Pop Culture History/Trivia – The Real Fred Flintstone

mrpopculture fred flintstone alan reed It’s really no mystery – the voice of the original Fred Flintstone – and the one that set the character forever is that of the late actor –  Alan Reed.

He’s probably known for the most memorable single cartoon voice of all time.

But – It’s really hard to get a hold of Reed. You’d see him in a movie – and – flash, he was gone. You wanted to hear his voice – because – really – Fred Flintstone is much more prominent than Alan Reed ever was. Don’t get me wrong, Reed did lots of movies and television – but, let’s face it – more people know his voice because of “The Flintstones.” He also looks a bit like the cartoon character.

Reed died in 1977 – and newer Flintstone cartoons used an imitation of Reed. The original is always the best.

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FM Radio History – Interview With Larry Berger – WPLJ, NY

Legendary FM Radio Programmer Larry Berger Talks About His 14 Years At WPLJ, NY.

“Those years were a time when radio programmers were given wide autonomy to create and manage the on-air product”

Back in 1974, AM radio still dominated music listening ratings. In New York and vicinity – there was WLIX, WICC, WVNJ, WNBC, WGSM, WABC, WPAT, WHN, WHLI, WNEW, WLIB, WFAS, WGBB, WMTR, WGLI, WALL, WSTC, WNJR, WBAB, WCTC, WVOX, WGCH, WKER, WRAN, WJDM, WERA & WWRL.

On the FM dial – WLIR, WPAT, WVOX, WCTO, WINE, WPLJ, WNLK-FM, WSTC-FM, WALK, WKJY, WXLO (99X), WPLR, WCBS-FM, WPDH, WPIX-FM, WBAB-FM, WNEW-FM, WTFM, WWYD, WSPK-FM, WRFM, WDHA, WBLI, WRVR, WRNW , WBLS & WDJF.

In September 1974, Larry Berger came to WPLJ and made it a dominate music station, keeping ‘PLJ competitive, despite market changes.

"95.5 WPLJ - New York's Best Rock"

“95.5 WPLJ – New York’s Best Rock”

Mr. Pop -  Larry – you’ve had a very distinguished career in radio. Interestingly, you graduated from Rutgers with a degree in journalism.

LB – That’s correct. My first major station was working as music director for WWRL, New York.

radio history - 1968 WWRLMr. Pop – WWRL was a “soul” station with a black and white staff.

LB – Most of the jocks were black – except the afternoon man. The manager, Frank Ward was white as were (most) of the news people. I enjoyed working with Frank Ward and enjoyed my time at WWRL.

radio history frankie crockerMr. Pop – WWRL was an incredible station. All soul – but with a top-40 sound.

LB – I started there in 1966 – and you couldn’t go wrong with all the Motown, Stax and Atlantic soul music – much of which made it over to pop stations WMCA and WABC.

Mr. Pop – The ratings at WWRL were pretty decent. Considering that ‘RL was at 1600, 5,000 watts and very directional. A 1967 March-April (city) Pulse report has them actually beating WABC. And ‘RL had a star in DJ Frankie Crocker.

LB – ‘RL was very popular. One special “Negro” survey from Pulse said that 65% listened to WWRL. The second station in that survey – was all-news WINS.

Mr. Pop – That’s amazing. Now – In late 1968, you move north to Middletown and programmed WALL (1340). It was owned by the same folks who owned WMCA – The Straus family.

wmca radio history 1968LB – I had actually interviewed at (top-40) WMCA after leaving ‘RL. I also interviewed at WABC.  At the time, there was nothing available. Then, the job at WALL opened up. I was program director and also did an air shift.

Mr. Pop – WALL was an interesting station: very contemporary and very local.

LB – Exactly. We had a good team and I thought the station sounded pretty good. I learned a lot at WALL and cherish those memories.

WABC radio 1972Mr. Pop – While you were at WALL, you were offered the assistant program director job at WABC – by Rick Sklar.

