Archive for the ‘A Blast From The Past’ Category

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.