Posts Tagged ‘Pat Boone’


Friday, April 20th, 2012

Television host, producer and broadcast pioneer Dick Clark has died at the age of 82.

Clark was one of a handful of Philadelphia-born broadcasters and performers who made it to the national stage–Ed MacMahon, of course, was another–and he pretty much stayed there, front and center, until felled by a stroke in 2004.

Those who knew Clark have been unanimous in their praise of him as a human being, almost granting him saintly status. Entertainer Tony Orlando claims that what you saw in Clark’s onstage persona was exactly the way Clark was in real life. Interesting observation. Perhaps Orlando tied too many ribbons around too many old oak trees.

Philadelphia radio host Bob Horn was the creator and first host of Dick Clark’s later claim to fame, television’s “American Bandstand.” Horn, who hosted from 1952 to 1956, was ousted due to a drunk driving and statutory rape charge. Though acquitted from the latter, Horn’s career was over. Clark replaced him as the host of “American Bandstand” in July of 1956. It spent a year as a local program emanating from Philadelphia until it was picked up for national broadcast by ABC in 1957. The program lasted–probably too long–in various guises until 1989.

Clark was in the right place at the right time. Certain powers that be in this country were quite, quite concerned about the newfound popularity of rockers like Elvis, Jerry Lee, Chuck Berry and the like, because, as you know, they were all no-account hop-heads who inspired juvenile delinquency. The world needed more personalities like Pat Boone, for Elvis to have his balls cut off by being railroaded into the army, and for a fresh-faced “rock host” who might somehow but a “safe face” on all this lurid music.

Clark was the guy, and no doubt he was sincere in his passions. Indeed, so honest-looking and fresh-faced was he, that he escaped the entire payola scandal–paying radio guys for airplay–of the late 1950s. Pioneer rock jock Alan Freed had his career ruined by the scandal. Clark simply said he had no knowledge of any artist he had an interest in being involved in such a terrible affair.

Dick Clark’s real contribution to television was as a producer. He was there at the beginning with reality shows, beauty pageants, blooper programs, dozens of game shows, and the legendary New Year’s eve broadcast. None of this was art, nor did it pretend to be. Clarks’s talent was in making money. Lots of it.

Some years back, I had an idea for a reality television show called “The World’s Greatest Drummer.” The weekly series would pit drummers–of all ages–against one another in competition, playing before celeb/drummer judges like Max Weinberg, Charlie Watts, Ringo, etc. Several production companies were interested, but before seriously proceeding, I wanted to take the concept to “the expert.”

While hosting “Bandstand,” Clark had a number of dancers who appeared week after week and ended up with their own followings and fan clubs. One of these vastly popular “regulars” was a West Philly guy named Tommy DeNoble, who eventually had a decent singing career and appeared in films like “Ship of Fools.”

I drummed for Tom way back when, and thought that might help me gain entrance into the offices of “the world’s oldest teenager.” I sent a note to his office, and lo and behold, Dick Clark himself called me on the telephone.

He was more than nice, stressed that he did not use email and responded to letters, etc., via a personal telephone call, inquired about our mutual friend DeNoble, and then addressed the issue of “The World’s Greatest Drummer.” Though he liked the idea, he maintained that because the program was limited to just drums, that the entire concept was just too marginalized to ever reach a wide, general audience. “What would you do as a follow-up?” he asked. “The ‘World’s Greatest Violin Player’?”

He was right and I knew it, and I’ll never forget that he took the time to respond in the manner he did.

Yes, Clark was in the right place at the right time, and that’s great for a start. But he had the vision, strength and determination to succeed, and to succeed for decades in a medium that often spits people out after mere moments.

More importantly, I think Dick Clark really and truly liked television. It showed.


Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

My sincerest thanks to our loyal customer base who are beginning to return to the bigger and better and now again online And let this serve as a hearty welcome to new visitors as well. We are working hard to tweak things at the site in terms of organization, streamlining and ease of use, dealing with a non-working link or two, etc.

We’ve also begun adding “new discoveries” for the first time in a while, including some great, 1944 and 1946 from the Krupa band (already posted), a 1966 Newport All-Stars date with a spectacular drummer who all know and some of you love (soon to be posted), and early 1960s DVD concerts from the likes of Buck Clayton and Stan Kenton. Look for some stellar additions to the MP3 collection as well.

Good things are happening in Philadelphia music wise. Those who have long claimed that jazz is dead in Philadelphia need only head over to the venerable 23rd Street Cafe’, where the jam session is mobbed every Tuesday…as it’s been for the past 21 years of Tuesdays. Drummer and session producer “Big Jim” Dofton is doing a superlative job of keeping each and everything together. Believe me, it isn’t easy.

Our friend, pianist/singer Andy Kahn, deservedly, keeps getting busier and busier. He continues with regular recitals at Jacobs Music in center city Philadelphia, has returned to the Hedgerow Theater in Media, will return to The World Cafe’ at the end of April, and is not doing sessions at the city’s popular restaurant, The Prime Rib.

My good associate–bassist Bruce Kamsinky–and I recently took a ride down to that city by the ocean that musicians have long called “Beiruit by the Sea.” Atlantic City, New Jersey, that is. A.C. is the scene of the soon-to-open (with Beyonce’ at the headlining opener) Revel Hotel and Casino. The facility is said to have cost in the two billion dollar ranger. And a half-block away from Revel’s massive lobby? The same, decayed and in-pieces “homes” that have been a part of the inlet’s “urban blight” sector for more than 50 years. All the promises of using casino money to remove this decay? No one seems to know what’s happened, and it absolutely amazes me that allegedly intelligent business people who have managed to build a two billion dollar casino, could fix it so, when a customer looks out his pricey window, the view is nothing less than disgusting…for more than one reason. Whats-a-matter? You don’t have a couple of hundred to tear down a house?

AC needs all the help they can get, and starting with an enviornment that’s clean and safe is a good and long overdue beginning.  The struggling resort has now dropped to number three in the “gaming destinations” rank, and has recently lost another seven or so percentage points in terms of gross revenue.

We all know that this business of entertainment is a young person’s game, but don’t tell that to the likes of Pat Boone, Wayne Newtown, Debbie Reynolds and Frank, Jr., who have announced busy, 2012 schedules.

Feel free to email me directly at with suggestions, wants, problems and other info. All good wishes to you and yours for a swingin’ spring, a great holiday season-and beyond.

Keep swingin,