Tom Terrific – A Unique TV Cartoon. Pop Culture TV Cartoon History.

Mr. Pop History – Long before “Transformers” – there was a cartoon character who could transform himself into any thing – any shape. He was Tom Terrific – Over CBS-TV. This was 1957. Tom was a boy who could assume any shape he wanted to, as he battled villains. Along with his sidekick dog – they were unique.

Tom Terrific first came to us on CBS’ “Captain Kangaroo” in living black and white and produced by Terrytoons – a company making a big splash in the newer business of made-for-television cartoons. Tom’s unique boy-like voice was given to us by Lionel Wilson. The Tom Terrific cartoon intro was catchy.  Here’s a sample here: Tom Terriffic Cartoon Opening CBSTV 1957 wwwmrpopculturecom

Radio DJ’s – Use To Be A True Art Form. The Personality Has Disappeared. Pop Culture Radio History.

Mr. Pop History – Some of the radio boards bring up a consistent subject – pop music on radio today has very little in the way of presentation from air talent (use to be called DJ).

That’s true. A good pop music radio personality today is measured in a totally different way. If they get the job done, they’re labeled good to great. Back when personality pop radio was king, “getting the job done” was kind of an insult. It said – you could get by. So, what are the differences between say, a 1960′s, 1970′s pop radio personality (DJ) and today’s talent?
1) Your own personality came through between the music. Your own. You weren’t reading Hollywood gossip all the time. You had you’re own take on things – at that very moment. Very spontaneous.
2) You could read a live commercial between songs – complete with music underneath – and be entertaining. And, leaving the audience wanting more. Not many today can even read a live commercial without flubbing the words.
3) You could work the format between music and commercials – be part of it all.
4) You could talk and entertain between songs. There were fewer music sweeps (songs-in-a-row) so you were as important as the music and station jingles. You were part of the presentation.
5) Then – DJ’s did “shows” – today, they do shifts.
6) Bigger than life – Pop radio DJ’s were true stars.

Here’s a great example of a personality DJ and high-profile radio station. Listen to Jack Spector of WMCA, NY back in 1965. The presentation and style is nothing less than exciting and Jack keeps everything moving forward. BTW – the crackle you hear was from area lightening storms. A typical summer afternoon in the New York area. Yes, on AM radio  – you can hear approaching lightening storms!

Jack Spector On WMCA, NY 1965 wwwmrpopculturecom

Solo Careers After The Monkees Broke Up… Mike Nesmith, Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz. Pop Culture Monkee History.

Mr. Pop History – After the Monkees split-up in 1969 – Davy, Michael and – yes – even Micky – released records.

Nesmith’s biggest hit was with The First National Band – and “Joanne.” On RCA Records.

Davy Jones’ biggest solo records was “Rainy Jane” on Bell Records.

Micky Dolenz – He didn’t chart with this one, but his best-known post-Monkees solo effort was “A Lover’s Prayer” – on MGM Records.

Gary West –

Interesting FM Pop Music Format – Mid 1970′s. Pop Culture Radio History.

Mr. Pop History – When you study the history of AM, FM, and various music formats over the years, the traditional top-40 format of playing the hits, sticks out. Some stations played more than 40, others less, but KFRC-FM (K-106) in San Francisco, played with a continuous top-20 countdown format. That’s right – more than several times a day, the station, mostly automated, counted down the top-20 hits, throwing in some new releases. Interesting, to say the least. This was during the mid-1970′s, when some FM stations would try anything.


What Was The First Rock-Era 45rpm Single To Become A Major National Hit? Pop Culture Music Trivia History.

Mr. Pop History – I love this question.

Early rock was R&B so…

It was “Pledging My Love” by Johnny Ace. And – it was early 1955. This was a time when fast-spinning 78′s were being taken over by 45′s. In fact, 1955 was the first year 45′s outsold 78′s.

“Pledging My Love” began moving up the national charts after the untimely death of Johnny Ace in late 1954. At first, most of the pressings were 78′s – because, its mostly R&B black audience demanded the format. But, as more mainstream radio stations began playing the disc, more 45′s were ordered – and, they eventually outsold the 78 version. “Pledging My Love” got to #17 on the national charts.

And, it’s a good one. Always reminds of the movie, “Christine” – the haunted car – whose radio played only 1950′s hit songs – including, “Pledging My Love.”

Vampire TV History… TV Trivia – There Would Be No “Buffy” Without “Night Stalker.”

Mr. Pop History -
That’s true. Back in the late 1990′s, Jamie Kellner – who headed the fledgling “WB” – wanted another “Night Stalker.” For those who don’t know, ABC-TV aired it as a movie of the week – and it was so popular, it went into quick production as a regular TV series. This was back in 1972. Starring Darren McGavin, it was about a down-on-his-luck newspaper reporter Carl Kolchak, who stumbles upon the story of his career: a vampire named Janos Skorzeny who was terrorizing Las Vegas by sucking the blood out of his victims.

Kellner got his wish – a week later, when, by coincidence, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” was pitched to the network.

Late Rapper 2pac Shakur on TV? Pop Culture Rap History.

Mr. Pop History – Though he wasn’t known for his TV guest appearances – the late 2pac did a few. I found one, from May of 1996 when 2pac and another TV rarity (at the time) Ice-T – appeared on “Saturday Night Special” – a Fox-TV music-comedy show on Fox.

He wouldn’t be around much longer.

Others on that show – night of May 4, 1996 were, Rosie Perez, the Fugees, the Verve Pipe – along with regulars Laura Kightlinger, Heath Hyce and Kathy Griffin.

That show was produced by comedian Roseanne Barr (remember her?)

Music notes from April 1976… Pop Culture Music History.

Mr. Pop History – Out of Billboard – April 1976:

Barry Manilow gets a fall ABC-TV special… America’s “Hideaway!” LP, its fifth due next week… Julie Andrews makes her Las Vegas debut at Caesars Palace Aug 12 for a weekend’s stand… Minnie Riperton and Richard Pryor guest on a Flip Wilson TV special…Tony Orlando & Dawn will donate the income from their concert at Nassau Coliseum to the National Assn of Retarded Citizens. They are currently on their largest concert tour ever… John Denver’s eight-show debut stand at the 2,300-seat London Palladium sold out in an unprecedented 10 hours.

Remember Dweezil Zappa As An MTV VJ? Pop Culture Music-TV History.

Mr. Pop History – He was pretty sardonic too. Remember the time – back in the mid-1980′s – when Dweezil baby introduced a new band called “Crowded House” – as just another John Lennon rip-off band?

“Hey Now, Hey Now, Don’t Dwee…zil It’s Over.”

This was before they had hits such as “Don’t Dream it’s Over.”