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Larry Lehmer
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Not everyone was convinced that WFIL-TV’s new venture would be a hit. Indeed, some referred to the launching of Bandstand as “FIL’s Folly.” Station manager George Koehler described the show merely as “a time eater,” a generous description according to other staffers. “The people in the studio thought this was... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Bandstand Beat
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By the time WFIL-TV made the move into its new studio in early 1949, general manager Roger Clipp’s programming was coming together. He persuaded Temple University professor John Roberts to do newscasts and Walt Maguire handled the sports duties. The new studio included a kitchen where the accident-prone Mary Durante... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2014 at Bandstand Beat
One of the most common rationalizations I hear from people for not preserving their own family history is that "My family isn't all that interesting." Are you sure? Truth is, most families have a very interesting history and just don't... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2014 at Passing It On
Summer 1956 Staying current with the contemporary music scene was a laborious process for the new Bandstand team of Dick Clark and producer Tony Mammarella. Fortunately, Philadelphia had a flourishing radio market they could tap into, especially WDAS and WHAT. Shortly after buying WDAS in 1950, owner Max Leon oversaw... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2014 at Bandstand Beat
Dick Clark’s first day at WFIL was May 13, 1952; Bobbi Mallery was to graduate from college in early June. The couple decided to get married in Salisbury, Md., on June 28. While Bobbi worked out the wedding details, including buying her own wedding ring, Clark took up residence in... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2014 at Bandstand Beat
It started with a simple question: "Are there any politicians you admire?" It came from a fellow Timely Talker, a member of a discussion group my wife, Linda, and I attend each week. I had been grousing about how politicians in Washington no longer represent the people whose votes put... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2014 at Life In the Slow Lane
For Pete's sake. How sad is it that Americans, with their hundreds of cable channels, have to go to Al Jazeera America to get international news outside of the traditional evening TV network news windows? Cable news, which once held such promise to inform and educate, has spiraled into its... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2014 at Life In the Slow Lane
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There was a time a few years back when I was dissatisfied with my job. Actually, the job was OK, but the company I worked for was one of those mega-corporations that had gobbled up a family-owned enterprise and was milking it for all it was work, funneling profits to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2014 at Life In the Slow Lane
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Sometime between the fall of 1948 and the spring of 1949, my Dad - Walter B. Lehmer - handed Clerk No. 3 at Peoples Department Store in Council Bluffs, Iowa, a dollar bill as payment for six screw anchors. Dad... Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2014 at Passing It On
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I've got a class reunion in a few weeks, a real biggie - marking the 50 years that have passed since the Class of 1963 finally escaped the halls of Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson. I say "finally escaped" because four years of high school in those days seemed an interminably... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2013 at Life In the Slow Lane
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Dick Clark found many challenges in producing a daily network television show, including a few he probably never considered when he launched American Bandstand on ABC-TV in 1957. One of those unexpected challenges surfaced in June 1962 and was detailed in a memo he sent to executive producer Lew Klein.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2013 at Bandstand Beat
What in the world has happened to banks? When I was a kid growing up in my hometown of 50,000 people, we had two or three banks, plus a savings and loan or two. Their buildings were the most imposing in town - big, sturdy things sculpted from limestone, trimmed... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2013 at Life In the Slow Lane
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"Dick Clark, formerly program director of KTEM, Temple, Tex., has joined WMFJ, Daytona Beach, Fla., in the same capacity." - Billboard, March 20, 1957. I found this item while doing research into Dick Clark who, you may know, was the young man who transformed Philadelphia's Bandstand television program into the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2013 at Bandstand Beat
Looking for news? Real news? Good luck. It's ironic that in this era of the world-wide web, global telecommunications and 24-7 cable "news" networks, Americans are no better informed than they were just one generation ago. That's a particularly difficult assessment from one who spent the better part of his... Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2013 at Life In the Slow Lane
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Before American Bandstand, the music business was mostly centered in New York City, but larger cities like Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Nashville also played prominent roles in the hybridization that gave birth to rock and roll in the mid-1950s. But shortly after American Bandstand emerged on the national... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2013 at Bandstand Beat
I'm not much of a mall person. Not much of any kind of shopper, really, but malls are in a special category for me. I'm right at home in just about any grocery store, a Target, a Menard's or a Costco, but that's about it. I'm probably the last person... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2013 at Life In the Slow Lane
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When Dick Clark first arrived at WFIL in Philadelphia, he was just one of a half-dozen young clean-cut staff announcers, each intent on making his own mark in one of the nation's hottest radio and television markets. While Clark's boyish charms may have been disarming to some, his ambitions soon... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2013 at Bandstand Beat
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True Bandstand fans realize that Dick Clark did not start the show. They know that it was Bob Horn that got things rolling, nearly five years before it became a national sensation. But how many fans know that it was George Skinner who staked an early claim on the Philadelphia... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2013 at Bandstand Beat
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That TV Guide and Bandstand simultaneously rose to prominence in the early 1950s was no coincidence. The common thread is Walter Annenberg, president of Triangle Publications and Triangle Broadcasting. Annenberg, like his father, Moses, found that businesses ran smoother when they were unfettered by rules and competition. Moses Annenberg earned... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2013 at Bandstand Beat
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In the months before American Bandstand's August 5, 1957, premiere on the American Broadcasting Company, Dick Clark was one busy fellow. Besides pulling all the pieces together for a national television program, Clark was busy in the greater Philadelphia area, attending as many teen dances as he could while hyping... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2013 at Bandstand Beat
Few people have heard of Harry Rich today, but for a brief stretch of the early part of the 20th century he was a major attraction in the upper midwest, even claiming the title of "Demon of the Air." According to some sources, Rich was a magician, but his enduring... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2013 at Before Their Time
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A few years back, I exchanged e-mails with Robert Nash, who described himself as "an irregular regular" on American Bandstand in 1960 and 1961. It was Robert's observation that it was easier to get into the studio on weekday afternoons in the winter than it was in the summer, when... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2013 at Bandstand Beat
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My path to this blog has taken a long time, more than 15 years, to be more precise. It began in the spring of 1997, when I used some of the advance money I received for my book on the last tour of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2013 at Bandstand Beat
For Dick Clark, 1960 was a pivotal year. As 1959 wound down and the Congressional hearings on payola in the music business were heating up, Clark stayed one step ahead of the feds by divesting himself of virtually all of his music business holdings. It was a monumental gamble by... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2013 at Bandstand Beat
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Dinah Washington was looking forward to Christmas. After six weeks out west, singing for adoring audiences in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, she was finally settled in her Detroit home where she would spend her first Christmas with her husband of five months, Dick "Night Train" Lane. She and her... Continue reading
Posted Jan 17, 2013 at Before Their Time