Small-town TV (was: WMUR)

Maureen Carney
Mon Mar 24 17:14:03 EDT 2008

The entire special is available on WLZB's web site, along with many pictures of Eddie.

----- Original Message ----
From: Doug Drown <>
To: Peter Q. George <>; Bud Yacomb <>;
Sent: Monday, March 24, 2008 4:19:04 PM
Subject: Re: Small-town TV (was: WMUR)

>When you watched Channel 9, you felt like you're watching people just like 
>you.  It was definitely a real local-flavored style of television, 
>something you could never see on big city television.

I couldn't agree more.  The single most multitalented individual I have ever 
seen on local television, anywhere, was a guy named Eddie Driscoll who was 
with WLBZ, the NBC affiliate in Bangor, for 33 years --- from the day the 
station went on the air in 1954 until he retired.  Driscoll was not a 
college graduate and had had absolutely no training in broadcasting: he was 
a mill worker in Brewer who had a gift of gab and used to do comedy routines 
for Grange meetings and what-not.  Margo Cobb, WLBZ's original GM, had 
become acquainted with him somehow and asked him if he would like to do some 
of his acts on the then-new station.  He was petrified the first time he 
appeared on camera, but he did well and was so successful that after a while 
she offered him a full-time job.  He took her up on it.  He wound up doing 
everything at the station --- promos, booth announcing, "Dialing for 
Dollars," kiddie shows with his wife's handmade puppets, and a particularly 
memorable stint as host of "Weird," a Saturday night monster movie show, in 
which he did shticks as mad scientists, space aliens, and so forth.  Most of 
this was small-town live television, and there would be many a faux pas, but 
Driscoll would breeze through each one with a smart-aleck remark or 
self-deprecating humor.  He was a little chunky, had rubbery facial 
expressions, and could be howlingly, fall-out-of-your chair funny, sometimes 
just ad-libbing.  When he passed away a year and a half ago, there was many 
a tribute to him, even by WLBZ's competitors.  Everyone loved him, and, like 
Gus Bernier, he was a local TV icon.  WLBZ did a DVD on his career last 
year; I don't know whether it's still available, but it's well worth seeing. 
The guy was a hoot.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Peter Q. George" <>
To: "Doug Drown" <>; "Bud Yacomb" 
<>; <>; 
Sent: Monday, March 24, 2008 2:57 PM
Subject: Re: WMUR

> --- Doug Drown <> wrote:
>> As I said the other day, there was an endearing
>> small-city hokeyness to
>> Uncle Gus's show, and it certainly is true that a
>> lot of Masachusetts kids
>> watched it.  I was one of them.  (FWIW, I was a big
>> fan of Salty Brine on
>> Providence's Channel 12, too.  Living in the hills
>> of Worcester County with
>> a roof antenna, it was like having the best of all
>> possible worlds: TV from
>> Boston, Providence, Manchester, Hartford, Mount
>> Washington [a little snowy],
>> and Albany [Mount Greylock].  When cable arrived, it
>> was almost
>> superfluous.)
> I'll have to agree with you. In spite of Channel 9's
> technical problems (and yes, there were many), there
> was a unique feel about WMUR during the Uncle Gus era.
> Hokey, yes, it was.  But there was something truly
> different about watching Channel 9. When you watched
> Channel 9, you felt like you're watching people just
> like you.  It was definitely a real local-flavored
> style of television, something you could never see on
> big city television.  About the closest thing today
> you can see is local cable access.  Even that is
> quickly fading away, as well.  It's amazing that any
> video of the early color broadcasts of WMUR exist on
> YouTube.  That's truly fascinating, considering that
> home video was only in it's very stages at the time.
> Peter Q. George (K1XRB)
> Whitman, Massachusetts
>                          "Scanning the bands since 1967"
> ***********************************************************
> ____________________________________________________________________________________
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