Segarini: Robert Kincaide – The All Night Thank You

An excerpt from Robert Franklin Kincaide’s New York Times Best Seller, Living Life – The Great Adventure

It was just one of those One in a Million occurrences that happen when you least expect them, or in this case never expected at all.Robert F. Kincaide

How I Went From Jimmy Olsen to Clark Kent

I’ve been covering hot spots around the world for a long time now, having made my bones in Korea at the end of the war there.

1953 – The Culver City Courier

The Courier’s war correspondent, Eddie Mainway, took a bullet during one of the last skirmishes of the ground fighting, and Dugan, (the Culver City Courier’s Editor in Chief), in a moment of complete and utter insanity, sent me to finish up for the unfortunate Mainway.

Calvin Madison Dugan, an old school tough guy who fancied himself a hard drinking, hard living ‘Man in Charge’, more Sam Spade than William Randolph Hearst, was nothing if not ‘colourful’. He was crazier than a shit-house rat. Hard living, I can’t vouch for. Having just come to work at the Courier as a copy boy and hopeful Jr. reporter, I spent most of my time avoiding him and his eye-rolling behavior. However, I did witness his claim of ‘hard drinking’ …the man had a Rudolph worthy bright red nose (which was actually a gin blossom on par with WC Fields in his heyday). He navigated around the office looking not unlike a shopping cart with a bad wheel, and smelling of lavender and juniper, and paint thinner, He was as gin soaked as the olives in his breakfast, lunch, and dinner,

It was late, around 10pm, and it was a Friday. As I was heading for the door, I heard him call my name (he called me “Robbo” …and I winced every time I heard him say it), usually shouted across the news room from his office door when he needed something done that no one else wanted to do. Being the new kid (just turned 20), and in no position to say no to him, I feigned deafness.

Ignoring him, he shouted it again, and I reached for the door, and stopped in my tracks when an ashtray sailed past my head so close, a Lucky Strike butt lodged itself in my ear, ashes everywhere, and then …the shattering sound of the glass door followed like a gunshot. I looked up. I was now leaving the Cul’ ‘ity ‘ourier’s offices until that part of the glass door joined its brethren on the floor. Dugan stumbles up to me, hands me a ticket for the Pan Am Clipper leaving at 8 am in the morning and says, “Don’t spend too much money, get receipts for everything, be back here by next Wednesday, and the door is coming out of your salary”, turned on his heel, tripped over a desk chair and landed face first in Pat McNamara’s potted fichus.



During the 4 block walk to the bus stop, I cheered up a bit when I realized that this is my opportunity to become a full-fledged, Honest-to-Gosh reporter. I’m not usually someone who takes flights of fancy, but, hey. …some eye witness pieces on the destruction and heartbreak of battle, some interviews with some G.I.s and maybe a General or 2, and I’m good to go. But …it’s Dugan.

If that lard bucket doesn’t give me those bylines, I will piss in his Gilby’s and replace his pimentos with snot and leeches.

Suddenly, it occurs to me that I’m headed into potential danger, have no guarantee anything good is going to come of this, and could possibly end up on the slab next to Mainway, hands clasped on my chest, holding a Lily, or worse …alive, missing my johnson.

After 20 minutes on the cold, hard bus stop bench, the express back to Hollywood wheezed and rattled to a stop and I climbed onboard. A little over an hour later, I was in my bed at The Palms Motor Hotel, a cheap, seedy tourist trap in the seediest block of the seediest part of Sunset …long before gentrification, and very affordable …and seedy. It was also directly across the street from a great place to cultivate a hangover …a remnant of the ’30s Tiki Bar craze called ‘The Zombie Hut.


1954 – 1962

Korea turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Other than a mild case of the clap and a few crabs, the trip rewarded me with several bylines. Lots of articles, and 3 features, including one in the Saturday Evening Post, which opened the door to a career.

…and one each in True War, and Man’s Report, rewritten by their ‘editors’ in the most god-awful purple prose that I had ever read.

When they sent me the copy for any corrections to the names, etc, I changed the name of the author from mine, to one Calvin Madison Dugan’s …who was so excited about having ‘written’ them, that he ran out and bought every copy he could find and gave them to his friends. After that, I was able to pick and choose my assignments at The Courier until I left a year later.


I was hired away from the Courier by the San Francisco Chronicle, where I did 3 years bouncing back and forth between their profile features, Entertainment news, and the odd Sports interview.

