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Spero, Herman


Herman Spero produced the longest-running polka television show, "Polka Varieties," broadcast from WEWS, the ABC affiliate in Cleveland. He was at the helm of the show from 1956 to 1975. Thanks to Herman, polka-lovers could welcome their favorite bands into their homes every Sunday afternoon.

America's Polka King Frankie Yankovic was the original band to perform on the one-hour show. Bands such as Richie Vadnal, George Staiduhar, Markic-Zagger, and Hank Haller took regular turns on "PolkaVarieties," introduced in the early years by host Tom Fletcher and by Paul Wilcox for most of the show's run.

Every prominent Cleveland-style polka band at one time performed on "Polka Varieties," as well as popular Polish, Italian and Bohemian-style bands. The show was also the only television showcase for the area's many nationality choruses and folk dance ensembles.

Herman eventually syndicated the show and"Polka Varieties" was enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of viewers in 30 major television markets.


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