Guy Lombardo is best known for almost a half-century of New Year's Eve broadcasts, first on radio, and then on television. Lombardo's orchestra played at the "Roosevelt Grill" in the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City from 1929 to 1959, and their New Year's Eve performances (which continued with Lombardo until 1976 at the Waldorf Astoria). Broadcasts (and later telecasts) of their performances were a major part of New Year's celebrations across North America; millions of people watched the show with friends at house parties.
The band's first New Year's Eve radio broadcast was in 1928; within a few years, they would be heard on the CBS Radio Network before 12 Midnight Eastern time, then on the NBC Radio Network after 12 Midnight EST.
On December 31, 1956, the Lombardo band did their first New Year's TV special on CBS; the program (and Lombardo's 20 subsequent New Year's Eve TV shows) would include a live segment from Times Square (long the focal point of America's New Year's Eve celebrations) showcasing the arrival of the New Year. During the early years, pioneer broadcast journalist Robert Trout reported from Times Square; in later years, another longtime newsman, Ben Grauer, reported from Times Square.
While CBS carried most of the Lombardo New Year's specials, there were a few years in the late 1960s and early 1970s when the special was syndicated live to individual TV stations instead of being broadcast on a network.
By the middle 1970's, the Lombardo TV show was facing competition, especially for younger viewers, from Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, but Lombardo remained popular among viewers, especially older ones.
Even after Lombardo's death, the band's New Year's specials continued for two more years on CBS. The Royal Canadians were noted for playing the traditional song Auld Lang Syne as part of the celebrations. Their recording of the song still plays as the first song of the new year in Times Square.
Comment: Why the heck do I bother? Because maybe I'm feeling a little more nostalgic than usual this year. And maybe because I find as the years pass I end up missing more & more people I loved. One of these days I'll turn around & not be there myself...It happens to us all.
But what's all this moroseness...? Time to forget yer troubles & cares & get out there in the street & boogie on down...! Then get off the street & into someplace nice & warm with someone nice & soft...Pretty old school of me, I know...
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