Ray Charles On The Ken Hawkins Show (c 1967)
|Ken Hawkins (c. 1975).|
The Ken Hawkins Show was a second-tier dance show, produced by WEWS-TV, an ABC outlet in Cleveland. Billboard (Sep. 2, 1967) wrote that in the first show, “rocking across the screen were the Big K Dancers in mini skirts”. Host and driving force Ken Hawkins promised, “We’ll be integrated. We will have white dancers in the line-up in future shows.”
In a feature story about their first anniversary by the Cleveland Call and Post (Sep. 14, 1968), Hawkins looked back on the show’s achievements: “You name the star and he was there, like Ray Charles and the [Raelettes], the Miracles, Dionne Warwick, James Brown and Al Hirt.”
The reporter added that “The popularity of the show [had] spread all over the country as it was viewed in over 195 cities. […] Ken has become a real TV personality […], being the only Negro to have his own show of this type on a regular basis.”
The program was launched for Friday nights, but later found a fixed spot on Saturday mornings. It thrived on R&B acts that were coming through Cleveland. Ray Charles played in Cleveland from 25 August to 3 September 1967, 25 September 1967, and 12 May 1968.
I haven’t found any proof of a continuation of the show after September 1968. In May 1970 Kennard “Ken” Hawkins was appointed general manager of the afilliated radio station WJMO, making him the first black GM in Cleveland radio history.
Who remembers something about Ray’s performance on the show?