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

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Fire Sign, a Hammer, a Bell, a Beat and Cannon Blasts From the Past!

 I'm Shady Del Knight 

 and I've got proof 

 that old school COOL! 


Freddy Boom Boom Cannon's hit single "Action" was
the theme song of Where The Action Is, the mid 60s
music/variety TV series produced by Dick Clark.

Action featured taped lip sync performances by
popular recording acts.  Paul Revere and the
Raiders were the show's house band and
clown princes until they left in season 2
and were replaced by the Robbs.

Unlike Clark’s studio-bound American-Bandstand,
segments of Action were recorded on location
at beaches, pools, parks and recreation areas.

Linda Scott and Steve Alaimo, 
 series regulars on Where the Action Is

In the spring and fall, the Action crew hit the road,
 taping all over the country. In summer, much of
the Action took place on Malibu Beach. Winter
segments were shot at Big Bear Ski Resort.
Where the Action Is was a promotional vehicle
for tourist destinations as much as it was
for the recording artists it showcased.

A rockin’ rollin’ reveille call to good times,
Freddy Cannon's single “Action” cracked
the top 20 and flirted with the top 10.

 "Action" - Freddy Cannon 
 (September 1965, highest chart pos. #13) 

Freddy's 45 was a two-fer and I played
the B side often.  It's all about nonstop
partying in a fictional surfside town
called Beachwood City, not to be
confused with Beachwood Canyon
 in the Hollywood Hills where one
of my favorite sci-fi/horror films,
Invasion of the Body Snatchers,
was filmed in the mid 50s.

 "Beachwood City" - Freddy Cannon 
 (September 1965, B side of "Action") 

Clearly, Freddy Cannon was determined to stamp out
ballads in our lifetime. In 1965, Boom Boom put the
Gazzarri girls through their paces with the rocker
that launched his career in the late 50s.

 "Tallahassee Lassie" - Freddy Cannon 
 (July 1959, highest chart position #6 
 Live on Hollywood A-Go-Go, April 24, 1965) 

 Happy birthday, 


 ...74 years old this week! 


Songwriter/producer/musician Gary Usher was 
one of the key figures in the Southern California 
surf rock and sunshine pop movement of the 60s. 
Along with Brian Wilson, Usher co-wrote songs  
for the Beach Boys and produced records for  
the Byrds and Chad & Jeremy. Usher assembled 
the studio group the Hondells and another called  
Sagittarius, named after his astrological sign.  

Sagittarius personnel included Glen Campbell
singing lead with backing vocals provided by
Beach Boy Bruce Johnston and Terry Melcher,
the son of Doris Day. In the summer of 1967
Sagittarius released "My World Fell Down,"
an atmospheric, psychedelic single influenced
by Beach Boys' studio-produced masterworks
"Good Vibrations" and Pet Sounds.  Top 40
radio failed to embrace Usher's experimental
recording and it became only a minor hit.
Nevertheless, "My World Fell Down" is
today considered one of the greatest
psychedelic pop nuggets of the 60s.

 "My World Fell Down" - Sagittarius 
 (July 1967, highest chart position #70) 


Four years later he would find himself in leg irons,
sentenced to 20 years hard labor in his acting role
as a member of The Dirty Dozen; but in 1963,
Trini Lopez (2nd from right) was riding high
on the pop chart singing a song of freedom.

"If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)"
was written by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays.
The folk anthem was first recorded by the
Weavers and later by the popular folk trio
Peter, Paul and Mary. The version waxed
by Texas born singer/guitarist Trini Lopez
was the most successful, reaching #3 in
the U.S. and #1 in 36 other countries!

 "If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)" 
 Trini Lopez (September 1963, 
 highest chart position #3) 


Feast your ears on a couple of 
bitchin' surf rock tunes from 1960!

The Teen Beats, an instrumental act that credits 
Don Rivers and the Califfs on the label, 
crushes it with "The Slop Beat."