LB – I think I’m the only person that ever turned down a job offer by Rick Sklar. The reason – I bought my first home just a few weeks before the offer came through.

Mr. Pop – You were actually competing with WABC in Orange County.

LB – Yes, and we always beat them in the local ratings.

Mr. Pop – What’s fascinating is – Glenn Morgan got the job as WABC APD. He was with a station in Atlantic City – also at 1340 on the AM dial – WMID.

wmidLB – A little history: because of an FCC mix-up, the calls were switched:  WALL (Middletown) was supposed to have the call letters WMID. And the WALL calls were supposed to go to Atlantic City. They got flipped.

Mr. Pop – What an amazing radio story. Now, around 1973, you get a nice job offer.

LB – Yes – My name had gotten around ABC radio and so, the general manager from WRIF (Detroit) heard about me, came out – sat in his car and monitored WALL. He said the station sounded great and offered me the job at WRIF – an ABC FM station. I began at WRIF in March of 1973.

Mr. Pop – So you go to Detroit where they were doing their version of “Rock ‘n Stereo” and you also got to meet some folks along the way.

WRIFLB – I did. Detroit it seemed, was a gateway to New York as talent such as Jim Kerr and Pat St. John will tell you. Pat was at WRIF and his brother was on the air there, as well.

Mr. Pop – You didn’t  stay at WRIF that long – because – the general manager had transferred to New York and WPLJ, and then, asked you to join the staff. When did you join PLJ?

LB – September of 1974.

Mr. Pop – FM radio was just starting to get ratings in general. And, WPLJ wasn’t doing that well in the ratings. Who were your competitors?

LB –  Most of our listeners were on the young end and I believed our growth could come from that segment. So, stations such as 99X and our own WABC were WPLJ competition. 99X at the time – was hot. I heard it in a lot of places.

WNEW-FMMr. Pop – And WNEW-FM?

LB – In a sense – yes, we were both playing album rock – but WNEW-FM skewed older. The opportunity for WPLJ was with the younger audience.

Mr. Pop – What was the sound of WPLJ when you got there?

LB – It was sort of a pop-rock station. It had a mix of pop hits and rock tracks.

Mr. Pop – And, what was the lineup when you arrived?

WPLJ 1974 radio historyLB – Jim Kerr mornings, middays was Paul Krimsier (who left to go into the ministry), Pat St. John afternoons; Tony Pigg 6-10 and John Zacherly at night. Alex Bennett was doing overnights.

Mr. Pop – How long did it take to make a ratings impact?

LB – The station made a big jump in the ratings in my third quarter – April/May – of 1975. And our audience was male and female.  Women, 18-24 were a big component of the ‘PLJ audience.

Mr. Pop – Around this time, WPLJ had a unique, “compressed” sound, like no other.

LB – Most listeners back then used mono FM radios and I felt we’d be at a better advantage if our sound  jumped out. WPLJ did exactly that – as you tuned across the FM dial in New York.

Mr. Pop – Was WPLJ a station that relied on call-out research during the 1975-1979 era? How did you pick your music?

hotel california album coverLB – Call outs were not up and running at that time. Music was done by consensus at weekly music meetings with me, the music director, DJ’s other staff members. Usually – we would consider 10 to 12 songs and rotations/exposure would be readjusted.  WPLJ was a song-by-song format. We considered each song as an individual unit. A popular album such as the Eagles, “Hotel California” – we may be playing four cuts off it – but each song would be in a different rotation.

Mr. Pop – What was your hottest rotation?

LB – About once every five hours. And, there were songs we would play once a week – like secondary tracks off of old albums. We had almost 2,000 songs.

Mr. Pop – What was the job of the music director at that time?

LB – They would listen to music, keep track of the music library; meet with record promoters – and basically worked hand-in-hand with me.

