Dr. Know: Early Music Shows, Upcoming Roadworks, and That Loud Machine in Summit Park


Art by Lars Leetaru

PTell me if I really remember or imagine it: In the mid-1960s, when pop music television shows like Shindig featured “go-go” dancers and lip-synced singers, Did Cincinnati have a local version? I think so, but maybe it’s my memory problem. — WE DIDN’T DANCE

Television history is littered with the wreckage of local attempts to copy national programs, especially music shows for teens. Imagine middle-aged Cincinnati television executives in the 1950s thinking they understood young hep cats and groovy girls, and you’ll see why most of them failed. The only real success was Bob Braun’s bandstand, which lasted about a decade. Another clone of Dick Clark, Dance TV party, barely reached its fifth birthday. Other shows came and went.

But the loser of all time is your memory problem: 5-a-Go-Go only lasted 14 Saturdays in 1965. National shows like Hullaballoo and fiesta featured cage dancers rocked by pantomimes by current pop artists. In response, WLWT hired six young women for local contractions (no cages, since it was Cincinnati), a handsome host, and guest pantomimers. Our area, however, could not provide enough local or touring singers, so the audience was nil. The doctor failed to dig up any surviving video of 5-a-Go-Go; maybe it’s for the best. At least we still have Paul Dixon tapes.

Hwhen the new multi-billion dollar federal infrastructure bill has already hit Cincinnati? Near Winton Hills Academy where I live, I see a lot of construction on the crosswalks – not just paint, but masonry and weird rubber speed bumps. How did Cincinnati get feds so quickly? — WHO IS SCRATCHING WHOSE BACK

The Doctor has good news and bad news. Good news first: the City of Cincinnati is actively addressing pedestrian safety. This admirable project to improve the visibility of things like crosswalks and school zones is, for some reason, called Vision Zero. It seems contradictory, but let’s not quibble. Anything that reduces pedestrian injuries and fatalities deserves a hooray.

Across the city, crosswalks are being made more visible in vulnerable areas, with newly bricked intersections, added signage and a bit of experimentation. What you saw on Winneste Avenue in Winton Hills were temporary rubber “speed pads”. Other tests will include crosswalks with lights triggered by pedestrians.

The bad news: You failed to notice Vision Zero when the city launched the program in 2019, so you mistakenly assumed its funding came from the federal government’s recent Magic Infrastructure Dollar Bomb. Instead, the money comes from sources that are more, uh, pedestrian: city coffers and Ohio Department of Transportation grants. Do not worry. Money from the Magic Dollar Bomb will undoubtedly fall from the sky soon enough.

OWe enjoy Summit Park in Blue Ash, but recently one of its parking lots had several spaces occupied by a mysterious thing that’s huge, maybe 15 square feet, and surrounded by a black fabric-covered fence. It also makes an incredible noise. My kids think it’s a top secret government project. What is that? —AREA 52

Yes, this was the first prototype of a government mind control device before it was miniaturized into your COVID-19 vaccine microchip. Amazing what they can do with transistors these days. Sorry, kids, it’s a lot more benign than that. You may have noticed that not far from the parking lot is the Summit Park Winter Skating Rink, providing family fun for commuters who prefer not to drag all the way downtown to Fountain Square.

This “mystery thing” is what keeps the rink icy, officially known as the cooler. It was originally much closer when the rink opened about five years ago, but as you noted, it’s loud as hell. The skaters couldn’t even hear the music playing as they skidded and fell. Underground connections are now attached to this contraption in the parking lot, reducing the spaces available but increasing the fun available on the ice. The rink will be closed for the season by the time you read this column, so feel free to skate all over the parking lot and invent new conspiracy theories.

Dr. Know is Jay Gilbert, weekday afternoon DJ on 92.5 FM The Fox. Email him your questions about the idiosyncrasies of the city at [email protected]


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