In the past several years, I've been increasingly turned off by NBC's telecast of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, due to the increased amount of commercialism and promotion of NBC-owned properties. It's almost like watching something from Disney, in which nothing outside their universe matters.
I'll give the parade a try again today and let you know how long I last through it. (NOTE: I did make it to the end this year. The NBC pluggery was confined to the earliest part of the parade, when nothing much was actually happening in Herald Square.)
You can't, however, mention the NBC parade coverage with at least making note that its musical director is the legendary bandleader and composer Milton Delugg, who will mark his 90th birthday next Tuesday. Although he's mostly retired now, Delugg still provides musical backing for one or two new production numbers and has built up a library of background music cues for the parade, some of which date back to the 1970's. He has been aided in this task over the years by associates such as his wife Anne, George Brackman, and more recently John Rodby.
Born in Los Angeles on December 2, 1918, Milton Delugg was one of TV's first bandleaders on the landmark late-night show "Broadway Open House" beginning in 1950, acted as comedic foil to Paul Winchell on many of his programs, and was bandleader immediately before Doc Severinsen on "The Tonight Show". But he is probably best remembered as the leader of the "Band With A Thug" on "The Gong Show" from 1976-1980. On top of all that he wrote a few songs that have become standards such as "Hoop-Dee-Doo" (a collaboration with Frank Loesser) and "Orange Colored Sky" (with lyrics by Willie Stein).
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