Mr. Pop – Your sister station – WABC was the biggest music station in the country. Rick Sklar was the program director. Any interesting stories?

rick sklarLB – Rick was an amazing programmer – and, he was a good corporate person. And, he loved being around TV, movie and music celebrities. Sometimes we butted heads – but not often. When “Saturday Night” began on NBC-TV – we had the cast up at WPLJ to do a live interview. We could have recorded it – but these were people who did it “live” every week. Jim Kerr – a very good interviewer – was moving it along. Then one of the female cast members let the F-bomb out. Unbeknownst to me, Rick Sklar was in his office, listening to WPLJ and wasn’t too happy. He came over and started letting me have it. I started arguing back. Here I was – having it out with the biggest program director in the country. It was just one of those times. But – we really got along great. I’d always admired him and learned so much from watching how he ran WABC’s programming.

Mr. Pop – Great story.  So, WPLJ is cooking after this point, 1975 into 1978, then WKTU-FM decides to go disco and the whole music radio landscape in New York seemed to shake.

wktu is #1 1979 radio historyLB – WKTU/Disco was a boon to FM in New York – as it drove a lot of audience to the FM dial, but it also fractionalized that audience and forced us to narrow. Remember, we were playing everything from Earth, Wind & Fire to Simon & Garfunkel with “The Who” in the middle. Disco forced us to narrow the mix pretty significantly – eliminating any R&B and the softer side of the station.  This was the time that WPLJ became much more rock oriented.

Mr. Pop – And this was around 1979 when the WKTU ratings impact was really felt.

LB – That’s correct.

mrpopculture radio historyMr. Pop – With the narrower playlist – came faster rotations.

LB – Yes and that’s when we began to rely on call-out research.

Mr. Pop – And, this was a time when sister WABC was being slaughtered.

LB – WABC’s initial reaction to WKTU was to play longer disco cuts and that was a mistake. There was a lot of dissention at WABC at the time. Sadly, it seemed they really didn’t know how to react when they were dethroned. They had been #1 for so many years.  But, I had my own challenges at WPLJ.

Mr. Pop – What difference did music call-outs make for you?

Thw Who 1979LB – We were able to determine which songs to play in stronger rotations – to a more accurate degree. And, define songs that were not necessarily from hit albums.

Mr. Pop – And, this was a time that WPLJ got more into concert promotions, a province that belonged WNEW-FM – but in 1980, 1981, 1982 – you guys seemed to be everywhere. It was the time of those WPLJ concert buttons – now a collector’s item.

LB – We began working more closely with some of the promoters and looking back, we got quite busy.

WAPP FM radio 1982Mr. Pop – It’s 1982 and you have another competitor – WAPP – which lasted basically that summer.

LB – We did take a ratings hit the summer of 1982 because of WAPP – a new rock station – which had gone the entire summer without commercials. When September came, we were ready though and our ratings came up. WAPP didn’t last that long.

WPLJ 1982 concert buttonMr. Pop – Also in 1982, it’s a new era for top-40 – and you really got a sense of this with a visit to Philadelphia.

LB – I made a trip to Philadelphia to monitor WMMR and WYSP – two album rock stations – but ended up listening to Mike Josephs’ “Hot Hits” station down there – WCAU-FM. There was so much great music we were not playing. I realized there was a re-birth of top-40 radio – something that New York had not realized. In New York – there was no top-40 station. We played some of it – Men at Work – that kind of thing. And MTV was starting to become an influence as well.

WPLJ RocksMr. Pop – You’re still a rock station into the Spring of 1983 – and doing OK in the ratings.

LB – Yes, but my feeling was – the music that was coming out didn’t hold, what I called – “the rock coalition.” Folks who liked, “The Who” didn’t like “Men at Work.” And people who liked hard rock – didn’t like anything else.

Mr. Pop – You finally decide to make WPLJ into a hit station.

LB – My pitch was to change the station into an adult-oriented top-40 station. We’d play all the top-40 hits – but the sound, presentation and priorities were with women 25-44 and play all that great music at the time. There was a huge opening. With our existing rock format – only 30% was current. Back in the 1970’s – we had been playing 70% currents. So, there just wasn’t a lot of new, solid rock-oriented music.

Mr. Pop – So, you convince management.

