“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.
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 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 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.