December 6, 2009
Coincidentally, our son Scott Alvord (age 28) is dating a girl from Charlotte, and visited her family over Thanksgiving. It was his first trip to North Carolina and they drove past WBTV in honor of his dad.
With warm regards,
—Lynn Flaster (Alvord)
October 31, 2009
I read Tom Camp's recollection of Lewis Van Leuven on your BT Memories site with great interest. As the article states, Lewis was a paratrooper ... with E Company, 508th PIR, in fact, and he was wounded on June 8th, two days after D-Day.
—Richard J. O’Donnell
October 29, 2009
I had no idea that you had such a sense of humor - or that you were such an organ player. Why have you kept your 'candle under a bushel?' - at least from me? I am now truly a fan.
October 25, 2009
I discovered your fabulous web site BT Memories today and it brought back a treasure trove of memories.
I used to own a trucking company in Charlotte and would go out with my drivers to various places between Maine and Miami and one of the great treats WBT offered us was Larry James on the overnight Carolina Country Show.
Larry had a character on the show named Monroe Slump who reminded me of a cross between Festus on Gunsmoke and that guy who sang Please Mr. Custer. I know it was Larry doing the voice but it sure sounded like two people.
I talked to the then Program Director Andy Bickel and he revealed the secret that Monroe was on tape and that was how their conversations overlapped. Andy confided to me that Larry probably had the most entertaining show on WBT but that he was so shy in person. Larry came on after the great Henry Boggan and sometimes Henry would hang around and cut up with Larry and it was such a treat.
I was watching the Country Music Association Awards one night in 1978 because I knew Larry had been nominated for an award. Sure enough Johnny Cash announced his name Larry James WBT Charlotte! He was the 1978 Deejay Of The Year.
Many of us were so full of pride that someone from our city could win such a prestigious award. A day or two later on the front page of the Charlotte Observer was Larry, or LJ as Monroe called him, thumbing through a stack of 45s. I spent some enjoyable nights listening to Hello Henry then Larry James. When LJ lost his radio voice because a doctor goofed during vocal cord surgery it broke my heart and the hearts of my workers.
He left for parts unknown and nobody that followed him ever gave us that kind of entertainment. I wish I knew if Larry did well after leaving WBT.
Again, thanks for the wonderful web site.
September 9, 2009
All the wonderful story telling about the old days at WBTV and 60th anniversary has me reflecting about the role WBTV played in my life starting as a child growing up in Gastonia, gathering at neighbor's homes on Jackson Road when I was about five years old to watch Hopalong Cassidy, Lone Ranger, and Boston Blackie and then getting our first TV set in 1951. Doug Mayes, Clyde McLean, Betty Feezer, Pat Lee, Arthur Smith, Fred Kirby, et al. were all like movie stars to me growing up (if I ever did).
While attending Clemson I happened upon a party one night following the North-South Double Header in Charlotte at Mark Conrad and Sam Fuller's apartment at Hamilton House. They were total strangers but I remember sitting on their couch and asking what they did for a living and then asking 'how'd ya get those jobs,' thinking how lucky they were. Fast forward about three years and I'm out of college working for Procter and Gamble in Charlotte and the phone rings. Tom Cookerly wants Jim Babb and Bud Coggins to hire P&G trained sales people and would I be interested in working for WBTV? Are you kidding, little old Gastonia hick me working with the giants of broadcasting, and I didn't know what giants they really were. I was there for only two years -1969-'71 - but those two years were my most formative, and the lessons learned and friends made there are still with me today.
Now 40 years later I'm the general mangler (appropriate term for me coined by Markus T Conrad) of a WBTV type, old-line NBC station. Like WBTV, WGAL started out in an old downtown building in Lancaster PA (smallest city in the nation with a TV station at the time) and moved into a state of the art TV studio in the mid 50's. Unlike WBTV, WGAL has maintained its market dominance, thank heavens, and have had the good fortune to stay in touch with former employees and invite them back to events every year. On March 18th this year WGAL celebrated its 60th anniversary with an hour special which just won a Telly Award. We did not have a big party but we did invite our current and past employees to a special screening in our big studio and everyone seemed to have a great time.
Thank you all for allowing me to share the halls at #1 Julian Price Place. I was a very lucky SOB to have had that opportunity and owe much of what success I have had in this crazy business to what you taught me way back when.
Happy 60th anniversary to all who made WBTV such a magical and fun place to be.
August 14, 2009
I grew up on a chicken farm in Vineland, New Jersey.
When Dad bought a Clarion radio-phonograph in 1947, I inherited the small, tabletop Zenith we'd relied on throughout the war.
By turning the Zenith in different directions, I could receive stations from far away. The later at night and the colder the weather, the better.
I visited many parts of our country, from WWL in New Orleans to WHO in Des Moines to WOAI in San Antonio, all of them 50 Kw, clear channel stations.
But invariably I'd turn to WBT when it came time for the evening program hosted by "The Night Mayor." The Mayor, whose name I've forgotten, offered music and chatter. His format comforted a kid during those lonely nights on a South Jersey farm.
Then, one night in the early 1950s, the Mayor introduced a song played in a way never heard before. The song was, "How High the Moon." The performers were Les Paul and Mary Ford, with multiple tracks of Les on his electric guitar and multiple tracks of Mary's vocal, all played at the same time. The effect stunned me just as it must have many other listeners, because the Mayor played "How High the Moon" quite often after that.
Thanks to the Mayor, Les Paul and Mary Ford have been part of my life ever since those long-ago nights. Mary died in 1977. Now they're both gone. Their music will last well beyond our lifetimes, but their physical absence has created a void that can't be filled.
The infinite universe of our youth shrinks more rapidly with every passing year.
July 23, 2009
While searching the internet for information on Fred Kirby's Junior Rancho, I came across the WBTV tribute to Fred Kirby and your name. Many years ago we lived in Stanley, N.C.. I was really into cowboys and watched faithfully, The Lone Ranger, Hopalong Cassidy, The Cisco Kid, etc. and also Fred Kirby's Junior Rancho. One day my parents asked me if I wanted to be on the Junior Rancho television program. I was so excited. The day came for us to drive into Charlotte for the show. My mother and father wanted me to dress up in my Sunday School clothes but I insisted on going in my cowboy shirt, hat and six shooter. When I got to the studio I found that I was the only child there with a cowboy outfit on, and maybe for that reason, I got to sit on the first row of the bleachers...and was even interviewed by Fred Kirby himself! This would have been in 1951.
To this day I have always wondered if any of the Junior Rancho shows were taped, and, if so, have they been preserved in any form. I would love to track down a copy of the show from 1951 that I was in.
July 19, 2009
The real moon walk, Woodstock, and WBTV's 20th anniversary -- what a summer!
I watched that 20th anniversary program on a black & white TV in my room at Horne's Motor Lodge on Freedom Drive. My then husband Bob Chesson and I had just arrived in Charlotte because he'd been hired as a newscaster by John Kilgo at Big WAYS. Bob went on to work as production manager for Ted Turner's WRET-TV, where he hosted the weekend horror movies as vampire character, Dead Ernest. Ted mentions this in his autobiography, "Call Me Ted."
In those years, Bob and I were friends with Ben and Martha Waters. Ben, of course, was Assistant News Director for WBTV before advancing to WRAL-TV as News Director (until his retirement). Martha worked in PR for Joe Eppley.
Thanks for keeping the 'BT Memories website up to date./p>
April 13, 2009
Here I sit with a box of Kleenex, just having finished the INCREDIBLE new Tommy Faile/Crackerjacks material. Tommy was a long-time favorite. His wonderful personality "oozed" out of the TV screen. I met him once at the Nazareth Childrens' Home in Rowan County where he appeared several times. Just as nice and kind as I figured he would be. I've run into Crackerjack/Briarhopper David Deese here in Salisbury several times, and he's related several great Tommy Faile stories.
Every weekday morning in the mid-to-late fifties, I was able to watch Carolina Calling and the first ten minutes of Captain Kangaroo before it was off to school. And then on Thursday nights, it was The Arthur Smith Show.
I rushed to Rhodes-Charles, the record store in downtown Statesville, to buy my 45-rpm copy of "Brown Mountain Light."
A wonderful part of growing up. Thanks for putting this together and sharing.
April 12, 2009
In your listing of deceased 'BT people, you need to add the name of Larry Walker's widow, Pat Walker. She was a featured singer on WBT's "Fun by the Fireside." When she died at the age of 84 on September 24, 1983, I was asked to conduct her funeral.
Here is part of the meditation which I gave at Pat's funeral:
Pat's first musical show, at the age of 19, was also a first for the gifted producer, Arthur Hammerstein. It lasted on Broadway for 9 months. From New York, she went on the R.K.O. Orpheum Circuit, which took her to Los Angeles. While on the West Coast, the Edward L. Dohenys heard Pat sing. They invited her to their home and later paid her expenses for two years of study in Milan, Italy. Upon her return to the States, she did a year's concert tour before becoming a commentator and soloist for the Margaret Ann radio series. Irving Berlin, still alive and nearing the century mark (when I conducted this funeral), introduced Pat to Larry Walker, whom we also remember lovingly today. Both worked at CBS in New York before settling down at WBT in 1942.
I always enjoy reading your remembrances of BT days.
—Kenneth M. Johnson
April 12, 2009
Thanks for the new collection of photos featuring Tommy Faile and Arthur Smith and the Crackerjacks. Gee, can you believe that I worked that morning show, "Carolina Calling," when I first joined WBTV as a floor crew member?
Thanks again for your major contribution to BT Memories. There are many of us who enjoy checking out the web site.
April 12, 2009
I just viewed the pages you did on Tommy [Faile]. You did a FANTASIC job! I love the photo of Tommy and Aline. My mom passed away Friday (April 10), today (April 12) is her birthday. I am sure that Aline, Tommy, Bobby and the rest of the family are singing in Heaven together. I am happy that I could help you with Tommy's photos and songs.
April 12, 2009
You provide a wonderful service for former employees and fans of BT. Thanks for all you do keep these memories alive.
April 6, 2009
When Ralph Smith was in Presbyterian Hospital with cancer, and knew it was to be fatal, I went to his room, opened the door and walked in. He was in bed, sitting up with pillows behind him, that big Brother Ralph smile was there. Almost before I could say hello, Ralph said, “Doug, I am so glad to see you. You know they have found a cure for cancer?”
I said, no, what is it? The big smile continued and he said, "Death!”
You had to know him, be around him, work with him, make trips with the group, to really know this was the way Ralph looked at life: with a smile.
April 3, 2009
Great website! It's too bad more broadcasting stations don't have similar sites.
I spent part of my childhood in Charlotte and later I worked some in broadcasting in another market. I remember in 1958 or 1959, my younger sister and I decided to stay up late (11:30 PM to 1:00 AM) and watch this horror movie on WBTV. Then, as now, I was certain it was all a local production featuring a different scary movie each week. I remember this program as being titled "Shock Theater". However, I discovered on the Internet a reference to "Dr. Evil's Horror Theater" with Philip Morris as host. The 1960s is referenced as the time period it was on the air.
Certainty is an illusion but I'm certain I saw what I saw in 1959 at the latest. I remember the horror movie was not too good but we also saw several locally produced comic horror skits that were very entertaining. It all kept my sister and me up until 1:00 AM.
The problem was that the next day was a school day. I remember watching this movie on a Sunday or a Monday night and wondering why WBTV didn't air it on a Friday or a Saturday night. The next day, my sister and I were heroes in the eyes of our classmates. Everybody wanted to know about the movie and how scary it was. I also remember falling asleep in class.
We all wondered why WBTV didn't air these horror movies on a Friday or a Saturday night. We are still wondering. Anybody know?
Thanking you in advance,
—Betty Lee Stewart
March 7, 2009
My name is Tracey Copeland-Horton and I am the only child of Gordon Phillip Copeland & (formally) Norma Faye Dallas Monnett. Both of my parents worked for Jefferson-Standard in the 1960's. The television station is where they met, fell in love and then later, married. I have heard so many stories from them about their time at WBTV. The ones that I remember most are about when my parents would, on occasion, have to go in front of the camera to fill in or do little skits when the regular actors were unavailable, or the time in 1968 or 69, when we returned to NC for a visit and I 'starred' in a local commercial for Valentine's Day candy (I was 2 or 3 yrs. old), and about the time, in 1965, that my mother and her friend, Vivian, rode on the Thanksgiving Day Tweetsie Railroad float, both dressed as Can Can Girls. I recall how my father talked about getting to watch my mom be on TV.
My father passed away in 1994, at the age of 66 and my mother, now close to 70, lives in Eden, North Carolina. It would mean a great deal to me to find any film footage or photos of them while they were at the TV station.
My father, Gordon Phillip Copeland, worked at Jefferson-Standard from 1964 to Feb. 1966 as an Account Executive and my mother, Norma Faye Monnett worked there from 1963 - Feb. 1966. She started off as a secretary, but was promoted to traffic operations manager. In either late 1963 or early 1964 she moved to High Point for 6 months to work for WGHB-TV, so that she be closer to her recently widowed mother. When her mother remarried in 1964, she returned to WBTV and worked as the secretary to Bob Rieison until she and my father moved to California in 1966.
I know that I have, in storage, at least one office 'brochure' from that time highlighting various employees accomplishments. I believe that there are some photos, as well. As soon as I am able to get these items out of storage and go through them, I will forward copies of these to you for your website.
—Tracey Lee Copeland Horton
March 3, 2009
Jeanne Alexander (my mother-in-law) was an employee at WBTV during the early years. She did a TV show "What's Cooking," which was a precursor to Betty Feezor's show. Jeanne also did a radio show called "Man on the Street." For WBTV's 50th Anniversary we allowed [the station] to copy the photos and memorabilia that Jeanne kept all those years. They have copies of interviews (on LP record) that Jeanne did with Mrs. Roosevelt, Governor Reagan, etc. If you contact them they can provide archive copies of these items. They may be able to give copies of these audio files too.
—Mark and Shanna Palmer
February 26, 2009
Didn't Kurt Webster call him self the "Night Mayor" and have as his theme song Artie Shaw's "Nightmare"?
We put these questions to Doug Bell, who worked with Kurt, and got this response:
February 18, 2009
Just a note to say how much I have enjoyed your work. Came across it while looking up BT history. Went to school with Henry Boggan and worked at the competing station WKDX in Hamlet. Am now retired (Division Chief) from the St. Petersburg Police Department. Was chief spokesman (radio & tv) for 26 years. A good friend, Sid Linton, also from Rockingham, worked at "BT" and often wondered what became of him. Hopefully you may have info on him. BT's Morning Show host "AL" was a friend here in the Tampa Bay area before moving on to Charlotte. Darrel Stephens, retired Chief in Charlotte was our Chief here as well.
February 5, 2009
I worked in the graphic arts deparment with a commerical art degree from what was then the Richmond Professional Inst. of the college of William and Mary. A native of nearby Gaston County, I was proud to be working for WBTV. I joined the station about the time Jefferson Productions was getting underway. My boss, Art Director Larry Broderson, called me into his office to tell me I would be part of a commercial being shot in the new studio built just for JP. I was so excited. I walked into the studio to find a table with a glass full of a soft drink. I was told the ice cubes were made of plastic. My job, I was to keep spraying the glass to make it look frosty from the plastic ice cubes. I did this for two hours after a number of camera takes. Later, I told my dad about my new commerical experience in big time TV. I am sure he was thinking, "I spend all that money to send you to art school for this."
Jim Scancarelli came to the department as I was leaving. I think I worked with him a few months. He is a great guy. I enjoyed seeing his pictures in the memories... I am a military historian now after I retired as an owner of my Art and Framing shop. BT was like a great family, I had mixed feelings, but got a job offer to go back to Richmond where I went to college.
January 16, 2009
I was Donna Ashcraft from 1956 until 1959, and dated Tom Ashcraft, in the radio sales department, for about 2 years. I left to marry Harold Weinstein in the latter part of 1959, then came back in 1960 to replace the person (Tommi Jones or Tommi Long) who had replaced me. My office was the small, record-filled room next door to Loonis's office. I wrote mostly advertising copy for WBT and later WBT-FM but also wrote some Project 60s as well as the 35th anniversary show.
I worked in WBT and sometimes WBT-FM creative services as a writer from 1956-1976, with several times off to have my four children. After I left BT I worked for 30 years in communications at St. John's Episcopal Church in Charlotte and just retired a few years ago. I had stayed in touch with Loonis until his death, but unfortunately had lost contact with most of the other "grads." Please include me in the next reunion. I'd love to see some old friends.
