WKLO Toys for Tots Concerts Page

WKLO's Toys for Tots Lineup by Year

The Toys for Tots audio collages were produced by
Rip Rinehart & Lonnie Griesbaum and voiced by Gary Major.

1962: Unknown [Contact John Quincy if you have more information.]
1963: Unknown [Contact John Quincy if you have more information.]
1964: Archie Campbell, Dale Ward, Dickey Lee, Hank Cochran, Monarchs

WKLO 1964 Toys for Tots Audio Collage

Billy Joe Royal on stage with Wayne Young and Soul, Inc. at the 1965 WKLO Toys For Tots show

1965: Bill Carlisle, Billy Joe Royal, Chateaus, Dickey Lee, Ian Whitcomb, Lonnie Mack, Tex Williams

WKLO 1965 Toys for Tots Audio Collage

1966: Billy Joe Royal, Brenda Lee & The Casuals, Ronnie & the Daytonas, Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs, Sandy Posey, Two of Clubs, The Shametts, Dale Wright & The Wright Guys, The Exiles, The Oxfords, The Indigos, The Nightowls, Soul, Inc., The Mystics, Kenny & The Accents, The Lynchment

WKLO 1966 Toys for Tots Audio Collage

1967: American Breed, Betti Webb, Bobby Goldsboro, Bobby Wood, Buckinghams, Embers, John Fred & the Playboy Band, Lemon Pipers, Oxfords, Parliaments, Premieres, Robbs, Royal Guardsmen, Soul, Inc., We the People

WKLO 1967 Toys for Tots Audio Collage

1968: 1910 Fruitgum Company, Bobby Russell, Classics IV, Elysian Field, Fanatics, Gene Pitney, John South & the Believers, Kenny & the Accent Review, New Colony Six, New Company Front, Professor Morrison's Lollipop, Robert Knight, Saturday Morning Cartoon Show, Shadows of Knight, Soul, Inc.
1969: [Complete lineup incomplete; Contact John Quincy if you have more information.] April 2011 Update: Denny Allen writes: "One of the groups that was on the program for the 1969 Toys for Tots show was the Spiral Starecase –- which at the time had a big hit song called 'More Today Than Yesterday'. (I believe that was the correct title). I was one of the local horn players brought in to back them up that day. I also think that the group that had out 'Green Tambourine' may have been on the show that year as well. I backed up Andy Kim the following year in 1970. Those shows were a blast with the thousands of kids that attended." December 2011 Update: Steven Lee Cook writes: "I was at the 1969 Toys for Tots Show. Spiral Starecase was the headliner with 'More Today Than Yesterday' and their latest 'She's Ready'. The Lemon Pipers were there with 'Green Tambourine' --  but the group that got a thunderous ovation was a band called New Hope; their set-ending 'Won't Find Better Than Me' was incredibly good." July 16, 2015 Update: Byron Rohrig writes "I know that two scheduled acts were The Rugbys (Louisville band whose 'You, I' went to #13 on Billboard that summer) and R.B. Greaves ('Take A Letter, Maria'). I don't believe Greaves made it to the stage, however. I was working in the newsroom [at WKLO] when his manager called around 5:45 p.m. from Nashville, wanting to know what time Greaves was scheduled to perform and apparently under the impression Toys for Tots was an evening event. To the contrary, it began at noon and ended around 7, as I recall."

WKLO 1968 & 1969 Toys for Tots Audio Collage

1970: Andy Kim, Arthur Conley, Brothers Pride, Damnation of Adam Blessing, Fanatics, The Gentrys, Mark Lindsey, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Ron Dante, S.A.G.E., Wayne Young & Common Ground

WKLO 1970 Toys for Tots Audio Collage

1971: Bill Withers, The Exiles, The Bar-Kays, John Hartford, Frijid Pink, The Parliments, The Newcomers, Chase, The Carnations, The Oxfords, Chukkar, Otis, Wayne Young and Company

WKLO 1971 Toys for Tots Audio Collage

1972: Austin Roberts, Beverly Bremers, Brownsville Station, Carnations, Chukkar, Crushed Velvet, Danny O'Keefe, Detroit Emeralds, Exiles, Frederick Knight, Free Rein, Millie Jackson, Time Seekers

