High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Definition of Cool: Hy Lit, Pt. 1

 I looked up the word "cool" in my 

 Funkin' Wagnalls and here's what 

 I funkin' found: 


 laid back, relaxed, 
 low-key, mellow, 
 calm, knows what's 
 going on, popular, 
 suave, stylish, in or 
 beyond the current 
 style, in harmony 
 with an ineffable 
 (see Hy Lit). 

Four years ago today the world lost one of the all time greats when Philadelphia broadcast titan Hy Lit passed away. Hy succumbed to a long illness and complications from a knee injury sustained in a fall.

I'd like to share
with you some
memories and
comments about
a man that I
greatly admired.

 * Born 

 in South 

 * 50+ year 
 career as  
 an icon of 
 radio and 

 * Philadelphia Broadcast Pioneers 

 *Legendary AM radio deejay
and Wibbage (WIBG) “Good Guy” 

 * Architect of rock ‘n roll and 
 the early Sound of Philadelphia 

 * Worked with all the greats 

 The Beatles - Stones - Beach Boys - Elvis 

The Beatles, hiding from the throng of squealing girls that surrounded their hotel, stayed overnight at Hy Lit's house and, as the story goes, slept on the floor!

 * TV dance show host 

Hy Lit's dance show is the memory maker upon which I would like to focus.  From 1965 to 1971, Hy Lit hosted a televised dance party on Channel 48, WKBS in Philadelphia.

It was the same cool indie station (Kaiser Broadcasting)
that carried two of my other favorite shows, Roller Derby...

 (above) Judy Arnold - Eastern Warriors 

...and The Banana Splits.

 One banana,
 two banana
 three banana,
 Four Bananas
 make a bunch
 and so do
 many more. 

Okay, I know what you're thinking. You did the math
and realized that I was in my late teens when I watched
The Banana Splits.

I'll come clean and admit that I still watch reruns of Teletubbies and that Tinky Winky is the one with whom
I most closely identify (not that there's anything wrong with that).


I was a devoted follower of the Hy Lit Show during the late 60s when the program’s playlist percolated with edgy, gritty, junk-in-the-trunk funk. Hy frequently had the joint jumpin' to funky, Philly-style instrumentals.

Remember Harold, Sherri, Doug & Ting, the featured dancers on the show? The Soul Train gang had nothin' on them! Remember Hy Lit's sidekick, Bucket Belly? (LOL)

 You've seen 
 my Shady Dell 
 monthly playlists. 
 You've grooved 
 with the Geator. 
 Now it's time to 
 sample more of 
 Philly's phinest, 
 the greatest hits 
 played on the 
 Hy Lit Show! 
 I promise you 
 this Hy Lit lineup's 
 all filla! 
 Let's get started! 

 Here, on a timeline from older to more recent, are 

 Hy Lit’s Greatest Hits (late 60's): 

“Boogaloo Down Broadway” – Fantastic Johnny C 
(December 1967, highest chart position #7) 

“There is” – Dells (March 1968, highest chart position #20) 

“Tighten Up” – Archie Bell & the Drells (May 1968, highest 
chart position #1) 

“Wear it on Our Face” – Dells (June 1968, highest chart 
position #44) 

“Ain’t Nothin’ but a House Party” - Show Stoppers 
(June 1968, highest chart position #87) 

“The Horse”/”Love is All Right” – Cliff Nobles & Co. 
(July 1968, highest chart position #2) 

“Here Comes the Judge” - Shorty Long (July 1968, 
highest chart position #8) 

 That was just a tease.  Stay tuned! 

 In Pt. 2 I'll play more boss bad boys 

 from the legendary Hy Lit Show! 

Have a Shady day!


  1. I think anyone who's had the Beatles stay the night at his/her house automatically qualifies for the Cool Hall of Fame.

    For a minute, I thought Shorty Long was Flip Wilson.

    Thank you, dear friend Shady, for an as always wonderful line up of music this morning.

