by Paula Bosse
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.
Sources & Notes
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.
Photo of the “Toys For Tots” campaign, featuring a sexy Santa’s helper, Tom Mularkey, and a Marine Corps (Reserve?) officer was found on the Instagram feed of @fortworthhistorical.
Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.