I'm looking for some information about the Brown Jug, a neighborhood bar near the WFIL studios where Bandstand was produced.
I know a bit about the place, which apparently was in the same block as Pop Singer's drug store. While Pop's place was a popular attraction with some Bandstand regulars and many of the out-of-towners who popped in for a show, the Brown Jug was more popular with WFIL staffers.
That includes Bob Horn and Dick Clark. Both men often met with song pluggers and other business associates in the back room of the Brown Jug, variously described as a "Cheers-type bar" with photos of boxers on the walls or a dreary Irish saloon.
Walter Beaulieu, a remote supervisor at WFIL in the Bandstand years, described it as a "crummy place" but added that “I saw more song pluggers during [Horn’s] time with Bandstand than I ever did with Dick."
Bill Russell, head lighting director and stage manager for Bandstand, said the night shift at WFIL often ate dinner at the Brown Jug while some of the day crew were still nursing an after-hours drink.
WFIL announcer Bill Webber said the Brown Jug was a popular meeting place for all of the station's professional staff. "A tremendous amount of business was done there," Webber said.
One of the most significant meetings at the Brown Jug took place on the afternoon of June 21, 1956. In the early morning hours of that day, Horn had been arrested for drunk driving, creating a firestorm of negative publicity for WFIL.
Horn summoned Bandstand producer Tony Mammarella, who had filled in for Horn at that afternoon's show.
He was finished, Horn told Mammarella in that meeting at the Brown Jug, and even though he had suggested to station manager Roger Clipp that Mammarella take over the show, he didn't think they would buy it.
Indeed, earlier that year WFIL-TV program director Jack Steck had sent a memo to Clipp, recommending that Dick Clark be hired for TV. “Voice excellent, appearance angelic, in spite of his college education, this kid is smart. ... hire him,” Steck wrote.
Within weeks, Clark had control of the show.
So, that's what I know about the Brown Jug. I'd like to know more, like its exact address and a more detailed description of the place. I understand it's long gone, but perhaps you remember something about it. Maybe you even have a photo.
Let me know. Thanks.
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.