  2. Shelly - I thought the same thing when I saw that picture of Judge Shorty! (LOL) Hy Lit was a hero to me back in the day. He still is. Thank you very much for taking the time to get acquainted with the man and his music on what must be a very tough day for you, dear friend!

  3. How are you dear Shady? Banana Splits, I remember watching them when I was teeny (although they were definitely the re-runs!) and Teletubbies?? Really?! La La featured a lot in our household! Sir Alfred has asked me to pass on his regards to you ;) - I see he's sneaking all over the place at the moment!

  4. Thank you, Shady, for sharing your memories of Hy Lit, someone you greatly admired. After reading about him and listening to the biographical video, I can understand why. He had THE voice, personality and I liked the way he sung along with some of the songs. It occurs to me that the power of radio is often underestimated. Another admirable trait was when Hy Lit refused to go along with the "changes" that were requested of him. We all know how difficult that is to do! As happens in life, I came away from this that Hy Lit came back much stronger after all the trials he experienced. Major trials, too! He truly was the "Architect of Rock & Roll". It was nice to "meet" him. I would hope when anyone Googles, "Hy Lit", they will be directed to your wonderful tribute, Shady.

    The sun started to shine here just as I was listening to the great tune, "Boogaloo Down Broadway". I didn't recall two of the three Dells' songs except "Tighten Up" and I have the most vivid recollection of it: August of 1968, a dance at the Daytona Beach pier, my best friend Janet, sunburned and wearing my green dress with white polka dots ... ♫ ♪

    Thanks so much, Shady!

  5. Gawgus - Hello again, my dear! Yes, I was quite a fan of the Banana Splits in my late teens along with Roller Derby and The Hy Lit Show. However, I was telling a fib when I wrote that I still watch Teletubbies. I gave that up years ago! :) Let's just say I have a Dipsy sense of humor and these Po jokes prove it! I can't help wondering what Alfred would think of the Splits or the Tubbies and which character or characters would resonate with him. Something to think about. I'm delighted by your visit, dear friend G-T. Have a wonderful day and try hard to find something interesting to do over there in Paris, France!

    Cindy - You took time for the full ride, my dear friend, and that means so much to me. For many years I was a voice-over television announcer but I often dreamed of being a radio disc jokey like Hy Lit. I admired Hy's voice and his ability to rattle off that cool top 40 patter at ultra high speed and make it seem effortless. Yes, Hy faced many challenges in his career and in his personal life but he carved out a legacy and is still loved and remembered by millions. Today, the voice and the music live on thanks to operated by Hy's only son Sam:

    Thank you ever so much for your comments, dear Cindy, and here's hoping that you enjoy a very Shady day!

  6. Good evening (well, it is here in Devon!) to you dear Tom. I hope you're having a good day. Oh yes sirree, I remember watching The Banana Splits and singing along to their theme song. I think Daisy sneaked into this post, with your comment about Tinky Winky!! (I would be a bit worried if I were his mum!). It's funny, because I was watching TeleTubbies 14 years ago with number 1 granddaughter, and now I'm watching them all over again with little Ruby :) Thank you for another very entertaining post again today.

  7. Thisisme - Yessum! Dear devilish Daisy struggles to the surface now and then, doesn't she? :) I wish I could see the look on Ruby Violet's face as she watches the mesmerizing antics of those Teletubbies. I'm sure she knows them all by name. I didn't realize that Hanna-Barbera's Banana Splits series was shown in England back then. It's always good to find common ground with you, with Gawgus Girl, and with your chief rival for my affection, Desiree. :) Thank you for making me smile with your visit and your sweet comments, dear Thisisme, and have a restful night in South Hams!

  8. I enjoyed learning about Hy Lit. He reminded me of the disc jockeys I grew up with in California. They had big personalities and made listening to the radio lots of fun. I'm sorry he went through such a hard time for awhile. I noticed he said he wanted to make a TV series called, "I Love Music". That made me think of the show "Glee". He had a good idea there.

    Loved the sound of The Dells. Some songs were vaguely familiar, but not well known to me. Thanks, Shady. I'm looking forward to the next line-up.

