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LIEBERMAN, HARRY A. [LARRY KANE]
Dancers on The Larry Kane Show grooved to the latest popular tunes of the day every Saturday afternoon. Larry Kane and his television program were Houston’s answer to Dick Clark and American Bandstand. Courtesy Mark Lieberman.
LIEBERMAN, HARRY A. [LARRY KANE] (1935–1998). Larry Kane, host of The Larry Kane Show and entertainment lawyer, was born Harry A. Lieberman on February 26, 1935, in Houston, Texas. He graduated as valedictorian of his class from San Jacinto High School in 1953. He later graduated cum laude from the University of Houston. While still attending high school, he began a career in radio and worked at a succession of stations, including KUHP in El Campo, KRCT in Baytown, and KNUZ and KXYZ in Houston, where he was dubbed “Mr. Music.”
In 1958, while still a student at the University of Houston, he conceived the idea of a local music and dance show that he would host under his preferred music moniker, Larry Kane. The Larry Kane Show premiered in January 1959 live on KTRK-TV Channel 13 in Houston. Kane served as producer with Perry Blankenship as director. With a suave and youthful Kane as emcee, the program proved to be influential and popular with young viewers. The show featured local dancers swinging to recorded songs and studio performances. Local dance studio owner Jerry Roe served as dance director, and regular dancers on the program had to meet specific qualifications that included mastery of at least four different dances (such as the waltz, swing, and cha-cha). Regular features on the program included the introduction of new dance steps and a teen panel that reviewed new popular song releases.
Kane selected all of the music for his show, which usually included twenty singles from the Top 50, eight new releases, and two LPs. Two or three recording artists appeared each week and participated in an interview with Kane.
The show, which lasted until April 22, 1972, and had a one-year run on KPRC-TV, Channel 2, featured an array of musical guests of both national and regional fame—the Lovin’ Spoonful, Tony Bennett, Hank Williams, Jr., John Denver, Otis Redding, Glen Campbell, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Dionne Warwick, Jefferson Airplane, Bobby Sherman, David Cassidy, and Wayne Newton. Texas artists included Roy Head, B. J. Thomas, Neal Ford & the Fanatics, The Clique, Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, the 13th Floor Elevators, the Moving Sidewalks, Fever Tree, and Southwest F.O.B. which showcased a young Dan Seals and John Colley who later teamed up as England Dan and John Ford Coley. Neal Ford later commented, “This show alone was probably the most important factor at that time in Houston and Texas music, giving all of us a stage to a very large market.”
Larry Kane and The Larry Kane Show were Houston’s answer to Dick Clark and American Bandstand. In fact, Kane’s Saturday afternoon dance program preempted American Bandstand, and Houston was one of the few television markets in the United States that did not carry Bandstand as Kane’s show filled the market need and even influenced Billboard magazine and radio airplay. By 1971 The Larry Kane Show was syndicated live to more than 100 markets, including the cities of New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville. The program became the first nationally-syndicated show that was produced and based out of Houston. Kane, himself, served as a substitute host in Clark’s absence on American Bandstand on a few occasions. He also launched two other television shows in Houston—Turn On and Club 13, which was an adult dance show in a Friday late-night time slot. He hosted a dance show on Thursday afternoons on KFDM-TV in Beaumont as well. Additionally, Kane had a daily radio show on KTHT and wrote a teen column, called “Mr. Music,” for the Houston Press.
While working on his program, Kane attended law school at the University of Houston and eventually practiced law as an entertainment attorney as a partner in the firm of Ogden, Lieberman, Gaughan & Stone. (He posted his given name for the firm but preferred to be called Larry Kane.) His clients included Kenny Rogers (who, according to Kane’s son Mark Lieberman, later credited Kane for giving him the idea to branch out on his own with Kenny Rogers and the First Edition), B. J. Thomas, and ZZ Top. In the 1990s Houston radio station KLOL and the Houston Press honored Kane with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Kane married his wife Patricia about 1956. They had three daughters and one son. He died at Memorial City Hospital in Houston on January 26, 1998. He was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2009.
Billboard, February 27, 1961. Houston Chronicle, January 27, 1998. Houston Radio History: The Larry Kane Show—KTRK-TV (http://houstonradiohistory.blogspot.com/2010/04/larry-kane-show-ktrk-tv.html), accessed September 5, 2015. “The Larry Kane TV Show,” 1960s Texas Music—Houston Radio/TV (http://www.scarletdukes.com/st/tmhou_radio1.html), accessed September 5, 2015.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Laurie E. Jasinski, "LIEBERMAN, HARRY A. [LARRY KANE] ," accessed September 17, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fka16.
Uploaded on May 26, 2015. Modified on January 31, 2018. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.