Riffs Obits
Wikipedia entry for Hy Lit
Published January 8, 2008
Hy Lit Splits
Hy Lit 1934 - 2007

His formal name in the informal world of the 1950's Philly airwaves was Hyski O'Rooney McVoughtie O'Zoot. His friends and his fans (he didn't seem to have any enemies) called him Hyski. Hy Lit was as handsome as Rock Hudson, as energetic as a freshly cleaved atom, and as mellifluous as the best of the silver tongued devils of the time. He wowed the populance in a long radio career that spanned the 50's through the '90s (and beyondski.) He introduced the Elvis Preseley, The Beach Boys, The Beatles and the Rolling Stones when they made their debuts in Philiadelphia.

He was greatly fond of the twists, turns and hip flips of the English language and put it to good use in his radio shows and the various dance hops he emcee'd. He even compiled his use of hip lanaguage calling it "Hy Lit's Dictionary of Hip Words."

Time Magazine movie reviewer Richard Corliss perhaps sums ups Hy Lit best in this quote:

  "Hy Lit, I first heard him on WHAT (a white man on a black station; it happened then) in the winter of 1956-57. So Hy is the insinuating commentary running under my memories of certain prime cuts: Shirley and Lee's "Let the Good Times Roll," Mickey & Sylvia's "Love Is Strange," Fats Domino's "I'm in Love Again," Lee Andrews and the Hearts' "Long Lonely Nights" (co-written, according to the label, by Douglas Henderson). If Jocko was baritone, Hy Lit was a nervous tenor. A would-be-pro baseball player from the University of Miami, he called his listeners "babycakes" and himself "Hyski O'Rooney McVoughtie O'Zoot." (Why oh why is Lit's peripatetic paradiddle patter embedded in my pre-teen muscle memory, especially considering that the rest of my musculature has amnesia?) Hy moved down the dial from WHAT 1340 to WIBG 990, when that station acquired a 50,000-watt transmitter and a new pop-rock sound in 1957."