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Larry Lehmer
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For 25 years I worked for The Des Moines Register, winner of many Pulitzer prizes and once ranked by Time magazine as one of the Top 10 newspapers in the United States. My tenure began shortly before The Register's owners killed off our sister paper, The Des Moines Tribune. Despite... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2016 at Life In the Slow Lane
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The cost of health insurance has once again worked its way into public discourse, due to the disclosure that the Affordable Care Act continues to mock its very title. While persons of certain political persuasions try to put lipstick on this pig to justify their own positions, the whole situation... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2016 at Life In the Slow Lane
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1959 Your Happiest Years was a book of advice for teenagers, a topic Dick Clark felt particularly well-qualified for. Besides dispensing generic advice, the book also contained anecdotes from Clark’s personal experiences and included several family and business photos. While Clark was seen as a staunch defender of teenagers and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2016 at Bandstand Beat
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Two of the more popular girls on American Bandstand in the late 1950s were two of the most telegenic as well — Frani Giordano and Carole Scaldeferri. Giordano was a cut-up with a quick sense of humor which was often on display at Pop Singer’s drug store, a favorite hangout... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2016 at Bandstand Beat
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One year after it began on WFIL-TV, "Bandstand" was a bona fide hit. For the show's host, Bob Horn, it was a time to take stock of his new-found fame and start building on his future. The following excerpt is taken from my book in progress, "Bandstandland": After 20 years... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2016 at Bandstand Beat
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For most of the 20th century, Les Waas was one of the most creative people on the planet. Waas, a Philadelphia native who died recently at the age of 94, was best known as the creator of the Mister Softee ice cream jingle, but that was just one of about... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2016 at Bandstand Beat
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American Bandstand made its network debut from the WFIL-TV studios in Philadelphia on Aug. 5, 1957, beginning a run that would take it through four decades and nearly into a fifth before running out of gas. While 1957 was clearly a pivotal year for Bandstand and its host, Dick Clark,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2016 at Bandstand Beat
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As a protestant kid growing up in Council Bluffs, Iowa, I never gave fish fries a thought. I'm not even sure they had them in my formative days in the 1950s and 1960s. The closest I came to Catholicism in those days was playing baseball at Holy Family school. There... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2016 at Life In the Slow Lane
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Myrna Horowitz was not a great dancer. Nor was she a great dresser. She never had a regular dance partner on American Bandstand. There was never a Myrna and Harvey or Myrna and Eddie fan club, yet Horowitz was one of the most popular teenagers to ever appear on the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2016 at Bandstand Beat
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Poor Jennifer Aniston. Having nightmares about being on an airplane without showers or a bar. I'd be happy just to have a seat that didn't push my knees up to my chin. Lousy interviews ... go something like this: Q: How do you spell your name? A: That's a great... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2016 at Life In the Slow Lane
Filling out a family tree or researching a family's history takes time. For some, it can be a very long time. Projects often morph into something quite different from the original intention. Most of us have some idea of where... Continue reading
Posted Feb 29, 2016 at Passing It On
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Does anyone else find it annoying when a cable news channel displays a button in one corner of the screen saying the broadcast is "LIVE," even when airing a clip that says "Recorded earlier?" Who's running these places, chimpanzees? Yeah, I'm cool ... oops: You might want to think twice... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2016 at Life In the Slow Lane
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There were changes in the air in the fall of 1957. For one thing, baseball was going bi-coastal as the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants played out their final seasons on the East Coast before pulling up stakes and heading west. Scientists worldwide were wading into the first trimester... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2016 at Bandstand Beat
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Dick Clark was smooth when in front of a camera. Real smooth. And American Bandstand, while not the slickest production in show business, was a smartly produced national hit during its Philadelphia run. Teenagers of that era thought it was just about the coolest program to ever hit the air.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2016 at Bandstand Beat
It started as a simple question from my brother David. "Do you remember where we kept the shoe polish?" He sent this picture, which was supposed to be a clue. Sadly, I didn't have a clue. I recognized the bag... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2016 at Passing It On
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Dick Clark had a notoriously rocky relationship with Teen magazine in the 1950s, but other members of the emerging teen press of that era found him to be charming, photogenic, affable and best of all, accessible. That was particularly true of 16 magazine, which could accurately be described as the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2016 at Bandstand Beat
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Fans of American Bandstand have long lamented the dearth of vintage footage from the premiere music program of the 1950s and 1960s. As this clip shows, Clark at one time posssessed a truck load of Bandstand films: As many insiders knew, the best way to get to Dick Clark was... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2016 at Bandstand Beat
You never know when or where your personal history will bubble up. Does this post by Scott at Haberblab sound familiar?: "At odd times all sorts of personal history comes swimming to the surface. Making me think 'Oh yes, I... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2016 at Passing It On
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“Don’t be too surprised if there’s an engagement announced by Arlene Sullivan and Joe Wissert. They got together a month ago, when Steve Brandt was in town and took the two of them to dinner. They’ve been seeing each other every night ever since.” - Bandstand Newsletter, 16 magazine, from... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2016 at Bandstand Beat
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Check out this photo. You probably have a similar photo somewhere in your family archives ... a mother and father surrounded by their children, all dressed up. And, just like any other similar photo, there's a story behind it. This... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2016 at Passing It On
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Random thoughts from the slow lane: Why is it that since vegetables are so good for you, industrial kitchens like those in schools and hospitals boil them into a foul-tasting, pasty mush? What's so special about an "Arnold Palmer?" Half lemonade and half iced tea adds up to a big... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2016 at Life In the Slow Lane
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There were plenty of reasons for a teenager to watch American Bandstand. There was the music and the artists that performed it. There was the dancing and the teenagers who showed off the latest steps. There was also the fashion, which for some viewers was every bit as important as... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2016 at Bandstand Beat
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Once upon a time, in a time and place very far away, I was a disc jockey. OK, OK. Disc jockey may not be a totally accurate description of what I did, but I did sit in a small booth,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2016 at Passing It On
Dick Clark was fond of referring to music as "the soundtrack of your life." I like to think of family photos as windows into your life. The visual memories of our past are among the strongest memory triggers around. Thumbing... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2016 at Passing It On
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During the end of his stay in Philadelphia, Dick Clark was often seen toting a leather briefcase. When asked about its contents, Clark claimed it held the manuscript of a book project he was working on. The book, he said, would be a novel, all about a young man in... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2016 at Bandstand Beat