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Larry Lehmer
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John Edwards will go down in U.S. history as a disgraced presidential candidate. But before his fall, Edwards left something for all of us to ponder – the value of home. Edwards’ 2004 bid for the presidential nomination was based... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2015 at Passing It On
In the fall of 1963, Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars roadshow was especially notable for several reasons. One of those reasons was that the Caravan was scheduled to play in Dallas, Texas, the evening of Nov. 22. That appearance was canceled because of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
Once again it's time to start thinking about electing a president. True, the election is more than 15 months away, but the campaigns - of more than 20 Democrats and Republicans so far - have already cranked up their spin machines. It's always important for voters to have accurate information... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2015 at Life In the Slow Lane
As a product of the rock 'n' roll generation, I've drawn inspiration from the writing of many of the genre's icons. That includes Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, Paul Simon, Tom Waits and John Lennon, among others. One of Lennon's lines,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2015 at Passing It On
Fats Domino made numerous appearances on American Bandstand and Dick Clark's Saturday Night Show. Although most viewers were unaware of it at the time, Domino was nervous about appearing on stage. He was also nervous about just appearing in Philadelphia. In his 2006 book, Blue Monday: Fats Domino and the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
This photo is from one of my final rec league games in 1977. As it shows, I had an undisturbed path to the basket. A real dunk opportunity that slipped away. My name is Larry and I'm a dunkaholic. I've been clean for 38 years, though, and have no intention... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2015 at Life In the Slow Lane
For most of the 1960s, Len Brown held what would be a dream job for many men around his age - writing copy for baseball cards distributed by Topps Gum Company, the biggest hobby card company in the world at the time. Working at Brooklyn-based Topps seemed inevitable for Brooklyn... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
Smartphones are sneaky little devils. They arrive all shiny and new, full of promise. The phone does everything you ask, and more. You tell your friends about your phone. They say how lucky you are. Soon your phone is a good friend, too, and you're seldom apart. It's a lovely... Continue reading
Posted Jun 23, 2015 at Life In the Slow Lane
Nov. 11, 1959 Fabian Forte woke up to one of the biggest days of his life. He’d come a long way in the months since he hung around Politano’s candy store in his South Philadelphia neighborhood or delivered medicine to ailing neighbors in his part-time job for Bob Grobman at... Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
Before Dick Clark entered the record business, he asked his bosses at WFIL-TV if that was OK. Roger Clipp said he could go ahead, as long as his outside business interests didn't interfere with his duties on American Bandstand. For his first venture, Clark turned to American Bandstand's first sponsor,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
I'm thinking of buying a new phone. A cell phone. So what, you might be thinking. Everybody does that. Maybe so, but for me, it's an agonizing decision. I have a cell phone already. So does my wife, Linda. Indeed, we're on a shared plan, one of those that gives... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2015 at Life In the Slow Lane
Thursday, November 12, 1959 [The scene: Bookbinder's restaurant in Philadelphia. Dick Clark and Tony Mammarella are having dinner with their wives, Fabian and the winner of a "dinner with Fabian" contest, a teenage girl and her parents. Earlier in the week, Clark had been summoned to ABC-TV president Ollie Treyz'... Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
I love Iowa Public Television. (Well, except for those annoying "Festivals," when it preempts its generally outstanding programming and replaces it with not-so-outstanding programming interrupted by long periods of public begging.) But I digress ... I love Iowa Public Television and am proud to say Linda and I support it... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2015 at Life In the Slow Lane
On October 14, 1959, Dick Clark awoke with the knowledge that he was finally positioned where he always hoped he'd be - atop the entertainment mountain. With the launch of his World of Talent program three weeks earlier, he was the only TV personality to be seen on a national... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
In the fall of 1959, life was very interesting for Dick Clark. He and his wife, Barbara, were preparing to move into their first house together, the first Dick Clark Caravan of Stars hit the road that September and Clark added a Sunday night show to his busy schedule, The... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
Remember when CNN was launched in 1980? I do. Founder Ted Turner promised 24-7 coverage of world events until the end of time as we earthlings know it. Well, here we are 35 years later, and CNN is still pushing electrons through trillions of miles of coaxial and fiber-optic cables... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2015 at Life In the Slow Lane
As Dick Clark settled in to his new role as host of Bandstand in the summer of 1956, he proceeded with caution. Given his comparatively tame lifestyle, there was little chance he'd succumb to the same temptations that had brought Bob Horn's career to such an unseemly end. But what... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
Once upon a time there was a TV station that liked to call itself WFIL-adelphia. Every afternoon it showed movies. Bad movies. The station people wanted to change. They asked some radio people to move their show to TV. The radio show was popular with teenagers, who sometimes danced in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
So what do you do if Aunt Gertie dies and leaves you with a trunk full of memories? Her memories. After all, she thought so much of you that she entrusted you with the eternal care of many of her... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2015 at Passing It On
I wrote earlier this week about Pat Molittierri's dismissal as an American Bandstand regular for writing a column in 'Teen magazine. Dick Clark wasn't fond of 'Teen, but he was fine with plenty of the other fan magazines around, particularly 16. You'll be able to read plenty about Clark's cozy... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
Have you written a letter lately? A personal letter, that is. Not a letter of complaint. Not a thank you note. Not a Christmas letter. And not an electronic one. A real, honest-to-goodness, pen-to-paper retelling of details of your life... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2015 at Passing It On
It should not have surprised Dick Clark that one of American Bandstand’s most popular dancers would pop up in a magazine aimed at teenagers. Teen magazines were hot in 1959 and no teens were hotter than those Bandstand kids that most of America could watch from the comfort of their... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
When Dick Clark was growing up, he found a hero. He didn't have to look far. He was right across the room, in the bedroom they shared. Bradley Clark was everything Dick Clark wasn't as World War II unfolded, well beyond their comfortable home in Mount Vernon, N.Y. Dick Clark... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
Bob and Justine. Kenny and Arlene. Eddie and Bunny. These are just a few of the better known couples who regularly appeared on American Bandstand. There are many more, of course, but today I want to reflect on some people who once stood in the Bandstand spotlight but are not... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2015 at Bandstand Beat
American Bandstand has never been quite able to elevate from its small-screen glory to full feature film status, although it's come close in some cinematically curious ways. For one thing, there was National Bandstand on Grease (which also featured Rydell High). Then there was the Corny Collins Show in Hairspray,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2015 at Bandstand Beat