Small-town TV (was: WMUR)
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 <email@example.com>
To: Peter Q. George <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Bud Yacomb <email@example.com>; boston-radio-interest@lists.BostonRadio.org
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" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Doug Drown" <email@example.com>; "Bud Yacomb"
Sent: Monday, March 24, 2008 2:57 PM
Subject: Re: WMUR
> --- Doug Drown <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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
> 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"
> Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your home page.
Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your home page.
More information about the Boston-Radio-Interest