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:




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.

Rush Limbaugh has been using a piece of bumper music on his show. It’s very catchy, but it isn’t anything that was ever popular.

"A Woman's Got The Power" Single

“A Woman’s Got The Power” Single

From Marty H – Mr. Pop History, I swear if you get this one, you are the best! For years, Rush Limbaugh has been using a piece of bumper music on his show. It’s very catchy, but it isn’t anything that was ever popular. I can identify every bit of music he uses on the show with this one exception. I’ve never heard him mention this piece of music – ever.
I know this is a long shot.

Mr. Pop History – For readers who don’t know, bumper music is the music bridging commercials to the next segment of a radio talk show. It’s the thing to do and Rush perfected the art. Now, to answer your question. I’m going to guess and this is a long shot indeed! I noticed over the years that Rush has played a tune, which absolutely bombed on the charts. I was given this copy by a radio station in 1981. It was one of those throwaway records stations get. I don’t listen to Rush a lot, but notice Rush is still playing the same tune, either with different artists or a different arrangement. But lets go back to this single. A group called the A’s released it in 1981 on the Arista label. The song is called “A Woman’s Got the Power.” Rush listeners should recognize this incredible piece of mystery bumper music. Rush Limbaugh played this version for years and years.

I just heard that Neil McIntyre passed away September 11. I can’t find his obit anywhere.

Radio Programmer Neil McIntyre During The 1970's

Radio Programmer Neil McIntyre During The 1970′s

From Christy – I hope you can help me. I just heard that Neil McIntyre passed away September 11. I can’t find his obit anywhere. Do you know more about his life?  I was an old friend from the 1960′s at 1010 WINS NY: a teenager trying to break into rock. We would practice with my girl group at WINS. Murray the K’s friend was our manager. We kept rehearsing so that we could meet Phil Spector but we never perfected ourselves to that degree… circa 1964.

Mr. Pop History – Radio programmer Neil McIntyre was indeed at 1010 WINS in 1964 during their last gasp at top-40 and WINS sounded great that year with DJ’s such as Ed Hider, Jack Lacy, Johnny Holiday and Murray the K. The problem was, WINS had WMCA and WABC breathing down their backs and there just wasn’t room for 3 top-40 stations. McIntyre had come from WHK Cleveland and brought WHK DJ Johnny Holiday with him to New York. WINS decided to go full-blast top-40 (again) and hired him during the fall of 1963. WINS scooped the world after all the Beatles came to New York in February, 1964, when John, Paul George and Ringo gave WINS all kinds of promos: “This is Paul McCartney and You’re Listening to 1010 WINS.”  (Ringo and John Lennon did the same for WMCA).

1964 was such a great year to be in top-40 radio with the British invasion of the Beatles, Stones, Kinks and so many others. Murray the K’s exclusive Beatle interviews were tops. WINS and WMCA tried to scoop each other with “firsts” in New York and it made for exciting radio. It was music competition at its best. The WINS sound in 1964 was exciting and highly produced. If a record was in the WINS top-10, it was in the “WINS Winners Circle.” You gotta love it.

Group W transferred McIntyre to KDKA  Pittsburgh in 1965 after the WINS all-news change. Later, Neil McIntyre programmed WPIX-FM (New York) during the early and mid-1970’s and was it my favorite choice for top-40. Like WINS, the station was loaded with personality DJ”s like Dennis Quinn, Les Marshak, Alex Hayes, Ted David and Jerry Carrol.

He was 68 and passed away from cancer. I’m told McIntyre was one of the nicest in the business. I’ve sent you his obit and thanks for a great e-mail.

When did Mr. Microphone come out?

From Rich C. – When did Mr. Microphone come out?

Mr. Pop History – Sometime around late 1978, but the TV airwaves came alive with Ronco’s Mr. Microphone in 1979. Click here for 1970′s technology timeline.

Who could forget that 70′s guy exclaiming “Hey good looking, we’ll be back to pick you up later.” Mr. Microphone was actually a low-power FM modulator, but through the magic of Ronco advertising, the device was turned into a hip tool to pick-up girls. The only problem with this commercial: you had to know what station the receiving FM radio was tuned to, so you could infiltrate their radio. Getting the frequency just right would have taken much insight and tuning time. Oh well, it’s only TV. It’s one of the classic commercials of the 1970′s.

When the Mickey Mouse Club went off the air in 1959, when did it come back in reruns?

Original Mouseketeers with Walt Disney

Original Mouseketeers with Walt Disney

From Julia W – When the Mickey Mouse Club went off the air in 1959, when did it come back in reruns?

Mr. Pop History - After Walt Disney left ABC. Syndicated reruns began on September 3, 1962 with WNEW-TV (channel 5) in New York. Annette Funicello and the gang became popular all over again with a new audience. Mickey reruns soon spread and the rest is pop history.

When did John F. Kennedy Jr.’s “George” Magazine debut?

George Magazine Cover

George Magazine Cover

Question – When did John F. Kennedy Jr.’s “George” Magazine debut?

Mr. Pop History - Although it doesn’t seem like a long time ago, “George” magazine debuted in September of 1995. At the launching press conference – Kennedy, flanked by his partner Michael Berman, told reporters “Ultimately, this magazine is going to stand on its own and that will come a couple of issues down the line when my last name doesn’t matter.” The first issue had a 500,000 printing with 175 pages. Full of pop culture and politics, George Magazine folded in March 2001.

I never ever remember red M&M candies when I was growing up

Red M&Ms

Red M&Ms

From David G – Mr. Pop – Is my memory correct in that, I never ever remember red M&M candies when I was growing up, but I see “red” today. Didn’t Mars discontinue the little red candies, then, bring them back?

Mr. Pop History – You have a good memory, Mars discontinued red M&M’s in 1976 because its dye was considered a health risk. But, they were brought back in 1987. Here’s something from the files from January 15, 1987:

Mars announces that red M&M’s are coming back after an absence of 11 years. The return of the little candy was prompted by a national outcry that included thousands of letters to the manufacturer and the formation of college campus societies. Red M&M’s were discontinued in 1976 because of “confusion and concern” over Red Dye No. 2, which was banned by federal regulators as a health risk. Red M&M’s were always safe though, as they contained Red Dye Nos. 3 and 40. Mars always sold a limited number of packages of green and red candies for the holidays.