WKLO 1972 Toys for Tots Audio Collage

1973: Jim Stafford, Stories, Newbeats, Butch Kaufman, Lynchmen, Bennett Higgins, Raven, Dr. J. & The Interns, Bluegrass Alliance, Monkey Meeks, Louisville, Fugitives, Robin Waggener, Fanatics, Karen Kraft

WKLO 1973 Toys for Tots Audio Collage

1974: Fanatics, Copperfield, The Rhodes Kids, Mantis, The Hagers, Fancy, Les Variations

WKLO 1974 Toys for Tots Audio Collage

1975: Harry Chapin, Spirit, Jimmy Castor Bunch, Munch, Austin Roberts, David Geddes, Arthur Alexander, Wild Honey, Midnight Special, Mantas, Copperfield, Free Fall, Karen Kraft & The Young Kentuckians, Crushed Velvet

WKLO 1975 Toys for Tots Audio Collage

Louisville record collector and discographer Leonard Yates writes: "I have a very good friend who went to many of the shows circa '62-'64 and then from around '67-mid '70s and he tells me the first couple of shows were more like dances with local bands held in the side rooms off the West or East Wings of the Fairgrounds. Even the '64 show may have been more of a dance then it eventually moved to perhaps one of the wings and eventually to Freedom Hall and became a concert event with the two shows, advance tickets etc. before declining along with Top 40 radio in the mid '70's." [Contact John Quincy if you have more information.]

Courier-Journal Article - December 13, 1965

Police Called In Teenager Crush
Toys-For-Tots Causes Stir

Police were called to Freedom Hall yesterday when a crush developed among thousands of teenagers attending the fourth annual Toys for Tots show.

Four squad cars responded to a report that six youngsters had been hurt in the scramble.

Marine Corps Reserves struggle to hold back a crowd of screaming youngsters at the Toys for Tots show and dance yesterday afternoon at Louisville's Freedom Hall. The show, attended by an estimated 40,000 persons, was stopped for 25 minutes before order was restored. One girl was taken to a hospital.

Five of these returned to show after short rests, while the other, Julie Wimberley, 15, of 1108 Garden Row, was admitted to St. Anthony Hospital. She suffered an abdominal muscle injury and was reported in satisfactory condition last night.

Sgt. Claude Reno of the Fire Prevention Bureau estimated that 30,000 to 32,000 persons were inside Freedom Hall at the time of the disturbance, and most seemed to want to get as close to the stage as possible

The Indigos sing to a packed house of teenagers at Louisville's Freedom Hall. The crush in front of the stage yesterday became so bad at one point that the show was stopped for 25 minutes and police were called.One girl was hospitalized after being hurt in the pushing.

Trouble At Minimum

The show was stopped shortly after 3 p.m., about three hours after it started.

The 125 Marines on hand moved some of the crowd up into the stands. The curtains around the stage were taken down and the seats behind it were opened to the crowd.

Sgt. Reno said, "considering the size of the crowd and the activity, we had the minimum amount of trouble that could be expected."

Activity there was plenty of.

More than 20,000 toys were collected for Louisville-area underprivileged children as people dance, jumped and frugged to the music Billy Joe Royal, Ian Whitcomb and others.

When the music started the whole floor of Freedom Hall began to jump, and the young people in the highest levels resembled animated puppets jerked by a least three unseen hands.

This is the fourth year that Toys for Tots has been sponsored by radio station WKLO and the 47th Rifle Company of the Marine Corps Reserves.

Admission was a toy, and 16 truckloads of them were carried away by the Marines.

Teenaged girls were more impressed by the show than by men in uniform at the Toys for Tots show. The Marines were there to keep the crowd under control.

In addition, many toys were collected earlier as people exchanged toys for tickets. For those who had neither tickets nor toys, toys were on sale at the door.

The performers donated their time. They were not unrewarded, however, as the governor's wife, Mrs. Edward T. Breathitt, conferred on all of them the title of Kentucky colonel.

