Today people can listen to personalized music on Pandora, Sirius-XM and other streaming sources in their car or right on their cellphone. Broadcast radio stations need now, more than ever, to find ways to attract listeners.
Mike Elliott would have found ways.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Elliott was general manager of The Green Group – a couple of radio stations at the end of something called the Old Turnpike in Pleasantville. You could see the building that housed the stations from the Atlantic City Expressway, until the building burned down.
In that time period, Elliott kept WOND near the top in listeners in the competitive Atlantic City radio market. He was a mid-day host in a lineup of DJs that primarily included Bob Weems, Joel Carson, Tom Lamaine and Red Karr. There was also behind-the-scenes input from people like Walt Murphy, Milt Thurlow and Jan Baker.
The WOND All-Americans, as the hosts were known, always had contests and promotions going that attracted listeners, who then stuck around for the presentation of Top 40 music. Many of you who were around then listening to the radio certainly remember MIke’s strong, baritone voice.
Elliott was the first person to hire me in a full-time position in radio, playing the hits weeknights (and Sundays) leading up to Pinky’s Corner and broadcasting high school football and basketball.
There has been no other single person in radio who has had as much an influence on my career as he did. Watching what he did and how he did it made a lasting impression.
Through the years, in addition to working as a radio host and sports broadcaster, I emceed and produced more than 100 Miss America preliminary pageants throughout South Jersey – mostly in Atlantic and Cape May counties. Mike was the inspiration for that.
One day he offered me a pair of tickets to the three-night Miss Atlantic County Pageant at Holy Spirit High School. Watching him host the proceedings was what made me want to try it myself.
Mike Elliott, who died recently at age 82, was only in this area for a small part of his 50 plus years in broadcasting. He started in Massachusetts and worked in Atlanta, California, Washington D.C. and Chicago before landing in Wisconsin. He spent most of the final decades of his career in Wisconsin and was eventually inducted into the Wisconsin Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
He did spend a year or two in Texas where he realized a life-long dream, serving as a play-by-play voice for the Houston Astros.
Sometimes you are fortunate enough to work with somebody who influences you without actually trying and whose ideas and approaches are inspiring.
I’m sure I’m not the only person who felt that way about Mike Elliott.
It’s been nearly eight years since these flashbacks began appearing here. An attempt is made regularly to spend at least one week remembering the places we all used to visit that are no longer there.
Probably the biggest absences recently are J.C.
Penney and Sears in the Hamilton Mall, leaving Macy’s as the only anchor store
at the mall, which was recently sold. And the casinos in Atlantic City have changed
a bit with Ocean Resort and Hard Rock moving in and Showboat and the shuttered Plaza
leaving the casino business.
But the thing that is not there anymore which causes
the most frustration in Ocean City is Wiesenthal’s Auto Service.
The car care business, run by Don and Glenn Wiesenthal, was forced to close because its landlord sold the property. Eventually, a Republic Bank will open at Ninth Street and West Avenue, encompassing not only the lot where the Wiesenthals repaired cars and the Legendary Al signed autographs and posed for selfies, but also the Sunoco lot on its west side.
Don and Glenn not only had put together a talented crew of mechanics to repair and maintain your vehicle, but the two brothers seemed to know everybody in town. Their shop, which their father had formerly operated as a gas station for many decades, was also a social center for residents.
There once were a dozen gas stations on Ninth Street
in Ocean City. Soon there will be a dozen banks in town and only one gas
Currently, gas is being pumped at the old Wiesenthal
location but it is the definition of a rip-off. Republic Bank is waiting for
clearance to move in and start building its bank, probably in the fall. But whoever
is running those temporary gas pumps is charging around 30 cents per gallon
more than nearby gas stations. It would make good sense to drive to Sunoco at
34th Street or hop over the bridge to Wawa in Somers Point to fill
up instead of giving in to those inflated rates on Ninth Street.
On Route 9 in Somers Point, the former Schooner’s – later
an Asian buffet – is now an auto parts store and the original Wawa across the
road is a paint store.
Ocean City seafood lovers remember Plantation kitchen at 4th & Atlantic; Spence’s Seafood at 10th & Asbury; and Campbell’s Seafood on 32nd Street, with a snack bar on the beach just behind Monihan Real Estate.
On the Boardwalk there was Flanders Beach Grille, the unique Village Theatre, Tom Perkins’ Sea Shanty and Copper Kettle Fudge Shop, where you could watch them make the fudge right in the window.
Zaberer’s Restaurant in McKee City and Ed Zaberer’s in North Wildwood; the
legendary Somers Point area clubs, from Tony Marts, to Bayshores to the Dunes
till dawn and even Mothers. And there was The Charcoal Pit in Linwood, where celebrities
like James Fitzpatrick and Carl Price both frequently enjoyed a burger and a
In Atlantic City there was
Blatt’s, Garwood Mills and the Million Dollar Pier. Ames Department Store was
located in Cape May Court House. There were the many nightclubs in Wildwood –
Penalty Box, Emerald Room, Oasis, Rainbow Room, Riptide and Surf Club. Also
gone are the traffic lights on the Garden State Parkway.
Carson’s Triangle restaurant in Atlantic City; Mike Trench’s Neptune Inn;
Angelo’s Barbershop; Teddy’s West End Lounge; Brigantine’s Seahorse Pier; and
the Rum Point Pub.
Among out of area memories
there was the once the outstanding Echelon Mall. Chubby’s in Camden, which
closed in 1995 after 61 years, was a great place to eat. It was named after the
boxer who opened it and once had live entertainment, including great singers
like Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, Eddie Fisher and Patti Page.
Do you remember the Clover
stores, a spinoff of Strawbridge & Clothier; Herman’s World of Sporting
Goods; the Robert Hall clothing stores; Lit Brothers and Gimbels in
Philadelphia; Willow Grove Park; Aquarama; and The Troc, a former Philly
burlesque house where Abbott & Costello once played.
