RIP: Al Alberts Dead At 87

[Video: 6 year old Melissa Lynn sings “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” on Al Alberts Showcase – November 1985]

INQUIRER: Mr. Alberts rose to fame in the 1950s as one of The Four Aces, whose hits included “Love Is a Many Splendored Thing,” “Stranger in Paradise” and the Jule Styne number “Three Coins in a Fountain.” But generations of Philadelphians knew him as “Uncle Al,” a tuxedoed fatherly figure with a white pompadour, blinding smile and infinite patience, as he gave screen time to young singers, hoofers, and comedians on Saturdays. The program started on Channel 48 in 1968 and two years later moved to Channel 6. His show, which also toured local theaters, launched the careers of such performers as Andrea McArdle, Sister Sledge, Teddy Pendergrass, and Jarrod Spector. “It was like going to church — a staple of life in Philadelphia,” said McArdle, the first star of Annie on Broadway. She was 8 or 9 when she first appeared on the Showcase. Mr. Alberts’ wife was “Aunt Stella” to the show’s performers: 6-year-old “Teeny Boppers,” 7- to 14-year-old “Gold Nuggets” and 14- to 19-year-old “Show Stoppers.” All had dragged their mommies to the monthly audition at J&A Caterers in South Philadelphia. MORE

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