Regional television shows have always fascinated me. Ever since my family took a trip to Washington, DC in the early 1960’s when I became aware that TV was different when you went elsewhere. The simple explanation is that television transmissions are short in length and so don’t travel very far. But as a kid I just thought of it as a kind of magic which took place when you were transported out of town.
“Ranch Party” began as a show called “Town Hall Party”, which was on radio and television in Los Angeles. In 1953 Tex Ritter; John Ritter’s dad for you young folks; appeared on it and later in 1957 he made it his own, renaming it “Ranch Party.” He had already achieved some success with a show called Ozark Jubilee on ABC in 1955. In some ways, these shows were the inspiration for Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand.” He just “fine-tuned” the idea at a time when antennas were still being “fine-tuned” themselves.