When Beatlemania exploded across America, record labels began scouring England and specifically Liverpool looking from groups that might be able to follow the Fab Four up the charts.
One of the first to accomplish this feat was the Searchers, a British band that took their name from John Wayne’s classic Western film. Like their fellow Liverpudlians, the Searchers had begun as a skiffle band and gradually morphed into a rock act. They also had played at Hamburg’s Star Club, honing a solid live act.
The Searcher hit the UK charts in 1963, right on the heels of the Beatles with their recording of “Sweets for My Sweet.” They followed that with “Sugar and Spice,” a song written by their producer Tony Hatch. They boke into the U.S. charts in early 1964 with their version of a song co-written by Sonny Bono, “Needles and Pins.” Between 1964 and 1965, they scored 7 Top 40 hits in the States. Unfortunately, “Sugar & Spice” was not one of them as a Chicago band called the Cryan’ Shames did a virtual note-for-note cover that beat the Searchers to the U.S. charts.
Even more unfortunately, in 1965, the hits just stopped coming. The band continued recording and touring, but were relegated to “oldies” act status by the early 1970s. The Searchers managed to land a new record contract with Sire Records in 1979 and recorded two albums for that label that received a very favorable response from the critics and from live audiences when the band began working this new material into their live sets. Alas, radio airplay was virtually non-existent and sales were sluggish (although a compilation of their work for Sire is still available on CD).
Like many groups, the band went through personnel changes over the years with only rhythm guitar/vocalist John McNally staying with them from start to finish. Bassist Frank Allen had the second longest tenure, joining in the summer of 1964 and then staying with the band for their rest of their career. The band’s most distinctive vocalist and lead guitar player, Mike Pender was with the group from 1960 until 1985. The band went through drummers almost as quickly as Spinal Tap with Chris Curtis manning the kit during the time the Searchers cranked out all their hits.
The group actually continued performing until March of 2019 when they finally announced their retirement.
A Searchers playlist:
- “Sweets for My Sweet”
- “Sugar & Spice”
- “Needles & Pins”
- “(Ain’t That) Just Like Me”
- “Don’t Throw Your Love Away”
- “When You Walk in the Room”
- “Farmer John”
- “Love Potion No. 9”
- “What Have They Done to the Rain”
- “Take Me for What I’m Worth”
- “Have You Ever Loved Somebody?”
- “Hearts in Her Eyes”
- “Almost Saturday Night”
- “Love’s Melody”
- “Everything But a Heartbeat”
Shows come and go so fast. For every I Love Lucy or Andy Griffith Show, there are hundreds that have vanished from the pop culture landscape. How many of these do you remember?
In TV-land, millionaires came in two flavors: the crusty old guy with a bushy white mustache (think Mr. Moneybags from the Monopoly game) and handsome, dashing playboys.
Bachelor Father featured this second flavor and served as the launching pad for one of TV’s most durable actors, John Forsythe.
Before Dynasty and Charlie’s Angels, Forsythe was best known for playing Bentley Gregg, a wealthy L.A. attorney who somehow was raising his orphaned teenage niece, Kelly (played by the far less famous Noreen Corcoran).
What was very weird (besides child services not at all concerned with the endless parade of one night stands through the Gregg household) was that, according to the premise of the show, Kelly lost both her parents in a tragic accident just months before the show's first season. Yet, she never showed the slightest signs of grief and, on more than one occasion, showed some sexual designs on her uncle/guardian (yeah, ultra-creepy).
Typical shows revolved around one of two plots. Either Kelly had gotten herself into some kind of wholesome trouble that she didn’t want her uncle to find out about. Or Kelly was screening many of the women Bentley was dating to see if they would be suitable marriage material (although Forsythe’s character never showed the slightest interest in matrimony).
Whitney Blake (who co-starred in Hazel and created the very successful sit-com One Day at a Time) and Barbara Eden (who went on to a long, successful career in movies & TV, best remembered for playing the title role in I Dream of Jeannie) appeared as women who were dating Bentley.
Linda Evans (who would play Forsythe’s wife on Dynasty) appeared as one of Kelly’s teen-age friends!
The show also featured another staple of the era: the domestic aide, played by a member of a minority group. On Bachelor Father, that would be Bentley’s cook and valet, Peter, played by Sammy Tong. Tong had been a successful stand-up and had great comic timing. His interactions with Forsythe created some of the show’s best laughs.
Bachelor Father lasted 5 seasons beginning in 1957, but was unique in that it aired on all three major networks. The first two seasons were broadcast on CBS, seasons 3 and 4 appeared on NBC and the fifth and final season was on ABC.It was successful in syndication, but as it was produced in black & white, disappeared from TV when color took over.
Noreen Corcoran’s career fell off rapidly once Bachelor Father left the air. In 1966, she gave up acting and instead focused on working behind the scenes in dance and theater arts. Currently retired, Noreen never married but did maintain a lifelong friendship with Forsythe, whom she considered her professional mentor. So he was sort of a bachelor stage father to her.
We all know how fast tech devices seem to age. But don’t just chuck them out. There is a market for older cell phones, tablet, laptops and the like.
Online sites like uSell and Gazelle will buy your items, saving you the trouble of finding a buyer. Best Buy, Apply and Target will exchange your old devices for gift cards. Other sites like Swappa and Glyde will let you list old items for sale for a percentage of the sale price.
While newer and better conditioned items will fetch higher prices, there are buyers out there for older and somewhat damaged goods as well.
But remember! Make sure you wipe the device of any personal information before you sell it!