 "The Slop Beat" - The Teen Beats 
 featuring Don Rivers and the Califfs 
 (March 1960, uncharted) 

The killer bee is another surf garage
instrumental that SHREDS!

It's an infectious workout called  
"Califf Boogie" - COWABUNGA!!!

 "Califf Boogie" - The Teen Beats 
 featuring Don Rivers and the Califfs 
 (March 1960, B side of "The Slop Beat") 

 Join me next time 

 for more proof 

 that old school COOL! 

Have a Shady day!


  1. Just thought I'd stop by and say hello Shady. I used to watch Where the Action Is, and have always been a fan of Paul Revere and The Raiders, and Freddie Cannon.

    I'm not familiar with the other artists you talk about, but Trini Lopez was pretty popular in our day, and I do remember him in the Dirty Dozen.

    We're iced in today in Fort Worth at about 25°. A lot of folks in the Dallas/Ft Worth area have lost power. Ours has gone off for just a few minutes at a time. We're very fortunate. Suzanne will probably stop by later to say hello. Have a great day!

    1. Hi, Karo! Man oh man, I'm so happy to see you, good buddy! Seems like this post resonated with you and I'm glad. Fans of Where The Action Is keep asking why the series was never released on DVD and it's probably because most episodes were erased. It's hard to imagine, but pop music and TV programs that featured it were considered "disposable" by some of the decision makers back then. As a result, countless classic performances were lost.

      I'm sorry to hear that you guys were hit by an ice storm. They're the worst kind. "More power to ya." Meanwhile, Florida continues to enjoy chamber of commerce weather with temps in the 80s, escaping the winter onslaught affecting much of the country.

      Thank you very much for swinging over for a visit, Karo. You are always welcome here and I hope to see Suzanne (Same Day Sadie) later on. Have a safe and happy weekend, Karo!

  2. Really? I love those Teen Beats Shady! I know I've heard 'Califf Boogie', and, I really liked their sound and 'The Slop Beat'! You know, some of my friends while in junior high and in high school would form small bands, and those sounds sure do bring back the great memories.

    Freddie 'Boom Boom' Cannon-I love Tallahassee Lassie! He had so much energy. Happy Birthday to him! Love Sagittarius (I'm one, lol).

    I can't believe what you told Karo about some of the 'Where The Action Is' series tapes being trashed. I, too liked that show. Well, like Karo, I really liked the Raiders! Oh, and I know what they say about the baby boomers dying off and there will be no one to appreciate these songs and dance shows! I'm telling you, our kids know this stuff too-they didn't have a choice, lol! They'll keep it going for us!

    I really like how you led us on, transitioning into some of the best sounds of the day! Glad I was able to make the SDS scene! Its blistery outside...had to stay home from work-oh darn! Thanks a lot for this interesting and exciting post Shady! Love those Teen Beats! Have a wonderful weekend! ♫

    1. Hello, dear Suzanne! Well, I'll be a blue-nosed gopher! You and your hubby are my first and second customers of the day. I really appreciate you coming over even while you're battling terrible weather over your way. I could hardly believe how hot it was here today - upper 80s - and sunny, too - a perfect beach day. I would love to feel some cooler air if you can spare any, but maybe I should be careful what I wish for, huh?

      Yessum, I read that almost all episodes of Action were "wiped" (bulk erased) and the tapes reused for other programming (which was also probably erased). In those days few of the guys in suits had much respect for rock 'n roll music and no concept of the historic value of those videos. It's a terrible shame, because hundreds of artists performed on the series during its run.

      You are on my list of the world's coolest people for liking those two surf rock instrumentals at the end of the post. Those two sides knock me out. They deserved to be hits but they didn't even make the Bubbling Under chart!

      I had the honor of sitting next to Freddy Cannon at dinner one night in 1984 following his song set in an oldies but goodies show I helped stage in St. Pete. He was a swell guy and autographed my napkin and also wrote his Tarzana phone number on it for me. I'm not worthy!

