James D. Lindemuth, Sr.

February 5, 2013

James Douglas Lindemuth Sr., died Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune. He was 85 years old. Jim passed on in death the way he lived his life, with dignity and respect. Jim was born and raised in Wyomissing (Pennsylvania) and graduated from Wyomissing High School in 1945. He was a gifted athlete who lettered in a number of sports including baseball, basketball, soccer and track and field events and also found time for football, golf and tennis. Always wanting to play professional baseball, he worked his way from high school baseball on to the advanced American Legion baseball program and then the Reading (Pennsylvania) City Industrial League, which produced many major league stars-to-be. With strong scouting reports and connections with the Brooklyn Dodgers, he appeared headed to the Dodgers system. However, his dreams of a baseball career were dashed as a result of sports-ending knee injuries. Early on, Jim developed a keen interest in music and became an accomplished clarinetist.
Jim went to Lafayette College, Easton (Pennsylvania), in pursuit of degrees in English and Geology. At Lafayette, he was a member of Zeta Psi national fraternity. While there, he formed a jazz group along the lines of the Benny Goodman Sextet and performed at local fraternity functions and nearby colleges, all of which helped to pay his college tuition expenses. Having grown up in the big band “swing era,” the wanderlust eventually got to him and he took a leave of absence to hook up with Tommy Dorsey, touring with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra for the better part of a year. He remained a friend of Tommy Dorsey until his unexpected death in 1956. He had a storied professional career in network television and as an advertising executive. Once out of college, he took his first job, in broadcasting, with CBS radio station WHUM in Reading (Pennsylvania), where he developed creative writing skills as a copywriter, sportswriter and publicity writer and show producer. Writing was to become a vital part of his life and career. Never satisfied with just one job at a time, Jim wrote weekly press releases for several “stock car” auto racetracks and contributed regular columns in National Speed Sport Magazine and Illustrated Speedway News. He also wrote publicity releases for the Reading entry in the Eastern Professional Basketball League and also found time to work as an “advance man” for the world-famous Shipstads & Johnson Ice Follies before continuing with a career in broadcasting. In his game plan to move up to CBS Television in New York, he joined Philadelphia's WCAU TV-10, CBS top owned and operated TV station. It was here that he worked on a number of (Philadelphia) locally-produced shows which were fed to the CBS Network. While in Philadelphia, Jim was also assigned to the Philadelphia A’s and Philadelphia Phillies baseball games, telecasting home games to opponents’ cities when the local area was “blacked out.” It was here where he met Robin Roberts, resulting in Jim engaging Roberts to host a sports show of the same name, written and produced by Jim. It was in Philadelphia TV where he also worked with Ed McMahon (“Johnny Carson Show”) and Jack Whitaker (“Wide World of Sports”), who went on to become major TV personalities. With his love of music and interest in opera, Jim wrote, directed and produced for CBS Television Theater “The Life and Works of Guiseppe Verdi.” This accelerated his move to New York television.
Once having earned his spurs as a network television director on the New York stage, he joined “The Ed Sullivan Show,” his first major TV connection in New York in those pioneer days of live television. For the next 20 years, working in network television control rooms throughout New York City, Jim worked on some of the most celebrated shows in television history; “The Ed Sullivan Show” (he was there when Bo Diddley made his TV debut in 1955 and when Elvis Presley made his first of three appearances in 1956, performing “Shake, Rattle & Roll,” “Hound Dog” and “Heartbreak Hotel” to a frenzied audience), and other CBS shows, including “The Arthur Godfrey Show,” “The 564,000 Challenge,” “What's My Line” and “Captain Kangaroo.” He also worked on the “Steve Allen Show” at NBC-TV and “The Price Is Right” (with original host Bill Cullen), and on ABC-TV’s “Who Do You Trust,” where Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon teamed up for the first time in what was to become their long-term relationship. When Jim achieved his goals in TV production, he moved on to Young & Rubicam, the prestigious Madison Avenue advertising agency, where he directed live television commercials. He later chose to take on still another challenge, moving over to Y&R management where he was an account executive with responsibilities for major clients, including General Motors, Lipton, Remington, Goodyear, General Electric, Procter & Gamble, Gulf, Cluett Peabody and General Foods. In working with these national accounts, he gained a lifetime of experience in media, marketing, research and merchandising. In the course of his work, Jim also served as a casting director for numerous TV programs and television commercials, working with the William Morris Agency, the world’s leading talent agency for entertainers, bands and pop personalities, and with major New York model agencies (e.g., Eileen Ford, John Powers) to engage actors, actresses and models for various television properties. Having accomplished his goals in New York television and advertising circles spanning two decades, he left the city and moved to Fair Haven (New Jersey).
In 1979, while considering semi-retirement, Jim moved to Ocean Grove (New Jersey) and accepted a position as Executive Director of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association with day-to-day responsibilities for Operations, Program, Finance and Development. Always having been exposed to the entertainment world, he presented over 200 concerts in the Great Auditorium, featuring top-name concert artists in the fields of pop, classical, big bands, opera, gospel and country music. His proudest moment as a concert promoter was in 1994, the 100th anniversary of the Great Auditorium, when Jim re-created the famous 1938 Benny Goodman concert at Carnegie Hall. The Great Auditorium was packed with jazz enthusiasts from the tri-state area offering thunderous applause throughout this awesome performance by the finest group of big band musicians ever assembled.
With a lifelong interest in Early American and English antiques, Jim assembled numerous collections, including one of the finest collections of century-old miniature oil lamps in the country. His vast collection of Ocean Grove memorabilia, which included souvenir china and glass, ephemera, pottery, sterling silver, photos, stereoviews, postcards, advertising, novelties, paperweights, police and fire badges is currently on display at the Historical Society of Ocean Grove, where for many years Jim volunteered his services in publicity and advertising. He also promoted numerous Postcard & Paper Shows for the Historical Society and assisted with their auctions and other special events. Following retirement from the Camp Meeting Association in 1996, Jim decided to take on still another “career” and chose to become a Postcard Dealer specializing in New Jersey antique and vintage postcards. Having accumulated such a large collection of New Jersey views, he went on to sell at postcard and antiques shows, working over 25 shows each year in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Throughout his personal life and career, Jim worked with and befriended many celebrities in the fields of art, television, music, entertainment, opera, government, antiques, sports and corporate America. Among them were Ed Sullivan, Steve Allen, Arthur Godfrey, John Daly, Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo), Bill Cullen, renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, baseball legend Cornelius “Connie” Mack, noted sculptor Jacques Lipchitz, TV's Ed McMahon (Jim lunched with McMahon twice weekly in New York before he moved on to the West Coast with Johnny Carson), noted CBS journalist Edward R. Murrow, comedian Don Knotts, TV panelists Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf and Arlene Francis, Metropolitan Opera stars Jerome Hines and Rosiland Elias, band leader Skitch Henderson, golf great Byron Nelson, Indianapolis “500” winner Bill Holland, Norman Vincent Peale, Leon Hess, Philadelphia Phillies Hall of Famer Robin Roberts, major league baseball stars Carl Furillo, Brooklyn Dodgers, and Whitey Kurowski, St. Louis Cardinals, auto thrill show performer Joey Chitwood, and movie actress Margaret O'Brien.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Jim's name to the Historical Society of Ocean Grove, 50 Pitman Ave., Ocean Grove.


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