  9. Belle - Next month I'll begin saluting the Cruisin' album series which did a fine job of recreating the best vintage top 40 radio programs of the 50s and 60s. Did you own any Cruisin' albums? If not, I can tell you that each volume was devoted to a different American city, popular radio station and famous DJ who worked there. I'm thinking you might remember the 1965 volume that featured Robert W. Morgan at KHJ, Boss-Angeles. The Dells had a great name (LOL) and a great sound. (They started out in the 50s as the El Rays.) Thank you for learning about Hy Lit and please stay tuned for Part 2 of my tribute to this great talent coming up on Monday. Have a wonderful evening, dear friend Belle!

  10. You enjoy teasing don't you? Yesterday it was teasing us all into thinking you were a bigwig at the UN, when you were really zooming off to a distant planet. Today, pretending you watch Teletubbies when we know it's probably Barney.

    I had obviously not heard of Hyman Litsky but your admiration for him is plainly evident and it has been interesting reading about him. What a long and seemingly distinguished career he had in the 50+ years he was actively involved.
    I see you're away till Monday. Enjoy whatever you and Mrs Shady are planning to do and we look forward to hearing from you when you return.

  11. Hi, Desiree! Burning the midnight oil in South Africa, dear friend? :) When she was little my granddaughter loved to watch Teletubbies and Barney the purple dinosaur whenever she visited our home. As I'm sure you recall those characters were as popular back then as Sponge Bob is now. On many occasions I had to miss Meet the Press so that she could watch those shows. Ironically, when I recently asked my granddaughter (now age 14) if she remembers how much she enjoyed those programs she said she doesn't remember them at all! It would be like us forgetting the Beatles I would think. Thank you very much for staying up late to read, listen and comment, dear Desiree, and have a safe and happy weekend!

  12. Hi, Shady!

    Was sad to hear of Hy Lit's passing. I remember several albums of oldies compilations he released years ago. He was truly a legend in the Philadelphia and eastern Pa. area. I haven't had a chance to listen to the songs yet, but I see a lot of gems I haven't heard in a long ago. I just wanted to get my two cents in early enough to alert your other readers to the fact that on November 20th, Shady AKA Tom Anderson turns 62. You're finally catching up to me again, Tom! Have a real happy one!

    Your friend,

  13. Ron - Thanks for the birthday wish, good buddy! I went ahead and published your comment even though it contains that obvious typo. You gave my age as 62 when I think you meant to write 26. Are you coping with dyslexia, my friend? :) I hope you'll sample these Hy Lit goldens over the weekend and tune in on Monday for another super stack of Philly Phunk. Thanks so much, Ron, and I'll be seeing you in your next feature on T-giving Day!

  14. I've never owned a Cruisin' album. I could barely get the Los Angeles stations on my small radio, and when I did the sound was bad. I just listened to the K-Men of San Bernardino. They were celebrities to us teenagers. The radio station put out a free pamphlet each week with the top hits on it and on the front page was a picture of each DJ.

  15. Belle - That surprises me. I thought for sure that you'd be able to pull in the signal from the mighty KHJ from your home in San Berdoo. What you wrote is true. Even DJ's on small local stations became celebrities to the kids who listened to their programs. They influenced our listening habits, our buying habits and even our behavior at home, at school and on dates. Fortunately, most celebrities back then were a good influence on young people. Thanks so much for coming back around, dear Belle, and enjoy your weekend!

  16. I love that you identify with a teletubby. Just another reason I think your wonderful. P.S. I missed your birthday? Head hanging low.... Here's a HUG and and a belated birthday wish. I hope you got your birthday wish xo

  17. Katie - No, you didn't miss my birthday. In fact, you're still a little early. It's this Sunday, the 20th! You are sweet to remember that you forgot even though you didn't forget! (LOL) Yessum - I often get in touch with my inner Tinky Winky. :) Thank you very much for coming over to visit, dear friend Katie, and have a safe and happy weekend in Utah!