Among the performers were Dickie Lee, Tex Williams, Lonnie Mack and Little Joe Williams, Bill Carlisle, the Indigos, the Rugbys and the Mariners.

Courier-Journal Article - December 11, 1967

1967 Toys for Tots WKLO Promo Piece

Donate Toys for Needy
Teems Shriek and Bop, Play Santa for the Tots
By Paul M. Branzburg
Courier-Journal Staff Writer

An exhausted drummer wearing red pants, a blue jacket, an orange shirt and a Technicolor tie pounded his drums savagely as sweat dripped off the end of his nose.

Seconds later, a self-satisfied grin came to the face of a hoarsely screaming, wildly strumming rock 'n' roll singer as the teeny-boppers in the audience shrieked ecstatically.

And outside Freedom Hall, a lovely 14-year-old girl explained her reason for her presence: "I have a younger sister who is mentally retarded and so I want to help other little kids."

30,000 Jam Freedom Hall

The event, of course, was the annual Toys for Tots show yesterday afternoon at the Kentucky Fairgrounds in Louisville. The 42nd Rifle Company of the Marine Corps Reserve and Louisville radio station WKLO sponsored a six-hour show of popular music that packed an estimated 30,000 teenagers into Freedom Hall.

Admission price: One toy for needy children.

The toys will be distributed December 16, 18 and 19, when some 2,500 needy parents whose names are on file with the Community Christmas Committee go to the old drugstore area of the Heyburn Building, 332 West Broadway, to choose their children's presents.

'Baby, Baby, Baby' crooned the singers at the Toys for Tots show yesterday, drawing screams and sighs from the lips of thousands of Louisville girls. Here The American Breed, a group from Chicago, rocked Freedom Hall with four strong voices backed up by six enormous speakers.

A Wild and Gay Scene

The scene at Freedom Hall was wild and gay. Young girls almost swooned when they saw their idols from singing groups such as The Buckinghams (Chicago), We The People (Orlando, Fla.) and The American Breed (Chicago). And Marine guards were hard put trying to keep out the more than 2,000 who showed up after the hall was filled to capacity.

Everyone carried away his own impression.

Perhaps it was Santa Claus doing a spirited dance with two young girls behind the stage.

Or it may have been two pretty young things with adoration in their eyes talking to a jaded sideburned singer who was clearly bored with his little admirers.

A few may have noticed a shy girl of about 16 who ventured a timid wave at one of the Buckinghams. Miraculously, the singer noticed her gesture, and without missing a word or a stroke on his guitar, he smiled back at her. There was great pleasure in her eyes and she breathed a deep happy breath.

Dozens must have seen a young girl arise in the audience and practice her impressive repertoire of shrieks, screams and sighs.

A treasure trove of toys was loaded into trucks yesterday by Marines at Freedom Hall. Some 30 student nurses from six Louisville schools handed out admission tickets in return for the toys.

But while Freedom Hall rocked to words such as "Baby, baby, they're playing our song" or "There is no girl in the whole world who…", there were quiet moments of drama taking place among the 2,000 waiting out in the drizzle to get in.

Bill Blankenship and Cecil Bradshaw, both 17 and both of the Kentucky Children's Home, held their toy gifts and explained why they had come.

"Most of these kids have got a feeling for other kids," Bill said. "I think they understand how some kids feel. Kids need something for Christmas other than an old piece of candy."

Cecil put it this way: "I want to bring a toy to help other kids. I'm in a home myself. I like to help other people because other people help us."

And Carolyn Robards, 13, of 101 Woodmore Avenue, said: "I feel that I want to give things to people who can't afford them because I'm kind of well off."

The cynics may snicker, but amid the blaring of the bands, the gyrations of teenage go-go girls and the cool eyes of a trombone player, there was something called the spirit of Christmas.

