Your Hit Parade

I’ll be damned if I know why, but today I found myself flashing on the short-lived 1974 TV revival of Your Hit Parade. So I set out to do a bit of research about it, and was astounded to find that it was broadcast for the final time 31 years ago today.

Your Hit Parade started on radio in 1935 and had a couple of runs on TV in the 1950s. It featured a company of singers performing tunes old and new. The 1974 version was a summer replacement series, and if it’s remembered at all, it’s probably because it featured game-show uber-host Chuck Woolery as one of its singers. The format of the 1974 revival didn’t change much from the old-school version–Woolery and the other singers (Kelly Garrett and Sheralee) performed splashy variety-show numbers featuring songs from the 1940s and 50s that had been popular in the same week each show was broadcast. The show also featured performances of current hit songs, and so America actually got to see Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods perform–or, to be more precise, lip-sync–“Billy Don’t Be a Hero.” Not all of the featured performers were legitimate hitmakers, though. Does anybody remember ukulele virtuoso Herb Ohta? I thought not.

Like other summer replacement series, the 1974 version of Your Hit Parade was scheduled to run only a few weeks, and afterward, it disappeared into the mists of history. It will stay lost, too, because variety shows are notoriously hard to clear for rebroadcast years later–and there are few people who’d want to watch Your Hit Parade again anyhow. But no matter how misty history gets, there will always be a few of us who can peer through the fog. Even if there’s no reason why we should be able to.

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