There was Jamesway in the New
Road Shopping Center; Grants and Roy Rogers in Somers Point; Boston Pizza and
IHOP in Northfield; Perkins in Somers Point; Rugby Inn in Northfield; Point Bowling Lanes in Somers Point; and
CenterPoint Deli, Tilton Road, Northfield.
Ocean City, who could forget Chris’ Seafood Restaurant, on the bay at 9th
Street, and their PT boats – The Flying Saucer, Flying Cloud, Wild Goose and
Flying Pony; Hogate’s, right next door; the Dairy Queen at 34th
Street; The Roundup on 9th Street, a drive-in restaurant with the
waitresses on roller skates; or Mark’s News, where the laye Jody Kish, and his
father Joe, was right there to bring the world into focus.
Also gone from Ocean City are
Brannen & Konschack Dodge/Plymouth at 10th & Asbury, Bob
Mengel Studebaker, Germantown Boys Club 15th & Bay, Berger
Lumber at 11th, Reiss Lumber at 7th, Powell & Van
Gilder at 13th Street and Young’s Record Store, across from City Hall.
And what about Howlett’s Hardware in Absecon and House and
Garden in Northfield?
There was Johnson’s Ice Cream, on the Boardwalk
below 5th Street. People from some generations still expect to find
a sour ball candy at the bottom of their ice cream cones. Veasey’s Roller
Skating Rink was at St. James and Atlantic. And don’t forget Prep’s Pizza at 34th
Street and Pop’s Sub Shop near 6th & Asbury.
On the Boardwalk you could find Simms Restaurant at
Moorlyn Terrace, Jack George’s Dog House, The College Grill and Morrow’s Nut
The Wesley Avenue School is now a park and the
Central Avenue School is the Ocean City Police Station. WSLT Radio, which no
longer exists, was on Asbury near 10th. The license was transferred
to WIBG, which operates it at 1020 on the AM radio dial instead of the original
On Asbury Avenue there was Ordille’s Pharmacy with its big fountain at 7th Street; Mabel’s, between 6th & 7th Streets, with penny candy and large sandwiches; Ernie’s Barber Shop, with Ernie Phillips controlling the clippers; plus Dixon’s and Kabat’s, two mens shops that were across the street from each other, and, less than a block away, Leon’s Mens Shop.
And, of course, the great sandwiches and interesting conversations at the famous Tom’s Deli on Asbury between 10th and 11th Streets.
If you have some Things That Aren’t There Anymore to add, send them on because it is a subject that will be dealt with again.
There is little doubt that
people riding bicycles is a good thing on a couple levels.
It is good for the people on the bikes because they are getting exercise and lots of fresh air. And it is good for the environment because those bikers are not driving cars, which contribute to the serious problems of climate change.
Some communities set aside
entire areas as bike paths, where cars are not permitted. Most others create
bicycle lanes, usually between auto lanes and parked cars. And almost every
Boardwalk has a bike lane.
Bicycles are good things and
the overwhelming majority of the people riding them are careful and
cooperative. But there are some problems – and some misunderstandings.
For example, some bike riders think that, like pedestrians, they have the right of way in crossing lanes. They think that cars are required, by law, to stop and let them cross.
They are wrong.
Drivers are required to stop for people on foot who have entered a crossing lane or stepped off a curb on a street corner. They are not required to stop for those on bicycles (unless the rider steps off the bike and walks beside it). In fact, bike riders are also required to stop for pedestrians preparing to cross an intersection.
Those riding bicycles should
also generally ride in single file. That is the way bike lanes are set up, wide
enough for one rider. Too often you see two bike riders side by side and taking
up half of the auto lane.
The State of New Jersey has safety
tips for bicycle riders.
“Obey all traffic laws. In New Jersey, bicycles have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles. Ride on the right. Obey all traffic signals. Ride with traffic. Wear an approved bicycle helmet. Make sure the helmet fits properly. Ride within your abilities. Avoid busy streets, whenever possible. Ride a properly sized bicycle.
“Do not attempt stunts or tricks. Do not ride with more people on the bike than it is designed to accommodate. Do not hitch rides by holding on to moving vehicles. Do not weave in and out of traffic or between cars. Do not carry loads unless equipped with proper baskets or panniers. Do not ride against traffic. Do not ride on the sidewalk. Do not ride at night without lights.”
The South Jersey shore is overcrowded at this time of year. That alone creates more traffic hazards. It also brings thousands more people who want to take advantage of the good weather, the fresh seaside air and the opportunity to get some beneficial exercise on their bicycles. Not all of these bikers are like Jack Neall or George McNally – careful, law-abiding cyclists.
Remember that, although
riding your bike is good for you and the environment, you should approach your
ride as though you are driving your car. Every traffic law that applies to a
motor vehicle also applies to those on bicycles.
And, while you’re driving your car during these busy summer months, don’t expect everybody on a bike to properly follow the rules.
Miss America is back on NBC-TV. That is a good thing.
The pageant will be held at the Mohegan Sun Casino-Hotel in Connecticut six days before Christmas. That is not such a good thing.
As most of you know, The Miss America Pageant started in Atlantic City as a swim suit contest in September designed to attract visitors and extend the summer season. With the exception of a few years in Las Vegas, most of its 97 competitions have been in Atlantic City.
There was a time when the pageant TV audience competed with other live specials like the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards for the top ratings of the year.
Viewers have totaled less than 10 million every year since 2004. Last year the audience was estimated at between four and five million. Almost 35 million watched in 1985, its largest audience.
That proves that the pageant does not hold the important position among the public that it did in its prime. So what. With millions of viewers it can still be a positive experience that impacts the lives of the young women who compete. It needs to be run for that reason, not as a vehicle for those in charge to earn high salaries and further their careers.
Miss America was established by volunteers and, except for some office staff and a few professionals to produce the show, was run by volunteers for most of its existence. But Former director Sam Haskell’s firm was contracted to receive $500,000 per year and ex-pageant president Art McMaster earned between $200,000 and $250,000 a year during his 10 years.
