Last night I went to a party thrown by Modern Drummer magazine, which was held at The Cutting Room on 24th street. The party was totally rad and I ran into a few long lost pals like Ira Elliot from Nada Surf. I also met some of my favorite drummers and assorted legends such as Steve Smith (formerly of Journey), Anton Figg (David Letterman) and Liberty Devito (Billy Joel’s long-time drummer). But I was most excited to meet John Lennon‘s ex-girlfriend and former wife of über-producer Tony Visconti, May Pang and…drum roll please… ’70s child star Mason Reese. If you were, say, over age ten in the early to mid ’70s and living in the United States, you will remember Mason as the adorably precocious 7 year old spokesperson for Underwood Deviled Ham in the commercial that swept the nation by storm and had everyone mispronouncing the word ‘Smorgasbord.’ Underwood Deviled Ham is one of my favorite brands of all time because it has a picture of Satan on the label, but that is another story.
Even though I have not see any pictures of Mason as an adult (nor could I find any on the Internet) I recognized him the second he walked in the door, because he still looks exactly the same. Like, he literally walked into the room and I looked over at my friend Dawn and said, “Dude, that is so totally Mason Reese.” Dawn had no idea what I was talking about, because she was only born in the ‘70s. But when I explained to her who he was and why it was just insane to see him at a Modern Drummer party, she agreed not to run away from me while I introduced myself to Mason and reminisced about Underwood Deviled Ham and how he and his mom, Sonya, used to co-host The Mike Douglas Show all the time. I swear, it was almost as exciting as the first time I found myself in a room with three of the original members of Alice Cooper, because that is the kind of hardcore nostalgia geek I am.
Now 42, Mason turned out to be a super nice, down to earth guy and not one of those pathetic ex-child-star-basket-cases like Leif Garrett or the guy who played Screech from Saved by The Bell. Dawn actually ended up spending more time with him than I did, because I kept getting up to “work the room.” Mason currently co-owns a restaurant down on Ludlow Street called Paladar, which serves Latin food. I will definitely be checking that out, because it looks like it has gotten some excellent reviews. Anyway, Thanks Modern Drummer for a fun party that gave me something cool to blog about.