Thursday, June 24, 1999

Sons do dads proud on Father's Day

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        This from our file marked Cool Father's Day Gifts You Just Can't Duplicate.

        COOL GIFT NO. 1: So here are 65,000 people out at WGRR's Oldies Fest Saturday, and you know they have to be wondering who is that 5-year-old playing guitar with Jan and Dean on “Surfin' USA?” And then doing vocals on the “Barbara Ann” encore?

        It was Bobby Riggsbee, son of Rob Riggsbee, one of the show's producers. He and Bobby were backstage with Dean Torrence, who was trying to convince Daddy Rob to sing. He had agreed to it the night before, but it was beer courage talking. Come Saturday and no beer, no go.

        But kids, they don't know fear. Torrence was in mid-performance when he spotted Bobby playing air guitar in the wings. He dragged him out, gave him a guitar then asked him back for the encore.

        Which he did well enough that Torrence asked him to sing with them again in October in Los Angeles at Jan and Dean's last concert. They retire after this tour ends with a giant L.A. swan song.

        “What a Father's Day high,” Riggsbee said. “He'll be part of rock 'n' roll history.”

        REALLY COOL GIFT NO. 2: Meanwhile, in Independence, one John Bailey is getting $10,000 worth of Father's Day goodies and it didn't cost son Jason a cent.

        Seems he entered's Father of the Year essay contest. Thrown by Brookstone Stores (a high-end gadget retailer), it offered $10,000 in prizes to each of four winners.

        Jason's $10,000 pitch was about how much his father loved to drive and how he taught lessons about life while driving. “Driving was my father's poetry,” he wrote. “A vacation drive became an epic worthy of Homer, a grocery run a simple haiku ... The driver's seat was his podium, the open road his stage.”

        Young Bailey — he's 19; dad is 50 — won in the auto and travel category, says Brookstone's Gustavo Pena, so all prizes, selected by Brookstone staffers, are related in some way. Such as: Luggage; two GPS auto navigators; a 102-piece tool set; portable mattress; etc.

        SOAPY ZOO: So then, did the zoo on Another World Wednesdaylook familiar? Look again today and Friday (but look quickly, because the series dies Friday).

        The zoo in question is just another set but it's based on Gorilla World in Cincinnati.

        Brigitte Altenhaus, a set designer, called zoo staffer Chad Yelton. She had heard about the gorilla exhibit and asked for slides. He sent them and just got a letter saying they used the exhibit as a model for their zoo set.

        Knip's Eye View appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Have an item to report? Call Jim Knippenberg at 768-8513; fax: 768-8330.

        Psst! appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Have an item to report? Call Jim Knippenberg at 768-8513; fax: 768-8330.