|On this day in AT40/AT20/AT10 history...|
(Editor's Note: Is there a past Casey show you'd like to see featured in this section. If so, feel free to e-mail Rob Durkee at Rockster2746@GMail.com with your memories of that show. About 3-5 paragraphs is plenty...but you can write more. Just don't write a novel. Please make sure you give plenty of advance notice. A week is preferred)...
Thirty eight years ago Friday (April 28, 1979), "Heart Of Glass" by
Blondie spent its only week at #1 en route to becoming 1979's #18
single. However, the highlight of this show was what's considered one
of the most unique and famous Long Distance Dedications in "American
Top 40" history.
Barry Barringer, then a junior at Pelican Rapids (Minnesota) High
School, was chatting with his siblings earlier in 1979 about the ideal
acts that would perform at his upcoming prom. His sister then
reasoned, "While you're at it, why not invite Cheryl Ladd?"
So he did! He sent her the invitation along with candy...and a letter
to Casey which said in part: “What did I have to lose? She might say
‘yes.' Will you please play Cheryl Ladd singing her hit song, ‘Think
It Over,’ and dedicate it to her? Maybe Cheryl will hear it, think it
over and accept my proposal. I won’t be disappointed if she doesn’t,
though. There are plenty of nice girls in Pelican Rapids. Thanks,
Casey. Sincerely, Barry.”
“Well, Barry,” responded Casey, “I’ve always admired people who aim
high. By the way, your letter didn’t make it clear whether your
invitation to Cheryl included her husband. But, you can work that out
between you. Here’s your Long Distance Dedication.”
Several months passed and nothing happened even though Barringer sent
a followup petition to Ladd. Then came the night of December 2,
1979...and Barry described it in a followup letter read by Casey on
the February 16, 1980 AT40 show. "I think she called me 'honey'."
The AT40 staff checked it out and concluded it WAS Cheryl Ladd who
called him. Cheryl remembered the incident fondly. Meanwhile,
Barringer remembered how a goodly number of people didn't believe him
when he said that Cheryl Ladd called him. Someone at school asked him,
"Who called you--Ann Landers?"
Meanwhile, in the Department of the Weird, Casey told the story of how
Walter Carlos became Wendy Carlos. Yes, a sex change operation on a
performer...and this story was repeated in May, 1985.
Eighty five years ago Thursday (April 27, 1932), Kemal Kasem was born in
Detroit. Casey Kasem retired in the summer of 2009 but his legacy
lives on with his nearly 39 years of countdowns people can collect and
listen to. Just imagine, it'll be 47 years since he started counting
'em down this July 4.
It’s the culmination of a dream that dates back to 1949. He was 17,
working at Detroit’s Louis Stolinsky’s Beer Store when he happened to
hear “Eddie Chase and the Make-Believe Ballroom,” a local show with a
countdown of the top 10 national hits on CKLW. “He had a one-hour
show and I only heard it once. It always stuck in the back of my head.
I said to myself, ‘If I ever become a DJ, that’s the kind of show I’d
want to do--a national countdown.’”
Twenty one years later, on the Fourth Of July weekend in 1970, the
dream came true when “American Top 40” was born with only seven
affiliates. The station count was up to 118 a year later. By the late
1970’s, the show was heard all over the world and by 1981, there was a
record 520 radio stations hearing the show in the USA alone.
Much of Casey’s life is captured in the book, “American Top 40: The
Countdown Of the Century.” You can read the difficult decision he had
to make when he left AT40 in 1988 to keep counting them down with
Westwood One. And, of course, there’s the incredible reuniting of
Casey with “American Top 40” that happened in March, 1998.
And never forget, as Casey always says, to keep your feet on the
ground and keep reaching for the stars!