Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Keith Larson: Charlotte's on a retro roll

We're pleased to welcome WBT radio personality Keith Larson as a contributor the Observer's Opinion pages. Larson will appear in our print edition every other Wednesday, beginning tomorrow. Here's his first column:

It’s been a tough few weeks, Charlotte.

The dark stretch started when the new “Smith Sr.” jersey officially went on sale. The name and number 89 of the playmaking-est Carolina Panther ever were stitched to a purple and black jersey that declared “Baltimore Ravens.”

Then, the Eastland Mall movie studio deal was pronounced dead. Central Avenue would not become the Sunset Strip, and Charlotte would not become Hollywood-on-the-Piedmont. Bert Hesse was not
ready for his close-up.

The Mayor was arrested on bribery charges, and resigned so quickly he never had the chance to slap his federal accusers with his trademark deflection: “Why do you hate Charlotte?” As if the corruption tale wasn’t tawdry enough, Patrick Cannon managed to evoke for himself a new nickname, arising from his previously unrevealed expertise in the devices of feminine hygiene.

Our most recent kick in the gut came last week. Less than a month after the Panthers dumped Steve Smith, Charlotte itself was dumped for Capetown. Showtime producers announced they are moving production for season four of the critically acclaimed, fan-favorite series “Homeland” to South Africa. Oh, how we loved having Claire Danes among us. How we reveled in bragging that the show was shot here, even if Charlotte was merely a body-double for Washington, D.C. It justified our watching the Emmys.

A cruel start to spring, yes, but let not our World Class hearts be troubled. To everything there is a season and Charlotte’s fortunes are about to Turn, Turn, Turn.

In just a few days, baseball returns to the Queen City. Baseball hasn’t called Charlotte home since Bush-41 called the White House home. This fall, “the Buzz will be Back” when at long last and after much pleading the Charlotte Hornets take the court. The NBA hasn’t had the same hold on Charlotte since Muggsy, Kelly, and Dell had a hold on the ball. And, there’s now even a new charismatic preacher on the rise, packing ‘em to the rafters and raking in the bucks. He’s building a big house,
but has he thought about a theme park?

Yes, it’s 1988 again in Charlotte, and the Eighties were great here! All boom and bluster; people coming from all over. I paid my first visit in ’88. I couldn’t wait to see Charlotte Motor Speedway, which, in 1988 was called, Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Charlotte’s on a retro-roll. Every day is “Throw Back Thursday.” The economy’s rebounding. There are more “Shiny New Thingies” in the works from GuvCo and the Uptown Crowd. Heck, we’ll even have a new Mayor at noon Wednesday - let the ground breakings and ribbon cuttings commence.

My advice: enjoy the ride! The Panthers won’t be threatening to leave town for five years.


Aubrey Moore said...

My heavens, the biggest throwback of all is Keith Larson sounding like the old days at WBT when Henry Boggan, H.A. Thompson, and their ilk were carrying on the traditions of others going back to Grady Cole. Oh, if we could dump the talk radio people of today and return to just a little of those days when Charlotte was the bright and shinning star on the hill and not the dumping ground for every dung spreading conservative with a set of pipes. Larson, please tell us that you just announced the new Keith.

Veronica said...

Yeah back in the 80s Charlotte was really something - for about 15 minutes.
The problem is those people are still coming "from all over".

James Meyer said...

Personally I'm thrilled to get a keith version in print. Well spoken Mr Larson. But now when is Hancock joining the blogosphere ? LAMA !!

Larry said...

Strange, the observer has cracked open the hallowed doors leading to the Editorial Board Chamber of horrors and have found someone who does not fully represent what they support.