It seems like control of the pageant has reverted to individuals who have little concern about the history of the event and who spent very little time, before making major decisions, talking with its greatest source of information – the state and local directors around the country who have dedicated years of their lives as volunteers.
There needs to be more people on the pageant’s Board of Directors like Barbara Moore, who has local ties, a knowledge of pageant history and who has actually produced a couple of preliminary pageants herself.
Since the current Miss America leadership seems determined to go where the dollar takes them, its a shame that people from the Atlantic City area can’t do what they did in 1921 – start from scratch with a new pageant, drawing on the experience and dedication of the volunteers from around the country and owned by local residents. Dave Talarico, grandson of William Schoppy – an important supporter of the pageant when it began – suggests the Green Bay Packers solution.
Green Bay Packers Inc., has been a publicly owned, nonprofit corporation since 1923. One of the more remarkable business stories in American history, the Green Bay Packers organization has been kept viable by its shareholders — its unselfish fans. Even more incredible, the Packers have survived and thrived during the current era, permeated by free agency and the NFL salary cap.
Fans have supported the team financially through five stock sales: 1923, 1935, 1950, 1997 and 2011. Today, 361,169 people (representing 5,009,562 shares) are owners of the iconic franchise.
There is no concern that the Packers could be leaving Green Bay, the smallest city in America with a professional sports franchise, in search of a presidential suite in Connecticut.
With the proper management, Miss America has a better chance of surviving in Atlantic City than elsewhere. Could the Sundance Film Festival be as popular in St. Louis? Should they think about taking the Mardi Gras to Pittsburgh? How about Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in Oklahoma City? These events are connected to their locations and Miss America has that connection with Atlantic City.
Almost everyone reading this has some Miss America connection. A daughter, niece or sister might have competed in a local pageant. Maybe a wife or neighbor has volunteered as a hostess during the week. Or possibly you just attend the pageant or the Boardwalk parade regularly.
There are a few things that could be done to improve TV ratings. For example, virtually nobody knows the women competing for the title.
Why not offer the three preliminary competition nights on a network or via a live stream? Hometown stations of the women competing could also air them. It would give potential final night viewers a chance to get to know these women and possibly find a few they like. That would increase the chances of them tuning in for the finals.
The pageant tried to accomplish this on cable in Las Vegas with a series of programs designed like reality shows. But they were awful. Do what you do best – produce the preliminaries for television.
Then there are the
The Miss America Pageant is the only major pageant competition that awards college scholarships. They continue to claim they are the largest scholarship program for women in the country. In reality, the NCAA surpassed the pageant in annual scholarships by a large margin more than a decade ago. But, so what. Being second is no disgrace.
Thousands of women, including many who have remained in the public eye, have benefited greatly from their participation in the program. It is not for everybody but, if pageant competition appeals to you, this program at its best can virtually change your life.
A lot of people in this area still resent the way the pageant left Atlantic City and the hole it has left in their year. Hundreds and hundreds of volunteers – like Ocean City’s Jean Serber and Upper Township’s Sandi Rinck – made the pageant what it was. It will never be that again. Many mistakes have been made along the way. But the Miss America Pageant still can play a positive role in our society.
On December 19 (ironically the same day that Miss Universe will televise its finals from South Korea) a new Miss America will be crowned. The two shows will probably not be on live TV at the same time because of the 13-hour time difference. But it is a weird coincidence.
The Miss America Pageant is not what it once was and it will never be that again. But if there is no way to turn it over to people who understand what it means and why it should be in Atlantic City, maybe there is a way to re-create it under local control.
Or, they could just wait for the current direction of the pageant to cause its demise (because it will) and just begin again.
Last month, members of the Ocean City High School Class of 1966 got together for their 50-year reunion. The class includes people who now live all over the area – in fact, all over the country. Here is an update on some of them.
Larry Allegretto: Enjoys being the bar manager for Stoneybrook Country Club and own a
boat rental business in Sarasota, FL. His
daughter teaches school in Winchester, KY.
His son, Nickolas, lives in Silverthorne CO and is product manager for a
mining company. He has four grandchildren.
Michaele Anderson Mason: Lives on a 54-acre farm in the Knoxville, TN area
with her husband, Darwin. An avid
gardener, she is always planting something.
Lives in San Diego with wife, Barbara. They’ve been married 31 years. They have five sons and one daughter who have
provided 14 grandchildren. They are both
retired and are active in the church.
Dan Beyel: Co-owner
of Boulevard Super Liquors and retired Cape May County Freeholder. He and wife,
Cheryl, have three children.
Bob Blevin: Married
to Gail for 40 years. Both are retired from the City of Ocean City. Daughter
Melissa lives in Somers Point. Son,
Christopher is married with two children and lives in Parker, CO, just outside
Marilyn Creighton Buck: Retired this year, has four sons and eight
Barbara Butler D’Ottavi: Married to Jim. She’s a retired teacher living in
Marmora. They have two daughters and
Joe Carew: Married
to Carol, they have two children. They live in Egg Harbor Township where they
work at and own Windward Sports Marketing.
Larain Cassidy Betts: Graduated from Brandywine College, married 48 years
with three children and eight grandchildren.
Bob Darby: Retired
in 2014 after 38 years practicing law in Los Angeles. In May 2015 he and his wife, Wendy, moved to
Orcas Island WA.
Rosemary DelCorio Bonner: Lives in Upper Township and is happily married to
Doug, who designed and built the OCHS letters that now stand behind the high
school. They have one daughter Carrie, and two grandchildren. Volunteers for
the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, met President Jimmy Carter and his wife,
Roselynn, stayed overnight on the battleship USS NJ, then went to mass the next
day with Pope Francis, and our Newfoundland dog “Steel,” won an award
at the prestigious Westminster Dog Show.
