Category Archives: Music

Happy Birthday Jooolie! It’s #84

Happy Birthday, Julius LaRosa.

julie with bill diehl (2)

Bill Diehl, seen above with Julie in a late 90’s conversation, sent word today(1/2/14) by phone that Julie, on his 84th birthday, is recovering from a fractured ankle. “Otherwise,” says Julie, “I’m in OK health.” Says Bill, “I reminded him that my wife, Lorry, met his wife, Rory, back in the 1950’s when Rory was Perry Como’s secretary, and Lorry was president of the Perry Como fan club in New York.(and Julie was Perry’s summer TV replacement.) Julie recalled that when he told Como that he was engaged to Rory and gave her a ring and they’d soon be married, Julie quoted Perry as saying, ‘you (bleep), now you’ve taken my wonderful secretary.’ Julie and Rory have been married 57 years”

Rosemary Meyer Feeding Wedding Cake to Her Husband

Visit Julie’s Page

LaRosa at piano

Mimi Sings Our Song

Bill Diehl (a WNEW alum) writes:
A couple of months ago I interviewed Mimi Hines for a feature I was doing for ABC News Radio. She had recently turned 80 and on July 19 did a special 80th birthday show at “54 Below,” the Broadway nightclub. Mimi, who used to perform with Phil Ford, who’s gone now,(they made their debut in 1958 on the Tonight Show with Jack Paar) had fond memories of WNEW and those wonderful station breaks. So with a little help from her pianist Russ Kassoff, she performed one of the jingles for me.

Mimi Hines_Russ Kassoff

Phil_Ford_and_Mimi_Hines
from PLAYBILL — Hines made her Broadway debut when she replaced Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl, performing the lead role for 18 months. Since that time she has starred in several national tours, recorded numerous albums, and returned to Broadway as Miss Lynch in the Tommy Tune production of Grease!. Hines was also seen in the York Theatre Company’s production of 70, Girls, 70, part of its “Musicals in Mufti” series, as well as the City Center Encores! production of Follies.
mimihines.com
playbill.com

“I Love Rudy Ruderman”

 Variety Headline – Wednesday, July 14, 1963

 

  “I Love Rudy Ruderman, ”  a song composed by WNEW listener Addy Feiger was performed by her on July 14, 1963 at Madison Square Garden before a crowd of 18,000 attending WNEW’s 30th anniversary party.  Click on link below.

http://wnew1130com.web.siteprotect.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/i_love_rudy_ruderman.mp3

 We asked Rudy Ruderman, a News Editor at the time and Nat Asch, who was then Director of Special Projects, to add a few details of  that  long, glamorous evening and we’ve strung together their separate e-mail comments into a long-distance  conversation.

Rudy Ruderman
Rudy Ruderman

 RUDY  I remember Addy.  She was a neighbor in Westchester of Giants coach, Allie Sherman.

NAT   Addy had written to the station saying she was “addicted” to the sound of WNEW and so, she wrote the song.

RUDY  And when she sang it, everybody cheered, especially me.

Nat Asch
Nat Asch

NAT  Varner Paulsen, was the PD at the time . . . I used to say of him, “Behold, the pale Norse”. . . anyway, he reluctantly accepted the suggestion that we open the show with Addy at the  Garden .  .

RUDY  . . .the old Garden at 50th and 8th. . . .

NAT. . .that we open with Addy on a dark stage under a single spotlight. . .

RUDY . . . dressed as a maid and holding a feather duster. She suddenly sees the piano on center stage, looks around furtively, then dusts the keys and sits down and starts the song. . .

NAT . . .followed by the Cy Zentner orchestra on the main stage. . .there were three revolving stages . . .playing the WNEW theme as the Garden lit up to the delight of eighteen thousand People.

RUDY . . .Jack Jones and Count Basie were on the program,Vic Damone. . .Bobby Darin . .

NAT . . .Helen Forest, Tommy Dorsey. . .