      How about Glen Campbell and the guys performing as Sagittarius, a glorious Beach Boys sound-alike recording that also should have been a major hit.

      Well, SDS, thank you very much for taking the time to visit, listen and comment. Your friendship (and Karo's) means a lot to me. Stay safe and warm this weekend and I'll talk to you again soon!

  3. Well then dear buddy Tom, what a surprise seeing Karo here today and leaving his comment. I hope that he and Suzanne are keeping safe and warm. They both left such intelligent comments today that I'm going to feel like the dunce of the class again!! I've only heard of Trini Lopez and Glen Campbell, so can't really contribute much :(. I'm pleased to say we had a good trip over here, with no holdups at and in bright sunshine. I see that you are still enjoying very warm
    Temps. Take care dear friend. Sending lots of smooches to my friend Shadykins ;)

    1. Hallo hallo hallo, dear Thisisme! I can tell by looking at your picture that you're already wearing the SDM&M Christmas dunce cap! (LOL) I am very relieved to learn that you made the perilous trip to France safely.

      Yessum, it was a nice surprise to get back-to-back comments from the husband and wife team of Karo and Suzanne. That's never happened before.

      You're right. After a brief and pleasant cool spell it's like summer again here in Florida with near record high temperatures predicted. It's hard to get into the Christmas spirit when you are overcome by the heat.

      Thank you very much for breaking free to comment on my blog, dear friend Thisisme. Enjoy your time on the town in Paris, say hello to Alfred for me and please drive carefully when you return home to Devon. God bless!

  4. She's my Tallahassee Lassie...down in F-L-A...Love that song. Not many people I've spoken to over the years remember Trini Lopez. We had vinyls of him. Wish I had them now. Shady my friend...always interesting.

    1. Thank you very much, Bouncin' Barb! As I said in the text, Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon seems determined to stamp out ballads in our lifetime. Freddy doesn't sing a song. He flat out rocks and his performances are pure excitement. Imagine how it was for me in 1984 as the stage manager of an oldies show that starred Freddy, the Chiffons, the Earls and the Coasters. I watched all those great acts from the wings and worked with them during rehearsals earlier in the day. It was a heady experience.

      I'm glad you mentioned Trini Lopez, an artist you don't hear about much these days. Trini had a surprising number of charted singles. In addition to "Hammer" they included "Kansas City," "Michael," "Lemon Tree," Sinner Man" and "I'm Comin' Home Cindy."

      Thanks so much for your visit and comments, Barb. Enjoy your hot Florida weekend!

  5. I loved "Where the Action Is"! That's because I loved the Raiders and saw them many times in concert..the last time I saw them they performed at a YMCA in a burb of Chicago where I lived...I think it was around 1973. I loved it but it was sad to see how far down the star charts they had come. I remember being heart broken because I had tickets to a concert in their popular years, but it got cancelled because McCormick Place in Chicago had a fire. (not the one where Mrs. O'Leary was involved!) I still have their albums packed away in the basement! I know that stars do get older..but seriously...74? Freddy Cannon? I think I'll just keep all those stars and that show safely tucked away in my memories and they'll be forever young! Sigh..thanks for the memories Tom!

    1. Hi, dear YaYa! Bah humbug! What's so great about Mark Lindsay? Take away his boyish good looks, his animal magnetism, his cool singing voice and all his money and whattya got? Answer: Shady!

      You hit the nail on the head, my friend. "Forever young" has been the SDM&M philosophy all along. Our memories are precious and can easily become contaminated. I prefer to watch old films, videos and Kinescopes of artists recorded when they were at their peak. If you go to see your favorite band of the 60s today and they come across as a tired lounge act your memories will be permanently tainted. Some acts keep it together and rock on decade after decade but others overstay their welcome and don't belong on the stage 50 or 60 years after they recorded their hits.

      If you loved Where The Action Is then I hope you'll stick around and not unfriend me for at least the next two years. In 2015 I will be presenting a jumbo, 3-part 50th anniversary salute to WTAI. I know you'll enjoy it.