Billboard - December 23, 1967

The Sixth Annual Toys for Tots Show, sponsored by the Marine Corps Reserve and WKLO Radio, Louisville, attracted an estimated 20,000 to Louisville's Freedom Hall Sunday, Dec. 10, according to Mitch Michael (Terrell L. Metheny), WKLO program director. Some 15,000 people were on hand when the entertainment began at 12 noon Sunday. By 2 p.m., 2,000 people had been turned away, Mitch reports. The talent line-up included the Decades, the Premieres, the Parliaments, Beti Webb, the Oxfords, the Lemon Pipers, the American Breed, Bobby Wood, We the People, the Royal Guardsmen, the Show-Offs, Bobby Goldsboro, John Fred and the Playboy Band, the Buckinghams, the Robbs; Soul, Inc., and the Embers. All donated their services. The toy count was expected to hit 28,000 with all to be distributed to 10,000 underprivileged children in the Louisville area

The 1968 WKLO Toys for Tots Lineup

Post-1968 Toys for Tots Promo WKLO Piece

1970 WKLO Memo to Toys for Tots Acts

1970 Toys for Tots Act CTW Memo

1970 Toys for Tots WKLO Promo Piece


The show is held in Freedom Hall (across from the Inn), the house will be in excess of 30,000 people. Admission to the show is a new toy for a needy child. The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve collects the toys and distributes them to the children. There is no money that exchanges hands other than the rental for the hall and hotel charges, which are both picked up by WKLO.

The management of Executive Inn gives us a 20% discount on all rooms as their contribution to Toys for Tots. They will also make every effort to see that you are satisfied with your accommodations. The tab for food and rooms is taken care of by the radio station - long distance phone calls and bar tabs are not.

The day of the show: There will be two WKLO representatives at the Inn from 10:00 AM til 6:00 PM. They are responsible for answering any questions you have and for informing you of the transport arrangements to Freedom Hall in time for your appearance. They are: Chris Hubbs and Bill Welch. They can be reached by calling the front desk.

Backstage: The WKLO disc jockeys will be wearing elf emblems on the backs of their coats. When have a need, grab an elf.

Freedom Hall and sound: Since it is one of the two largest indoor arenas in the world, it poses some unique sound problems. The man in charge of the house equipment is Marvin Maxwell, a pro who knows the hall and equipment. The bass amps will total 2,000 watts; the P.A. amps will total 3,000 watts of power. All will be run through the finest Acoustic, Altec, and Shure equipment and will be balanced and mixed by Shure sound engineers from the home office. There will be 12 new Shure studio mics ($470.00 each) on stage connected to 12,300 watt power amps and run through 50 Shure columns and 6 Altec columns.

Lead guitars run through stacks of 3 or 4 Acoustic stage amps all connected in phase in a series.

If you need anything else, it's probably there - just grab an elf.

Thank you for making it possible.

Carl Wigglesworth
Head Elf

1970 Toys for Tots Act and MC Schedule

1970 Toys for Tots Stage Diagram

Courier-Journal Article - December 14, 1970

Rock Flock
30,000 swoop into Toys for Tots show
By Brian Woolley
Courier-Journal Staff Writer

Minied, midied, maxied, stars-and-striped, long-fringed, high booted, tie-died, flop-hatted, denim-jacketed, the adolescent hoard swooped into Freedom Hall like unto Gengis Khan of old, each clutching his yo-yo, his teddy bear, his plastic gun, his rubber duck.

They came until the cavernous hall could contain no more. Those the firemen locked out banged on doors, broke two of them, sent two large plate-glass panes crashing from a box office window, hurled soft-drink bottles against the brick wall.

There were 30,000 of them, a Fairgrounds official said. A few destroyed. A few were arrested. Nearly all of them got in eventually, and nearly all were orderly - sitting transfixed by the orgy of sound or wandering singly, or in small packs, looking.

"Where you going, Man?"
"Looking for somebody."
"Who you looking for?"

It was the annual WKLO "Toys for Tots" show, where by dropping a toy for a needy child into a big cardboard box a guy could blow his mind on more than six hours of ear-splitting rock brought directly to his durable eardrums by the switched-on instruments and super-heavy-duty amplifiers of a small army of young and remarkably sturdy musicians.

