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.

Someone at work told me that Brigitte Bardot once had a neighbor’s animal castrated. What was the reason for this?

Brigitte Bardot

Brigitte Bardot

From Cindy Z – Someone at work told me that Brigitte Bardot once had a neighbor’s animal castrated. What was the reason for this?

Mr. Pop History - From July/1989:

Brigitte Bardot is accused of having her neighbor’s donkey castrated because it was getting too friendly with her own donkey. Jean Pierre Manivet, who lives next door to the French star’s exclusive resort home in St.Tropez, said his donkey, Charley, had been castrated while Bardot was looking after it for him. The reclusive Bardot has become France’s best-known defender of animal rights.

I’m looking for a White Rock soda commercial that used the Seekers’ “Georgy Girl” as the melody.

White Rock Soda

White Rock Soda

From Melinda H – Hello Mr. Pop. I hope you can help. I’m looking for a White Rock soda commercial that used the Seekers’ “Georgy Girl” as the melody. I still remember the words – “Hey there White Rock Girl… bubbly, exciting White Rock Girl…”

Mr. Pop History – It’s a great one. Listen to this commercial. It’s so darn catchy. I remember this before the song became a hit. Just as the movie “Georgy Girl” came out in 1966, this commercial began. When the song became a hit. I remember thinking – “Georgy Girl? – this is the White Rock commercial?” So, in this instance, the commercial was using the movie theme, not the hit song. This commercial is perfect – and timed impeccably – right up to 60 seconds with no fill.

You’re the girl whose always zingee… swingee and spark-e-ling.” Gotta love it! It’s sooo 1960’s when it seemed – everything was “swinging.”

Here it is – The White Rock soda radio commercial – first aired in the summer of 1966 and ran through the summer of 1968. To me, the beer, cigarette and the soda people had the best jingles. Pick any one – most were good to great!

These types of commercials helped make top-40 radio so much fun. You listened and really, really enjoyed them.

Here’s that commercial – still sounds great!

Whatever Happened to Debbie Drake?

Debbie Drake

Debbie Drake

From Elizabeth D – My daughter and I were talking about how she grew up with me exercising in front of the TV with Debbie Drake. I SAID, “I WONDER WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO HER?”

I got on Google, and found your info. DO YOU KNOW WHERE, AND WHAT HAPPENED TO DEBBIE DRAKE?

I AM 75, HAVE A GREAT FIGURE AND TWO KIDS IN THEIR 50s…who work out daily and we all attribute it to DD because they grew up with that example. OF COURSE, I’m curious how she looks today.

Mr. Pop History - As posted earlier, Texas native Debbie Drake was the first female TV champion of fitness. Unlike Jack LaLanne, Debbie was also popular on records (to a certain extent) and books. Born in 1931 and as far as I know, she’s still active. Her last book was “Debbie Drake’s Secrets of Perfect Fiqure Development,” republished in 2000.

Radio Programming Legend Passes. Pop Culture History.

Mr. Pop History – Ruth Meyer – one of the early pioneering top-40 radio programmers and who paved the way for women in the media – has passed away.

Ruth took radio station WMCA NY to the top of the ratings during the Beatles-era of the 1960′s, despite having the lowest wattage (and coverage area) of her immediate competitors. This was a time when women in any kind of media management were unheard of – but Ruth not only was the programming boss – she managed 7 (male) on-hair DJ’s and the total direction of the station.

More about Ruth Meyer here, in an upcoming interview with legendary NY personality Harry Harrison.

Gary West – mrpopculture.com    www.mrpophistory.com

Lloyd Thaxton – Friend Of Mr. Pop – Passes

If you were around during the 1960′s and liked top-40 music, chances are, you watched the syndicated LLoyd Thaxton teen show. I did, over WPIX-TV in New York. After its long run, Mr. Thaxton had an incredible career behind the camera. He was funny, inspirational, full of wisdom and just a great guy. Lloyd Thaxton will be missed. And to top it off, Mr. Thaxton was a fan of this website. Thank you Lloyd Thaxton. I miss our e-mail converstions. Although we never met, we were supposed to have lunch earlier this year, but I stalled and put it off. Take the opportunity when it comes or it may get away from you – forever. RIP Mr. Thaxton. Mr Pop Culture.

From The Ken Levine Blog:

For every teenager growing up in Los Angeles in the 60s, THE LLOYD THAXTON SHOW was appointment television. Each afternoon from 5-6 Lloyd Thaxton hosted a live dance party show on KCOP, channel 13. If his budget was more than $4.95 a show I’d be shocked.

His set consisted of four panels (probably cardboard) with musical notes drawn on them. Kids from local high schools were invited to dance on a soundstage the size of an elevator. He won his time slot daily, trouncing the competing news broadcasts.

What made the show special was Lloyd Thaxton. Most shows like this were hosted by disc jockeys. They were content to just introduce the records and step aside while the kids did the Twist, Jerk, Fly, Popeye, Monkey, Frug, Mash Potato, Locomotion, and whatever other inane dance was the rage that minute. Lloyd was the first to realize “this was TELEVISION”, you had to do something VISUAL. So he would find ways to comically present the songs, even with his paltry budget. This elf-looking redhead would lip sync, mime playing instruments, use finger puppets, don wigs, do duets with rubber masks, cut out the lips on an album cover and substitute his own – anything to make the songs fun. In many ways, Lloyd Thaxton was a local version of Ernie Kovacs, finding innovative new ways to use the new medium. For the most part he invented music videos. The only difference is music videos these days are all ambitious elaborate productions. Back then we were quite content to watch a guy sing into his hand.

Lloyd began syndicating his show and (with an inflated budget of $5.25) became a national sensation.

He also broke the color barrier. When he had James Brown as his guest a number of affiliates refused to air the segment. Lloyd promptly dropped them from his roster. Motown and R&B acts were guests frequently. Only then did other shows follow.

In later years Lloyd went behind the camera, producing such long running series as FIGHT BACK WITH DAVID HOROWITZ and segments for THE TODAY SHOW.

There is a “Best of the Lloyd Thaxton Show” DVD. It’s 90 minutes of inspired television. But it hasn’t been released because they’ve yet to secure clearances from all the artists, many of whom owe their careers to Lloyd and the exposure his show gave them. The last several years where he shared many memories and photos.

His signature sign off was “My name is Lloyd Thaxton” followed by the kids shouting “So what?!” But we knew better. Lloyd Thaxton was a big part of our lives. We thank him and will fondly remember him always. That’s what.