      Happy Sunday to you, dear friend YaYa. Thanks for coming and have a great week ahead!

  6. Woooo! Hi Shady!

    Reading this today gave me a California vibe - sun, sand and surf. It certainly is a change from what's happening right now in York, PA --snow, snow, snow!!!!

    My favorite on this post is "Tallahassee Lassie!" I also enjoyed the faster beat of Trini Lopez's "If I Had a Hammer," even liked his version more than Peter Paul and Mary's!!!! Enjoy your Florida sunshine, Shady!!!!

    1. Hi, Toni!

      You're getting snow up there in York? I envy you, dear friend. Think of poor me. Day after day after day I have to put up with blue skies, bright sunshine and near record high temperatures in the 80! HELP!!!!! (LOL) I'm sure you could go for some of my weather along about now but I really would appreciate a cold snap and the sooner the bitter... uh, I mean BETTER.

      Those clips from Hollywood A Go-Go are great fun to watch and there are a lot of them on YouTube. When you start with Freddy Cannon blasting out a rockin' song and add the Gazzarri Dancers, the result is unbridled excitement, the kind that reminds Boomers why we were lucky to be teens in the Sixties.

      I'm glad you enjoyed that vintage clip of Trini Lopez singing his signature song, "If I Had a Hammer." I like it better than the PP&M version, too.

      Thank you very much for spending some time in the Shady, dear friend Toni. Have a safe and happy week ahead!

  7. Wow, what a lot of memories you brought back today! I used to watch Where The Action Is all the time. And I can't believe that Freddie Cannon is 74! Although I'm 60 so... I need to stop the denial!

    1. Hi, karen! I'm glad I brought back some memories with Where The Action Is. It's important to remember that the music variety series was originally intended only as a summer replacement in 1965 and aired at 2 pm Eastern. Its popularity landed it a spot on ABC's fall schedule and it was broadcast weekdays at 4:30 pm allowing kids to watch it after school. ABC cancelled the show at the end of March 1967 and gave the 4:30 time slot to local affiliates.

      Yessum, Freddy Cannon is 74 and you are 60, but with your devotion to fitness, youthful looks and rockin' hair style you are the envy of 99.99% of the women on this planet.

      Thanks so much for joining the jam session, dear friend karen, and have a great week!

  8. Kathleen Mae SchneiderDecember 9, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    This post holds both the known and unknown for me. Paul Revere and the Raiders were familiar, but Freddy Cannon was new to me. The beach scenes reminded me of my two-piece "boy-leg" bathing suits worn during visits to Atlantic City and Wildwood, New Jersey as a teenager.

    I never heard Trini Lopez's rendition of "The Hammer Song", but I vividly recall loving that song, (which I still do!) and being caught up in the folk music movement of those years. I remember his version of "Lemon Tree" though. He sure has an easy relaxed style about him as a performer.

    As a freshman in college in 1964, I dated a guy from South Philadelphia, who once took me to mass in the city. Later, when a family member asked which church we went to, I absent-mindedly replied, "...the Cathedral of Peter, Paul and Mary" (instead of the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul) ! :) I was a big fan of theirs, along with Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, the Kingston Trio, and others of the folk genre.

    These unforgettable songs were a good transition from the classical music in which I was ensconced the previous 10 years of my life. Every week there was a "hootenanny" on campus which was a kind of open mic night with a huge group of students sitting on the floor singing along and clapping while anyone with a guitar and a halfway-decent voice could get up and spontaneously perform. Songs like "This Land is Your Land", "Blowin' in the Wind", "Polly Von", "Guantanemara", "Where Have All The Flowers Gone", "Little Boxes" and "We Shall Overcome" were the norm.

    I felt the surge of the protest movement through it's anthems, without ever taking part in any sit-ins or demonstrations. It was a heady time full of hope that my generation would change the world for the better and I was sure we could.

