WPVI Station ID (and Promo) in 1990
Show Title in 1993
Al Alberts and kids in 1977
LEFT TO RIGHT - Bridget Kelly Dowrick, Calvin "Murphy" Blackshear, Billy Davis (blond haired boy), Renee Ferst, Al Alberts
Lisa Moran (singing with Al), Stacey Beatty, Todd Schnitzer (dark haired boy on extreme right) and Candace McCloy.
Billy's mother, Mary Ann Davis, a visitor to our website wrote: What a delight to see Al and his teeny boppers. My son is one of those pictured.... He is now 28 years old and married and performs
occasionally at the Artful Dodger (2nd and Pine Sts) in Philly, singing and
playing his guitar. He has a full time job, though, so this is something he
does for fun and to earn extra $$. So you see, this love of music is still
with him and his love to perform carried into his adulthood.
We also received an e-mail from Renee Grant whose maiden name was Renee Ferst. She's pictured in the above photo and has helped in the identification of some of the kids. She says: Believe it or not, you have me pictured on your website! It was by strange coincidence that I came upon it. She says that she has remained friends with Candace McCloy after all these years.
She continues: I am now 31 (in 2003), married, and have 2 children of my own. I have to say that Al Alberts launched my career into entertainment. ...I have continued to perform with various theater groups in the Philadelphia area for fun but like everyone else needed a real job to pay the bills. My little sister, Tracy, was also on the show. She would always come to the tapings with me and my mom and then one day, they decided to put her on too. ...We were known to do many duets together and have many friendly "arguments" on camera. Ha Ha. She is living in New Hampshire....
Al Alberts and kids in 1993
Born on August 10, 1922 in Chester, Pennsylvania, Broadcast Pioneers member Al Alberts has been a mainstay at Channel 6 since the 1960's. Al was the founder and one of the original members of the Four Aces, who had many gold records and a couple of Academy Awards for performing the title songs like "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing" and "Three Coins in the Fountain." Their group's recordings have sold over 50 million copies (and they have had 30 Top 40 hits) since the group was formed in 1949. He's just written his autobiography, Al's Song. Al passed away on Friday morning, November 27, 2009.
For many years, Al was seen on The Al Alberts Showcase carried on Channel 6, first as WFIL-TV and then as WPVI. Al and his wife, Broadcast Pioneers member Stella Alberts (they were married in 1954) hosted an hour syndicated radio program, "Harmony" carried in Philadelphia on WPEN Radio Sunday evenings from 8 to 9 pm. The show is taped in their home and mailed to the station.
He was graduated from South Philadelphia High School, the same institution that miraculously produced Joey Bishop, Buddy Greco, Al Martino, Mario Lanza, Chubby Checker, Jack Klugman, Eddie Fisher, Marion Anderson, Frankie Avalon and Fabian, just to name a few. As a teenager, Al appeared on the Horn and Hardart Children's Hour, which was a radio broadcast at the time. The show was hosted by Stan Lee Broza, the first President of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. At the same time, Alberts was on the show, so was another Philadelphian who would go on to fame and fortune, Kitty Kaleen.
Then Al went to Temple University and then joined the United States Navy. As an adult, Alberts returned to the Broza show, writing some of the show's music until it went off the air on both TV and radio in July of 1958. In 1957, Alberts left the group and had gone solo. He traveled for awhile, especially in Asia performing a medley of songs. But eventually, the schedule became too much and he and Stella developed the concept of "The Al Alberts Showcase." The program ran for 35 years.
Residents of Cape May, NJ for many years (Why do you think he sang "On the Way to Cape May?"), Al and Stella finally moved to the Florida Gulf Coast in 2001.
Mary Guenthart, a visitor to our website e-mailed:
After 30 years, it is wonderful to see a page dedicated to Al Alberts. I had no idea that after so much time, the "world wide web" would contain so much information about a huge part of my past and a tribute to such a really great man. ...I was on Al Alberts from 72-74, periodically. Although I was not a "teeny-bopper", I had several shows that I was in. My name then was Mary Beth Cheadle, I was 6 years old in 1972 and sang "When I Grow Up."