30,000 strong came to Freedom Hall for yesterday's Toys for Tots rock show

Andy Kim, Mark Lindsay, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Arthur Conley, the Damnation of Adam Blessing, Sage, The Gentrys, Ron Dante, Brother's Pride and Wayne Young and the Common Ground all sent their decibels shrieking, crashing and soaring through the multitude, their songs and plugs for latest albums preceded and followed by that peculiar language that all deejays and absolutely no one else speaks.

"Here they are, The Triple-A state champs from Butler High, Let's hear I for 'em right now! How about that! And now we're going to present that crystal ball! Here it is, fellas! Nice going!"

Some had waited outside, in the cold, in the snow flurries, on the sidewalks and brown winter grass, since 8 a.m. When the doors finally swung open at 10:30, they were ready to go in. Two members of the 29-man Local Special Police detail were knocked down. One of them was Ford Fletcher, an eight-year veteran of Freedom Hall crowds.

"They shoved right through and tromped me, and when I got up, I didn't have my wrist watch or my badge. It's the worst I've ever seen."

But most were orderly. The only real trouble came when the hall was full and the doors swung closed. Several hundred fans were stranded outside, clutching their toys, shouting angrily at the policemen and Marines who tried to reason with them through the glass.

The fans in the rear pushed. Those in front pounded on the doors. Glass crashed and tinkled. The metal bottom panel of a door gave way and skittered across the concourse floor. Police rushed to the doors, yanked the supposed culprits though, strong-armed them to a small jail inside the police office, frisked them, locked them up.

New toys overflow a huge box at Freedom Hall, donated by the 30,000 who attended the WKLO Toys for Tots show yesterday.

"When you gonna learn something, Boy?"
"I dunno."
"Why'd you do that?"
"I wanted in."
"What have you been drinking?

Six were arrested, including three 16-year-olds on charges of public drunkenness and disorderly conduct.

City police arrested Harold L. Stillwell, 20, of Charlestown, Ind., and charged him with disorderly conduct. Special police arrested Joseph H. Rademaker III, 18, of the 6800 block of Bethany Lane, who was charged with disorderly conduct and malicious throwing of a deadly missile, and James A. Calvert, 18, of the 1900 block of Dixie Garden Drive, who was charged with disorderly conduct and destroying private property.

Shortly after the arrests were made about 1 p.m., a city police paddy wagon arrived, and the crowd retreated from the door. Louisville radio stations urged rock fans who hadn't yet arrived at Freedom Hall to stay away.

All seven of the city's seven fire inspectors patrolled the crowded building - a job usually done by one or two men during a basketball game, said Capt. John Robinette.

"They're basically pretty orderly, but the place just won't hold over about 20,000. They're wandering around, and as some wander out, we let some more filter in. At one time during the day, we had about 10,000 outside. I don't know if they're all still out there or not."

They filled the hall, the hallways and the aisles at the Toys for Tots show. Listening, intently, are David Turner, his chin on his arms, and John McDonald, with arms folded. Some were not able to get in the hall.

The U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, sponsoring the Louisville "Toys for Tots" campaign for the 23rd year, loaded and hauled away truckload after truckload of new playthings throughout the afternoon and a WKLO disc jockey praised the teen-agers' donations as "the best ever."

Up front, near the bandstand at the north end of the hall, the soles of the listeners' feet, their fingertips, their stomachs vibrated with the grinding beat of the drums and electric basses. Trumpets blasting directly into microphones screamed into both ears and the sound traveled to the center of the head, where whatever tune there was disintegrated and crashed like a ton of cymbals dropped on concrete.

Pretty girls tried repeatedly to talk an aging and cynical reporter out of the "Backstage Pass" button pinned to his drab, un-with-it overcoat.

"Hey, are you boss here?"
"Do you know the Brother's Pride? I gotta get back there and see them."
"You know Johnny Lightning?"
"You know anybody?"
"Can I borrow your button for a minute?"

A young Marine, guarding an entrance near the bandstand, turned a glazed, wordless, uncomprehending stare toward one who asked how long he had been there.

"Celebrate! Celebrate! Dance to the muuuuusiiiiik! Celebrate! Celebrate! Dance to the muuuuusiiiiik!"

