Add to all that vigor a seemingly total recall of his past, great and not-so-great; of his place in history, in Philly and beyond; and of the arc of American show business from the '50s to the present, and you have the material for Blavat's autobiography, You Only Rock Once (Running Press, $23).
"Truly, it became time for me to tell my story when I realized that the world that I knew then was shrinking," says Blavat pensively. "The business was shrinking. The neighborhoods were shrinking. Show business now is not the business I experienced as a kid."
And tell that story he does, in a rapid-fire narrative transmitted through novelist and playwright Steve Oskie.
In a hushed voice, Blavat says You Only Rock Once was also written to set the record straight on several points, including his involvement with the Philadelphia mob.
This quiet rumination is a rarity when you consider the mile-a-minute raps that made the self-described "little cockroach kid from South Philadelphia" a star of record hops, nightclubs, radio, and television. These enterprises were often self-produced: his late '60s TV program The Discophonic Scene, his Jersey nightspot Memories. He has bought most of his own radio time and currently runs his own Geator Gold Radio Network.
"I always had the ability to create my audiences - God bless them - who understood me and my music," Blavat says.
In You Only Rock Once, he fondly recalls that audience, to say nothing of industry professionals who came to him after he made a name for himself as a jitterbugging kid who ran the dance committee on the original Bob Horn-hosted Bandstand, broadcast from Philadelphia.
"That's where it starts: the rhythm," says Blavat, a noted R&B enthusiast who pushed the African American originals of hits such as "Ain't That a Shame" (Fats Domino) to the Bandstand leader when label flacks pushed white versions from guys like Pat Boone. "I'm dancing to that beat. It could be Lady Gaga, no matter," he says. "I'm sweating on stage and dancing like I did to Little Richard and Chuck Berry records back in the day."
He wrote the book for the hipster generation of the present, for those who will never again see or hear the likes of the Geator's famous pals such as Frank Sinatra (who called Jerry "Matchstick" and requested Mama Blavat's ravioli), Sammy Davis Jr. (so close was Blavat to Sammy that Jerry was at his deathbed), and Don Rickles (Blavat was the comedian's valet). "I respected these guys, and they knew it," says Blavat. "I wasn't looking to be part of their entourage."
That he filled the pages with as many locals as big-name celebrities shows where his heart is. "Maybe my career could've been bigger. We were nationally syndicated. I had offers. But I loved Philly. My kids, family and friends were here."
Give the Geator credit for being straightforward. Along with chapters focusing on the long-alleged ties to the Philadelphia mob that nearly felled his career, You Only Rock Once includes confessions of sexual dalliances and frank admissions of mistakes in his career (like taking a role in a little-known 1969 film called Cycad rather than focusing on television and radio when his ratings were tops, or sticking with agents not suited to the possibility of a career more national in scope).
It all comes down to loyalty, as the book shows time and again.
There was the loyalty to his persona, the Geator, and his audience of "yon teens." Blavat recalls that "at one time, WIBG wanted Blavat but not The Geator. They offered me $35,000 - nice money - but I was making $135,000 a year doing my own thing. It's like when I did The Discophonic Scene. I didn't want to wear a suit and tie. I didn't want to be behind a podium. I dressed and danced like the kids and wanted to be amongst them."
There was loyalty to mentor Bob Horn, fired from Bandstand after being charged with drunken driving and statutory rape. (He was acquitted of statutory rape, but convicted twice of drunken driving).
Then there was the loyalty to Philly mob leader Angelo Bruno, "the Gentleman Don."
"They were family to me," says Blavat. "Ange's wife was from the same Italian town as my mother's family. Angelo had a grocery store where we grew up. When I became successful, Ange's grandkids swam in my pool. When my wife [Pattie] and I split, they invited me and my kids into their home every Sunday for dinner, and I had coffee every morning at their house."
When Bruno was gunned down outside his home on Snyder Avenue in 1980, the family asked Blavat to keep the media at a distance from the funeral.
Of course, Blavat would help them. He'd do it again now, he makes clear, despite the years of local law and FBI scrutiny, professional repercussions (he lost shots at what would have become the Dancing on Air television show, as well as syndicated radio opportunities), and potshots from catty competitors. "My loyalty to that family through their grief meant more than any headaches."
And, no, he says he was never a part of the Philly mob.
There's loneliness, too, that pervades the book. His father, a Jewish bookie nicknamed "Louis the Gimp," was rarely around. Louis' marriage to Lucille Capuano, Italian-American and Catholic, created tension for young Jerry with his mother's family. His mother was often gone, too, working at the Navy Yard or a jewelry store.
But in true Geator fashion, there's always lemonade to be made. "The Italian side of my family worked in the ice and coal biz, but the Jewish side? They were men in suits and ties who ate steaks and drank Scotch. My mother taught me love," he says. "My father taught me the streets, the nightclubs, how to hustle."
From the sound of You Only Rock Once, the hustle never stops.