December 26, 2010

In anxious anticipation of Rock n' Roll.

The popular myth regarding 1950's social attitudes is that every teenager in America instantly gravitated to the local R&B Radio station somewhere around 1954 and never left. Sorry to say, it ain't so.

The majority of kids at the time were still very much involved in mainstream pop tunes and rock n' roll was still something of a mystery to them. Pop music of the 1950's was some of the blandest, most nondescript collection of notes and vocals in the history of the form. There was still a valiant holdover from the Big Band era, but for the most part, the music heard on most radio stations, or on shows like this one, was tepid and in retrospect, pretty bizarre.

If the name Jack Linkletter sounds familiar, it's because his father Art Linkletter was something of a popular icon in the early days of television. Jack Linkletter would later go on to host a number of popular music shows on television in the 1960's, most notably Hootenanny. But this rather short-lived show (a half-hour segment of it) from January 1955 was done on radio while Linkletter was still a teenager. It aired over local Los Angeles CBS outlet KNX on Sundays and featured audience participation, much like the elder Linkletter's trademark format.

For all it's corniness and tapioca music, it's an interesting glimpse into what was by and large the majority social attitude of the 1950's before Rock n' Roll settled in for the long haul.

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