Bob D'Imperio, a visitor to our website e-mailed:
I am a retired USN Radio Operator/Cryptologist. It is my understanding that at the beginning of WWII that WFIL gave preliminary training to future USN radio operators. The operators received initial CW training and then were given further training in New York City before being deployed. I understand that one person who received initial training at WFIL and later was a radioman in the USN is Al Albert who later was known as being with the "Four Aces."
Bernie McGovern & Liz Kelly, visitors to our website e-mailed:
We are two big fans of Al Alberts. I can't remember any Saturday where we didn't sit down at noon and watch "Al Alberts Showcase." It is wonderful to finally see such a wonderful program get some well earned credit. We miss the show, Al and Stella and the wonderful Showcase gang. They brought such joy to our lives and they were glimpses of hope when our everyday lives got us down. They made us feel like we were part of the Showcase "family." ...We miss him at Wildwood gazebo and various hotels.
Helen Higgins, a visitor to our website e-mailed:
I came from South Philly originally and then as many did, the family moved on to South Jersey. I remember many a Saturday watching Al Albert. Who can forget Love Is A Many Splendored Thing? Mr. Albert gave us all so much. I was thrilled last week to have seen him in my town of Port Charlotte, Florida, like a teeny bopper again, I am waving and waving to he and Stella as they pulled away from the gas pump. He and she so kindly waved in return, but I know they still wonder who that lady was who was waving like crazy....
Cathie (no last name given), a visitor to our website e-mailed:
My daughter was a teeny bopper for 2 years, beginning in 1983 when she was just 2 1/2 years old. We had rented a condo from Al and Stella during those summers in Wildwood Crest, called the Sailfish, and they met my daughter and asked her to be on the show. They were truly wonderful people and the show was a fun experience. I remember Liza Moran and also a little boy, I believe his name was Jarrod Spector and he went on to do theater a few years later....
Lisa Zompa, a visitor to our website e-mailed:
I too spent part of my childhood with Al and Stella as part of Al Alberts Showcase from 1976 to 1980. It truly was like being part of a family. I have many wonderful memories of the people who came and went during that time. I often wonder where they are today, and hope they are well. My contribution to the show each week was not significant, but what the Alberts taught me was. They taught me self confidence, and they taught me never to fear a camera. Those lessons have served me well. I am into my 20th year in television news. Al and Stella, if you read this, please know that what you have done for children over the years really has made a difference. I know it did for me.
Beverly Barksdale, a visitor to our website e-mailed:
I am a 41 year old former Showstopper. I was a showstopper from 1977/1978 until 1981. I must say that being on showcase was one of the best experiences of my life. At the time I was the only African-American Showstopper and both Stella and Al were wonderful in making me feel at home, moreover, they made us all feel like celebrities. It was great for a teenager's self-esteem.
After my audition for the show, they immediately asked me to be a showstopper with my former friends Donna Dalton and Patty Abbott (Abruzzo) who were already showstoppers.. Boy, those were the days. There were rehearsals at J and A Caterers, tapings at Channel 6 every Wednesday evening, voice lessons, dance lessons, and school work. I received so much recognition from being on the show and remember singing many songs in my solo spotlight.
I performed Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head, Cuando Caliente El Sol, Al Di La, Spinnin' Wheel, and many more tunes. I had a brief career performing locally in theatre, winning a pageant in Georgia while living there for a short time, and performing while in college at Howard University. Most importantly, the opportunity that Al and Stella Alberts gave me was so rewarding because it taught me discipline and gave me a remarkable confidence that I carry with me even today. Now that I am a high school teacher for the Philadelphia School District, and a college professor at the Community College of Philadelphia.
