For 14 weeks, Dayton’s sponsored a radio show on KDWB that was recorded in its Minneapolis store’s eighth floor auditorium from 2:00 to 3:30 pm on Saturdays. It was edited down to half an hour and aired the following Wednesday from 7:30 to 8:00 pm. It was originally supposed to be heard live when recorded on Saturdays, but is not shown on the radio schedules in the Minneapolis papers on Saturdays. There were also supposed to be 26 half-hour shows, but there were only 17 Wednesdays between the first show on February 7, 1968, and May 29, 1968.
The content of the show was music, interviews, fashions, etc. The “Teen Machine” was a computer that answered questions from the audience. The ad below for the debut program promised fortune tellers, palm readers, phrenologists, grapho-analysts, One + One Computer Dating, romantic fashions, and prizes. Kind of a mish-mash of science and hocus pocus. And there was the Love Express Band.
In an article in Billboard, Dayton’s Vice President for publicity and advertising said that the program would be a “spoof” on KDWB’s regular rock ‘n’ roll programming. Teens would be charged 70 cents admission to “help keep teenage traffic under control” and defray expenses – Forrest Powers in the Star said 50 cents. Dayton’s purchased the time slots and all commercials would be for Dayton’s. The show was described as part of the entertainment at Dayton’s “Loving Sunday.”
The Star reported that the hosts of the show were Gretchen Larson, from Southwest High School, and Cornelius Danahy, from Ramsey Junior High. “Cornelius represents the all-American teen-ager and Gretchen serves as his assistant and models teen fashions.” Both were part of the Minneapolis Art Institute’s Children’s Theater program. Cornelius, or “Neil,” had credited roles in the program’s productions starting in 1965, when he was 12 years old, and continued until 1969, as a student at Washburn High School.
The photos below are of Neil Danahy in 1968 (Minneapolis Star), 1969, and 1970 (last two from his Washburn yearbooks, via Ancestry.com). He does not appear in the 1971 yearbook.
The only other mention of Danahy in a newspaper search was in March 1971, when he circulated a petition at Washburn calling for the U.S. Senate to refuse to extend the draft for two more years.
Danahy died in 1998 at the age of 45, and his obituary preferred donations to Exodus House, a homeless shelter run by St. Olaf’s Catholic Church.