Catp. V.L. Conrad, in charge of the Local Special Police detail, found nothing to celebrate in his day. He and his men had donated their time and had been on their feet for a long time and would be for a long time more. If his tailor-made pants got torn, he would be out $28. If he lost his hat, $29. Jacket, $26. Belt and gun $200.

"You call that civilized? What makes them act like that? It's just plain luck that we haven't had any big trouble. I tell you, when my commission expires this time, I'm gonna rack it up. Not going anywhere there's a crowd of more than three people. Just wish I was old enough to get Social Security, that's all."

At 4:30, more people began leaving than arriving. By 6, the die-hards were dancing on the seats. Parents were searching for their young. At 6:15, all went. And among them somewhere was Sandy Vross, 17, of Westport High.

"I've been here all day. I've been having a ball, meeting lots of people. Really cool. I never get tired of it."

Louisville Times Article - December 14, 1970

A capacity crowd of 30,000 people filled the seats and aisles at Freedom Hall during yesterday's Toys for Tots rock bash. Thousands more were unable to gain entrance to the show.

Freedom Hall Packed
Youths Miss Rock Show, Still Give 'Toys for Tots'

Hundreds of long-haired, rock-music-loving teen-agers have proved that they still believe at least one adage - the one about giving being better than receiving.

Many youths who were unable to get into the WKLO-sponsored "Toys for Tots" show at the Fairgrounds yesterday took their admission price - one toy each for a needy child - to the station or to police or fire stations around town.

Police estimated that at one time during the day some 10,000 rock fans were left outside Freedom Hall while 30,000 luckier ones whistled and shrieked along with the super-amplified live band music.

Some of those left out got into the hall eventually, as other youths filtered out during the day. A few of the disappointed ones made trouble. Two glass doors were broken, two plate-glass panes were knocked out of a ticket booth and six youths were arrested.

'Minor in Comparison'

But Carl Truman Wiglesworth, WKLO disc jockey, discounted the trouble as "minor in comparison with the size of that crowd."

Some of the fans had waited in temperatures in the 30s since 8 a.m. for the doors to open at 10:30. It was 4:30 p.m. before the crowd began to thin.

All day, they listened to the near-deafening roar from Andy Kim, Mark Lindsey, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Arthur Conley, the Damnation of Adam Blessing, Sage, The Gentrys, Ron Dante, Brother's Pride and Wayne Young and the Common Ground.

While the music blasted away, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, which has sponsored the "Toys for Tots' campaign for 23 years, carted away truckloads of dolls, stuffed animals, toy trucks and other playthings.

Wiglesworth said the Marines will spend the next two or three days counting the toys. Then they'll be placed in nine neighborhood distribution centers, set up by the Kentucky Department of Economic Security, where families can pick up their allotment of toys.

Next Year to Be Discussed

While this year's toys are being distributed, the staff of WKLO and other sponsors will be meeting to talk about next year's show.

"We'll have to talk about some way of dealing with the crowd," said Wiglesworth. "We've talked about shortening the show, but I don't think that would help."

He said the station will pay for the damage to the Fairgrounds auditorium and considers it "a small loss".

Those arrested were Harold L. Stillwell, 20, of Charlestown, Ind., who was charged with disorderly conduct; Joseph H. Rademaker III, 18, of the 6300 block of Bethany Lane who was charged with disorderly conduct and malicious throwing of a deadly missile; and James A. Calvert, 18, of the 1900 block of Dixie Garden Drive, charged with disorderly conduct and destroying private property.

Three 16-year-olds were arrested on charges of public drunkenness and disorderly conduct.

1971 WKLO Toys for Tots Ticket

Courier-Journal Article - December 13, 1971

Lines backed up to the parking lot outside Freedom Hall yesterday for those waiting to get into the Toys for Tots afternoon show. The crowd began to arrive well before 10 a.m. for yesterday morning's 11 o'clock show. A total of almost 35,000 persons came to the shows. The price of a ticket was a toy to be given to an underprivileged child.