LB – I pitched it on a Thursday. And by the following Thursday at 4am – it was on the air.

Mr. Pop – And – this was June of 1983?

LB – That’s right.

Mr. Pop – What were some of your positioners?

LB – We became “Hit Radio 95” and used liners such as,  “Home of the Hits,”  “All Your Favorite Music On One Station.”

Mr. Pop – All this before the debut of Z-100.

LB – Yes. Many people thought we tried to pre-empt them. That’s a logical conclusion – but not true. Malrite had several stations including country in San Francisco and had a legendary rock station in Cleveland – so, we didn’t really know what they were going to do with their newly acquired Newark FM station. Our objective was rather self-centered – what was good for us. There’s nothing you’re going to do about the competition anyway.

Mr. Pop – And, you’re battling it out with Z-100. And, you became WPLJ (Power 95) in 1985 and then, the call letter change to WWPR in 1987.**

LB – The plan all along was to become “Power 95” – because – we realized the call letters became kind of a double-edged sword. WPLJ to some – meant we were still a rock station ready to play, “Stairway to Heaven.”

Mr. Pop – How did you do against Z-100?

LB – We beat them 12+ in one book and tied them 12+ in another and consistently beat them in big margins 18+. They leaned more younger, more teen oriented and that  gave our sales department a nice pitch.      (Audio: Ellis Foster)

Mr. Pop – In 1985 – New York had four top-40 stations as WKTU-FM and WAPP joined the battle. KTU hired Dan Ingram for afternoons.

LB – It was an interesting time – but the battle really was between us and Z-100. The other two didn’t last long in the format.

Mr. Pop – You eventually left WPLJ/WWPR in October of 1988 with a great run!

LB – It was. An amazing time with a great staff  both on and off the air. Those years were a time when radio programmers were given wide autonomy to create and manage the on-air product.  And I was fortunate to have the support of management.  All in all, the radio audience was the big winner!

** The WPLJ call-letters were “parked” at a station in Scranton, PA – just in case. And, they quickly returned to 95.5 in New York City.  

Larry Berger Photo

Interview conducted by Gary West

Miley Cyrus/Hanna – It Was Seven Years Ago… 2006 Pop Culture

miley cyrus/hannah 2006

Seven Years Ago, Hannah Montana Was On Her Way To Superstar Status

She’s Come A (Very) Long Way

Seven years ago, the Disney Channel was on to something. Actually – it was always on to something. Beginning as a pay outlet, they eventually went “free” – airing primarily older Disney content. During the early 1990′s, they dumped traditional programming such as “Vault Disney” and slowly began going after the “Tween” audience – that healthy/vibrant – not child, not quite full teenager. An audience with influence and – one that could be influenced. This required brand-spanking new programming – a kind of “tween” program development/star system, coupled with the famous in-house Disney marketing machine.

Miley Cyrus 2010 photo

“Lizzie McGuire” was its first superstar. Seven years ago, “Hannah” became their second. Hannah Montana debuted in March of 2006 – but by this time, Disney knew they had a superstar – one that was destined all things Disney – music, movies, concerts, merchandise. Born November 23, 1992 – Miley Cyrus was just 13 at the time – and little known. Her dad was famous for one super country hit – “Achy Breaky Heart” – and both did prior TV work. “Hannah” re-ignited dad’s career as well – he being “dad” – and a series regular.

The premise of “Hannah” was part Superman (disguise: a wig instead of glasses) and part, goofy sitcom. It worked – as tween audiences, their younger/older sisters, moms (brothers too) – made the series into the Disney Channel’s most popular to date.

miley cyrus blond hair photoLike Britany Spears – Miley turned into the first thing spoken on gossip shows and columns (and blogs). She was being watched like a hawk. Hard to believe it’s been seven years. Like Justin Bieber of late, she hasn’t made the best decisions and the Internet is a small world. She’s also changed her look several times.

Miley Cyrus has dodged most of it and today – Miley Cyrus is out with a new album and hit single – after taking a hiatus from music. She just may have adult staying power. And this year – she turns 21.

