Larry Ferrari

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Larry Ferrari
Native name
Lazarus Louis Ferrari
Born(1932-03-04)March 4, 1932
Boston, Massachusetts
DiedNovember 20, 1997(1997-11-20) (aged 65)
Cinnaminson Township, New Jersey
Occupation(s)Organist and television host
InstrumentsOrgan

Larry Ferrari (March 4, 1932 – November 20, 1997), born Lazarus Louis Ferrari, was an American organist who hosted The Larry Ferrari Show from 1954 to 1997 on WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, a weekly Sunday morning half-hour program of organ music.[1][2][3]

Biography[edit]

Born in Boston, Massachusetts on March 4, 1932 as Lazarus Louis Ferrari, Larry Ferrari was a son of Colomba Ferrari.[4] He changed his name to "Larry" when a nun suggested he Americanize it. Ferrari studied piano and organ as a boy, and his career in music began when he began performing at his local church when was 11 years old. Soon afterwards, after he began playing at a local skating rink. According to friends and family, Ferrari did not use sheet music; after hearing a song he could play it from memory.

His career in broadcasting got its start shortly after he joined the United States Army in 1952. It was there, while idly passing the time during leave by playing the organ, that he came to the notice of his commanding officer as a likely person to put on the "Soldier Parade" with Arlene Francis (later of What's My Line? fame). Shortly afterward, Ferrari performed on a number of public service recordings that were distributed coast to coast. An avid amateur radio operator, he held the call of WA2MKI and was heard nearly daily on the air talking to his friends as he drove to and from his home in New Jersey to the television studio.[5]

During the 1960s, he also performed as the organist for Philadelphia's ice hockey team, the Philadelphia Flyers.[6]

The Larry Ferrari Show was seen in the Delaware Valley for 43 years on Sunday mornings. (Its theme music was his instrumental version of "Once In A While.") Ferrari's show lasted longer than any other show on Channel 6, with the exception of Chief Halftown.[7] He was also the Lowrey Organ company's National Concert Artist. He also made cameo appearances as the house "band" on the syndicated Wheel of Fortune during their visit to the former Philadelphia Civic Center in Fall 1992.

The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia posthumously inducted Ferrari into their Hall of Fame in 2000.[8]

Death[edit]

Ferrari's last broadcast aired on Sunday, November 30, 1997 at 6:30 am. A resident of Cinnaminson Township, New Jersey, Ferrari died of leukemia at age 65 on November 20, 1997.[9]

Legacy[edit]

On November 16, 2000, Ferrari was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. The award was accepted on his behalf by longtime colleague W. Carter Merbreier (Captain Noah and His Magical Ark). Ferrari provided the music for Captain Noah, Chief Halftown, and Dialing for Dollars. Teaching many classes at Fox Chase elementary school in Philadelphia, Ferrari also helped teach school children music.

Recordings[edit]

1. Relax with Larry Ferrari, RCA Victor 1959 LPM-1496 (mono)
2. Reminisce, RCA Victor Living Stereo LSP-1850 (Schwann catalog 1-59)
3. At the Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe Organ-Detroit Senate Theatre
4. Encore-Detroit Senate Wurlitzer
5. Hawaiian Favorites "Especially For You"
6. My Favorite Hymns
7. I Wish You The Merriest (Christmas)
8. Memories
9. Merry Christmas Carols
10. Most Requested T.V. Favorites
Source: Schwann Catalog, April 1960 p. 203

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Wilkinson, Gerry. "Larry Ferrari" (biographical sketch). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia, retrieved online May 22, 2019.
  2. ^ "In the Ferrari household, the specialties are Italian." Camden, New Jersey: Courier-Post ("Taste" section), March 20, 1985, p. 49 (available via Newspapers.com; subscription required).
  3. ^ "Nationally Famous Radio and TV Personality in Person! Larry Ferrari at the Organ." Pottstown, Pennsylvania: The Mercury, p. 15.
  4. ^ "In the Ferrari household, the specialties are Italian," Courier-Post.
  5. ^ Wilkinson, "Larry Ferrari," Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia.
  6. ^ "Flyers lose." Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The Inquirer, February 14, 1969, p. 36.
  7. ^ Wilkinson, "Larry Ferrari," Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
  8. ^ Wilkinson, "Larry Ferrari," in Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia.
  9. ^ Staff. "Larry Ferrari", The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 21, 1997. Accessed June 18, 2012. "Larry Ferrari, 65, a Philadelphia institution who played the organ on his own show on Channel 6 for 40 years, died yesterday of cancer at his home in Cinnaminson."