Thanks Lots, Tots
Toys they gathered for the little kids
 let the big kids rock at Freedom Hall

By Bill Peterson
Courier-Journal Staff Writer

They started before 10 a.m. and continued in an unending stream until late afternoon, almost 35,000 altogether, wearing the colors and uniforms of you - skin tight body shirts, baggy Army fatigue jackets, hotpants, denim bell bottoms, letterman jackets, floppy hats, acne and heavy eyeshadow.

They swooped in the barn-like hall for the two shows, promenaded through its ailes and sat transfixed in its seats, drawn to an orgy of sound and sweat by some mysterious Pied Piper.

The promoters said everyone in the audience wanted to play Santa Claus to underprivileged children. But that was only a small part of it, a convenient explanation for the popularity of the 10th annual WKLO Radio "Toys for Tots" show at Freedom Hall yesterday.

What was the attraction then? There were many.

"My girl isn't too excited all this," said a bored father in a suit as we waited outside the hall for his daughter. "We live out the country. There's nothing, I mean nothing, for a teen-ager to do out there.

"I just dig the sounds," commented a young Marine, his leatherneck swaying to the driving hard rock beat of a group called the Frijid Pink.

Spotlights zero in on entertainers at the Toys for Tots benefit show at Freedom Hall in Louisville.

"It's all the groups, we came to see the groups," said Darlene Jeremiah, a 17-year-old wearing her most with-it faded denim bellbottoms and a poorboy sweater.

The "groups" included some of the hottest performers on the Top 40 circuit - names largely unknown to the post-teen set but almost bywords for anyone who happens to be 15 years old and spends four hours a day plugged into a transistor radio.

There was Bill Withers, from Slab Fork, W. Va., who sang "Ain't No Sushine"…The Exiles, a Kentucky group, who did a thing called "Got to be All Right"…the Bar-Kays, who recorded "Son of Shaft" and "Soul Finger"…John Hartford, who has appeared on network television with Glen Campbell…Frijid Pink, five guys who dress in varying shades of pink and purple…the Parliments…the Newcomers, a group best know for a song called "Pin the Tail on the Donkey"…Chase, a brassy group that recorded "Get It On." And a bevy of local artists - the Carnations, Oxfords, Chukkar, Wayne Young and Company and Otis.

Each group sent its sounds - amplified a hundred decibels of thousands of dollars worth of electronic gear - shrieking, shouting, bombasting and echoing through the hall to thousands of teen-agers, who had purchased a ticket for the event by donating a toy for distribution to underprivileged children.

There was almost eight hours of ear-splitting music altogether, interrupted by a procession of WKLO deejays who introduced one "super-super group" after another in their own version of radio patter.

"We've got one more big super-super group coming up" a deejay would say. "But first, here's our thanks to all of you who made this possible with..."

Louisville Times Article - December 13, 1971

Toys Are the Ticket
35,000 attend Freedom Hall shows to benefit tots
By Judy Rosenfield
Louisville Times Staff Writer

It was 9:30 a.m., an hour and a half before the Toys for Tots show was scheduled to begin - and there were hundreds waiting.

There was Jackie Offutt, 16, who was wearing no coat in the morning chill. His teeth were chattering as he joined the people patchwork in front of the Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center. He was grinning. It was his fourth Toys for Tots concert.

There were Carolyn and Debbie Matten, 15, and their friend Cheryl Freibert, 14. It was their fifth concert.

There were Cathy Lanham, 17, and four chums from Fairdale High School who wrenched themselves from bed at 4:30 a.m. to get there by 6.

In all, an estimated 25,000 of them showed up yesterday - in blue jeans and overalls, in hot pants and letter jackets, and in a good mood.

It was the WKLO Radio "Toys for Tots" show at Freedom Hall, that combination of good deeds and good music that has drawn crowds for the past nine years.

At last year's day-long concert, crowds climbed past the 30,000 mark. Some people couldn't get in. Soft-drink bottles were thrown. Two plate-glass windows were broken. Six people were arrested.

So this year there were two performances, one at 11 a.m. and another at 4 p.m. And toys, to be distributed by the Marine Corps Reserves, who sponsor the campaign, were cashed in for tickets before the concert at Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets, Thom McAnn shoe stores and Chess King stores.