Cindy Dimon Hendrick: Lives in Poway, CA, a suburb of San Diego. Kristin, my older daughter, is an artist who
lives on Long Island. Merissa, the
younger one, lives in San Diego and teaches Special Ed in elementary
school. Ken Ferrier: Retired from Verizon after 32 years. Still working at
Kline Construction Safety as a flagman. Married 45 years to Alice, they have
four children and seven grandchildren; Served four years in the USMC, including
two tours in Viet Nam.
Retired from AtlantiCare Medical Center in 2012 after 41 years working as a lab
tech. Volunteers with Auxiliary 18 for Ranch Hope for Boys non-profit Christian
School and home for wayward youth. Graduated from Baldwin-Wallace (OH) College.
Ed Fugee: His
grandson is currently performing in the National Tour of “The Sound of Music”.
Studied art at the Art Students League, Parsons School of Design and School of
Visual Arts. Moved to the Hamptons in the 90s continuing to paint and exhibit. Worked
for the Bridgehampton Museum before moving to Hendersonville NC in 2013. Currently
semi-retired. Her son, Murt, is a teacher and lives in Charlotte NC with his
wife Frannie. You can see her art online at ArtByGardner.com.
Peggy Gleeson Tamamian: Became a beautician right out of high school and
worked in that capacity for over 20 years. Then received a CAN and is currently
a private nurse for the elderly. Has three children and one grandson. Her
youngest daughter just married a man with a son and a daughter so she now has two
new grandsons and a granddaughter.
William F. Goetz: Is an emergency physician, specializing in disaster medicine,
emergency medical services and evidence-based medicine. Most of his career in
ERs at Bellevue and Columbia Presbyterian in NYC. Was director of medical field
operations at Woodstock II. Handled 7,000 patients in five days. Married 25
years to June, a Wall Street analyst. Both are now retired more than 20 years
and live in Fort Lauderdale FL. They have two sons who are both senior
Married to Mary, they have three children and seven grandchildren, He’s retired
from Verizon after 31 years and now works part time at Twisted Dune Golf Club.
Bob Gray: Lives
in Ocean City and has been married to Marilyn for 37 years. Retired from the
U.S. Coast Guard/U.S. Coast Guard Reserve as Lieutenant Commander serving over
38 years. Also retired from the Ocean City Board of Education as a Media
Specialist and Computer Technician after 39 years. Son graduated from Virginia
Tech and is working as a Civil Engineer.
Ginny Haug Gifford: Married to Ron for 49 years, they have two children and three
granddaughters. They are both retired and live in Ocean City.
Lea Hetrick Larson: Retired, she and Andy, her husband, have one son and one daughter with
three grandchildren. Her favorite activity is being a member of the “Jersey
Girls of Smith Mountain Lake.” There are 70 members.
Chris Hilferty Nash: Married to Michael – four children (3 in NJ, 1 in FL), eight
grandchildren. Retired from teaching
then took a training position with Ticketmaster and concert planning at the
Kathy Holland Major: She and husband, George, have two kids and four grandkids. Retired to
Williamsburg, VA in 2011. They summer seven
weeks in Ocean City every year and spend a few months in Naples, FL in the
Retired with wife, Gail, to Isle of Palms, SC. They have four children and five
grandchildren. He was a PE teacher at Williamstown, NJ for 27 years and was the
basketball coached for seven seasons. Owned and managed Rainbow Gymnastics in
Sewell for 10 years.
Al Jeter: Married
for 25 years to Carol Ann, retired RN in Montgomery TX. Have eight children, 17
grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Bill Jones: Retired
in 2011 as a partner in a CPA firm. Has one daughter, one son and three
grandchildren. Significant other for 13 years is Elziane.
Andy Klain: Married
to Margie, OCHS Class of ’67. They have three daughters and four grandchildren.
He was a carpenter/builder and retired after 25 years with Atlantic County
Schools. She retired from AAA. They live in Corbin City.
Jim Lavis: A retired
OBGYN, he taught OBGYN at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
and at Oklahoma State University. In “retirement” has started a business
providing in-home elder care. Has three children. His oldest daughter is
Vice-President of a public relations firm in Lancaster, PA and has given him an
eight-year-old granddaughter. His son is a Cape May Tech graduate and his
younger daughter is a senior at Stockton majoring in elementary education.
Meredith Martindale Gehrke: Living seven months in Boynton Beach, FL and five
months in Ocean City. Son just moved to Connecticut from New Orleans, which
means they can see him and his family more often.
Financial Advisor with the “Maurer Financial Group” for the last 44 years.
Married to Brenda for 44 years. Two children and six grandchildren with one
more on the way.
Alice May: Taught
in Upper Township for a few decades. Still lives in Tuckahoe. Has one daughter
and two grandsons. Her passion is gardening.
Barbara Mayer Johnson: Received a Bachelor’s Degree from University of
Central Florida in 1971. Identical twin
sons were born in 1972. Received a
Master’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Ann Arbor in 1987. Retired
from teaching in 2009. Has lived in
Brighton, MI for 40 years with husband, Gerry.
Linda Migliaccio Madara: She and husband, Lewis, have two children and three
grandchildren. They are both retired and are able to travel frequently.
Candace Morgan Moleff: Lives in Estell Manor. Has two grandchildren and
enjoys quilting and trail riding.
Melodie Morrison Perri: Retired in 2011 from teaching at the Ocean City
Primary School. Her teaching career
spanned 33 years. Summers are now spent working in the 53-year old family
business, The Forum Motel. One daughter
and one son are both living in Los Angeles.
Has five children and four grandchildren. Resides in Vero Beach, FL as a
realtor with Kolbe Williams.
Was married to Francis Corcoran for 42 years. Raised two children and have
seven grandchildren and one great grandchild. She has lived in Tuckahoe for the
last 33 years. Still working, driving a school bus.
Linda Paul Worth: Married to Tony for 44 years – met at the Anchorage in Somers Point on
her 23rd birthday. Lived in Anaheim CA since
1980. She worked as a legal secretary for many years before retiring in 2008;
Tony is a retired optometrist. They have
a 32-year-old daughter in LA.
