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Larry Lehmer
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Journalism is in trouble. OK, I'll admit, that's not really news. Anyone who has witnessed the de-evolution of cable "news" or has followed the gutting of newspapers around the country has some sense of what's going on. But I suspect it's even worse than imagined. The very core of American... Continue reading
Posted 31 minutes ago at Life In the Slow Lane
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Although Dick Clark lacked the requisite skills to be a performer on a network musical show, his appearance on Pat Boone’s Chevy Showroom on January 2, 1958, nevertheless proved memorable. Clark brought along Danny and the Juniors, whose At the Hop was the No.1 song in the country. Coupled with... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Bandstand Beat
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Today, a few more tidbits about the Philadelphia years of American Bandstand. Hopefully, you'll discover something new and interesting here. Also, if you have any stories to share about your own Bandstand experience or have something you'd like to know about the show, let me know. I look forward to... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Bandstand Beat
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To many people, Cameo and Swan were the same company. Indeed, the labels shared office space in the same Locust Street building in the late 1950s and Swan’s first LP release — Treasure Chest of Hits — included just five songs that were Swan singles while including six Cameo releases... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2014 at Bandstand Beat
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Today, instead of posting an excerpt from my work-in-progress book, Bandstandland, which covers the Philadelphia years of America's historic teenage dancing program, I'm giving you a few tidbits about the show. Hopefully, you'll discover something new and interesting here. Also, if you have any stories to share about your own... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2014 at Bandstand Beat
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1959 Instead of spending the evening of his seventh wedding anniversary with his wife, Dick Clark spent the night mingling with musicians while presenting The Record Years in prime time on ABC-TV, which was described as a “tribute to the recording industry.” Lip-syncing was the order of the day for... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2014 at Bandstand Beat
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Pamela Beasley was upset. While watching American Bandstand from her home in the small town of Madisonville, Texas, shortly after the show went national she couldn’t believe what she was hearing: some kids on the show debating which city was the capital of Florida. “I was just outraged that these... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2014 at Bandstand Beat
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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 Nov 19, 2014 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