Dallas Music Variety Show “Sump’n Else” Debuts 1965

Maile Carballo / KUTX
TWITMH #19: Sump’n Else Debuts / Produced by Jack Anderson

On September 7, 1965, the Dallas television program Sump’n Else debuted on WFAA. The teen music variety format provided an influential platform for both national and local acts in 1960s rock ‘n’ roll, and Sump’n Else was no different. It had an advantage, in fact, as industry leader Dick Clark’s American Bandstand did not yet air in Dallas. Sump’n Else host Ron Chapman recruited a regular core of high school dancers for the show and broadcast live from the new Northpark Shopping Center. The show brought national acts the Monkees, James Brown, Sonny and Cher, and Frank Zappa to Dallas teens. Texas groups took the stage, too, including, notably, one of the rare television appearances of Austin’s pioneering psychedelic band the 13th Floor Elevators. Tommy Hall chatted with Capman about the weird sounds of his distinctive electric jug on songs like “You’re Gonna Miss Me” and “Fire Engine.”

With groups like the Jefferson Airplane and the Elevators, Sump’n Else walked a fine line of teen propriety in the tumultuous Texas 1960s and acknowledged the fact with occasional dives into social issues, such as its discussion of the public service documentary “LSD: Insight or Insanity?” The program, though influential, would be short-lived, winding down by early 1968 as youth culture moved on to more revolutionary pursuits.

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