Scott Ping: Owner
of Boyar’s Food Markets for 30 years. Councilman at Large in Ocean City for eight
years. Member of the Ocean City Planning Board for three years. Worked with the
Ocean City High School After Prom for 10 years. Attended Penn State University.
Has six children, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Bonnie Richards-Ryan: Retired from the FAA after 37 years of service. My two
dogs are my babies, Nicky and Maddy – both are Malteses.
Shirley Robinson Herbert: She and husband, Ron have four children. For the
first 24 years or so she was a stay at home mom who was involved in numerous
sports and youth activities in Deptford Township. They had 15 grandchildren,
though two of them died. After her children all reached their teens, she spent
23 years in the court system.
Jane Rossi Hackney: Retired two years ago from Partners Healthcare after 16 years. Was a
Billing Coordinator. Enjoys gardening and working on her genealogy. Has two
children, seven grandchildren and will be a great-grandmother around the end of
Still a Judge at OC Municipal Court after 36 years. His wife, Effie, is an
English Professor at ACCC. Son is an
Associate English Prof at ACCC. Daughter
is a music mixing engineer living in Brooklyn.
Caroline Shaw Vliet: Still living in Marmora. Raised
my son, a Captain in OC Fire Department for 15 years. Have two grandchildren. She
has been office manager for FBK-CPAs in Marmora for 30 years.
Sue Stethers White: Son Jonathan working and living in NYC, daughter Kelly is working and
living in Rhode Island.
Retired to Big Pine Key in Florida. Two
sons, both married, two grandsons and another grandchild on the way.
Rev. Rina Terry: Has two sons and a daughter, who is a doctor. Two grandchildren. Has
had a distinguished career in the church.
Attended New England School of Art. Still working as a paralegal. Has one
stepdaughter, two stepsons, six grandchildren and one great grandchild on the
way. Has lived in eight states and visited Canada and traveled almost all of
Pam Whittaker Wright: Married 42 years.
Living in Virginia since September 2009.
Oldest son, Jeffrey, has three children.
Middle son, Chris and his wife are expecting a baby girl. Youngest son, Andrew is married and all three
sons are living within a 45-minute drive.
She volunteers at local schools and has time to do gardening and biking
Bob Young: Married
to Taimi 48 years in September. They have two daughters and three
grandchildren. Both are both retired teachers for 12 years. Taimi taught mainly
kindergarten at Upper Township for 34 years, Bob taught elementary physical
education for 34 years in Ocean City.
Special thanks to Helene
Tolson for her efforts in gathering information about her class.
While the Class of 1966 was
in high school, a president was assassinated, Beatlemania came to the USA and
the battle for civil rights intensified. The conflict in Viet Nam also continued
and, after graduation, many of them served in the military.
In the last five decades, as you can see, these people made significant contributions to society and helped make the world a better place. That is what most graduating classes set out to do and this group succeeded.
The dictionary defines a
volunteer as “a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or
undertake a task.” It would have been simpler to just use a photo of Joe Fagan.
Fagan, who died last week
after a difficult last year, wanted to take part, to make the world better.
Very few people spent more of their free time helping causes than he did.
He got paid for a couple of
He worked for a couple
decades as a baseball umpire at the youth and high school levels in Atlantic,
Burlington and Cape May counties. Fagan moved from Burlington County to Ocean
City in the 1970s. He worked for a credit agency, eventually buying the agency.
He also invested in some real estate.
Another job that paid Fagan a
few dollars was his work as a limousine driver. Many of his driving assignments
were for the Miss America Pageant, which made him very happy. He was one of the
organizers of a Miss America preliminary pageant in Burlington County and,
after moving to the shore, served with the Miss Cape May County Pageant for
decades. And he regularly attended and sometimes covered the pageant finals in
Fagan was the public address
announcer for the Ocean City Youth Athletic Association when he wasn’t
coaching. He coached the Phillies to the OCYAA championship in 1995. He was
also the announcer for the Ocean City Hawks and became an officer of the youth
football league in which the team played. And he worked on the chain gang
sideline crew at Ocean City High School’s home football games for a number of
After his divorce, Fagan
joined a group called Parents Without Partners and became a driving force
within the group, helping establish new social events and activities.
Fagan was always concerned
for people’s feelings (with the possible exception of a baseball coach who was
screaming at him) and one example took place on the Ocean City Music Pier when
he was active with the county pageant.
One of his obligations was
selling tickets and designing the seating arrangement. This was back in the day
when seats in the Music Pier were free of charge to see the Boardwalk Pops
orchestra on weeknights in the summer. Many of the regulars who came to the
concerts sat in the same seats every night.
On this night, the pageant
was set to start in about 30 minutes when an elderly woman took her seat in the
third row. She did not have a ticket to the pageant but this was her seat, she
sat in it every night. Fagan talked to her briefly, explaining that she needed
a ticket, but got nowhere.
A meeting of pageant organizers
was quickly arranged. One person suggested turning the problem over to Music
Pier management. Another thought the police should be involved. Fagan finally
said not to worry, he would take care of it.
He quickly found another
chair and added it to the third row so that the necessary number of seats would
be there to accommodate those who bought tickets and that woman could enjoy the
pageant from her seat. He even brought her a complimentary orange drink during
If you played youth baseball
or football in Ocean City, then Joe Fagan probably impacted your life. And he
followed your progress throughout high school.
If you played high school
football, he might have been the guy who determined if you got a first down.
And he might have called you out on that breaking ball across the outside
If you were part of Parents
Without Partners or if somebody in your life was involved in the local pageants
connected with the Miss America program, he was there, too.
In his final year, Fagan
still had that big laugh and great sense of humor. He was pleased that the
Philadelphia Eagles started the season with a soft schedule so that their
rookie quarterback would have some time to settle in. And he was pleased that
the Phillies did not lose 100 games and seemed to have players ready to provide
a good future. When he saw a call in a TV game that he didn’t understand, he
was still making phone calls to find out about the rule.
