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Bob Horn (born Donald Loyd Horn in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania on February 20, 1916) was a radio and television personality in Philadelphiamarker, Pennsylvaniamarker, best known for being the original host of Bandstand, which later became American Bandstand.

He didn't like the name Donald, and would change his name twice. Some academic records from his youth showed that he appended an 'e' to his surname for a while, and replaced his first name with "Robert". Horn also changed his name after landing a DJ job on KILT in Houston to Bob Adams.

Philadelphia

In the late 40s Horn was hired by Jack Steck, Program Manager for Philadelphia's WFILmarker radio stations, to be a daytime announcer and late night DJ for Walter Annenberg's Triangle Publications' WFIL-AM.

After several years in Philadelphia (and a brief stint in L.A.), Horn had a very popular show as a DJ on WIP called C'mon and Dance. Since he wanted to be on TV, WFIL was able to woo Horn away to create a daytime radio show, Bob Horn's Bandstand, and a TV version of Bandstand. It premiered on WFIL-TVmarker Channel 6 in late September 1952 as a replacement for a weekday movie show. Originally, Bandstand mainly showed short musical films (the ancestors of music videos) with occasional studio guests.Ben Fong-Torres, Not fade away: a backstage pass to 20 years of rock & roll. Hal Leonard Corporation, 1999, p.152. ISBN 0879305908
Recollections of Dick Clark

Horn was disenchanted with the film-based program and sought to have it changed to show teens dancing along on camera - live - as popular records played - based on an idea from WPEN's 950 Club, hosted by Joe Grady and Ed Hurst. Since the film idea was going nowhere, WFIL bought the idea and advertised that the show was looking for dancers. The Bandstand makeover debuted on October 7, 1952 - and hundreds showed up to dance on live TV. The show sometimes drew 60 percent of the daytime audience - and Horn made a lot of money.

On July 9, 1956, Horn, fired after a drunk driving conviction, was replaced by Dick Clark. (Besides the DUI, Horn was charged statutory rape - he was acquitted.) Clark had shared afternoon DJ duties with Horn on WFIL-AM (Horn was working radio and TV simultaneously, and wasn't happy about it). The show was picked up by ABC (becoming American Bandstand) on August 5, 1957 and went on to great success with Dick Clark as host.

Houston

Horn (Bob Adams) was scheduled for the evening show from 9 to midnight on KILT, a station owned by the man who invented Top 40 radio, Gordon McLendon. Bob Horn had worked for McClelendon in the mid 1940s. McLendon knew of Horn's Philadelphia troubles and called Horn to offer him a chance to get back on radio. When he drove to Houston, Bob was a guy with very little money but a lot of heart and drive. He purchased the Town & Country lounge in Bellaire, a suburb of Houston, and with his wife Ann and son Peter, he was back in business. At KILT, Horn soon went into advertising for the station. He became the best salesperson on the staff and Houston advertisers took great delight in hearing Bob talk of his very successful career in Philadelphia. Horn eventually started his own advertising agency called Bob Adams advertising. It also was very successful. Horn reunited with his family and bought a small area ranch in the Houston suburbs.

Horn died of a heat stroke-induced heart attack on July 31, 1966 at the age of 50. He was mowing his lawn in Houston at the time of the incident. His remains were interred at the Forest Park Cemetery in Houston with the epitaph, "Bandstand".

References

  • Peter M. Horn, March 9, 2009


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