I tell my students that they can be and do anything that they aspire to be. If they want to be on television as I once was, they too can do it. Unfortunately there aren't any more shows like showcase, but Al and Stella touched so many of us, that we can now "try a little love, give a little love, and see what love can do."
Thank you Al and Stella! May God Forever Bless You!
Broadcast Pioneers member Mel Klawansky, WFIL technician said:
Many years ago, during one of my lay-offs from broadcasting, I sold real estate and I listed Al and Stella's house in Rosetree. What a really nice man he was. He will always be in our thoughts and in our hearts whenever the subject of WFIL-TV comes up. My family still sings "On The Way To Cape May" on our way down to Wildwood for summer vacation. I have very fond memories of "The Al Alberts Show" watching little Liza and Al telling those teenybopper jokes. He will be missed.
Broadcast Pioneers member Charlie Gracie, Philly's first Rocker e-mailed:
For 32 years, Alberts hosted a local Philadelphia children's talent show (The Al Alberts Showcase) which helped launch the careers of Andrea McArdle, Sister Sledge and Teddy Pendergrass.... The Gracie Family would like to extend its heartfelt condolences to Al's wife, Stella and sons Al, Jr. and Christopher.
Broadcast Pioneers member Ivory Blackwood, radio air talent and wife to member Charlie Mills tells us:
Al Alberts was an extremely generous and talented man whose passing I mourn along with fans around the world....
I first met Al Alberts during the time I worked at WRDR, 104.9 in Egg Harbor, New Jersey in the 1990's. In 1995, WRDR's owner, Jim Rodeo, was executive producer of a little cd called "Unforgettable." With recording artist/producer, Frankie Randall, I had the privilege of being a part of this WRDR cd with the legend himself, Al Alberts. Most of the songs on the cd were recorded at Al Alberts recording studio, The Sound Spa, in Chester, PA, and was engineered by Al Alberts, Jr.
After "Unforgettable" came out, Al and Stella asked me to be on Al's television show in Philadelphia and sing one of the songs. I was so thrilled and excited! Al also asked me to open for him in Ocean City at the pier for a concert, after I finished my songs, I remember the excitement that filled the air and the "buzz" in the audience knowing that Al Alberts would soon be on stage to sing with his powerful and wonderful voice! I will never forget that concert and the pride I felt in opening for Al Alberts!
I will never forget those years at WRDR, and briefly at WPEN, where I met so many great radio personalities, including the very special and unique personality of Al Alberts!
Al Alberts will be missed! Stella and his family are in my thoughts and prayers.
Tamlyn Shusterman, also known as Tami, a visitor to our website e-mailed:
I was a Show Stopper & in the traveling showcase from 1983 to 1991 as a solo tap dancer and then a singer. I went on to become a Radio City Rockette and performed in several Broadway shows. That was my dream and the Al Alberts show gave me so much experience doing what I loved the most. There was no experience to match what Al & Stella created. I spent every weekend performing and absolutely loved going to the studio (something I still miss today). I am now back in Philadelphia where I teach master classes and I go back to NYC from time to time to produce shows for the Broadway Alumni Connection which I founded. My heart aches at the passing of Uncle Al. That was an era for me. If people wonder if it really was like a family, it absolutely was. It was not just the opportunities they provided but the sincere kindness and loving support. There is no replacement for the joy and happiness that Al created by just being himself.
On Friday, Novmber 19, 2010 Al Alberts was posthumously inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame.
While the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia has over 125 of the original master one-inch video tapes in our archives, they are not available for home use on VHS or DVD because of licensing restrictions. To our knowledge, no shows of the Al Alberts program are available for home use on VHS or DVD from any source.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
1990 ID photo originally donated by Broadcast Pioneers member Gerry Wilkinson
All other pictures from the archives of WPVI, Channel 6
All stills used with the permission and authority of WPVI
Text written and researched by Broadcast Pioneers historian Gerry Wilkinson
© 2010, Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
All Rights Reserved
The e-mail address of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia is firstname.lastname@example.org