RUDY . . .Billy Taylor, Della Reese. . .

NAT . . .Dave Brubeck. . .the show went on for five hours . . .we had very little experience putting on a show of such magnitude…every ticket sold included the opportunity to win a new house. . . .

RUDY . . . artiste issues?

NAT . . .only one.  Nina Simone and her trio. 

RUDY . . .right. . .

NAT . . .she had  a rep for being difficult and was most unhappy about  being put on one of the smaller stages.  She wanted bigger.  But her manager, her husband, Ernie, a former detective, calmed her down and she was brilliant. . .sang “I loves You, Porgy,” “My baby Just Cares For Me “. . .as scheduled . . .on the smaller stage.  Up until the last moment we expected to get Frank Sinatra to close the show. We didn’t get him. We got Frank Sinatra Junior instead. The night was a complete success . . .except for the fact that Buddy Hackett punched out Freddie Robbins at the post show party at the Americana Hotel.

 Editor’s Note:  WNEW staged an encore show at the Garden on June 10, 1964, starring all the station’s personalities with (among others) Tony Bennett, Steve Lawrence, Eyde Gorme, Trini Lopez, Buddy Greco, Jerry Vale, and the Smothers Brothers. Proceeds benefited the Greater New York Fund.

The Stickball Kid From Bay Ridge

 

 Most of you will recognize the studio in the picture on the front of my new book, “Staying Happy, Healthy, And Hot.” Some of you will remember when the guy in the picture looked like that. But only if you remember WNEW from when “head shots” were all black and white, 8 x 10 glossies. It was an appropriate picture for the front of a fun book about being happy, because there was never a happier time in my life than the night that picture was taken.

Let me explain: I’m from Bay Ridge. My folks gave me a “portable” radio for Christmas when I was about 8. I don’t think I turned it off ‘till Easter. It was a magic box full of music and voices. The music was made by people with names like Frank, and Ella, and “The Count,” and “The Singing Rage.” The voices belonged to people named Gene Klavan, Dee Finch, William B. Williams, Ted Brown, Al Collins, and Art Ford.

The magic box immediately spoke to me. “Shazam!” it said. And instantly, I changed from a stickball kid dreaming of playing in Dodger Blue, to a disc jockey in training. The training went on for quite a while. About 30 years to be fairly exact.

WBZ BOSTON

I was on the air at one of America’s premier radio stations, WBZ in Boston, when the studio phone lit, and the station’s receptionist said, “Somebody by the name of Nat Asch wants to talk to you.” Nat was the Program Director at WNEW-FM. I heard him say, “George Duncan and I would like you to come down and do an audition for us.” I grabbed both eyelids and finally got them pulled down, forced my voice down an octave, and with my most professional diction, I think I said something like, “Gezornenplatz.”

 

Gene Klavan & Dee Finch
photo: Radio/TV Magazine

The audition must have gone well, because I became the first morning man on WNEW-FM. And I will never forget that first morning. 6:30 AM – the studio door opens, and Gene Klavan walks in. “Welcome to the staff” he says. I find myself shaking the hand of one of the guys who shook me out of bed each morning since I was a kid. 7:00 AM – the studio door opens, and Dee Finch walks in. “Welcome and lots of luck, kid” he says. I am semi ready for that, and I manage to say something terribly clever : “Thank you Sir…Mr. Finch… Dee… lighted to meet you.”

WBW
photo: WNEW

At 9:30 AM – the studio door opens, a bright golden light shines down from heaven, a Norman Luboff choir sings, the tectonic plate under Fifth Avenue shifts, and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a vision that looks exactly like what God would look like if he were a disc jockey. William B. Williams. He strides in, sticks out his hand to shake mine, and in that crackly bass-baritone rumble that he uses all the time except when he’s doing national TV commercials, he says, “Hi kid. Welcome to the staff. You sound fine.” I am not ready for that. But I am determined that I’m not going to fall back on my Gezornenplatz again either. I immediately engage my sub-conscious editor, which is able to make some kind of actual human verbal response the substance of which has, in the intervening decades, faded quietly into literary oblivion.