    Well, time has proven that the Boomers didn't reach that noble goal entirely, although I guess it can be said that at the very least we contributed to a conversation about equality and justice. It's ironic that many of my fellow students who sat on the floor with me and sang along so enthusiastically to those songs graduated and went on to become part of the very same 'establishment' that they were so opposed to in their youth!

    Thanks for yet another dose of Shady's Cure for the Common Blog!

    1. Hello, dear Kathleen! I'm glad this post introduced you to Freddy Cannon, one of the greatest rockers in pop music history. I was totally star struck the night I served as stage manager for that oldies revival concert in St. Petersburg, Florida, and worked alongside Freddy and other famous rock 'n' roll acts. By the way, that show included surprise guest shots by members of the Tokens, the Flamingos and Jewel Akens, the man who had a hit record with "The Birds and the Bees." Earlier that day I sat in the auditorium shooting the breeze with Akens while the two of us watched the legendary girl group the Chiffons rehearse their song set. It was absolutely surreal! That evening after the concert I had the pleasure of sitting at Freddy Cannon's immediate right as we ate dinner at a St. Pete restaurant, another out of body experience!

      I'm glad you touched on the importance of the folk movement in America in the early 60s, although I'm surprised you never heard the Trini Lopez version of "The Hammer Song" which went to #3 a couple of months before the JFK assassination. Incidentally, Trini just missed the top 40 with a rendition of "Michael Row the Boat Ashore" and performed the song "The Bramble Bush" in The Dirty Dozen, later releasing it on a single that reached #4 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

      Golly, we could play Six Degrees word association games all day with reminders of the early 60s like Beatniks and the Beat counterculture; Dobie Gillis and Maynard; the Kingston Trio; the Hootenanny folk music TV series; TW-3 - the late David Frost's That Was The Week That Was television series which originated in the UK and was brought to American TV, and Nancy Ames, the "TW-3 Girl" who sang "Little Boxes." (I am more familiar with that song nowadays as the theme of the popular cable series Weeds.)

      Mrs. Shady shares your fondness for folk music. Circa 1990 she and I went to see Peter, Paul and Mary in concert down here in the Tampa Bay area. The trio's performance that night thrilled the audience and they received numerous standing ovations.

      Thank you very much, Kathleen, for sharing your reaction to the "new" material I presented here and your memories of your college years. I especially appreciate the last line of your comment, "Shady's Cure for the Common Blog." I will definitely be using that slogan in the future. Have an excellent week, dear friend!

  9. I never got to see Where the Action Is. It must have been on a Saturday when I wasn't allowed to watch TV. I did watch Hollywood A Go-Go religiously. I don't remember Freddy Cannon! Awful, but true. I enjoyed hearing him today.

    I enjoyed seeing Trini Lopez sing If I Had a Hammer. It surprised me to see him singing live instead of lip-syncing. Very nice. He had such a pretty smile. i remember him in the Dirty Dozen - a great movie.

    The Sci-Fi movie clips in My World Fell Down had me laughing pretty hard! What a (unintentional) funny movie. Love and hugs.

    1. Hi, dear Belle! No, ma'am. For most or all of its run from June 1965 thru March 1967, Where The Action Is was broadcast Monday thru Friday. In the summer of '65 it aired at 2 pm. When school started in September the program was given a 4:30 pm time slot to allow kids time to get home and tune in. Bookworm that you are, you were probably in your room doing your homework when WTAI was on! :)

      Freddy Cannon was practically your neighbor out there in Tarzana. I'm surprised you never heard of him all these years. Glad you enjoyed his rocking singing style.

      I appreciated that Trini Lopez clip, too. I usually shy away from live videos, preferring the original studio produced tracks, but Trini turned in a fine performance of his big hit and the picture was quite good. I'm glad you enjoyed The Dirty Dozen. It made me sad when Jiminez (Trini Lopez) parachuted into a tree at the start of the operation behind enemy lines, broke his neck and died.

      I'm delighted to see you again, dear friend Belle. Please take good care of yourself and I hope to see you back here next time.

      God bless!


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