I became friends with Herb Caen in San Francisco, who had left the Chronicle for the Examiner in 1950 for a better salary. The Chronicle wanted me to get to know him, pick his brain, and replace him at the Chronicle, but after wrangling an introduction to him, we became friends. An irreplaceable man and journalist, I passed on doing a column to compete with him. Herb went back to the Chronicle in 1958 after they offered him more money, and I spent my time meeting show business folks and writing about the behind-the-scenes stories and events driving the business of show, and became friends with many of the crowd who remained in the background while Hollywood worked its magic on the world.

But my love remained going where the action was …which is so contradictive to my natural fear of getting hurt, I regularly chastised my inner coward for being such a lousy coward who couldn’t even stop me from heading out to places most people were desperate to avoid, that he gave cowardice a bad name.

Having done a feature on the Grand Hotels of Havana, I found myself being drawn back to the tiny country of Cuba to follow up on the burgeoning revolution taking place and which had been the main topic of conversation with the people of Havana while I was there. When the Chronicle wouldn’t send me, I quit and used my own money to finance my first trip back just as the fighting was escalating. I started to submit articles, both background and on the front lines, to my contacts at magazines and papers I had nurtured for the past 3 years. There was interest. I was making money. An interview with Fidel Castro went through the roof.

My reputation grew.

Through the end of the ’50s, I found myself flying between Cuba, a ‘police action’ in the backwater country of Vietnam, and to an equally sad and terrifying battle spreading from Selma Alabama and other parts of America’s deep South.

I became sick of the messes being made by corrupt, greedy, racist, men who thought nothing of human dignity or life.

I needed a break.

I needed to recharge.

I needed to stop and smell a rose that hadn’t been trampled into the mud.



After almost 8 years of being shot at, swung at, dysentery, snake bites, monkey bites, tequila hangovers, 7 year old pick pockets, bugs the size of puppies, being called a cracker, and projectile diarrhea, and my ears ringing due to the constant explosions, I had had enough.

Part of me wept for the stupidity and avarice that causes man to turn on man, and part of me was frustrated by being unable to do anything to help except write about what I saw, and give my readers hope at the same time I informed them of the hopelessness of what I was experiencing.

I was worn out.

I finally found myself on a military transport out of Saigon headed stateside (Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada), and realized I didn’t have a destination in mind once we landed.

I had only rented or stayed in hotels since leaving the Courier, so I was a man with no fixed abode, a vagrant, a wastrel …hmmm, aaand …with a fairly comfortable bank account.

Okay. Nellis ain’t far from Vegas …and Vegas isn’t far from L.A.

I have friends there.

I wonder if the Palms is still there.

I find a payphone less than 5 minutes after landing. Looking to make sure I have some American cash on me (there are plenty of bills good in Vietnam and Cuba), and …perfect …greenbacks earmarked for Alabama.

A quick side trip to the cafe next to the Ready Room in the Quanset, and I have eough dimes to call the moon.

Does the Palms Motor Hotel on Sunset have a phone number?


I call the number.

I book a room.

I ask if the Zombie Hut is still across the street.

Sweet Jesus!

A tap on my shoulder.

Col. Myer Heffenman, the lifer who arranged my flight, looks me in the eye.

“You did well by my soldiers in your articles and interviews, Kincaide. A lot of them got to talk to their folks on the phone thanks to you. You’re a good man but a shitty soldier. I’ve never heard so much whining”.

He reached into his  pocket and dropped a keychain in my hand. “My liaison officer’s car. It’s GI Joe shit green, it smells like Old Spice, and it rattles like your grandma’s false teeth, but it will get you to L.A. Call my Unit number here at Nellis, and I’ll have it picked up in a day or two. Good luck”. He gave me a Bugs Bunny cartoon salute, turned and headed back to the aircraft just as the car pulled up.

It kept rattling even after the engine was turned off.

I pulled up in front of The Palms 4 hours and 48 minutes later.

There Is a God

I pay a month in advance for the best available suite at the Palms. It comes to a whopping 230 dollars.

I throw my duffell and typewriter onto the bed and hit the shower.

Too happy to go to bed and too wired (Thank you, Army Issue Methamphetamine) to sleep anyway, I pull on a pair of clean khakis and a Hawaiin shirt covered in palm trees and monkeys (a product of Vietnam), and make a phone call.

Then another.

And another.

Finally, I find someone at home.

Jack? Robert! I’m back and I need to wind down. Can you meet me at the Zombie for a drink or 3?

Jack, an old pal who works as an agent, was just starting out when we met, but I hoped he had done well in the past few years. He won’t talk business, and neither do I, just good jokes and a decent conversationalist. Good company for a night of Liver and Kidney abuse.

“Sounds great, you old bastard! Been awhile. I have a late meeting with a client but I’ll just make a call and have her meet me at the Zombie. I’ll be there in half an hour”.

