Saturday, December 05, 2009

Al Alberts RIP

Just was squeezin' out a log in the water cabinet, reading this week's EW and come across the sad, sad news that Philadelphia's Uncle Al Alberts has succumbed. This is indeed the capstone of celebrity deaths this year for me!

As anyone who grew up in the 70's in Philadelphia and watched too much TV, Mr. Alberts curated a weekly show of proto-Jon Benets and 8 year old boys in suits, with spit-coiffed hair, trained to sing like Frank Sinatra. Mr. Alberts and his wife were sort of the local Jim and Tammy Faye except their religion was 30s and 40s show tunes and standards. Hosted on the twisted WFIL Channel 6 (which also featured the perennially sloshed Sally Starr, the ambiguously gay Gene London and legendary sky divin' anchorman Jim O'Brien), Mr. Alberts was just as freakish as the little kidults he hosted every week. Paul Begala could only wish to have his forehead topped by the Conway Twitty style hair apostrophe.

Despite all this, perhaps Mr. Alberts will (hopefully) be fondly recognized not for his Phillie freakshow but as one of the Four Aces whose graceful male harmonies soothe us even to this day.

CORRECTION: Gene London was on WCAU Philadelphia (the CBS channel). As Wikipedia notes: "Early programs began with Gene London opening the door of his General Store and flipping the sign to read "Open for Business." As the kids passed by Gene, he palmed the tops of their heads and sang the opening theme song."

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