Talent Party

Teenagers growing up in Memphis in the late 60’s and early 70’s regularly watched Talent Party that aired Saturday afternoons.  WHBQ-TV, located on the Highland Strip, produced the weekly program from 1964 to 1973.  Disc jockey, George Klein or “G.K” as many knew him, hosted the program.  Talent Party featured many popular local and national R & B, rock and pop music artists and local Memphis personalities.  The program also gave many garage bands their first opportunity to perform live on television as well as time for local public service announcements.   

My opportunity to be on Talent Party came in April 1968, after winning 1st place in a Goodwill Industries poster contest.  Like Gene Gill (T’51), I, too, was a commercial art student of Mr. George Piaggio, who always encouraged us to enter local art contests.  After winning, I was asked to go on Talent Party with G.K. to promote the agencies need for donations with their “Fill Goodwill Bags” week.  Of course I remember being assisted by the WHBQuties; cannot forget them.  For some reason, I kept the original poster as a reminder of my time in Mr. Piaggio’s art class.                                                                                                           


- Dave French, 1969

Background Note:  "Talent Party"  was a Southern teen dance TV program that was a spin-off of Wink Martindale’s "Dance Party".  George Klein, or "G.K." as he was known on the radio, was the leading disc jockey in the Memphis area in the 1960's. Broadcasting daily on WHBQ-AM 56, his show was "Push button one on every radio dial". G.K. was the unquestioned authority on the hottest Memphis music. He also created and hosted an extremely popular weekly Memphis television show-Talent Party -which showcased both local and national bands. G.K. was a high school classmate of Elvis Presley, and remained one of Elvis's closest friends throughout Presley's great career. Today, George Klein remains one  of the most important persons in the extensive heritage of Memphis music.