I wrote earlier this week about Pat Molittierri's dismissal as an American Bandstand regular for writing a column in 'Teen magazine. Dick Clark wasn't fond of 'Teen, but he was fine with plenty of the other fan magazines around, particularly 16.
You'll be able to read plenty about Clark's cozy relationship with 16 in my book, Bandstandland, but for now I just want to mention that the 16 magazine that was featuring American Bandstand regulars in 1959 was much different than the first issue of 16, which hit newsstands in May 1957, when Bandstand was still a local show in Philadelphia.
That first issue was pretty much all Elvis. Fortunately, you can check out that first issue for yourself online; just click here.
You may recall that when WFIL-TV launched Bandstand in 1952, it was patterned after the popular radio show at WPEN, The 950 Club. In fact, WFIL officials tried to steal the show's hosts, Joe Grady and Ed Hurst, to bring the format over to television. When that didn't work, they went with Bob Horn and, eventually, Dick Clark.
By the time Clark replaced Horn, Grady and Hurst were gone from the 950 Club, too. Holding down the fort at the iconic WPEN show in 1956 were Larry Brown and Cal Milner. As was typical of radio pairs of the era, the two complemented each other. Brown was the more rambuctious of the two while Milner was the easy-going sidekick.
Playing a role came more naturally to Brown, a native New Yorker whose uncle Willie Howard was a well-known old-time comic. He studied journalism at Columbia University but was bit by the acting bug with part-time roles in daytime serials Myrt And Marge, Little Orphan Annie and Jack Armstrong.
After three years in the service, Brown turned to radio and landed in Philadelphia in 1948 where he met his wife and set up housekeeping in Broomall.
His partner every afternoon from Monday through Saturday was Milner, a native of Spencer, Nebraska, who grew up in Sioux City, Iowa, and majored in music at Long Beach State in California. He met his wife at the Jersey Shore following World War II and settled in Philadelphia for a time before moving on to Miami and, eventually, back to southern California. He was the nephew of famed Notre Dame football coach Frank Leahy.
Brown died March 24, 2005, at age 83. Milner died Feb. 25, 2012, at age 83.
Do you have any stories about Bandstand, Dick Clark or growing up in the Philadelphia area during the show's run at WFIL-TV? Please share them in the comments section or e-mail them to me.