BUFFALO, NY ( WKBW ) Remember "Rocketship 7" and "Dialing For Dollars" on Channel 7 from the 1960's and 70's? Those popular programs were hosted by Buffalo native Dave Thomas. He returned to his hometown Saturday night to be honored by the Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center at their annual gala.
Hundreds joined Dave at the new AVANT Building in downtown Buffalo raising thousands of dollars to support the BHSC. Other celebrities in attendance included former "American Idol" star John Stevens who sang with the Jim Tudini Big Band, featuring Bobby Militello.
Dave Thomas left WKBW in 1978 to become host of "AM/Philadelphia" and later the Chief Weather anchor for "Action News" on WPVI in Philadelphia. He retired in December after 43 years in broadcasting. His son David Boreanaz is a popular actor and star of the series "Bones" and "Buffy The Vampire Slayer." Dave's popular sidekick "Promo The Robot" made an appearance as a surprise during Dave's speech.
The 9th floor of the AVANT was transformed into an elegant ballroom that featured live and silent auction items. One of the live auction items included a "Wing King" party hosted by Wing Fest organizer Drew Cerza for 25 people. Radio personality Rob Lederman of 97 Rock was the live auction host, and was able to extract thousands for the party from willing bidders.
The Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center works with children and adults who are autistic, have difficulty hearing, and need special learning assistance. The BHSC has been in existence for more than 50 years, and will now operate a new Charter School in a former Buffalo Public School building in the Days Park section of the City. Joe Cozzo is Executive Director of the organization.
Lou Billittier, Jr. of Chef's Restaurant joined Hamburg native Bryan
Wittman, a Senior Vice President for the Walt Disney Company, in producing the event, supported by Channel 7.