Les Brown and his twin brother were adopted by Mamie
Brown, a kitchen worker and maid, shortly after their
in a poverty-stricken Miami neighborhood.
Because of his hyperactivity and nonstop jabber, Les
was placed in special education classes for the
disabled in grade school and throughout high school.
graduation, he became a city sanitation worker in
Beach. But he had a dream of being a disc jockey.
At night he would take a transistor radio to bed where
he listened to the local jive-talking deejays. He
imaginary radio station in his tiny room with its torn
flooring. A hairbrush served as his microphone as he
practiced his patter, introducing records to his ghost
His mother and brother could hear him through the thin
walls and would shout at him to quit flapping his jaws
go to sleep. But Les didn't listen to them. He was
up in his own world, living a dream.
One day Les boldly went to the local radio station
during his lunch break from mowing grass for the city.
got into the station manager's office and told him he
to be a disc jockey.
The manager eyed this disheveled young man in overalls
and a straw hat and inquired, "Do you have any
Les replied, "No sir, I don't."
"Well, son, I'm afraid we don't have a job for you
Les thanked him politely and left. The station manager
assumed that he had seen the last of this young man.
underestimated the depth of Les Brown's commitment to
goal. You see, Les had a higher purpose than simply
to be a disc jockey. He wanted to buy a nicer house
adoptive mother, whom he loved deeply. The disc jockey
was merely a step toward his goal.
Mamie Brown had taught Les to pursue his dreams, so he
felt sure that he would get a job at that radio
spite of what the station manager had said.
And so Les returned to the station every day for a
week, asking if there were any job openings. Finally
station manager gave in and took him on as an errand
at no pay. At first, he fetched coffee or picked up
and dinner for the deejays who could not leave the
Eventually his enthusiasm for their work won him the
confidence of the disc jockeys who would send him in
Cadillacs to pick up visiting celebrities such as the
Temptations and Diana Ross and the Supremes. Little
of them know that young Les did not have a driver's
Les did whatever was asked of him at the station - and
more. While hanging out with the deejays, he taught
their hand movements on the control panel. He stayed
control rooms and soaked up whatever he could until
asked him to leave. Then, back in his bedroom at
practiced and prepared himself for the opportunity
knew would present itself.
One Saturday afternoon while Les was at the station, a
deejay named Rock was drinking while on the air. Les
only other person in the building, and he realized
was drinking himself toward trouble. Les stayed close.
walked back and forth in front of the window in Rock's
booth. As he prowled, he said to himself. "Drink,
Les was hungry, and he was ready. He would have run
down the street for more booze if Rock had asked. When
phone rang, Les pounced on it. It was the station
as he knew it would be.
"Les, this is Mr. Klein."
"Yes," said Les. "I know."
"Les, I don't think Rock can finish his program."
"Yes sir, I know."
"Would you call one of the other deejays to come in
"Yes, sir. I sure will."
But when Les hung up the telephone, he said to
"Now, he must think I'm crazy."
Les did dial the telephone, but it wasn't to call in
another deejay. He called his mother first, and then
girlfriend. "You all go out on the front porch and
the radio because I'm about to come on the air!" he
He waited about 15 minutes before he called the
manager. "Mr. Klein, I can't find nobody," Les said.
Mr. Klein then asked, "Young man, do you know how to
work the controls in the studio?"
"Yes sir," replied Les.
Les darted into the booth, gently moved Rock aside and
sat down at the turntable. He was ready. And he was
He flipped on the microphone switch and said, "Look
This is me LB, triple P - Les Brown, Your Platter
Poppa. There were none before me and there will be
after me. Therefore, that makes me the one and only.
and single and love to mingle. Certified, bona fide,
indubitably qualified to bring you satisfaction, a
of action. Look out, baby, I'm your lo-o-ove man"
Because of his preparation, Les was ready. He vowed
audience and his general manager. From that fateful
beginning, Les went on to a successful career in
broadcasting, politics, public speaking and