Archive for May, 2007

A Blast From The Past
May 9, 2007

They were the voices of San Diego.
They had names like Art Way, Ernie Myers and Happy Hare, and there they were, all on an outdoor stage at San Diego State, for a Press Club event called “Blast From The Past”. The idea was to honor some of the legendary figures from San Diego’s golden age of radio.
It was a collection of titanic egos, but then, they’re probably entitled. In the 1950’s and 60’s when most of them were on the air, there were far fewer radio stations, and far less competition from television. They were the media stars of their day, and took this city from a backwater radio town to a high-octane market, just by virtue of their being here.
But they’ve gotten older.
Some of the golden vocal tones have faded with age and infirmity. You wanted them to be strong and vital for just a little while longer, but they’re getting close to 80 (and in one case, 90).
One of the speakers didn’t know where to end, or begin, his acceptance speech. Eventually the uncomfortable audience began clapping of its own accord, and the speaker realized he was done.
Others don’t seem to have missed a beat. Happy Hare sounds like he just came off afternoon “drive”, as the 3 to 6 shift is called. Joe Bauer, Clark Anthony and some of the younger honorees were brilliant.
And quips were fairly flying from the stage. As one speaker dragged on at length, another shouted “Would you hurry up! My prostate’s the size of an avocado, and I gotta pee!”
You wouldn’t have heard that in 1962. Or Shotgun Tom shouting for the “SOB-ingcarillon bells to stop ringing while he was trying to read a Gary Owens tribute to Perry Allen”.
In the end, though, the organizers really pulled together something very special. You hate to say it, but times are changing. The radio business is nothing like it was when these guys were the toast of the town, and I’m not sure when, or if, there will ever be another gathering of so much pure San Diego radio talent. As these legends said “thank you” and essentially “goodbye”, you might have seen a tear or two, at least if you were sitting anywhere near me.

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Hey. Aren’t you………
May 1, 2007


They say that each of us has a physical double rotating somewhere on this earth. You might be riding on the Coaster one day, and there you see somebody across the aisle who looks just pretty darn much like you.
Sometimes your “double” or “near double” is a well-known person, and that can have unexpected consequences.
A few years ago, I went with a group of friends to Disneyland, a.k.a. “The Happiest Place On Earth”. As I am frightened by roller coasters, these friends hoodwinked me into thinking that “Space Mountain” was an educational exhibit about astronomy. Then I heard the screams.
Anyway, while waiting in line for this cardiac ride, we were spotted by people, who I guessed were somehow connected with the theme park itself. Inexplicably, they escorted us past dozens of palpitating folks and directly into the very next awaiting thrill car. Later something similar happened at The Matterhorn. Smiling employees escorted us to the front of the line.
Odd.
A friend suggested it was because I looked like Michael Eisner, the then CEO of Disney and a genuinely famous fella. I suggested it was because my friend had a cast on one foot. But secretly I hoped he was right.
I’m often mistaken for NBC 7/39 financial guru George Chamberlin. Those who know us at all would never make that mistake. He’s a responsible adult with encyclopedic knowledge of the financial markets, puts and calls, the balance of payments, and the price of eggs. Sometimes, folks don’t wait to find out that I am not he. They simply ask if I have any hot stock tips. I always tell them. “Disney”.
It’s usually George that I mistaken for. But sometimes it’s Gene Cubbison, Bob Hansen, Loren Nancaro or Garrik Utley. Once on the Trolley, a lady zeroed in on me and exclaimed “You’re King Stahlman!” I can sort of see how I might be mistaken for Loren. Or Tim Flannery.
My grandmother had a heck of time keeping our names straight. There were five of us kids. All had first names that began with “K”, so when I was in the process of some misdemeanor, she’d try to call out corrective commands, but often got the K’s jammed up, and was just as likely to call me by my brother’s name.
He’s taller and smarter.
But I look at lot more like Michael Eisner.

* * * * *IN OTHER NEWS * * * * * * *

We got a couple of e-questions about the show, and whether we’re all down at the Station working every Sunday night evening cobbling it together. Actually, we tape the show on Tuesday or Wednesday mornings (sometimes both). The Friday night news segments are generally shot on Thursday. And the Sunday morning news segment is a “classic” from the past files.

On May 20, look for an “About San Diego” Special. Ahead of Legacy Week, we’ll do a profile of Bob Hope and his history with the Carrier U.S.S. Midway, permanently ported now in San Diego.
The Hope estate has been very generous with video of his performances aboard Midway, and we’ll be proud to have the segments shown aboard ship thereafter.

On our story about Charles Hatfield, and his supposed rainmaking adventures in San Diego in 1916, a viewer wrote to tell us that during the record rains we spoke of in 1980 during our “guess the year” segment, stormy weather forced SDSU to postpone an opening-night performance of a theatrical presentation. And what was the title of that play? The Rainmaker.