Joe Fagan lived his life to
the fullest and chances are the way he lived it made your life a little
Words of wisdom: “Winning a championship is always nice but that is not why we coach in youth baseball. You work with these kids from the cold weather at the start of the pre-season practices, right through into the warm weather. Almost every team has a player who loves the game and loves being on a team with others his age. But that player just does not have natural abilities. He works hard at every practice, he’s never late and he encourages and applauds everybody. Then, one day, in a game about two-thirds of the way through the season, that player times a fast ball and lines a single into the opposite field. It’s his first hit of the season, maybe the first hit of his life. You look at him on first base and you see the happiest, most excited expression you’ve ever seen. That is why we coach youth baseball.” (Joe Fagan)
It was 50 years ago next week, Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play, they’ve been going in and out of style, but they’re guaranteed to raise the smile, so may I introduce to you, the act you’ve known for all these years, Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
apologies to John Winston Lennon and Paul James McCartney, that paraphrased
version of their classic song fits. Because Monday (Aug. 29) marks the 50th
anniversary of The Beatles final live concert. It was in San Francisco’s
week, to celebrate, we have asked a bunch of people you know to tell us about
their favorite Beatles song and their Beatles experiences.
Ed Hurst, Hall of Fame radio-TV personality who recently turned 90 and is now heard Saturdays on WPG-1450: “I’d have to say ‘Something” is my favorite. It has a wonderful lyric and is very musical – a really nice ballad. When I was doing the Steel Pier TV Show and they were coming to town, George Hamid Sr. told me he wanted me to introduce them but I’d have to buy a ticket. I told him there was no way that was going to happen. But I did go and I was backstage. I felt bad for them because they couldn’t go out anywhere and during the show the kids were screaming so loud you couldn’t hear the music.”
Jackson T. Chase, afternoon host on Kool 98.3: “’Come Together’ and ‘Get Back’ are my favorites. To me, they contained both elements of what a rock song should be – great lyrics and guitar based. They were both out in 1969. I was in Viet Nam in ’69 when Get Back peaked.”
Eddie Davis, morning host, Lite Rock 96.9: “So hard to point to just one Beatles song, but let me tell you about the song my wife Beth and I chose as our wedding song – ‘Here, There, and Everywhere’, from Revolver. It is beautiful for its simplicity, its music, its lyrics and those wonderful harmonies from Paul, John and George. Though written by Paul, and considered by many to be his finest love song, I have read that it was one of John’s favorite Beatles songs. A pop masterpiece!”
Regis Philbin, legendary TV host who turns 85 on Aug. 25: “My wife, Joy, and I always loved ‘Yesterday’. It is a beautiful song that always makes you feel good when you listen to it. Many other people have recorded it but we love it by The Beatles.”
Jerry Blavat, radio-TV Hall of Famer and host of Geator Gold Radio, heard locally weeknights on Kool 98.3: “Even though at the very beginning of their career and with the early songs like ‘She Loves You’, ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ – that early stuff to me was bubble gum. On my radio show even to this day, I was playing the real deal, American rock n roll, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, the Four Seasons, the Isley Brothers, the Chiffons and others, so I really wasn’t a big fan of their early stuff. Still, when they hit in the early 60s because of my popularity I was invited to meet and see them when they appeared in Atlantic City. Ed McMahon was the MC. I met them and then was introduced on stage by Ed as being in the audience. Later on, as they musically developed, I appreciated some of the later things that they did, and one of my favorites was a song which Phil Spector produced for them called ‘The Long and Winding Road’.
David Allan Pratt, morning host, Kool 98.3: “I was 11 the first time I came across a Beatles record. I was sorting through my parents’ record collection, and found the Let It Be album among the Herb Alpert and Honor Blackman records. I played that album over and over. I loved what Phil Spector did producing it (although Mr. McCartney has always despised it). I quickly became a fan, buying the “Red” and “Blue” albums with my allowance, and at 51, I have every Beatles Parlophone album (not the US versions like Beatles VI), as well as every solo album released by each of the Fabs. While I have never had the chance to meet the Beatles (the closest I came was a few years ago in AC when Ringo never showed up to his art exhibit at which I was spinning Ringo tunes), I have seen Paul in concert 4 times, and Ringo twice! I have a few favorite Beatles tunes, but the one that sums up my thinking is “All You Need Is Love”. It’s a great, simple message. It was the final song played at Nicole’s and my wedding (our first dance was to Paul’s “My Valentine”). Every weekday morning at 7:10 I feature the “Beatles Breakfast Bite” on Kool 98.3. Long live the music of the greatest band of all time.”
Joe Kelly, morning host, Cat Country 107.3: “I’d have to say my favorite Beatles’ song has always been “Hey Jude.” As a child, I can remember hearing the song on the radio thinking they were singing directly to me! It was a pick-me-up song for me. Whenever I felt down, it was like they were telling me to perk up, and be happy. Who couldn’t sing along with ‘Nah nah nah, nah nah nah, nah nah nah? While I was just an infant at the time, I didn’t see it live, but seeing the reruns of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show that first time is just magical. Was there ever a better TV introduction than Sullivan’s big shoulder turn and to-the-point introduction, “Ladies and Gentlemen, the Beatles!”?
Tom Lamaine, retired broadcaster now heard Saturdays on WOND: “Hard to pick a song, but easy to pick an album…. it’s ‘Rubber Soul’. A collection of breakaway works from their earlier recordings. This album blew me away when I first heard it (a pirate copy, of course) with songs like ‘Norwegian Wood’, ‘Nowhere Man’, ‘You Won’t See Me’ this contained more depth and structure and led the way to ‘Revolver’ and, of course, ‘Sergeant Pepper.’ These were the best. I secretly got The Beatles from the Lafayette Hotel in Atlantic City to the 500 Club to see Eddie Fisher. (and yes, they really did want to see Eddie Fisher.). Thanks to Skinny D’Amato for arranging that venture.”
