Sunday, May 28, 2006

Memorial Day recommendations

Memorial Day weekend recommendations:

Stay home.

On Monday 77 WABC in New York remembers its Top 40 heritage with a day long salute complete with the music, jingles, and tapes of classic old broadcasts from the 60’s & 70’s. Remember the days of Dan Ingram and Cousin Brucie (although I never got Cousin Brucie). I’d hyperlink it for you if I wasn’t such a spaz and didn’t know how to do it. But this is the website:

And while we’re on the subject of retro radio, WNEW-FM 102.7 in New York is remembering the great dance stations and jocks of the 80’s. Notable is the return of Howard Hoffman, noon-3 EDT. This guy is GOOD!!

A fun book: MANHATTAN PROJECT by Peter Lefcourt. Lefcourt is a former TV writer turned legitimate writer. This novel is a hilarious look at where reality shows might go. Considering television has gone so far past the absurdity of NETWORK, this plot about ABC televising an Osbourne type series about an Asian warlord is not as far fetched as you’d think, or as it should be.

MY FAIR BRADY – 9 pm EDT on VH-1. The long national wait is over – there’s another Brady Bunch movie. I don’t know what it’s about but who cares? It has to be deliciously appalling. Preferably viewed while stoned.

On Monday FX has a 70’s SHOW marathon. Judging from comments on my last post about the 70’s SHOW a lot of you couldn’t give a shit, but for those like me who found that show fun and quirky here’s a heads up.

THE PHIL SILVERS SHOW is out on DVD. After the HONEYMOONERS it’s my favorite sitcom of all-time.

Stay at home.

Put out your flag.


Whaledawg said...

Um....My Fair Brady is a reality show about the guy who was Peter and his disfunctional relationship with his model gf.

It's very not worth staying home for.

The Master said...

Not only is the "Reality" series from last year MY FAIR BRADY, not worth staying home for, it's worth leaving home to avoid. One could go out and buy the Sgt. Bilko DVDs, which is certainly one of the best shows EVER. (Though don't you think it dropped in quality to a noticable degree after Nat Hiken left?)

Ken Levine said...

If that Brady show is not one of those gooey awful movies then yeah, pass. Ugh.

BILKO did drop in quality after Nat Hiken left. But the first few seasons are amazing. And I believe that's what's out on DVD

Grubber said...

Have enjoyed The 70's SHOW. Favourite moment was when Eric was stoned, his mother was talking to him and the wallpaper on the kitchen wall kept scrolling through. Loved it.

Can anyone explain the popularity of Ashton Kucher? I always felt he was the weak link in that cast actually....

Jaime J. Weinman said...

What's out on DVD is a "best of" BILKO set, with only 18 episodes. (All but the last four are from the first two seasons, which are the Nat Hiken seasons.) It's a pretty good set, with a lot of interesting extras, but a complete first-season set obviously would have been a lot better.

ChrisO said...

One of my favorite lines from Bilko:

Sgt.: Why don't you guys go home and talk to your wives?

Sgt. Ritzik (Joe E. Ross)
You can tell me to go home, but don't tell me who to talk to.

The Honeymooners was probably better, but I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Bilko. And Phil Silvers and I shared a birthday.

ChrisO said...

There was also the tourist in Tibet who was wearing a shirt with a picture of Phil Silvers on it, and the authorities detained him because they thought it was the Dalai Lama (true story.)

The Master said...

A million years ago, back in 1980 and then-abouts, I often found myself in Canter's in West Hollywood at 3 AM, since I got off work at two back then and there was no place else around open, and there was almost always Joe. E. Ross holding a small court at one table or another. I don't go in there any more. It's not the same without Joe E. Ross.

supercublogger said...

Hi Ken.

I saw your link on the WABC forum pages. I too recommended this program on my blog.

I'm listening now from Tokyo, Japan. But I grew up in New Jersey listening to WABC.

By the way, I'm making a feature film in Tokyo.


VP19 said...

Listening to the WABC "Rewound," as I normally do on Memorial Day. (As I now live in Virginia, I thank the Internet.) Great stuff -- am currently listening to Dan Ingram from July '74, and you can tell why so many in the industry consider him the quintessential Top 40 jock (even if some other fine announcers are better known, such as Bruce Morrow).

Hard to believe it's been more than a year since WCBS-FM bit the dust as an oldies station. It declined a bit in recent years, but was still keeping the spirit alive with some of the old WABC/WMCA jocks and talented newer ones (such as Bob Shannon, who I've known since his Don Bombard days at WOLF in Syracuse).

Mary Stella said...

I can't associate WNEW-FM with dance stations from the 80s. The WNEW-FM I remember was the leading rock station in the world. Vin Scelsa, Scott Muni, et al. The morning shot of Bruce Springsteen. The connection the night that John Lennon was murdered.

