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Larry Lehmer
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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 I had been grousing about how politicians in Washington no longer represent the people whose votes put...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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Here's another reason so many people are frustrated with the media these days. On December 30, host David Gregory presented an exclusive interview with President Barack Obama on the NBC program, Meet the Press. Gregory asked the president "What is your single priority of the second term?" President Obama answered... Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2013 at Life In the Slow Lane
Dick Clark's incredibly successful entertainment career was undoubtedly boosted by his bland public persona - a boyish-looking straight arrow that could be trusted with America's teens in a turbulent time. But Clark, who later in his career admitted to having bipolar disorder, was much more than the smiling, perpetual teen... Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2013 at Bandstand Beat
Waaay back in the 1970s when I was sports editor at the Council Bluffs Nonpareil, we decided to put together a company softball team to play in a city rec league. We persuaded the publisher to pony up enough cash so we could buy some spiffy uniforms. The biggest selling... Continue reading
Posted Dec 26, 2012 at Life In the Slow Lane
Manuel Rodriguez Sanchez - better known as Manolete - stepped wearily to the microphone in an anteroom of the San Sebastian, Spain, bullring, looking far older than a man who had recently marked his 30th birthday. Manolete, the most celebrated bullfighter of his day, had just killed his 1,000th bull... Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2012 at Before Their Time
Overbrook High School has made huge contributions to the Philadelphia music scene since Bandstand took to the TV airwaves in 1952. Members of the Dovells and the Orlons attended Overbrook. So did Solomon Burke, Mike Pedicin and Bob "Big Murph" Murphy. And Wilt Chamberlain. That's right, Wilt "The Stilt" did... Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2012 at Bandstand Beat