Tony Blum, philanthropist and former DJ: “That’s a tough one because the Beatles music is so eclectic. From the early years of ‘She Loves You’ and ‘Please Please Me’ to the later years where their music had matured. Rock and Roll songs like ‘Drive My Car’ and ‘Birthday’ to the softer melodies like ‘Yesterday’, ‘Here There and Everywhere’, ‘The Long and Winding Road’, ‘Let It Be’ and, of course, their biggest seller, ‘Hey Jude’. But if I had to choose one I think it would be ‘Golden Slumbers-Carry That Weight-The End’. That song is almost like a rock symphony that encompasses so many different elements of their music. I finally got to see a part of the Beatles (Paul McCartney in Philly on July 12th) with 50,000 of his closest friends. What amazed me was not only the size of the crowd, but its composition with thousands of young people who were not around during the Beatles era. They not only wanted to see him but were lip syncing the words to the Beatles songs.”
Walt Murphy, public relations legend who created FM radio: “I would pick ‘Eleanor Rigby.’ Because of its musicality – the intricate melody and the beauty of its melody. It has been played by chamber orchestras and string quartets because of its complexity. Leo Brouwer, a composer from Cuba, created a suite called ‘Yesterday to Penny Lane’ that prominently featured Eleanor Rigby.”
Phlash Phelps, morning host on SiriusXM’s 60s on 6: “My phavorite Beatles song has always been ‘In My Liphe’. I relate it to the island of Bermuda. Before I went the 1st time, I saw a video of the sons and daughters of the island singing that song while showing clips of the island. Today when I hear it, I think back to the pristine island that is Bermuda. I met Paul once here at XM as our studio is only three blocks from where he did his 1st Beatles concert on Phebruary 11, 1964. He recalled what it was like.” (as you probably noticed, Phlash spells every “f” sound “ph”.)
Bobby Rydell, legendary entertainer: “I’d pick ‘Yesterday’. It was a classy tune, different than the ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah’ stuff they had done. I have used it in my live show sometimes. I was on a bus tour in London in 1963 with Helen Shapiro and others. The bus passed this car and she said, ‘That’s the Beatles.’ I didn’t know what she meant. I thought we had bugs on the bus. But we stopped and they got on the bus. They knew me and my music and I thought they were OK guys. Then, about four months later, I’m watching Ed Sullivan and there they are. ‘I met those guys’, I shouted at the TV.”
WORDS OF WISDOM: “It was Elvis who really got me hooked on beat music. When I heard ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ I thought, this is it.” (Paul McCartney)
“The biggest break in my career was getting into the Beatles in 1962. The second biggest break was getting out of them.” (George Harrison, 1943-2001)
“I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It’s just that the translations have gone wrong.” (John Lennon, 1940-1980)
“I think the most exciting thing is that you expect people our age to know Beatles music, but actually a lot of kids know the music, and if anything is left, we have left really good music, and that’s the important part, not the mop-tops or whatever.” (Ringo Starr)
Everybody knows Regis Philbin. For more than half a century he has been entertaining America and hosting some of television’s most popular shows. He will be in Atlantic City on Saturday with Don Rickles, doing one show at The Borgata.
“There is nobody funnier than Don Rickles,” Regis said. “More than 50 years ago I was working in San Diego and I read that he was coming to town. I went to see him with a cameraman and he agreed to an interview. In those days the cameras needed a lot of light so we had to go outside to record it. He asked me my name and when I told him it was Regis – well, that was all he had to hear. He did four minutes just on my name. I couldn’t stop laughing and I couldn’t get over how fast his mind worked.”
“He’s been on my shows many times through the years. I remember going to interview him at a big comedy show. There were lots of great comics but he was the one I wanted. They came onto the stage one by one and I was waiting. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get back to the station in time with the interview. Finally, he was the last one to come on. I asked Jack Benny why Don came on last. He said it was because none of them wanted to follow him.
“For a while in New York I was doing a stage show, some singing and some comedy. My first gig was opening for Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme but eventually I started opening for Don. We’ve had a long friendship. Recently he suggested I come do some shows with him. So here we are.”
Regis and Rickles will be at The Borgata on Saturday night for one show. It will bring together Rickles, one of the funniest men in the business with an inter-active act that is different every night, with Regis, who holds the Guinness World Record for the most hours on television in the United States. The last time his record was updated, in 2011, he had been in front of a camera for 16,746.5 hours.
“I hate to even think about it,” he said. “I’m proud I’ve lasted but that is a really long time. I’m just glad people aren’t sick of me.”
The Borgata show will include video from both of their careers, which will certainly be fodder for both of their senses of humor. Both men have a strong history with Atlantic City, having appeared in casino showrooms over the last couple of decades. Regis even emceed the Miss America Pageant, both by himself and co-hosting with Kathie Lee Gifford.
He remembers an entertainer who inspired him early in life.
“I was a great fan of Dean Martin,” Regis said. “He was a great singer and a very funny guy. When I graduated from Cardinal Hayes High School (Bronx, NY) we went to the Copa in New York to celebrate and to see him and Jerry Lewis. I couldn’t take my eyes off Dean, I thought he was great. I’d met him through the years. I always marveled at his ease. You couldn’t rattle him. Then I met him one last time late in his life in a restaurant. He was cordial but he wasn’t the same old Dean. Some felt he never really got over the death of his son in that jet crash.”
Regis graduated from Notre Dame University and has a well-documented love for the school. “My father was in the Marine Corps and he ran into Moose Krause (former Irish athlete, coach and athletics director). They’d all sit around the fire at night and he’d tell these great Notre Dame stories. He told my dad that I should go to Notre Dame and he agreed.
“I try to go a couple times a year to a football game. This year I’m taking my eight year old grandson with me. He’s quite a little athlete and he wants to go see Notre Dame play. I’m gonna show him the entire school. Of course, it keeps changing. They’re expanding the stadium – building it higher. Sometimes it gets me a little crazy because I used to know where I was going out there but with the changes I’m not always sure.”
