Father Jim Drucker — The Rock ‘n’ Roll Priest

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The first time I met Father Jim Drucker was at the Broadcast Pioneers lunch a few years ago. I thought to myself -now that is different. I had never seen a priest at one of our lunches. I didn’t know just how different until he approached me and introduced himself.

I knew the name Jim Drucker from listening to radio in Scranton, PA. Jim Drucker was on air at WARM. Virtually everyone who lived in the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Area listened to WARM. There wasn’t even a close second at the time. Their signal was such that the entire NE PA could listen, and they certainly did. With such a large percentage of the population listening, WARM had more listeners than many top forty stations in much larger markets. If you were on the air at WARM, you had to be good. Some of the DJs on the air were certainly an influence on me.

So…you’ve got to wonder how a person goes from being a successful DJ to becoming a priest. As it turns out, there’s much more to the story. Since becoming a friend of Father Drucker, I have been able to get at least some of the whole story.

It would seem unlikely that little James Drucker would ever become a priest. He grew up in a tough neighborhood in Philadelphia. He was raised a Catholic and went to Catholic school until second grade. Apparently, his behavior prompted a nun to crack his head open with a ruler, so his mother transferred him to the neighborhood Hackett public school. From there it was John Paul Jones Junior High and Edison High School.

It was while in high school that Jim Drucker started a lifelong love affair with music. He took music lessons and sang in the hallways and in the bathrooms-often at the expense of the classes he was supposed to be attending. Philadelphia has long been a hot bed of singing groups and Edison had their share. Jim knew and sang with some of them. That included The Boss-Tones who had a hit with “Mopeity Mope” and The Equadors on recorded a minor hit on RCA Records called “Sputnik Dance”. Drucker would work again with Alan Turner of The Equadors when Jim became a talent scout for the famous Jolly Joyce Booking Agency in Philadelphia.

Besides being a talent scout, Jim Drucker produced some of the famous WIBG record hops. That led to him producing the WIBG record albums for Post Records. That included those by the famous WIBG lineup of Hy Lit, Joe Niagara, Don L. Brink and Bill Wright.

This was followed by Jim being the personal and road manager for Patti LaBelle. Then some promotional work that included breaking the hit record for the Beau Brummels called “Laugh, Laugh”.

In 1964 Drucker decided to try his hand at being on the other side of the mike and go on the air. His first gig was at WYNS in the Leighton-Allentown Area. From there it a swing upstate to WSCR in Scranton from 1967-69. Then his big step up came in 1969 when he was hired by WARM.

During his radio years he established Drucker Publishing which owns the rights to some hit records. He also produced records at many of the best recording studios in the country and for record companies like Decca and Vanguard. He even played on some sessions.

Then, in what would seem to be an unlikely career change, Jim decided that he had a higher calling than the music industry. He attained a total of four degrees. From the University of Scranton in Sociology/Philosophy, from SS Cyril and Methodius Seminary, Master of Arts, Theology, from Journalism School of Arkansas in Little Rock Master of Arts (Magma Cum Laude).

He went on to serve as a parish priest but got special permission in 1987 to leave and enter the US Army as Senior Catholic Chaplin with the rank of Captain. He served honorably in the combat zones in the first Gulf War. He has received numerous awards for his tour of duty in the Army. After his tour of duty ended, he devoted his time to helping in the Department of Military Affairs. He remained active until 2007.

While Father Drucker no longer serves as an active priest, he serves in other ways. He has never forgotten his roots in Philadelphia and frequently visits his many friends here. Among those friends are Bobby Rydell. Father calls Bobby and his other South Philly buddies “the Ghumba Gang”. See them at one of their Wednesday night dinners below.

Father Drucker has returned to his love of music. He has and will be the MC for oldie shows and has been on the air (see below). Look for more from Father Drucker in the near future.


 Jim Drucker T Morgan

Father Drucker with T. Morgan

 

 

Father Drucker Bobby Rydell

Bobby Rydell and Father Drucker

 

 

Father Jim Lou Costello

Father Drucker with Lou Costello

 

 

Father Drucker Friends Philly

Father Drucker and Friends

 

 

Father Drucker On Air

Father Drucker On Air Recently

9 comments

  • Comment Link Michael Weaver Tuesday, October 22, 2019 posted by Michael Weaver

    I met father Drucker in the hallway at the Lebanon VA medical center, approximately 11 years ago. What a “great” person and priest he is. If their were more priest like Father Drucker, the church would not be in the shambles it is. He just sent me a Happy Birthday message for my 70th. It was really a pleasure hearing from him. I never knew of the rock n roll priest, thumbs up Father... It’s a pleasure to be aquatinted with you, I hope our friendship only ends when we do.

  • Comment Link Elizabeth Anne Payne Monday, September 23, 2019 posted by Elizabeth Anne Payne

    It was a great honor to meet you while Frank Lafaro and the Fashions performed at the fair on Saturday. You have done a lot. I am a member of SAG/AFTRA which I was in a radio commercial, worked as a WFIL Lovely lady. Use to drive the money car and make bank deposits. Worked inter-office and had several Promotional work. Tony Mann worked their then. Was working for the Car shows as Miss Ben Pilla and Miss Atco Raceway. Was in several movies as an extra and TV Shows, had a lot of titles when I was younger. Met Johnny Rutherford, Joe Fraser, and Neil Armstrong during a Convention I worked for a modeling agent. And many other things. Getting ready to go on radio with John Leary to talk about all my credits. I have worked the hard way to accomplish everything that I did. God Bless you. Betty Anne aka Elizabeth

  • Comment Link Bob DeCarlo Tuesday, September 10, 2019 posted by Bob DeCarlo

    Hey. Father Jim. Kudos from an old compatriot in the golden days of radio.

  • Comment Link Duran Tuesday, September 10, 2019 posted by Duran

    We love you Fr.Jim
    God bless you

  • Comment Link Johnny B. Hall Tuesday, September 10, 2019 posted by Johnny B. Hall

    Father Jim is a good friend of whom I don't see anywhere often enough. enough. We owe each other a breakfast in Hazleton again!

  • Comment Link John Quintrell Wednesday, July 17, 2019 posted by John Quintrell

    Father Jim is all this and much more ! His continued service to Veterans of all wars shows his love of vets and his nation. Being with Father Jim has inspired me to continue to tell the stories of Vietnam vets.God bless you my friend

  • Comment Link dominic Wednesday, July 17, 2019 posted by dominic

    a wonderful Tribute...now use thisas an entry resume... get a program /// jim drucker'' THE ROCK AND ROLL RETIRED PRIEST'' ...... with a black banded grey pandora hat, an opened callard white shirt and black pants with cowboy boots / ...now there's no stopping you/
    go out and make some money while enjoying your self........., dominic

  • Comment Link Dr.Rock Thursday, June 27, 2019 posted by Dr.Rock

    Wow Father Jim great story loved every minute of it

  • Comment Link Dick Summer Saturday, June 1, 2019 posted by Dick Summer

    Great story on Fr. Jim, "T". Thanks. Dick

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