“You better be, Jack-O. See you then”.

We hung up.

No …Seriously …There REALLY IS a God

In case it ever comes up in a trivia contest, a grown man can drink a Singapore Sling, 2 Mai Tai’s, and a Bourbon and Branch in just under 30 minutes. Jack should be here any minute, so I begin to pace myself. Time for a Pabst.

Just finishing my second beer and Jack still isn’t here. It’s almost 11 pm.

The bartender comes over and says, “You Kincaide”?

I tell him I am.

“Phone” …and brings it over, plants it on the bar in front of me, and hands me the reciever.

“Robert. Jack. Got a problem here.Ain’t gonna be able to make it, but I need a favour”.

“What kind of favour”?

“I can’t reach my client. Probably on the way there. Please make my apologies and make sure she gets a cab or a ride to my place, okay”?

“What’s in it for me”?

“My undying gratitude”.

“She’s not one of your insane Hollywood types, is she …I’ve had enough insane”.

“She’s a little high strung, but not that bad, you’ll be fine”. And with that, the line went dead, and I was suddenly thirsty.

Matty, the bartender, had just set my Zombie down on the bar, when the front door flew open creating a little wind that knocked the umbrella out of my drink.

I smell perfume.

I look over and there stands a woman in a fur coat, probably fake, a bandana, and a pair of sunglasses big enough to hide a shotgun behind.

She starts looking around frantically, and then begins to shout, quietly at first, then progressively louder.

“Jack. Jack! JACK!!! JAAACK!!!!!

“Jesus, lady, pipe down!” I tell her, and pull her down onto the stool next to me.

“My name’s Kincaide …Robert …if the Jack you’re looking for is an agent, he can’t make it and called to ask if I can make sure you get to his place. He was supposed to meet me here too …that’s why he asked you to meet him here.”

There is a catch in her voice when she speaks.

“This is not good”, she whispers, “There’s so much to do. I left the fitting early so he could see what I’ll be wearing at the party. I still have to pack, do some shopping, and have it all done before tomorrow night when we leave for New York.”

“Relax. I’ll get you to Jack and everything will be fine.”

I start to reach into my pocket to pay my bill and I feel her hand on my arm.

“Not so fast. I wouldn’t mind a drink or two myself …my life has been a madhouse lately.”

“Mine too”. “Why don’t you take all that crap off and get comfortable?”

“Oh Christ, no. I don’t want anyone seeing me looking like this.”

Oh great. Rollers and bobby pins, goop on her face, an ill-fitting dress. Women.

What the hell. Company’s company, and she’s not trying to shoot me.

We ended up talking until Matty closed the bar.

We talked about people, and pressure, and life, and sadness, and laughter, and joy, and I have to admit, she was intriguing, fun, smart, and from what I could tell, very well turned out.

She also smelled reallly good.

She leaned over and gave me a kiss. Just a little kiss.

I returned it, parting her lips with my tongue …and then …she kissed me like I have NEVER been kissed before.

Okay. slow down, Boy-o we’ve both drunk a LOT, I don’t even know her name, and I would hate to get slapped silly for my advances or piss off Jack. She could be an important client.

…then she pulled me in close and I forgot everything.

“You live close by?”, she asked in the sexiest voice I have ever heard,

Speechless, a nod was all I could muster.

“But what about Jack?”, I asked.

She thought for a second, then said, “He stood you up. He stood me up. And I’ll make sure he does the errands tomorrow before we leave for the birthday party in New York.” She smiled. “I’m going to sing a song!”

She whispered conspiratorially and giggled …”Wanna see the dress I’m wearing to the party? Everyone’s gone but us.”

I nodded.

She stood up. took off the sunglasses, removed the bandana, and dropped the fur on the floor.

May 18th, 19622:00 AM

I got her to Jack’s exactly 12 hours later.


Segarini’s column’s are full-bodied, yet mild. Yes, Segarini’s …for that fine tobacco satisfaction in both filtered and non-filtered, king size or regular. Buy a carton today!


Bob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, and The Segarini Band and nominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now 85), and now publishes, edits, and writes for DBAWIS, continues to write music, make music, and record.

2 Responses to “Segarini: Robert Kincaide – The All Night Thank You”

  1. marlene schuler Says:

    Loved this Mr. S.! So much adventure, fun and intrigue. Just like you.

    • Thanks you, Ms. Schuler. Always a pleasure to see you here. Being an adventurous traveler yourself, I am not surprised in the least that the globe-trotting Mr. Kincaide appealed to your shared wanderlust.

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