remembered, and regardless, he was very cordial and nice.

Years after that, in 1997, I was working on the finishing touches on a book I  had written, about the great Olympic decathlete, Bob Mathias.  Bob Mathias: Across the Fields of Gold is the story of how a great young seventeen year old athlete stunned the world by winning the 1948 Olympic gold medal in the decathlon event.

As I was thinking about whom I might get to write the forward for the book, like  someone who was well versed in sports and in particular, in Olympic Games history and who might even have known Bob.  It didn’t take long to arrive at the idea of, my old pal, Dick Schaap!  I asked Bob about the idea and he said, “Oh, Dick would be great. He’s been a good friend for many years.”

So I called a friend of mine from ABC-TV, Gayle Kirchner, (we had worked together, on a ABC Network promotion committee – when I was working for the ABC affiliate in Fresno, years before, and now she was still connected with New York’s ABC headquarters). Gayle gave me Dick’s number at his desk and when I called it he answered, “Dick Schaap!”

Once again I mentioned our flight together years before, and once again he was very nice, and asked what he could do for me.   If he remembered me or didn’t, he was pleasant and cordial. I told him about my Bob Mathias book and asked if he might consider writing the Forward for it. He said he knew Bob very well and would be delighted to do it.

I sent him the manuscript right away and 10 days later, Dick sent me a truly wonderful forward for the book, along with his best wishes for success with the project. Not only that, but get this: A few weeks after that, Dick performed his awesome forward for his nation wide audience on the, “Schaap on Sports” show, on the ABC Network. Wow! We were all thrilled. He did a great job and it sure helped with the promotion of the book.

Dick Schaap obviously was a very busy man. His many awards and allocates throughout his extraordinary career certainly proved that out, but what a great guy as well. He was not only approachable, he was also supportive and encouraging, and happy to help out a rookie writer, and surely happy to do what he could to help promote an old friend’s new book.

It is sure no mystery to me how this wonderful man became so respected by so many people on many levels of writing, reporting about people, life in general and sports .

Song for Brooke

Fresno City College Men's Basketball team . California State Champions 2010

Fresno City College Men’s Basketball team . California State Champions 2010

George Temple and I have been great friends for many years.  We have worked together on various projects going back to when Truman was President, I think.  George and I put together a zillion videos, jingles, TV shows, and special media events, and we always had this kind of eye to eye ideas on how things might look on the small screens.  He has also been a producer/director in the movie business as well.  He was also the producer of the original “On Tonight Show” on a small station in Fresno, California, just before it went balistic to the far corners of the earth including all the way to Clovis.  Kind of a low budget deal where we used tiny cameras when we started, up to big budget deals using huge tiny cameras.

Continue reading

Still a LAW and ORDER fan right here!


Law & Order, the award winning television show from the mind of writer/producer, Dick Wolf, to me, is still one of the best shows on television. Some of the shows might be a little outdated, but it’s amazing how many of them still fit well with what is happening nowadays. These original shows for the series were at the top the ratings game, for twenty years (1990 to 2010), and they are still doing great every day on various cable television networks, as people still enjoy the great writing, acting, and plot lines that work so much in today’s world. Even though the show has been off NBC’s prime-time air four years now. Most of the reruns still cover they way things really are in 2014 America as well..

Continue reading

In the Heart of Jim Sweeney (Interview, 1996)

jim-sweeney-dies-fresno-stateThis is an interview I did for Review Magazine, with Fresno State’s legendary coach, Jim Sweeney, over a couple of days in late August of 1996.  At the time, his brilliant career at Fresno State University was coming to a close, in what was his 20th season with his beloved Bulldogs.  His 201 Division One victories, stretched over 32 seasons put him in an elite group with friends of his, like Bear Bryant of Alabama, Woody Hayes of Ohio State and Joe Paterno of Penn State.

Continue reading

Basketball transforms buddies into family

This was a great moment. I knew I was experiencing something I would remember for a long time. My Sunday afternoon basketball buddies and I had just finished another two-hour session of full court, action-packed (at least in our eyes) serious, full-court basketball. Most of the time (we’ve been playing in the same junior high gym in Clovis, California, on Sunday afternoons, for over 17 years) we stagger out after some cooling down and conversation.  This particular Sunday however, it seemed1ike everyone was in a hurry to leave, and the 14 or 15 participants emptied out pretty ·quickly, leaving ·just me sitting there on a bleacher bench, staring at an empty gym. As the voices from the departing players faded into the small-town evening, I sat there by myself, blissfully soaked ·in sweat, and zeroing in on the moment.

Continue reading

It Was Only A Dream

Who knows how long dreams really last?  I guess there are some different opinions on that question, but who really knows for sure?  Some say the dream state is a relatively short period, others say they can seemingly last for hours.  Well, whether they last for a short time or not, I recently woke up from one terrific dream, and I have to say that I’m truly sorry that it didn’t last longer, like forever, for example.

Continue reading

Just a Tad Late Today

OK, OK, so I got to work a little late today. Just by a tad so what’s the problem? I rushed as fast as I cold, you know, I only read like half of the sports pages, hurried through the banana I ate on the run, and OK, I stopped on the way out to my car, as a lady came down Flora Avenue along with three dogs she was taking for a morning walk.

Continue reading

A Local Basketball Story – Believe it or Not!

Clovis, CA, 30 September 2013 (Associated Press).basketball-up-close-promo

In one of the most memorable games in the history of the Clovis Basketball League, the Terrence/Forbes team pulled of an incredible victory last night over Troy/Wagner, before a huge crowd at Gateway Arena.

The, game, which went, well, almost went, into double overtime is already being called a classic, and absolutely historical, although there are a few that might say it was just short of armed robbery.  This writer sees it more along the miracle lines.

Continue reading