Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for TV

Music History Monday: Chubby Checker, Dick Clark, and the Power of the Tube!

On this day 58 years ago – August 6, 1960 – the 18 year-old singer and dancer Chubby Checker performed The Twist on American TV for the first time on the rock ‘n’ roll variety show American Bandstand. For reasons we will discuss, American Bandstand was, both artistically and socially, one of the most important programs ever broadcast on television. It aired for an incredible 37 seasons, from October 7, 1952 (when Harry Truman was President of the United States) until October 7, 1989 (three years before the election of Bill Clinton). (In case you were wondering, the longest-running television show of any kind, anywhere, is NBC’s Meet the Press, which made its debut on November 6, 1947; it has run continuously for 70 years and 9 months!) In its 37-year run, some 3000 episodes of American Bandstand were produced.  From 1952 until 1964, the showwasfilmed in Philadelphia at the studios of WFIL, the local ABC affiliate. (That would have been channel 6; having grown up in South Jersey watching Philadelphia TV, it was one of the three network channels we received, along with WCAU – channel 10, which was then the CBS affiliate – and KYW, channel 3, which was […]

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Announcing A New Series for Ora TV — “Conspiracies, Peccadilloes, and Dirty Little Secrets! Fun and Games with the Great Composers”

I have been busy with a new project that I am now in the position to share with you! I have been writing a series of fifteen eight-minute episodes (1100-1150 words each) for Ora TV, an on-demand digital television network founded in 2012 by Carlos Slim (Forbes Magazine’s 2013 “richest man in the world”) and Larry King. The CEO of Ora TV, a fine gent named Jon Housman, contacted me after reading my December 4 post on Mozart’s death on this very site. Together, we have developed a show entitled: “Conspiracies, Peccadilloes, and Dirty Little Secrets! Fun and Games with the Great Composers” in which each episode focuses on a conspiracy, or a peccadillo, or a dirty little secret from the life of a composer. Aside from the purely salacious, voyeuristic joy of dishing dirt on famous dead people, the point of this series is to render composers, who for reasons mysterious to me are among the most hallowed of historical figures, more real, more human, and more accessible. By doing so, this series is ultimately intended to make their music – which is so often treated like some supra-human thing – more real, more human, and more accessible as […]

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