 

miley cyrus spiked hair photo 2013

Year 2006 In Video Timeline

NBC-TV & Ryan Seacrest Rolling Out New Trivia Show

Ryan Seacrest Thirty Second Quiz Trivia Photo

NBC & Seacrest Ready To Roll Out – “Million Second Quiz”

Not Your Father’s TV Trivia

Get ready for a new and different kind of trivia TV show – one that’s 1 million consecutive seconds and will air via TV  & the Internet. The show will contain lots of trivia – much of the same kind you find here on the Mr. Pop Video Timeline. The show is going for a younger audience, so – expect “trivia” to more pop and – more modern. TV, music, movies (you know those actors and actresses questions) – those kinds of things (who did what in this TV show?). Also, the show promises a kind of trivia twist – not your ordinary trivia type show – not yet known.

And the program – it’ll be carried over two mediums – regular NBC-TV and “continue” on the Internet – then back on NBC – you get the picture.  The show was first pitched last year and the exact format was worked out recently. It should be very entertaining. Duration – 12 straight days/one million seconds. So get ready – tune-up on your trivia.

Seacrest and his production company have been on a roll – and – this will be his first – real game-type show. He’s always wanted one – because – well, Dick Clark did the same thing.  They’re cheaper to produce and if you score – the product potential is amazing.

Look for it in September. Meantime – get yourself fine-tuned…

Pick a year and go or… random years:

Year 2008

Year 1995

Year 1988

Trivia – Remember Ryan Seacrest & This Girl? What Was Her Name?

ryan seacrest trivia photo shana girlfriend 2005

 

Trivia – Howard Stern’s Most Feared Day?

howard stern 1982 radio photo

After One Day – He’s Off The Air For Three Days

Today, you’d never know it. It’s been pretty well forgotten. Howard Stern has talked about in the past: out of his entire radio career – there was, once upon a time, an event that made Stern was so nervous that – well, he got sick – which probably worsened his condition. So much so –  he was off the air for three days. This, a day into the new job.  At the time, Howard Stern said he had some kind of virus/strep throat but – there is no such thing as coincidence.

Sick? You or I might be too.  According to, Stern biography,  “Private Parts,” when he got the call to WNBC –  Stern was beyond elated. This was it. A hometown station.  Back in 1982 – WNBC was doing OK in the ratings. Program Director Kevin Metheny put the station in a respectable position. Crosstown AM music rival WABC had just switched to talk – leaving WNBC as the sole contemporary music station on NY’s AM dial. Sure, it could use ratings help – who couldn’t? Stern was picked to do afternoon drive and off he went.

Howard remembered WNBC for DJ Don Imus, a personality with a new type of humor – biting. There wasn’t anyone quite like him anywhere in 1971, especially New York City. The only one who came close – was Bob Grant at talk station WMCA – someone else Stern (then ) admired. Imus was still there – doing mornings.

And, during the 1960’s,WNBC was a pioneering talk station – giving New York City its very first (two-way) talk format: host and callers. By 1982, WNBC was a personality music station – playing the hits of the day. And, it had the best AM signal in New York City.

Howard Stern’s first day on radio 66 was exciting. To be sure – it’s a very tamed Howard Stern – doing pace/format radio. It’s almost hard to imagine Howard Stern doing this kind of work. Pace… timing… sound… You can hear him rebelling by his second day. Later, when Stern got into WNBC trouble – breaking format was the chief reason  for his firing.  WNBC was as close to being a disc jockey – or having a DJ sound – that Stern ever got:  as mainstream as he ever sounded. WNBC was going for a mass audience – male/female 25-54. But wait, behind the scenes, Stern was not feeling well.

Howard Stern – First Day on WNBC – 1982/August 30

Second day – no Howard. Third day – no Howard. Fourth day – no Howard.

Howard’s back – his second day on the air at WNBC.

Howard Back On The Air – Missing Three Days 

Howard Stern counts down the top 660 songs (are you kidding?)

