“The Lost Dedications” finds Jerry Blavat, The Geator with the Heater, opening emotional fan mail on WXPN with help from Ben Vaughn.
Long ago, and many times since, South Philly-born disc jockey and all-around entertainer Jerry “The Geator with the Heater” Blavat would reminisce to me about his days at WCAM-AM in the 1960s, the yon teens who hung on his every word and followed his every dance step, and another doubly fascinating (and highly personal) aspect of fame: the baskets of fan letters and hand-written requests for on-air dedications that he received on a daily basis from the devoted. Letters that, this weekend, Jerry Blavat and old Philly pal Ben Vaughn will pore through and read from during “The Lost Dedications.” The hour-long show, airing Saturday, June 26 at 5 p.m. takes The Geator and Vaughn back to a time of malt shop memories as they pick and choose from a box of unopened fan mail from 1962. Complete improvisational, Blavat will open each letter, live, and consider the music so personal to him and his crowd.
“Ben helped me move out of my Geator Gold Studio on Market Street,” Blavat told me last year during one of our constant communications. “As we were going through boxes, some of whose contents I was planning as donations for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library in Cleveland, Ben found many of those old letters with dedication requests. They were amazing, A, as they felt as if they were written just yesterday, and contained such personal, intimate information. Nothing obscene, just the sort of emotions that you would share with your sister, brother or spouse. It’s was something I tell you.”
Always intending to do something with the letters to The Geator, “The Lost Dedications,” then, will probably be filled with the fascinating ramp-up to request lines that come with any fan’s sonic obsession. But of course, it will be filled with love and music, and the musings of a lost world, and another lost art form. “Think about it, A… Nobody bothers with writing letters anymore, let alone emails. They text. And dedications for songs on the radio? Who does that anymore? “
The Geator does.