Wayne Young & Company face the spotlights and the Toys for Tots audience. It was one of several local groups appearing.

Even so, when the doors - which had opened at 8 and then closed temporarily - reopened at about 9:45, the great crunch of people came.

Shoves from the back of the crowd packed the front sardine-style.

But the kids didn't seem to mind.

Most laughed or feigned melodramatic groans. A few couples kissed.

"This is what you call togetherness," laughed Caroline Matten, as she was scrunched through the door.

"Hey, I'm not cold anymore," said Offutt, in the midst of the smash.

If that was part of it, mostly they were there for the music.

To clap their hands and stomp their feet and listen to Chase, Chucker, the Oxfords, Wayne Young & Company, Frijid Pink, the Carnations, Springwell, John Hartford, Bill Withers…and more.

Junior Burks helped baby-sit with Raymond George, 3,, above, at the Toys for Tots show. The program included the hit song "Sunshine," done by Jonathan Edwards and an accompanist, below.

Lee Gray, WKLO disc jockey, who has shoulder-length brown hair and was wearing blue-tinted sunglasses, blue pants and a leather vest, kicked it off:

"EVERYbody's here. EVERYbody's ready to COOK…and if you're ready to GET IT ON…"

Otis launched into "Honky-tonk Woman" and Marine reservists insulated themselves against the music and the shrieking which rocked the hall by stuffing cotton into their ears.

The Exiles sang "We Can Work It Out." Deafening applause. The lead singer told the audience "Thank you, thank you. You're very tight.

"That's one thing you can be sure of. When you're in Louisville, you're playing in front of the No. 1 Crowd."

The No. 1 crowd gave their next number, "Jesus Christ Superstar," a standing ovation.

Jonathan Edwards came on later and sent cliques of 13- and 14-year-old girls into a crescendo of shrieks and squeals.

Advice From a Colonel

There were cameo appearances by Santa Claus and by Col. Harland Sanders, who wished "all you chicken-eaters a merry Christmas and a happy New Year."

"Don't use up all that energy," he told the crowd. "It's got to last you a long time."

And there were the Wandering Crowds. Not a rock group. They were the four girls from Durrett High School in identical jackets circling Freedom Hall over and over and over again.

There were guys chortling and elbowing each other in the ribs while they ate hot dogs.

There were two girls in T-shirts with black lettering: "Keep your city clean. Eat a pigeon."

There were other girls in hot pants, fringed jackets, black tights and white boots dancing in a doorway.

There were scores of them - walking, talking, eating, all during the concert.

"It's really great. You see a lot of your friends here and meet a lot of people," explained a girl from Southern Junior High School.

"But the main thing," added her friend, "is the toys for kids."

Doris Ann Bennett, 14, of Shively, got a view of the crowd from the shoulders of her date as she waited to get into the concert.

Members of the Local Special Police, who donated their time yesterday as did the rock groups and a half-dozen plain clothes city and council policemen, complimented the well-behaved crowds.

The only arrest was of a youth reportedly found smoking marijuana in a men's restroom.

"We figure one in 10 kids here probably has some pot on him," said County Detective Verlin Flaherty, who is also in the Marine Corps Reserves.

"You can smell it in all the boys' bathrooms."

A member of the Local Special Police who was strolling the halls came up to a reporter and announced:

"I'm gonna get me some of those…." He pressed his lips together fiercely during a long pause before he spit out "…marijuana pushers."

"I'm not gonna bother with the smokers. But if you see me walking along with someone with a busted head, it'll be one of those (pause) pot pushers."

A little after 3, the first of the two performances was over.

WKLO disc jockey Chuck Brady, one of the parade of deejays who appeared yesterday, thanked the crowd "for making this the greatest Toys for Tots show in the world."

Some 40,000 toys were collected, but the drive organizers are hoping to collect 50,000 by Dec. 18. Toys can be dropped off at the Marine Corps Reserve Unit, 5401 Southside Drive.

Double-exposure photos from a WKLO Toys for Tots show

1972 WKLO Toys for Tots Lineup

1973 Toys for Tots Act and DJ Lineup