Frank Strovel III said...

I've always dug That 70s Show and I didn't know about today's marathon. Thanks for the alert.

John said...

I've been in and out of the house today, so I'm taping the Internet stream of WABC Rewound for computer relay at a later time. But from the segments I have heard, it's actually better the last couple of years as far as the flow, since there's no Memorial Day N.Y. Yankees game in the middle of the afternoon (they're on WCBS right now), though when Rewound started in the late 1990s they were a little heavier on the 1960s airchecks, before the rise of FM, which is really when WABC was in it's heyday.

(I also hope next year Johnny Donovan brings back the 45-minute WABC jingle montage, which played on the first few years of Rewound but has been missing since then.)

Ken Levine said...

That jingle montage, made by Jon Wolfert was spectacular. A large part of WABC's success were those amazing jingles, that just seemed to come at you from all angles.

Hope you got the chance to hear the interview with Dan Ingram at 6 EDT. He was in his usual rare, candid, brilliant form.

There is a musicradioWABC website that has the jingles and a montage available for listening. Check it out.

Paul Duca said...

Ken...even if I didn't have family business on Memorial Day, I haven't been able to get the WABC stream since I upgraded. Are you OS X, and if so what did you do to get reconnected?

supercublogger said...

Speaking of Dan Ingram, yes, indeed, I did get to hear him call in to Mark Simone on the post Rewound show.

Candid is putting it mildly. I guess, since he's been out of radio for some time his guard was down. And since it was THE Dan Ingram, Mark didn't have the bleep button ready, knowing Dan to the be pro that he is.
With that was a bit surprising (and funny) to hear what he said next. Two, in as many minutes.
I wonder if the FCC will fine WABC. My guess is, not a single person complained, since those listening were doing so, out of love for WABC.
Anyway, I didn't see the indiscretion in any of the news wires.

Tokyo, Japan

VP19 said...

As usual, WABC did another fine job with "Rewound." To me, the most fascinating segment aired was hearing Cousin Brucie's show on election night '68, as music was interspersed with local and national election returns from WABC and parent ABC radio. (People forget that WABC maintained a solid news department, just as its chief rival WMCA did.) In retrospect, there was a certain bit of irony in one of the current hits Brucie played: "Sweet Blindness" by the Fifth Dimension. If only the "blind" electorate had known what was coming less than six years hence...

On a '74 segment, WABC played Aretha's 1970 version of Ben E. King's "Don't Play That Song," which in some ways may explain the recent decline of the oldies format. It was a top 10 hit in '70 and still wonderful to hear, but the consultants have decided the only Aretha record we hear on the few oldies stations left is "Respect," and maybe "Chain Of Fools" if we're lucky. I know the oldies station we had in D.C., WBIG (a Clear Channel outlet that on its best day was no match for WCBS-FM), used to play "Summer In The City" so often that it lost its considerable excitement and you became inured to it...not the reaction you want from your listeners.

John said...

Ken --

The great thing in part about the WABC promos done by PAMS was the music was done to fit the call letter, so everything flowed right. You can listen to the same jingles sung for other radio stations around the country on XM's Friday show saluting Top 40 stations on their 60s channel and hear how they had to shoehorn the station names and the slogans into spots that were custom fitted for New York (or in a handful of cases, KHJ in Los Angeles).

Paul --

Even though it's a little too late for this year's Rewound, Media Player 9.0 for OS X does handle the WABC stream, at least in 10.3, though mine tends to shut itself down if it has to buffer the internet stream more than a couple of times.

I used my XP laptop to record Rewound while I was out of the house, which streamed fine with Media Player 10 for Windows, but the %$@!%$%^$#! recording program had some kind of error in the last three hours of the show, so I missed both the final Ingram bit and his X-rated remarks in the post-Rewound interview (which I'm sure will get a passing mention on Mark Simone's Saturday oldies show on WABC, but I'll be on my way to Washington that night, so I'll just have to see if it gets mentioned on Dr. Sniffen's radio board).

VP19 said...

Speaking of WABC and Top 40, Desmond Dekker passed away on May 25. He was the first Jamaican artist to have success in the U.S. with a pure Jamaican song, "The Israelites," which I'm sure WABC played in the late spring and summer of 1969.

At the time, most of us had no idea of what ska or Jamaica was all about. A lot of us probably thought the song was about Jews (especially with the line about being caught in a farm -- was that one of those kibbutzes?). Musically, especially with the vocal group backing Dekker, it sounded a lot like stuff coming out of the recent "rock 'n' roll revival" (sort of a backlash to the psychedelia of the late sixties). But it was marvelous music, and that's all that mattered. Great record, and I'm sure Ken played it over the years.