If you ever run into Howard Stern – ask him – what was his most feared day? And now you know – the rest of the story.

Click Here To View 1982 In Video Timeline.

howard stern 2013 photo

Movie History – Robert Downey Jr’s Incredible Comeback

robert downey jr photo 1985

Downey  Was Once “Written Off” As Someone Who Couldn’t Control His Personal Cocaine Demons

Robert Downey Jr. came to the mainstream public conscious during the 1980′s in such movies as, “Weird Science” and  ”Chances Are.” A versatile actor, Downey was known as much for his TV work, including a run on, “Saturday Night Live” during the mid-1980′s and later, “Ally McBeal” among other TV projects. He seemed to have a likable quality with audiences and critics usually favored his movie work.

Weird Science From 1985

Downey in fact, has been nominated for several Emmy and Academy Awards. He’s also a singer/songwriter having released an album in 2004 titled, “The Futurist” and is  a Golden  Globe winner.

Robert Downey Jr. hit bottom after 1996 with arrest after arrest – all due to a cocaine habit he couldn’t break. Jailed, and almost given time for prison, Downey hit rock-bottom when he was fired from “Ally McBeal” in 1997 and subsequent arrests and just plain poor judgement. He was rarely out of the news during this period and most believed – it was the end for Downey. Not a bad singer, here’s Downey during his cocaine years, singing on “Ally McBeal” – in key, with Sting’s “Every Breath You Take”

Downey Sings on “Ally McBeal” In 1996

Robert Downey Jr’s real comeback movie – was 2008′s “Iron Man” – his first career blockbuster/mega movie. It was then – as Hollywood bloggers, writers and Downey fans will tell you – that the actor was back – and bigger than ever. It was great news – especially after seeing him self-destruct and just doing, plain, stupid things. From there – his career took-off as never before. Critics and fans alike gave the movies  a thumps-up. Could it happen again? Did he need another Iron Man? Interestingly – everyone knew there would be another (begin franchise) – but before that follow-up – Downey starred in 2009′s “Sherlock Holmes” – and proved he was on a genuine career roll (or role).

Robert Downey Jr. Arrives With year 2009′s “Sherlock Holmes”

“Iron Man 2″ quickly followed in 2010. Then in 2012, something quite interesting happened. A franchise within a franchise – as Robert Downey Jr. became an Avenger (The Avengers), under his Ironman character and it too, became blockbuster. Following year in 2013 – “Iron Man 3″ is out – yes, another blockbuster and – this is actually given good reviews by fans and critics. “The Avengers 2″ is being planned for 2015.

No one has ever achieved such rapid, quick success with two sets of franchises (one a subset of the other) and, so quickly. Downey just signed a huge movie deal with “Avengers” producers. And that’s great news.

Robert Downey Jr. was born on August 4, 1965. Click Here To Find Out What The World Was Like Then.  

robert downey jr in 2013 photo

Ford’s The Edsel… Auto Maker’s Biggest Bomb…

mrpopculture 1957 timeline ford edsel debuts ad auto historyBack to 1957 we go… A fascinating time in pop culture history. Our timeline takes a look at September of that month – from the first week:

The TV ad business was up 20% from a year prior! That’s amazing news in any business (vertical) category (as we say today). Here’s what it says: The FCC reports that the television industry has revenues from broadcasting operations in  1956 of $896,900,000, up 20.4% from 1955…

Alan Freed and Dick Clark were the talk of music television – as each had their own ABC-TV shows.

The first pay-cable TV movie is “broadcast.”

Saturday Morning Kid’s TV Looked Like This:

CBS – On the Carousel, Captain Kangaroo, Mighty Mouse Playhouse, Susan’s Show, It’s a  Hit! The Big Top, The Lone Ranger

NBC – Children’s Theatre, Howdy Doody, The Gumby Show, Fury, Captain Gallant

And, that first week of September, 1957- Ford debuts – The Edsel. It’s a car that turned out to be the biggest bomb of all time. Two years later – Ford announced it was suspending production of the low-selling automobile. It had miscalculated.

