Remembering the Providence television program “Dialing for Dollars.”

Last weekend I shared an entire Providence newscast from 1986 that I stumbled upon while going down a YouTube rabbit hole. This led to more memories springing to mind of WLNE 6 in the days of my youth in the 1980’s and one of my favorite programs in particular: Vote for dollars.

I moved to Plymouth in 1985 at the age of seven, having lived in the Randolph-Brockton area for most of my life up to that point. In Plymouth I discovered Providence TV stations and fell in love with WLNE because I didn’t have a TV in my room at the time – just an old Emerson bakelite radio that allowed me to tune in to WLNE simultaneously on the radio.

I would listen to any CBS show (WLNE was a CBS affiliate at the time). Kate and Allie, neuhart, Murphy Brown, Magnum, P.I, wise guy, The equalizerand just play them in my head like old radio plays and imagine the plot in my head.

However, when I got home from school, I could usually get away with tuning the living room TV to something Vote for dollars with George Allen, the afternoon block where WLNE showed a film (heavily edited for daytime TV, of course) where Allen offered cash for people who could call and win.

I didn’t care about the money because I was too young to call and win anyway; For me it was all about movies and movies that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to see. I remember watching some of my favorite horror movies from the 80’s for the first time Vote for dollarssuch as the howl, Halloweenand Cujo.

Back then I couldn’t get enough movies. Whenever I stayed with my grandparents, I usually spent my nights watching The film loft with Dana Hersey on WSBK TV-38. All these years later, I still secretly resent the fact that I’m on radio on the same station that Dana Hersey does voiceovers (he’s the voice of The Howie Carr Show).

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Even on the weekends, I watched TV-38 to see the program Ask the manager, in which people wrote letters to station management, revealing the inner workings of a local independent television station. I was obsessed with all of this. If you had asked me as a child what I would like to be when I grew up, I would have said “booth speaker for WLVI 56” or “the next moderator of Vote for dollars.”

As I got older I became more interested in things like Nickelodeon and MTV and Vote for dollars eventually went off the air anyway. I went from afternoon movies to late night movies with Gilbert Gottfried and Rhonda Shear USA up all nightbut I still give George Allen credit for helping nurture my lifelong love of movies.

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