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The Best Show on Radio Nationally


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#1 Diogenes

 

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 07:04 PM

It isn't close. Every week Al Gross picks a past weekend from 1955 to 1970 and counts down what were the top 40 songs based on Cashbox and radio stations and other sources for four hours. I endorse this fully. Here's what prompts my post instanter. He does the show as period piece. This week it's the second weekend of May 1959, and he casually says something to the effect, "Remember "Godzilla..."? The sequel is in theaters this week, "Gigantis, the Fire Monster". He mentioned "Gigantis, the Fire Monster" on national radio!! And my spirit went wild! Remember something, he (or his researcher) had to care enough to know Gigantis is the followup to Godzilla; that isn't obvious. It seems to me he led into it by stating something like, "I would be remiss if I didn't mention this." (because he'd previously listed some movies then popular in theaters). Rest assured, he will do stuff like this, and can you imagine what he could bring up 1955-1970? Each week there are replica newscasts, and he played a full-length commercial for the 1958 Edsel this time. Also, he ran what might have been the theme to "77 Sunset Strip"; I remember the melody but not the theme well enough to know whether his offering (long as a short song) was the actual theme or a varying rendition, but I suspect the former. The last incident such as this week's prompt was when Pat Sajak broached what I affectionately call "the Sacred" on national television. "The Sacred" is the greatest aestheticism of all time, and he didn't just mention it, he talked of it knowingly. Pat Sajak will live forever and can do no wrong. ("The Sacred" is not a unitary aesthetic quantum, which is why I refer to it as an aestheticism).
_ _ _ _If "National Countdown Show" is not in your area, I strongly urge you to call the program director of any station(s) you think could be interested, especially if you've spoken to them before. Until then, you can listen on the Web at wqla.net Fri. 7-11pm EDT and/or Sun. noon-4pm EDT. You may need to download something under an icon labeled "playlist" (which icon will then appear in your roster) and to have Windows Media Player or an equivalent. Al's site is http://nationalcountdownshow.com but you can't listen there, aside from an odd archive. Next week will feature 1970. Advise if you've ever heard this series. As the second best show I'd rank "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross, no relation and a great interviewer, but you must be concerned with the guest. She interviewed Roger Corman. Spectacular. Folks, I'm sorry I didn't post this Sat. so you could've listened Sun., which I should have, but I was in a fannish funk; I require more positive feedback out of fandom.

Edited by Diogenes, 15 May 2011 - 08:26 PM.


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#2 Diogenes

 

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 03:43 AM

No replies. I know it's not sff but music rumbles and this program vies for being the greatest music show of all time that isn't a special. The competition? "In the Studio" with Redbeard and "Rockline" with Bob Coburn (neither of which has been on locally in many years) and the tv show "The Generation Gap", in this small set. If you're wondering, I never watched "The Midnight Special" and I wouldn't have liked "Soul Train" or "American Bandstand". The mid-May 1970 show offers a marvelous compilation of songs, especially if you're not steeped in that moment, a commercial for the 1970 Dodge Challenger with a pretend deputy and for Pepsi with The Ides Of March, two replica newscasts, but no talk of tv or movies, and I wouldn't have raised them either though you can always find something. Five or more songs I never heard before, half by artists I never heard of, and another five I've not heard in forever. Maybe I shall post on nonfannish websites, but I'll have to remove the sff references(?). The show repeats Sun. noon-4pm EDT. No announcement of next week's year but probably 55-62 as he likes to rotate or perhaps a special, which he does every sixth week.

#3 Diogenes

 