Regis and Rickles on the same stage brings together two show business icons – they are a combined 174 years old with more than 100 of those years entertaining people. This event happens once around here, Saturday night at The Borgata.
Rydell wrote a book. A book about his life in the spotlight and behind the
scenes. It’s called “Bobby Rydell – Teen Idol on the Rocks.” The book tells
about the Philadelphia native’s rise to fame and his struggles with alcoholism
and other problems.
is one of the biggest and most talented entertainers of the late 1950s and
1960s. The producers of the gigantic hit “Grease” felt he was such an important
part of the era that they named the high school in their film and stage show,
Rydell High. He was an influence on the Beatles. He was the youngest headliner
ever to appear at the legendary New York night club, “The Copacabana.” Even
Frank Sinatra was a fan.
the book was quite an experience.
whole thing came about from being on the road so many years and sitting around
after shows and telling stories,” Rydell said. “People would tell me I had
great stories and suggested I write a book. I wondered who would want to read a
book about Bobby Rydell. But my wife, Linda, convinced me to write an
autobiography. The only guy I would want to do it with was (Grammy Award
winner) Allan Slutsky. We’ve been friends for years. We talked back and forth
and wrote notes for two years to gather information.”
the book caused him to relive experiences, both good and bad.
are things in the book that are hard to talk about, that you might want to
forget – the death of my first wife, Camille, after 36 years of marriage; the
problems I had with my mother who, as we know now, was bipolar; and my struggles
Rydell’s career started it was important for a new artist to get exposure on
American Bandstand, which was located in Philadelphia.
Clark was a wonderful person,” Rydell said, “but just because we were from
Philadelphia didn’t mean we would get preferential treatment. He turned down my
first three records, he wouldn’t play them on American Bandstand, but when we
brought him “Kissin’ Time” he said, ‘That’s a hit’ and he started playing it
every day to a national audience. He had a great ear for what was a hit.
like to say that Dick Clark was like the Mike Schmidt of disc jockeys. He would
really come through with the bases loaded. If your record was selling in
Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago, for example, you had three on base and he would
loved his native South Philadelphia and his summer home in Wildwood. They were
both very special to him.
My grandmother had a boarding house at 232 E. Montgomery Avenue in Wildwood. My
mother starting taking me there when I was an infant and I went there every
summer up until about 17 when things started to happen in my career. Both
Wildwood and South Philadelphia are very dear to me. A lot of people in South
Philly those days would visit Atlantic City. But my special friends would go to
Wildwood and they would go every summer. Some of the best times of my life were
hanging out with friends in Wildwood – on the beach, the boardwalk, on the
rides, at the record hops. It was a great time in our lives.”
even recorded a song about it – “Wildwood Days.”
just found out a few years ago,” Rydell said, “that ‘Wildwood Days’ was
originally a flip side of one of the Dovells’ hits (‘You Can’t Sit Down’). They
knew about my love for Wildwood so they suggested I record it. We got a new
arrangement and it became a nice hit for me. Whenever I perform on the East
Coast, in particular, they want me to sing that song. I love it.”
same year that “Wildwood Days” hit the charts, Rydell was Hugo Peabody in the
hit film “Bye Bye Birdie.” His love interest in the film was Ann-Margret.
got a call from her when I was just in Florida,” he said. “I was actually in
the shower and her message went to voice mail. She had read the book and was
calling to say she didn’t know about all the things that happened in my life. I
called her back and we had a great conversation. We talk every few months. She
calls me Hugo and I call her Kim.”
still performs with fellow Philadelphians Frankie Avalon and Fabian as The
Golden Boys of Bandstand. They will next be in this general area on Oct. 2 in
and I go back to when I was about 10 years old. We used to go to hospitals and
other places and put on a little show. We have been friends for more than 60
years. And Fabian lived right up the street from me – I was at 2400 S. Eleventh
and he was 2500 S. Eleventh. It’s one of the great things about South
Philadelphia – the friendships never wane. Even though you might not see
somebody for years, when you run into them again it’s like you’re hanging on
the street corner again.”
will also be performing in the Wildwoods Convention Center on Oct. 15 with
Little Anthony and Shirley Alston Reeves of The Shirelles. He will be at the
Golden Nugget in Atlantic City on Nov. 12. And, on Sunday night from 8-11 p.m.
in an appearance broadcast on WOND Radio, he will be signing books at Jerry
Blavat’s Memories in Margate.
love Jerry,” he said. “He is a super dynamite guy who is always there for you.
We do a cruise together called ‘Malt Shop Memories.’ We’ve been doing it for
about seven years and he goes all over the ship to meet people, even in the
boiler room. When the book came out he called and said we have to have a book
signing at Memories. I love that club and I love the people there. I’m really
looking forward to it.”
Four years ago Rydell underwent a double organ transplant to replace his liver and kidneys. The donor was a young girl named Julia, who had died after being hit by a car.
“The donor program is called ‘The Gift of Life’ and you aren’t supposed to contact the family of your donor until at least a year goes by,” Rydell said. “We waited a year and then got together with Julia’s mother. It was very warm, but very emotional. I placed her hand on my stomach just to show that her daughter still lives within me.”
Rydell is one of the major names in the history of popular music, starting from
a row house in South Philly and touring the world. But he always will come back
to the Delaware Valley.
intend to stay here,” he said, “at least until either I die or the Eagles win
the Super Bowl, whichever comes first.”
“Bobby Rydell – Teen Idol on the Rocks” can be purchased online through BobbyRydell.com or at Amazon.com. You can watch him perform live in an outdoor concert in North Wildwood here.
Words of Wisdom: “Bobby Rydell was discovered by the bass player for Dave Appell and The Applejacks, Frankie Day. Bobby was in the group Rocco and The Saints. Both groups were working in Somers Point. During a break, Frankie caught Bobby and was impressed. Bobby had that knack, his tremendous talent came out very quickly on stage.” (Dick Clark)