“Teen-Age Downbeat”

by Paula Bosse

teen-age-downbeat_broadcasting-mag_051859_detWBAP’s “Teen-Age Downbeat,” 1959 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

“Teen-Age Downbeat” — Fort Worth’s answer to “American Bandstand” — debuted on WBAP-TV in January, 1958 — in COLOR. It featured teens from the Dallas-Fort Worth area (…or maybe I should say from the Fort Worth-Dallas area…) who would play and dance to their favorite records. The host was WBAP broadcaster Tom Mullarkey (seen above at the left, wearing the red vest). The show was quite popular and lasted as best I can tell, from January, 1958 until July, 1961 (the last mention in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram was July 1, 1961). I’m guessing those kids danced to a lot of Fabian.

teenage-downbeat_fwst_010558FWST, Jan. 5, 1958

teen-age-downbeat_sponsor-mag_080860“Sponsor” trade magazine, Aug. 8, 1960

teen-age-downbeat_unt-lab-bandNorth Texas State College’s Lab Band with director Gene Hall

teenage-downbeat_fwst_022661
FWST, Feb. 26, 1961

teen-age-downbeat_broadcasting-mag_051859
“Broadcasting” trade magazine, May 18, 1959

***

The color photo (which appeared in a full-page WBAP ad in the trade magazine Broadcasting) shows non-teen Tom Mullarkey watching over the dancers from Arlington Heights High School, as the Polytechnic High School Stage Band plays some happenin’ tunes. (I do see two Dallas high school pennants in the photo: Crozier Tech and Sunset.)

The photo showing director Gene Hall with the North Texas State College (now the University of North Texas) Laboratory Band was found at UNT’s Portal to Texas History site, here. The photo is not dated, but a blurb in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram mentioned that Hall and the band were to appear on “Teen-Age Downbeat” on Feb. 5, 1959.

All pictures and clippings larger when clicked.

*

Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Advertisements