. . .
On TV, CBS had Ed Sullivan at 8 p.m. — Dec. 31, 1967 was a Sunday, you know — and the “Toast of the Town” was featuring singer Vikki Carr (“It Must Be Him”), band Jay and The Techniques (“Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie”), drummer Buddy Rich, German juggler Montego, and impressionist George Kirby.
But “really big shoe” was on WTAE-TV (4), which featured the annual live broadcast of Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. The telecast ran from 11:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.
. . .
Lombardo’s proudly square orchestra had been broadcasting every New Year’s Eve since 1928. The annual TV broadcast began in 1956.
At midnight, the orchestra that played “The Sweetest Music This Side of Heaven” always struck up the tune “Auld Lang Syne.”
Though the song was originally written by the beloved Scottish poet Robert Burns, it was Lombardo whose use of the tune every Jan. 1 linked it inexorably to New Year’s Eve.
. . .
Although several sources note that Lombardo’s New Year’s Eve shows were usually on CBS radio and TV, Pittsburgh TV listings for Dec. 31, 1967, say the spectacular was on “Channel 4” — then, as now, an ABC affiliate.
In fact, neither of Pittsburgh’s other network affiliates made an attempt to compete with Lombardo tonight. As Carmen Lombardo was warbling “Boo Hoo” on WTAE, KDKA-TV (2) was showing the 1946 Bob Hope-Bing Crosby movie Road to Utopia, while WIIC-TV (11) followed its five-minute 11 p.m. newscast (anchored by Alan Boal) with Joe Pyne’s syndicated talk show.
. . .
Finally, WIIC gave you a chance to atone for any sins you had committed New Year’s Eve, beginning at 1 a.m. That’s when the “ones to watch” joined a nationwide telethon hosted by Akron-based TV evangelist Rex Humbard, live from his 5,000-seat “Cathedral of Tomorrow” in Cuyahoga Falls.
Praise the Lord, and happy new year!
. . .
P.S.: A big tip of the PBRTV propeller beanie to ABC and KQV historian Jeff Roteman, who’s done a yeoman’s job researching both the network and the Pittsburgh station. His Radioville network of websites has “much, much more” about the ABC Radio split and the KQV year-end charts.
The big move to FM was still a decade away on New Year’s Eve 1967 in Pittsburgh.
That’s why Mount Washington-based beautiful music station WKJF-FM (93.7) was practically begging Pittsburghers to try the other band on their radios.
Frankly, any Pittsburghers who did scan the FM band tonight were asleep before 1968 arrived. Besides ‘KJF’s somnolent blend of elevator music, its competition on FM this evening included a “report on the importance to society of recent chemical research” at 10:30 p.m. on Braddock’s WLOA-FM (96.9), “Music of Rodrigo’s Fantasia” on WTAE-FM (96.1), and a concert by the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra on WJAS-FM (99.7) at 11:15 p.m.
I’m getting drowsy just writing about it!
. . .
Chances are, most Pittsburghers listening to radio were locked to the AM (or “standard broadcast”) band, where Chuck Brinkman and Johnny Mitchell were counting down the “Happening Hit Parade” of 1967 on the city’s main pop music station, KQV (1410).
KQV’s top song of 1967 was “I’m a Believer” by The Monkees, who also were named “Best Group” of the year by Groovy ‘QV’s “fun-lovin’ five.”
This also was the last night that KQV listeners heard ABC News over the ABC owned-and-operated station. No, ABC wasn’t selling KQV, but beginning on Jan. 1, 1968, ABC Radio would split into four different services — Contemporary, Entertainment, Information and FM.
On ‘QV, ABC’s old “live news at :55” gave way to reports from the American Contemporary Network.
NBC owned-and-operated WJAS (1320) featured an “All Star Parade” of big band music, with live reports from Ben Grauer in New York City’s Times Square, beginning at 11 p.m.
WWSW (970) was spinning records by “the top vocalists and bands of yesterday,” starting right after the 8 p.m. news. “Double-Double” billed the music program as its “New Year’s Eve Dancing Party.”