Ludlow Pride

City Is Clearly the Crossroads of a Continent

Former Kenton County Commissioner Dick Combs used to say that there were only two types of people in this world — AFL (Always From Ludlow) and NFL (Not From Ludlow).

The offspring of a mixed marriage (dad from Ludlow, mom from Bromley), I’m AFL.

For those of you NFL, it is important to understand that Ludlow, Ky., is the crossroads of a continent. The jersey of one of our favorite sons, Layton Rouse, hangs high over Rupp Arena. One of our beauties, Anne Lee Patterson, was Miss USA.

There’s been a movie made in Ludlow (Neil Simon’s “Lost in Yonkers” starring Richard Dreyfuss) and a television show starring Christopher Walken about Ludlow (“The Wonderful John Acton.”)

Lafayette is said to have spent time in Ludlow’s first house, and legend has it that Stephen Foster wrote “Camptown Races” about the horse track that was once located near Ludlow’s railroad tracks.

And who could ever forget the gold medal performance of Ludlow’s Greg Louganis in the 1984 Summer Olympics.

OK, I made that one up. But Hungry Stuart once performed a swan dive off Ludlow’s Southern Rail Road Bridge into the Ohio River.

The King of Ludlow

Every small town has its heroes and for us (apologies to Hungry Stuart) it was local television star Bob Braun.

When Bob won the $1,000 top prize in Arthur Godfrey’s “Talent Scouts” in 1957, he was bestowed the title of the King of Ludlow and he always wore the crown regally.

Everybody in Ludlow loved Bob and his constant on-air references to our hometown.

His son, WKRC-TV newscaster Rob Braun, once told me that so many people approach him to announce they are from Ludlow that long ago he surmised that we were living 30 or 40 to a house.

After his days in television and films were over, I met with Bob Braun to plan an event that displayed memorabilia from his illustrious career. One day we were discussing music and I mentioned my favorite song of his — “The Rover.” When he couldn’t remember the song, I started singing it.

By the time I reached the third line of the song, Bob’s eyes lit up as he remembered the tune. He smiled and began singing harmony to my lead. When we finished he told everyone in earshot that only a kid from Ludlow would know the words to the B-side of one of his records.

Alligator Alley

This month I will release my latest novel, entitled “Alligator Alley.”

Unlike my other fiction, “Alligator Alley” is not a genre thriller. There’s no cloak and dagger, no assassins and no politics. In large part, it’s a thinly disguised story about growing up in Ludlow, Ky. It is said that everybody has one book in them and “Alligator Alley” is the book I’ve wanted to write for 30 years.

I suspect that most of the folks from small towns in Northern Kentucky will be able to relate to the message in “Alligator Alley” — at least to some degree, because as Dick Combs also used to say, “Anybody who’s anybody is from Ludlow.”