|This is not who they mean by "Abraham, Martin, and John."|
|I was so traumatized by the assassination, I had to put on my|
|The Kennedy clan became an American royal family of sorts. When Ted Kennedy died a few years ago, I wrote a bit about all the siblings, go here for that rundown.|
|Helen Wagner has popped up several times in these pages. She is in the Guinness Book of World Records as having played a single character on TV longer than anyone else. That role was matriarch Nancy Hughes on As The World Turns. She spent 50 years on the soap, including the episode airing November 22, 1963.|
|Walter Cronkite brought us the news. CBS began four days of|
non-stop coverage, unprecedented at the time.
Both NBC and ABC had turned that hour over to their affiliates to program, so the clip everyone sees, of the announcement of the assassination of the president, comes from CBS. In it, Walter Cronkite breaks into "regularly scheduled programming" to report the shocking news. That news clip is preserved in museums and other archives the world over; the program Cronkite is interrupting is As The World Turns, and the actress on the screen at the time is Helen Wagner.
|As The World Turns was presented live in those days, so when CBS News interrupted the program, the actors were not told. They continued with the show, and did not learn of the assassination until they had concluded the episode.|
|Believe it or not, this is one of FIVE albums recorded by|
Leonard Nimoy. He's one of a number of artists to release
versions of this week's Dance Party.
Andy Williams, who was a close friend of Bobby Kennedy and was actually in that Los Angeles hotel when RFK was shot, recorded his own version and sang it several times on his TV series.
|Dion's version was the biggest hit.|
In 1971, an unusual remix hit the charts, which included actual sound bites from our murdered heroes.
There is another unlikely version of the song out there, recorded by another woman whom I now associate with the JFK assassination.
I first saw Moms Mabley on The Merv Griffin Show, though she made regular appearances on all the variety/talk shows of the 60s. She developed a stage persona which never varied; wearing a loose fitting house dress and knit hat, and never wearing her false teeth, she cut a rather bizarre figure.
This week's Dance Party comes from one of her appearances on Merv Griffin's talk show (and is annoyingly marred by superimposed titles, I hope you can ignore them).
|Comics of color all point to Mabley as a great influence.|
Whoopi Goldberg has produced a documentary on Moms.
She recorded "Abraham, Martin, and John" shortly after the original hit the streets, and her version climbed to #35 on the Billboard charts (in this clip, Merv Griffin mistakenly reports that the song went all the way to #2; it did not). Moms is now in the record books due to that recording: at age 75, she was (and remains) the oldest vocalist to crack Billboard's Pop 40.
Mabley's rendition has a lot of heart and soul, so to commemorate the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination, here she is: