Victor Best

Linc Reed-Nickerson
Fri Jan 1 17:54:50 EST 2010

I worked at WIHS in 1964/5, departing WMUR in the fall of '64 and joining
the "real" WHDH in May of '65.

I was the token Jew in the Engineering Department crew ;-)  I believe the
then Chief Engineer Don Wise was the token Protestant.

Monsignor Walter Flaherty was the President, and Austin Harrison (who had
come from a station in Joplin, MO) was the General Manager.  Bill Harnard
was the Program Manager (also from Joplin), and Dave Baker, who I believe
came from Channel 7 was the film editor.  Howie Williams was Don Wise's
assistant, Lou Jordan was the transmitter operator.  Skip Boucher was also a
technician and we had this screw-ball kid, Paul Beck, that did something, we
never did figure out what, but Paul grew up and did very well for himself.
Ted Sepulski (?) or something like that was a booth announcer along with the
late Chris Clausen.   

There were two newscasters, Victor Best and John D. O'Connell.  John D. had
a serious alcohol problem and was dismissed in early '65.  The story I was
told was that John D. had lost his wife (or girlfriend) while moving to
Boston, killed in a car wreck, and he was having difficulty dealing with the
loss.  I wonder if he ever surfaced again?

There were only two news films during my tenure, one was a helicopter crash
near Logan Airport I shot with my new (to me) Bolex 16MM camera and the
other was a brief clip from the Laurel & Hardy film "Hoosegow" on February
23rd 1965.  I had just purchased and received in the mail the first of the
many L&H 16 MM films I collected (I bought it from the long gone Movie
Wonderland, 6116 Glen Tower, Hollywood, I learned about Movie Wonderland
from Dave Baker).  What has always been significant to me was that I
received the film on the day Stan Laurel died, and had taken in to work with
me.. so we had a brief clip on the air for the newscast.  I still have a
closet full of 16MM L&H and other slapstick even though I have most now on

Back to WIHS...

The newscast did have two cameras, one fixed on Victor and the other used
for very generic stills to go with the newscasts, they were cut from
publications like "Life Magazine" and hot pressed on to cards.  Obviously we
had no rights to use them.

In about April of '65 a vote was taken to unionize the station, which
passed, so the Archdiocese promptly curtailed operations and let everybody
go. Later I did get asked to stay on but had already been hired as a Summer
relief by both WBZ and WHDH.  Having seen both operations it was a no
brainier, I went to Ch 5, WBZ was a technical disaster while WHDH was a show
place.  I got drafted that Summer and when I got out I did go to work at
WBZ... If there had been an opening I'd probably would have gone back to Ch
5, and I'd probably just be retiring from WCVB... But BZ was such a dump and
so poorly managed technically I moved on and the way things have turned out
I am glad I did. 

In the end, Austin Harrison invested a lot of his own money trying to keep
WIHS going, and I believe he did well when Storer bought the station, I hope

Monsignor Flaherty was a scratch golfer, I'm told he had occasionally played
with Bing Crosby. His administrative assistant was May Madigan, a very
lovely lady!  On Sundays we did a live show called "John Kiley by Request."
John, as the story goes, is the only man who played for all four teams, the
Red Sox, The Bruins, the Celtic and the Patriots.... for those not
familiar... the position John played... the organ!

Then there was the day we took a camera on the roof of the building at 22
Granby street to incorporate some city shots into John's show... Boy was Don
Wise mad at us!

Thanks for letting me share some memories, and happy new year!


Oh, did I mention the time Skip brought a rather "lubricated" young lady to
the studio and shot some video I don't think the church would approve of?

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of
Peter Q. George
Sent: Thursday, December 31, 2009 9:03 AM
Subject: Re: Victor Best

If recall, Victor Best eventually wound up on Boston Catholic's WIHS-TV
Channel 38 (now WSBK-TV) in around 1965 doing "Victor Best and The News".
He was basically doing copy with no film or whatever.  He was reading the
copy sitting at a desk with a placard in front of him that said "Victor
Best".  The background was wood paneling.  It was obviously a one-camera
shot.  One time I remember he was on the air with his arm in a sling for a
few days. (Must have hurt himself at the time.) I vaguely recall it was only
a 10-15 minute newscast, right before "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis".

In 1964, Channel 38 was Boston's first UHF'er since the demise of WTAO-TV
Channel 56 back in 1956.  During the day the station was airing
instructional programs to schools in the Archdiocese.  After 4, the station
went to a (what we would call today) general entertainment Independent.
Eventually the station was sold to Storer Broadcasting in 1966.  Proceeds
for the sale of the station probably went to the cost of getting Boston
Catholic's ITFS (Instructional Television Fixed Service) system up and
running from the Pru. 

More than likely, Victor's short stay at Channel 38 was probably during the
time he was "between jobs".  It brought him a paycheck.  But also it more
than likely, it gave WIHS-TV a little more credibility for the people who
actually had UHF TV's at the time.  Apparently, people did notice it and
watched it, just before the 6:00 Newscasts on Channels 4, 5 and 7.     

Peter Q. George (K1XRB)
Whitman, Massachusetts
"Scanning the bands since 1967"

--- On Wed, 12/30/09, <> wrote:

> From: <>
> Subject: Victor Best
> To:
> Date: Wednesday, December 30, 2009, 11:02 PM
> Didn't Victor Best jump from WBZ-TV
> to WNAC-TV and engender some  bad 
> feelings by announcing his departure to WNAC on his
> (obviously) last  broadcast 
> on channel 4? I'm sure Donna can fill us in on that.
> Chris  Sullivan

More information about the Boston-Radio-Interest mailing list