December 17, 2009
Believe it or not—no, on second thought, just believe it—I just found the btmemories website. Sadly, I learned about it from a note from Keets Taylor giving an update on Dick's condition. Judy and I are deeply saddened by this (Dick, not the website) since we were friends with Dick and Keets and spent many happy times together. Thanks for the Dick Taylor pages on the site.
Now that I've found it, I should send a few flashbacks. I even have a couple of "air checks" where I secretly put the old "Christmas Balls" song that you, Loonis and others did some years before I got to BT into the Christmas music tape that the jocks would run scattered throughout the day. Of course, since I knew the rotation, I could secretly replace the reel before "management" could get it and find the song. It was quite a mystery and, as far as I know, no one ever figured out who did it or how except for John Jacob who was my roommate and, if not co-conspirator, at least he didn't snitch on me. The air checks are on Bob Lacy's and H.A. Thompson's shows.
If you want this, let me know and I'll dig it out of the "tape archives." I can think of a few more stories as well.
December 30, 2008
I'm a former Charlottean—transplanted to NYC. I'm trying to find out which radio station ran a children's program — I think it was called "Uncle Bill's (not exactly sure of his name) Storytime." The program featured a story about Gus, The-Gopher and a coloring contest was held: Color Gus the gopher. I won first prize and actually went to the studio to be awarded my prize on the radio. If you have any info regarding this program, I would deeply appreciate hearing from you.
December 28, 2008
The German-language version of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, would like to write an article about the Carolina Hayride, the Carolina Jamboree and the Crazy Barn Dance, which were old stage shows that aired over WBT. Unfortunately, there is not much left on these shows, but I hope you can tell me something about these programs. Please note that the information will be used for educational purposes only. Let me also know, if you do not have any information on the show.
November 22, 2008
I noticed a question on your "Men at Work" page: "In what town was Travis Bell photography located in 1961?" The answer may be Lancaster, SC. I grew up in Lancaster and remember there being a Bell Studios. So I "Googled" that and found the operation still exists, now a larger multi-city operation and run by the son of the founder.
—John W. Harp (age 44)
November 21, 2008
Did you know that Monday, Nov. 24th is the 90th anniversary of “Gasoline Alley”?
Jim hasn’t said much about it, but it’s quite a milestone. There is only one other comics strip that is still going that has been around longer, “The Katzenjammer Kids.”
I think Jim deserves some recognition for carrying on the GA tradition since 1986...and from right here in Charlotte, NC.
I emailed the story idea to one of the Observer reporters…since they ask if you have a story idea contact them…but thus far, no reply, or interest, from them.
So I called the news story hotline at WBTV and told the story, along with Jim’s ties to BT, to one of the reporters who seemed interested. I also gave him Jim’s unlisted phone number. Then called Jim to let him know to answer the phone if that ID # came up on his phone.
Anyhow, I thought Jim’s achievement through GA would be worth a comment on the BT MEMORIES page.
November 18, 2008
I stumbled across your BT Memories website today.
What can I say…….I was delighted!
WBT and WBTV are the stations I grew up with living here in Salisbury. I am 45 now and the memories of the station have just seemed to come back with renewed appreciation. It seems the WBTV was more a part of our life, than just a channel you turn to.
Today, I do not think most people understand that.
Thank you for your work.
My best regards,
November 4, 2008
I placed a link to the Belmont Tunnel Story on the Belmont Historical Society announcements web page. I vaguely remember the stories when I was a kid. The Belmont Tunnel article is so funny and I thought the members of the Historical Society would enjoy reading the article.
I hope you don't mind me adding the link.
October 31, 2008
I've enjoyed scanning your web site and seeing names and faces that populate my childhood memories. My father, Ken Tredwell, passed away on May 28, 1983.
October 31, 2008
I thought you would be interested in the blog post I just put up about Grady Cole:
I don't know if you're familiar with "A View to Hugh," but I hope you'll comment, and pass the word along to anyone else you think would be interested.
I love the "BT Memories" site -- it's VERY nicely done.
October 29, 2008
On Oct 27, the official plaques were presented at WBT by Rick Jackson, Jessica Reeves, and the rest of the WBT team. Check www.wbtbriarhoppers.blogspot.com for more info on it and pix! Many congrats go to fellow inductees Ty Boyd, Arthur Smith, and the late Earle Gluck (whose family was present at the ceremony).
