The Age of Television Variety Shows, Panapets and Record Clubs

My third and final chapter of Memories of Old and AM Gold focuses on musical television shows, transistor radios, and mail order record clubs…

Often reflecting back upon the days when AM radio ruled the airwaves with infectious bubblegum earworms and Casey Kasem’s weekly American Top 40 countdown, I remember prime time television also provided a moderate source of musical entertainment with series such as The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, Tony Orlando and Dawn, Donny & Marie, and The Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. Show. Additionally, late night programming provided the rock-oriented Midnight Special and Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert for the hard-core music enthusiasts who were dedicated to stay up past midnight.

I remember eagerly waking up on Saturdays, bleary-eyed after my late-night concert viewing sessions, eager to seek out selected musical programming. I’d tune into American Bandstand, Solid Gold, the Grand Ole Opry Live, and Dolly, which starred Dolly Parton. [Read Full Feature] or [Read Part One] and [Read Part Two]

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Casey Kasem: 1932-2014

Casey-Kasem

As another light dims in the cosmic universe, it is once again cause for contemplation and remembrance. I vividly recall sitting by the radio every weekend with my Realistic cassette recorder from Radio Shack cued and ready to record the weekly American Top 40 countdown. Back in those days I had to wait until I’d saved enough allowance to buy my favorite 45 r.p.m. records.

My pre-teen weekends were consumed with Saturday morning cartoons, roller skating, and Casey Kasem’s American Top 40. AM radio was cool back then and AT40 ruled the airwaves. It was a simpler time – long before Google and Wikipedia had been thought of, and my world revolved around Kasem’s weekly nuggets of pop music wisdom. It seems hard to imagine now, but as a kid, I was completely naive to the fact that two of my favorite things (Scooby Doo and American Top 40) were related, as Kasem’s voice brought to life the character of Shaggy on my most beloved cartoon. I’m not sure how I didn’t realize two of my adolescent predilections were one and the same, but I guess as a kid it was all too easy to get lost within the magic of imagination.

Sadly, it’s time to bid adieu to the illustrious voice that was and will forever remain an important part of my childhood, yet Casey Kasem’s legacy as king of the countdown will forever be indelibly stamped upon my fondest memories.