As we took the hour and fifteen-minute drive from Atlantic City to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, Jerry Blavat was fiddling with his radio. With two of my friends in the back seat and I occupying the front passenger’s seat in the Geator’s Black Phantom — a term with which he described his new 1966 Buick Riviera — I watched as this radio aficionado was trying to tune in out-of-town stations during the post-Sunday midnight time.

That ride came back to me, as I heard of Blavat’s passing last week at the age of 82. With him now gone, an entire region of followers of this unique disc jockey and media personality are left with memories that keep his influence alive. This writer is among those.

Earlier during that summer weekend some 56 years ago, I was among four friends who shared a room at Atlantic City’s still-upscale Ritz Carlton Hotel. Our splitting of the bill made our stay there affordable. We were soon to learn that Blavat was the occupant of the neighboring room. When we came upon the opened door to his suite, he emerged and was more than engaging. We told him we needed a ride back to Philadelphia and he told us to meet him at his record hop — to be held that Sunday night — downstairs in the ballroom. Saying he could only fit three of us in his car, one friend dropped out, acknowledging that he needed to get up for work.

The late-night ride was very telling, as Blavat had shed his stage persona and I watched him tuning in various stations, something I had been doing late at night for several years. Clearly, it was a part of his DNA. He asked us to repeat our names, as he wanted to give us a shout-out on his WHAT radio show. We being from the East Mt. Airy section of the city, he called us “the three musketeers from Mt. Airy.” He also asked us to attend his “Discophonic Scene” TV show on channel 10, a popular program that featured well-known music performers and a slew of teenage dancers. He followed through on both counts, making it a memorable week focused on this personality to whom so many teenagers looked up.

His music tastes that centered on many formerly obscure Doo Wop and R&B artists, mostly black, appealed to me. He had first appeared on Camden’s WCAM, then had now added WHAT, which increased his following. Ironically, for five years in the late seventies, I would be behind the same mic he had used, while spinning the same type of music which he had on WCAM.

Over the past four decades, as one of the many who would dance at his club, Memories in Margate, it always meant entering an atmosphere where you could put the world on hold for several hours and be a part of an aura created by “The Geator, Jerry Blavat. For so many of us, those special summer nights were representative of the summers of our youth.

The journey that took place on that summer night in 1966 was just a part of the one so many of us have taken with him, figuratively — whether through his music selection or personal conversations. It is one which lives on in many of our hearts. And it acts as a form of immortality, for the man who said “keep on rockin’, you only rock once.”

Jeff Hurvitz ( is a freelance writer and was an announcer on WCAM.

3 thoughts on “Jeff Hurvitz: A journey with Jerry Blavat”

  1. We will think fondly on listening to the Geator with the Heater and dancing at Wagner’s Ballroom on north Broad Street.

  2. A Block Party at the Cathedral on the Shabbos…Quite a Send off for a Jew laid out in Papal Garb.

    An Extraordinary Promoter, Blessed from the Day Lucy the Riveter pushed Him on stage…He was a Jew Wop Rappin’ Fixer from the Corner who got a Better Send Off than all the Gangsters, Billionaire Moguls, Entertainers ,Corrupt Public Officials who He came before and didn’t show for His Big Show.

    One of the Greatest Shakedown Artists of All Time…from Bandstand to the Cathedral, WHAT A BIKE RIDE.

    1. Jason- your response lacks one glowing characteristic: class. My piece dealt with the positive impact he had on the world around him.

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