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Larry Lehmer
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Wow! A newspaper. A really good newspaper. It's been a long time since I felt that way about a newspaper, even though I started my own newspaper career way back in 1968. It was sometime in the mid- to late-1970s, though, before I truly fell in love with a newspaper.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2020 at Life In the Slow Lane
Before Dick Clark succeeded Bob Horn as host of TV's Bandstand in 1956, there was some question among WFIL management whether he was the right man for the job. Even after giving Clark's radio show the same Bandstand name, Clark's ratings were not very good. This excerpt from Bandstandland picks... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2020 at Bandstand Beat
In early 1957, Dick Clark had been the host of Bandstand (still a local show in Philadelphia) for less than a year but his star was clearly on the rise, as this excerpt from Bandstandland shows: "As Bandstand continued to grow in popularity, the demand for Clark’s appearances at record... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2020 at Bandstand Beat
CLASS PROPHECY FOR THE CLASS OF '63 Thomas Jefferson High School Date: June, 1983 Place: Space Needle Seattle, Washington Time: You name it. It has been twenty years since the best class Tee Jay ever had performed its graduation exercises. Today, we find most of these grads heading for a... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2020 at Life In the Slow Lane
In an earlier post, I wrote how I spent many early morning hours of my college years in Omaha's Burlington Station, usually writing bad poetry or short stories in a succession of stenographer's notebooks. I also had many interesting conversations with the kind of colorful characters you'd expect to meet... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2020 at Life In the Slow Lane
Today is Monday but to call it that seems awfully mundane, coming right after Super Bowl Sunday. Shouldn’t it at least be called Super Monday? We Americans are super at using the word super. We have our Superman, Super 8s... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2020 at Passing It On
10:30 a.m., Saturday, June 18, 1988 It looks like it's going to be a scorcher. Although summer doesn't arrive for a few days yet, it's already 80 degrees on the shores of Clear Lake, Iowa, as a curious assortment of floats, marching bands and classic cars tumbles into single file... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2020 at Life In the Slow Lane
Walter Annenberg was more than a little annoyed. Since taking over the family publishing business when his father, Moe Annenberg, went to prison for tax evasion, Walter had expanded into the broadcast industry. It was with some irony that Walter bought WFIL radio from Albert M. Greenfield in 1945. It... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2020 at Bandstand Beat
"Once More Around the Crypt" That was the headline on a story I wrote in my sportswriting days about a high school track team which, since it didn't have an all-weather track at the school, did its early spring training... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2020 at Passing It On
As a college student, I was intrigued by John Lennon's writing style in his books "In His Own Write" and "A Spaniard In the Works." I found his work to be satirical and whimsical, doubtless due to his proclaimed influence from Lewis Carroll. Here is a short piece I wrote... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2020 at Life In the Slow Lane
Friday night, June 17, 1988 It's a warm Iowa night, the sun dropping towards the horizon as guests start arriving at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. It's a special occasion. Tomorrow they'll be dedicating a monument to the three singers who performed their last concert here before perishing... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2020 at Life In the Slow Lane
I found it! For years I've been looking for the notebook containing the notes I took during the monument dedication ceremonies at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, in 1988. I covered the event for The Des Moines Register as part of a deal I made with Register features... Continue reading
Posted Jan 17, 2020 at Life In the Slow Lane
It was just 46 years ago ... It seems like yesterday but it was, indeed, November 1973 when I tried to launch a career as a rock music syndicated columnist. I was just a couple months on the job as... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2019 at Passing It On
One tennis racket (Jack Kramer model) One tennis racket (Pancho Gonzalez model) Seven tennis balls Twenty six years and this is it? The sporting legacy of a young American male? Apparently so. They were the only athletic items among the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2019 at Passing It On
I love lagniappes, those unexpected little extras that sometimes tumble your way, like, for example, the complimentary sliver of cake you get at the end of a meal at the locally popular restaurant, Simon's. Then there's the opposite of lagniappes, those unexpected little extras that sometimes tumble your way and... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2019 at Life In the Slow Lane
I’ve had heaven on my mind lately and for no apparent reason. As far as I know, there’s no life-or-death crisis looming in my immediate family. Nothing like that with my best friends, either. I’m at the age where the death of contemporaries is no longer as shocking as it... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2019 at Life In the Slow Lane
This was the day Dick Clark officially replaced Bob Horn as the host of Bandstand, the Philadelphia teenage dance show that would become American Bandstand 13 months later. Clark was greeted by protests on that first day by Bandstand regulars who hated to see Horn go. One of those regulars... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2019 at Bandstand Beat
It's 5 a.m. I should be sleeping. But I'm wide awake. My mind is spinning. Why? Jabberwocky, that's why. It came to me as I slept. Jabberwocky. That's what's going on. It's plain as can be, to me, in the foggy limbo betwixt subconscious and conscious. I stumble towards my... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2019 at Life In the Slow Lane
At least 4.1 percent of my Facebook friends are dead. And that's just the ones I know about. I shouldn't be surprised. In real life, people are born, live their lives and die. Relationships function in much the same way. Someone enters your life, interacts a while, then leaves your... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2019 at Life In the Slow Lane
Dick Clark was recovering nicely after the payola hearings wrapped up in 1960. The popularity of "The Twist" was sweeping across the country as Clark was learning that his idyllic marriage may be crumbling. We pick up the story in this excerpt from "Bandstandland": "In an article in TV Radio... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2019 at Bandstand Beat
A common refrain on cable news these days is that Democrats are reluctant to try to impeach Donald Trump because they fear the backlash suffered by Republicans in 2000 after their failed effort to oust President Bill Clinton. The impression is that the Republicans suffered greatly since their impeachment charge... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2019 at Life In the Slow Lane
Here's another excerpt From Bandstandland: "As good as Dick Clark was in his role as the amiable host and as relevant as the music he played was to his young audience, American Bandstand would have failed without the ebullient, energetic, teenage dancers that lit up the screen every weekday afternoon.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2019 at Bandstand Beat
Dear Aaron, Meghan and Bret, Today, instead of teaching others how to write a legacy letter, I’m writing one of my own. On this day before Earth Day 2008, I want to share with you some of my wishes for... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2019 at Passing It On
Many people in the record business were running scared in late 1959. There was a lot of buzz that the quiz show scandal that had dominated headlines would soon morph into a full-fledged Congressional inquiry into the music industry. Those fears were about to be realized when Oren Harris, chairman... Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2019 at Bandstand Beat
Bandstand Flashback: April 1953 Dick Clark and American Bandstand had a good friend in TV Guide. In fact, you might call the magazine a member of the family. TV Guide debuted in April 1953, about six months after Bob Horn's Bandstand hit the air. TV Guide was owned by Triangle... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2019 at Bandstand Beat