 

TV Trivia – Fascinating Facts – New York TV Station Transmitting Real Police Lineups…

Fascinating Facts – TV Trivia – Real Police Lineups Featured On NY TV Station…

 

Back we go to 1962… TV station WUHF-TV (channel 31) and the NYPD had a great idea – transmit police line-ups on the station – then, set up remote receivers in various locations throughout New York City  - so the line-up could be viewed remotely.

Real criminals on TV. Yes, the “broadcasts” were scrambled at the time – another novelty – but – the idea was way ahead of its time. Apparently the idea was to make it easier for folks to identify “criminals”  - and thus, get better results. Here’s the article – just click to read:

WUHF-TV NY

 

 

NBC Saturday Night History & Trivia – Pop Culture/TV History

In Late 1975 – There Were Two Shows And A Hit Pop Single Called, “Saturday Night” 

We Loved Our Saturday Nights Back In 1975

 1975 Howard Cosell TV trivia abc-tv bay city rollers music historyNBC-TV’s “Saturday Night Live” debuted in October of 1975. Originally, it was suppose to air Saturdays (after) the first week of each month.  The original title of the show was simply, “Saturday Night” because – ABC-TV had just debuted “Saturday Night Live” with Howard Cosell – a week prior.

The Cosell show ran earlier in prime time and was the sports announcer’s shot at becoming a mainstream talkshow host. He’d been associated with ABC Sports and Monday Night Football – and somehow, convinced ABC – he should get a shot. He did. The debut “Saturday Night Live” with Howard Cosell featured hot pop artists, “The Bay City Rollers” who, interestingly, were about to have a hit titled, “Saturday Night.”  The ratings for Cosell’s show were OK at first – then trailed off quickly.

In November, 1975, Cosell was quoted as saying, “The Saturday night time slot that ABC placed my variety show in has a deathly history. I inherited a cemetery.” By, the end of the 1975-1976 season, the show would be canceled.

art garkunkle 1975 saturday night nbc october music trivia popculture history First ads for NBC’s “Saturday Night” were few and far in-between. They usually came from record artists/record labels – who promoted upcoming appearances on the program. The first such ad for “Saturday Night” was from Art Garfunkel – who was making an appearance on the program – its second airing – on October 18, 1975. Also on that program, Paul Simon. “Saturday Night” made an immediate star out of sketch cast member Chevy Chase – the first to bolt for bigger and better things such as TV specials and movies. It quickly became a breeding ground for future movie stars such as Bill Murray and Eddie Murphy, among many others. Bolting actors almost became the bane of producer Lorne Michaels – although he wished them well, he really wasn’t happy when one of his stars left for other pastures.

So, in 1975, you have not one, but two, “Saturday Night” TV shows – but wait… The Bay City Rollers just released, “Saturday Night” – a top-10 record later in the year:

Can you tell me the first sports “personality” show that set the standard?

"Inside The NFL" with Jimmy The Greek, Irv Cross, Jayne Kennedy and Brent Musberger

“Inside The NFL” with Jimmy The Greek, Irv Cross, Jayne Kennedy and Brent Musberger

From Len G – Mr. Pop – With so many sports shows on ESPN, the Bob Costas NFL program on HBO and all the networks, can you tell me the first sports “personality’ show that set the standard?

Mr. Pop History – I don’t think there’s any doubt it was “The NFL Today” on CBS, back during the 1970’s and into the 1980’s. Brent Musberger and Jimmy the Greek were just terrific. There was such a give and take energy and I’m not sure if these two got along off camera. Jimmy the Greek Snyder once punched Musberger in a bar. On the following program, they broke out an oversize boxing glove and laughed about it.

You get the picture – those dynamics made for a great sports show. Other members of the program included Irv Cross and over the years, folks such as Phyllis George and Jayne Kennedy. As good as some of these shows are today – and I love the Costas HBO program myself, I can’t help think it all began with the original “NFL Today.” It set the standard.