It really was a reasonable response, although I must admit that I was momentarily confused at the time as to whether the appropriate ritual was to shake Willie’s hand, or just kiss his ring. As I recall I said something like “Thank you.” But then my sub-conscious editor went into shock and off line, and I think I kept saying, “Oh thank you. Oh thank you” for the next five or six minutes.

I don’t know when the all female lineup ended. When I got to WNEW-FM the station had been into the “Classic Rock” format for a while. All except for Klavan and Finch. I suspect the all female cast went out. . . except for Alison, who moved from mornings to all nights. . .and then they got around to hiring me to do mornings.  I only did the morning show for a few months.  Zacherly replaced me.


Art Ford
photo: WNEW

Dave Croniger had asked me if I wanted to move over to AM and do the Milkman’s Matinee. Me…the Bay Ridge Stick Ball Kid, was going to try to follow the vocal chords of the smoothest ad lib air personality on the planet. . . Art Ford. . . I don’t remember him ever bruising his phrasing. It was amazing phrasing.  (Editor’s note: Art Ford hosted the Matinee between 1942 and 1954.  Dick Summer’s immediate predecessor in 1968 was Marty O’Hara.)  It was shortly after that when Newsday sent a reporter and photographer to do a story on me, and the picture on the front of the book was taken. So now you know why an old black and white picture is on the front cover of my new book, called “Staying Happy, Healthy And Hot.” There was never a happier time in my life than the night that picture was taken.

About three weeks after the article was published, Billboard Magazine reported that I had “resigned.” I didn’t resign. Julius LaRosa was hired to do afternoons, and the station moved the entire lineup back one shift. There wasn’t any place to move me, except to weekends. And I had a family to support. That wasn’t going to work financially.

I had a good reputation in Boston from my time at WBZ, so Mac Richmond hired me to program his station, WMEX.  That lasted two years. I’m not an office/executive kind of guy. And I wanted to come home to New York again. The morning show at WPLJ opened up, and they were kind enough to hire me. Some folks at NBC Network took an interest, and offered me a slot on Monitor. Another offer I couldn’t refuse. But WPLJ was owned by ABC, and they weren’t having any of it. NBC understood the financial problem, and gave me the overnight slot on WNBC to go along with Monitor.

 I was fired from WNBC in a purge that replaced the entire staff.  I did a few years as the morning drive guy at WPIX during the “Love Songs” era. Then they went fake jazz, and they told me they “didn’t want any Dick Summer radio.” I don’t know how to do any other kind of radio. So when Harry and Charles Binder offered me the Communications Director job with their Social Security Disability practice, I signed up. It has been a hugely successful venture.

Along with the 9 to 5, I’ve been producing spoken word CD’s, doing a weekly blog and podcast and now we’ve got the book. It has been a wonderful run…this radio thing…a long and very satisfying  career.  WNEW was probably the shortest part of it. But WNEW was my station growing up in Bay Ridge. And having the honor of saying those call letters on the air was, as the song says, “The thrill of it all.”

                                                                              Dick Summer

www.dicksummer.com  

www.dicksummer.com/podcast 

Editor’s Note: wnew1130.com is not affiliated with other websites whose links may appear here.

Civil Rights Jazz P.S.

 The photo above was inscribed by Gene Klavan and Dee Finch “To the great dane, Chris ” Albertson who worked in promotion and as continuity director while with WNEW between 1961 and 1964. Albertson was born in Reykyavik, Iceland and attended schools there and in England and Denmark. It was while in Denmark in 1947, Albertson says, that he heard a recording on radio by Bessie Smith that changed his life, for it led to a life-long devotion to jazz and blues music.

In case you missed it, “Civil Rights Jazz” was posted here on March 12, 2012.

Publicity photo by James J. Kreigsman