Sunday, December 6, 2015

Words and Music to Dream By

Words and Music to Dream By featured Skip Letcher and Dick Fry. The photo of downtown Erie by Dick Kubeja  shows the west side of State Street from 9th to 7th, from Kresge's to the Boston Store. 
Skip Letcher was the star of a popular children's television show by day, donning a beard to play Pappy. By night he was a radio personality. More about his career in a moment. Skip teamed up with organist Dick Fry for "Words and Music To Dream By," a record album that was released by Rodeo International. Dick played organ, piano and chimes; Skip read poetry written by Ellen H. Eff.

The Pappy Show was legendary. Hundreds of Erie youngsters appeared in the WICU-TV studio audience for a chance to be on television. Skip was very popular with the kids, many of whom remember him 50+ years later!

Skip Letcher's biography appears on the back cover of the album jacket. He was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and got his start in 1944 at CJCH in Halifax, Nova Scotia. His next gig was at CJCB in Sydney and then VON in St. John's, Newfoundland. He appeared in the 1949 or 1950 Columbia Pictures' short "Disc Jockeys, USA." This was a jumping-off point that lead to a dual job at WICU radio and TV in Erie, PA.

"On TV Skip does five children's shows a week and on the radio has the most popular show on Sundays, 'Music For Sundays,' four hours of good music and poetry. Skip's programs are heard over the tri-state area of Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania and also the London-Tillsonburg area in Ontario."

I'm not one for poetry, but Dick Kubeja's photo on the cover of this album is awesome. It was taken from the Baldwin Building (Renaissance Center) at 10th and State, which is why the Koehler Beer clock towers over everything. He also got a nice shot of the Boston Store from a different angle. Other stores in the picture are Kresge, Eckerd's Drugs, Jordan's, Thom McCan and Burt's Shoes. There was plenty of neon to light up State Street.

Thanks to Dale for parting with this sweet record! Enjoy more fun facts about Erie, PA at Old Time Erie.


  1. Wish we could hear it! Great photo!

  2. All the activity--how wonderful it was then. I spent 30 years in Erie, and it was the best part of my life. Downtown was buzzing when I moved there in 1971, and I was happy to have been a part of that. One by one the stores went out of business-very sad, but that is the way of progress. Very happy memories for me.