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Looking back and ahead on WKBW's commitment to the Variety Telethon

Posted: 4:17 PM, Nov 14, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-14 21:17:06Z

Since 1963, the Variety Telethon has entertained and enlightened the Western New York Community on WKBW-TV. 

In the early days, people lined the streets to bring their donations to our Main Street studio! Lots of celebrities joined the cast each year. Stars like Burt Reynolds, Davey Jones from the Monkees and Bob McGraph from Sesame Street became friends with the children each year, dancing and asking for donations.

Some regulars to the telethon each year included Mr Food, Bowser with Sha Na Na, Buffalo's first family of music, The Scintas, and Terry Buchwald as "Elvis."

They joined the 7 Eyewitness News personalities to raise the much needed funds to help the kids, some even donated for Irv Weinstein to sing "I'm a little Teapot", a true highlight of the telethon!

So many generous companies, local dignitaries and school kids helped to make our telethon goal every year. But the children are the reason we do the Variety Kids Telethon, and we have had so many stories of miracles performed by the doctors and nurses of the old Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo on Bryant Street, where Dr. Robert Warner was so instrumental in making things happen.

In 2012 for the 50th Anniversary of the telethon, several of the past celebrity children returned to the center stage to thank everyone for helping them.

Over the years, millions of dollars have been raised for the kids. We hope many more miracles will happen at the new John R. Oishei Children's Hospital on the medical campus.many more miracles will happen!

Another annual tradition on WKBW is the New Year's Eve Ball Drop.  Our Countdowns to a new year have illuminated Roosevelt Plaza and the Electric Tower for 30 years.

Starting off as 97 Rock's Gift to the city, since 1988, 7 Eyewitness News has been the place to be on New Year's Eve.  

Through the years, our own Keith Radford has been a constant on New Year's with a variety of cohosts joining him. Although new year's weather can be unpredictable, it has never stopped the team from bringing home to you New Year's Rockin Eve with Dick Clark and our hometown version of Times Square live from Downtown Buffalo!

Year after year, we ring in the new year and wish Western New York great things in the year to come!