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Man From Mars Productions

Dick Robinson/2
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Even though he was on the air six nights a week, Dick hosted hundreds of record hops. He often started the dances then left part-time assistants to play the records as he scurried to WDRC's studios at 869 Blue Hills Avenue in Bloomfield. For years he did a regular Friday night gig in Windsor.

audio:  Rolling Stones promo for Dick Robinson's Shindig on WDRC - 1965 He managed to get to New York to meet the Beatles, posing for a famous photograph that the Beatles didn't even know they were in. And the Stones nearly caused a riot one afternoon when they stopped by Blue Hills Avenue for an interview with Dick.

 
 

WDRC's Dick Robinson with the Beatles in 1965
WDRC's Dick Robinson with the Beatles in 1965
WDRC's Dick Robinson with the Rolling Stones in 1965
WDRC's Dick Robinson with the Rolling Stones in 1965

 
 

Dick felt he'd found a home in Hartford (not to mention the one he moved into with Sally in Thompsonville). He decided to follow up on his desire to start a broadcast school. Dick Buckley sold him 15 commercials a week for $15 and hundreds of potential students auditioned for 44 spots. The Connecticut School of Broadcasting opened in September 1964 at the Hotel America in Hartford.

But just before the grand opening, Dick lost his voice. Doctors told him the 1956 tracheotomy had seriously damaged his vocal cords and the only cure was coming off the air. Station manager Bill Crawford gave him a leave of absence. CSB opened under watchful eyes of fellow Big D jocks Ron Landry and Long John Wade while Dick and Sally flew to Nassau for six weeks.

audio:  Beatnik DJ Upon returning to his nightly show, Dick never lost a beat. His return was marked by the release of a 45 rpm single in November called "Beatnik DJ." When copies of the novelty tune turn up on ebay they still attract bids of up to $25. The song frequently turned up on Dick's traditional New Year's Eve countdowns of the year's biggest hits.

WDRC's Dick Robinson releases a single "Beatnik DJ"

 
 

In October 1965 Dickie released another single on Fun Records. It was called Fraze Craze, after a popular phone-in festure on his show (a distant container=a far jar, or a distinguished sleeper=a dapper napper). All proceeds went to the Children's Museum of West Hartford.

audio: October 21, 1965 One of his strengths was sounding like a friend to the legions of teenagers who tuned in every night. Much of his show depended on telephone interaction with the listeners.

 
  CSB ad - July 16, 1967

An argument can be made that the single most published photograph in Hartford history was Dick's DRC publicity shot. It appeared in all the CSB ads, running week after week in both Hartford newspapers. Dick and his broadcast colleagues have trained thousands of radio and TV professionals. As the school prospered the Robinsons moved to Glastonbury, and later Farmington, and in time, each of his three children enrolled in the course. Numerous WDRC colleagues served as assistant directors of CSB including Bill Hennessey, Bob Ellsworth, Jim Jeffrey and Walt Pinto.

The year 1967 brought several changes to WDRC and Dick Robinson. Big D had successfully raided WPOP and installed its nighttime host, Ken Griffin, in Dick's old slot. The legendary Joey Reynolds began a new early-evening shift and Dick settled into afternoon drive. In May WDRC moved from its Bloomfield headquarters to brand new studios at 750 Main Street in Hartford, and the station responded to FCC dictates by seperating AM and FM programming 50% of the time. In August Dick was appointed chief announcer. He also began working part-time in sales.

 
  WDRC's Dick Robinson and Cher get their hair done - 1965
WDRC's Dick Robinson and Cher get their hair done
WDRC's Dick Robinson WDRC's Dick Robinson and Dick Clark at a Big D Big Show  in 1964
WDRC's Dick Robinson and Dick Clark prior
to a Big D Big Show at the Bushnell in 1964
 
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