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 12:36 AM

Everyone, upon further research I've learned that WQLA only pays for 150 people at once to be able to catch it on-line. That would account for its frequent unavailability, again Sun. Jun. 5. I'd been made four songs late Fri. by a call so I wanted to hear it again. Interestingly, I had been listening without knowing the year and trying to determine it. It had to be 1958 or later. Here lies another joy of appreciating music via this format: the subtle differences of the music at least at two- year intervals. It couldn't have been 1958 because there weren't enough teen-ager-related songs, but it couldn't have been 1962 because there was no folk influence or so-called girl groups. Obviously, it wasn't 1964, which would've been totally different. So it had to be in the middle, 1960; you could hear the mildness of the songs, almost hearkening back to prerock. Another reason I wanted to listen again, and I rearranged my whole weekend to do it, was because I only knew about 10 of the songs; 1960, apparently, has been neglected over the years. One commercial was for Paddy-cake (sp.) Cookies, unknown to me, and I forget the other. Al mentioned Dick Clark's and Jane Fonda's first movies and one other, but no tv that I recall.
_ _ _ _This week hits 1964, and Al has busted it again. It's the first hour, and I'm sitting at the table having brunch, not perfectly alert. Al has just played Terry Stafford's "I'll Touch a Star" (if you know what's coming, you are a hercules). Al casually says, from "I'll Touch a Star" to "Look for a Star" by so-and-so from "Circus of Horrors" from 1960. In fog, not quite catching it, I think to myself Circus of Horrors is an odd choice of name for an artist. Instantly, the song starts, and I KNOW. How do you reckon I feel about "Circus of Horrors"? How many times do you guess I've seen it? Al casually mentions it, as opposed to specifying "the movie..."; he goes out of his way to play "Look for a Star". These are indications Al might be a fan. As a concession, since I prefer not to look up such things, I checked the song, and four versions "charted" in the US in 1960, including an instrumental which I've heard and did recognize as such, whereas I wouldn't have known any song had even been released.
_ _ _ _Around Jun.5 I predicted Al would eventually play the theme from "The Blob", which was released; there's even a Spanish version. Now the opposite would surprise me. Around Jun. 5 I knew "In the Studio" and "Rockline"couldn't possibly stay with this show when Al's mentioning Gigantis, not that those aren't great. Now, "National Countdown Show" IS THE GREATEST MUSIC SERIES OF ALL TIME! Note that I've concentrated on the fannish stuff he has done. Two radio programs remain higher, both more akin to specials, for the greatest thing thing ever on radio, one music, one not.
_ _ _ _While on the subject of greatest, I want to single out Mike Sappol (pronounced SAY-pole), Leonard Lopate's "Round Midnight", and Mickey Waldman"s "The Next Swan", all of WBAI-FM in New York; these were call-in shows in earlier 1978. I can't find or recall the name of MS's show because it was perhaps so ad-hoc (yes, in Jul. his Sun.-Mon. show had four names). He did one of the most creative and capable things ever by letting a caller play recordings of crank calls made by them to the other two shows!! On more than one occasion! I don't readily laugh, but I did at least twice out loud! The incredible de facto deadpan of LL and especially MW to that caller's shenanigans was too much! I still remember the first call to MS, the key to his capability: MS had to get through the caller's defensive baloney and have the caller trust him and relax. I hope Mike Sappol will search for his name and see this. Let me advise, sadly, that MW passed in 2008 after smoking three packs a day regularly. She played the game boccaccio on the radio, introducing it to me. Previously, Bob Fass had dominated WBAI late nights with his call-in show, Radio Unnameable", his trick being to put multiple callers on with each other. Though he was popular, I found him tedious and never listened. Finally, he had a disagreement with management over freedom of speech and left, opening his slots to others like LL and MS, to whom I could listen. As I researched this writing, the names of people and programs from WBAI jumped out at and resonated with me like I was reading an old com. WBAI made quite an impression on me when I tuned in 1976-78, a period of flux in my life, before I left NYC for good, not a moment too soon considering the mess it and the world has been >1972 versus <1973.
_ _ _ _Returning to Al, his commercials were for a lip sunblock named Cody (sp.) and the Rambler vehicle, done by an artist. No movies or tv. After his first break I was able to harness the full aesthetic slam of "The Girl from Ipanema" by Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto - out of this world; later, "Do you want to Know a Secret?" and others, but four hours will weary when one starts tired.

#4 Diogenes

 

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 03:18 AM

It's official. Al Gross has to be a fan. Man! Are you comfy? Get so! It's 1958, the same year for which he had already mentioned Gigantis, so I was on guard. In the first hour he blurts out, in theaters "War of the Satellites" (which I've never seen) and HE GIVES A SYNOPSIS! Hold on. Then he continues, playing with it as a double feature is "Attack [(at that moment time literally stops, as I instantly recognize the enormity of what would and could be coming (with no reference to unaccounted movie release years), just like in those scenes where time goes into slow-motion. I'm not kidding; these circumstances require no embellishment.)] of the 50 Foot Woman" (!?!). Warning: if you utter a word against this movie, I will personally swamp and suffocate you with dirty laundry and the last thing you'll smell is staphylococci. It is bizarre and shameful one must be preemptively defensive but such is the brainwashing influence of the mundane. "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman" is one of the greatest things ever put on film, a surrealistic soiree! Invincible! He gives a loose summary, then jokes that a fifty-foot woman couldn't just walk in and buy enlarged clothing in Sears. Seriously, I think his point wrong. My at latest 1973 memory tells me Nancy sported only a large piece of fabric wrapped as a covering, not an actual garment. Also, it's not unreasonable that something which enlarged humans could simultaneously enlarge clothing. Don't think I care to check such; I write as a fan, not a bloody film historian. Late in the show he drops that "The Fly" is in theaters and gives a summary (and says something fannish like it was filmed in Terrorvision) and as well for its double feature "Space Master X-7", of which I've never heard! I thought I was aware of all monster movies, at least with such desirable plots. Glad I'm wrong. Case closed on his fannishness. And there ain't no researcher! I did not track commercials or newscasts. The songs cumulate into a wallop because inevitably played are ones that pound. But I sometimes lose focus in the second and third hours. I have been spoiled by recorders. Staying on task for four hours isn't automatic.
_ _ _ _I post this as a courtesy, so you might listen at noon Sun., and you should reply if you wish me to continue. If you want to read from somewhere at which discussion has been produced, click this link http://www.trekbbs.c...ad.php?t=142097 I am no longer unaware why I post but you don't reply: I long for acknowledgment of fannish art in the mainstream whereas you don't. I don't recognize the events of 1975 on ("Jaws" and its progeny) or even 1968 on ("Planet of the Apes" and its progeny) as being such whereas you might and might even be habituated to thinking the former as the status quo, whereas it is a fakeout, a mirage, for mundanes will always acknowledge that which makes much money, especially when much has been spent on it. Fannish art remains a tiny and isolated cubbyhole in mainstream culture, and Al Gross busting this incarnates a spectacular godsend on top of his intended achievement of finally fulfilling the promise of rock on radio forty years in delay. Indeed, I have not for personal reasons integrated in any sense the events 1975 on into my aesthetic idioverse. Trust me, I shall find those hereto electrified.

Edited by Diogenes, 10 July 2011 - 09:57 PM.




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