Thursday, July 11, 2013

A childhood memory moves on

From January 27, 2013

What do old cowboys, Popeye and the Three Stooges all have in common?

A very sweet woman named Alleen Mae Beller.

I withhold belief in ESP but strangely I thought of a woman just yesterday who died today, exactly one day after her 90th

Alleen Mae Beller was born in Kansas City on January 25, 1923. She became an entertainer/broadcaster and during televisions’ infancy she was a fixture on the Philadelphia airwaves. Legally changing her name to Sally Starr she had a profound influence on the young viewers in the late 1950’s thru the 1960’s.

I have had the opportunity to meet her on 2 occasions, once as an 11 year old when I sang on her television program and again about 25 years’ ago when she was the parade’s Grand Marshall for a town celebrating it’s 100th anniversary and I drove the convertible she rode.

The television studio was very small, probably about the size of a garage consisting of a large camera, Sally’s western backdrop and a plain wooden bench where we sat while waiting for our orders to step up and perform. When the camera was off for commercials she made it a point to sit with us (I was part of a quartet) and take a genuine interest in us all. She was truly very sweet and kind and left us with a fond memory.

The same was true during her parade ride in the very hot July sun. I mentioned our former meeting and she seemed to recall our group’s performance. She also was very cordial with the parade bystanders and seemed to really enjoy the interaction with her fans, now parents and grandparents who grew up with “Our Gal Sal”. My young son, riding shotgun in the convertible, was also impressed as she had a real love connection with children.

I have attached a brief history of her life and career from the Philadelphia Broadcast Pioneers hall of fame.

She deserves this tribute.

Good-bye Sally Starr and thank you.

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