  18. Here Comes the Judge! Yes, remember it, but, 'Bugaloo Down Broadway' and the 'Tighten Up' were most popular dance songs. We were trying to then, imitate James Brown's moves and Motown dances. The group I ran with was known as 'soul survivors'. I had a Shady Dell too, called the Cavern (a teen club). In the basement of a building in Kansas City with a concrete dance floor. That's where I first heard 'Gloria' and The Animals' 'House of the Rising Sun'. But I regret I didn't know of Hy Lit. Because, after American Bandstand, there weren't many more good dance shows on our networks save Hullabaloo, which was just OK! I'm still reading and enjoyed learning of Hy. Have a great weekend.

  19. Hi, Susan! To my surprise I have encountered very few reader friends across the country and around the world who had a place like the Shady Dell in their youth. It makes me happy to know that you had the Cavern. From your description I can tell that it was a cool hangout, and the fact that you ran with a group called 'soul survivors' instantly qualifies you to be an honorary Dell rat!

    Your membership is hereby:


    I consider myself very luck to have lived in York, PA. The White Rose City was a soul mecca but it was also located close enough to Philadelphia and Baltimore for me to get a signal and watch TV dance shows telecast in those markets. They included programs of local origin such as Hy Lit and Jerry Blavat in Philly, Ed Hurst's Steel Pier Show from Atlantic City, Buddy Deane in Baltimore (the inspiration for Hairspray) as well as nationally syndicated shows like Bandstand, The Lloyd Thaxton Show, Hullabaloo, Shindig and Where the Action Is. I am honored to have you here reading, listening, learning and sharing. Thank you, dear friend Susan, and have a wonderful weekend in Texas!

  20. Thank You! Thank You! I truly enjoy your blog, and am eager to learn more about the entertainers I didn't get to see. For the most part, we only saw their photos on record sleeves, and, now, I have such an opportunity to finally get to see and learn about their lives! We had Shindig and Where The Action is also, where we did get to see the Animals and I'm still fond of Tommy James and the Shondells. I've not seen much footage of them, but I know they're still around. You're on an interesting, yet FUN journey, and I'm all for going back to the past for that! Have a fun week Shady!

  21. Of course I have no idea who Hy Lit is but it seems as though he certainly had some life! And I should have known you would be a Tinky Winky fan, I was always a bit partial to Dipsy! ;)

    Emma x

  22. Thanks, Susan! I love it when a friend drops back in with follow-up comments. I'm a big fan of the Animals. They've been featured in a couple of my articles in the past and just today I was working on the draft of a future post that will include them. The Shondells were also featured in a past post and they're scheduled to reappear on the blog next summer. Combined the two acts placed 10 or more records on my list of the 200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell. Don't you wish you could see every episode of Shindig, Action and those other music showcases of the 60s in vibrant color with high definition picture and state-of-the-art sound? It would be a mind blowing experience! It's such a pleasure to have you here, Susan. Please stay tuned for Hy Lit Part 2 coming tomorrow morning! Have a pleasant evening in Texas, dear friend!

  23. Emma - Yessum, I've come out of the closet to admit my affinity for Tinky Winky! (LOL) I predicted that you wouldn't know Hy Lit but it means a lot to me that you stopped in for a look and a listen. He was one of my heroes and never again will there be anyone exactly like him. Dick Clark was smooth and polished but Hy Lit took it to the next level with maximum street cred. Thank you very much for coming to see me, sweet friend Emma. Part two of Hy Lit hits tomorrow and I hope you'll stop back again for the rest of his story. Good night (good morning?) to you in Dublin, Emma!

  24. I know nothing about the Teletubbys but I am glad you enlightened us on how Hy Lit got started. He seemed to be a very special guy for sure.

  25. Tom are you really a tele tubby aficionado? The things I learn while reading your blog! Hy Lit seems to have had a very hard life mixed with his success...I don't think anyone tries to kill themselves for publicity. Very often the very talented have a hard time living in the real world. I'm glad he was able to move on and restart his career and life.
    Loved your tunes today.


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