This Was Television On December 31

1956 & 1972: TV’s New Year’s Eve traditions take hold

Bandleader Guy Lombardo and his orchestra had hosted New Year’s Eve broadcasts on the radio since 1928 before beginning a 20-year tradition of the same on CBS, starting in 1956. Lombardo’s mid-century big-band style was faced contemporary competition starting in 1972, when American Bandstand emcee and “World’s Oldest Teenager” Dick Clark launched his New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. Debuting on NBC before shifting to its current home on ABC in 1975, Clark’s assemblage of pop and rock acts in Times Square soon surpassed Lombardo’s in the ratings. Lombardo rang in his final New Year’s Eve on the air in 1976. Clark would carry on the tradition until health problems in the mid-2000s limited his participation in Rockin’ Eve; Ryan Seacrest stepped in as his co-host and, with Clark’s passing in 2012, his successor. -A.D.

Today’s Birthdays: Jane Badler, space invader (59); Tim Matheson, veep (65); Bebe Neuwirth, psychiatrist (54); Lance Reddick, law enforcement officer (43); James Remar, proud pop (59).

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