October 28, 2008
I'm not a member of the WBT family.
I was born in Charlotte in 1944 and grew up with WBT and WBTV—our family had one of the first televisions in greater charlotte around 1948 or so.
(P.S. my family owned Kale-Lawing Co., office outfitters, just a few buildings up South Tryon from the Wilder Building and WBT. I would see WBT Folks often.)
October 16, 2008
Thank you for making the “BT Memories” site so entertaining and informational. Along those lines, I’m still the WBTV Producer for the Carolinas’ Thanksgiving Day Parade (formerly the “Carrousel” parade). The parade office has asked how many years WBTV has broadcast the parade. I’ve got tapes going back to 1982, but I can’t find any official mention of our first broadcast. John Steed remembers us carrying it in the late ‘60s when he started working her, but isn’t sure how long we did before then.
Could I call on you, and the power of “the network,” to see if anyone knows for sure? If nothing else, maybe we can get some anecdotal information – “I started in 19--, and we were broadcasting it then…”
Thanks for whatever help you can provide.
October 4, 2008
Can't tell you how much I enjoy BT MEMORIES. I check it at least weekly. Even when there's nothing new, I enjoy reading it again. Recently, when I went downstairs after checking email, Dee said, "You look like you've been crying."
"No, just a little emotional," I said.
I wish BT was like it used to be.
August 23, 2008
My name is Scott McElhaney. My wife Ellen is Jim Patterson's youngest daughter. I wanted to thank you for putting the photos and videos together. Our children never had the pleasure in meeting Uncle Jim. Again thanks for the web site. If you have any more photos or videos we would love to see them.
—Scott and Ellen McElhaney
August 5, 2008
Hi. I enjoyed reading the BT Memories page. I recall listening to “Lacey Listens” and remember the Spike Jones-style song which introduced his show – at least back in the mid-70’s. Does anyone remember the name of that song? I can’t find it among Spike Jones’ discography, yet it sure seems like it – a polka with people laughing throughout the song (in rhythm)!
July 28, 2008
You have really outdone yourself with those videos. A side note: In the second video of the Betty Feezor celebration of twenty years when she interviewed Helen Wagner from "As the World Turns," she mentioned about Miss Phillips' script restrictions. Her name was Irma Phillips who once fired Wagner for the way she poured coffee. Fortunately, the fans and the sponsor, Proctor & Gamble, forced Miss Phillips' hand.
—Davan S. Mani
July 21, 2008
I don't think I ever met Betty Feezer when I worked at FM. In fact, I don't recall even seeing her but once in the station as I was wandering around one day. My grandfather was a huge fan of hers. He owned a sausage packing business in north Mecklenburg County, and he arranged his work hours to allow him to watch her show every day. He should have been advertising on her program, but he intentionally kept his business very small to keep the meat-packer's union out. He's been dead for 35 years, but my mother still laughs about how he wouldn't miss her show for anything.
I appreciate you adding me to you BTmemories network.
July 14, 2008
I enjoyed the photo and information about Fred Kirby on the BT Memories web site.
—Tim Hartis, age 48
June 30, 2008
Just ran across "BT Memories" again and have been enjoying the J.B. Clark 35th Anniversary Program with C. Crutchfield and Earl Gluck. I met Gluck once, years before my employment at WBT, but had no clue as to who he 'really was.' Thought at the time that he was just an old dude with a funny name. I came to understand years later that I should have been very impressed.
Great job. Looking forward to the next installment of your 'memoir.'
I wonder if in your vast storehouse of incidental information you know about Dorsey Dixon, the textile worker from Rockingham who--according to hand me down information—had a program on WBT (the Dixon Brothers). He was the author of the truly God-awful song "The Wreck on the Highway" that was a big hit for Roy Acuff. It spoke of blood and glass running together, "but I didn't hear nobody pray."
April 29, 2008
I just wanted to chime in with my memories of working at WBT from 1985-1990 I hope it will give you some prespective on the latter days. I leave it up to you to decide if you want to include my comments or not. I won't be offended; there are no ego problems here!
I came to Charlotte to work afternoon drive at WSOC in the fall of 1981, but everything I knew about Charlotte I learned by listening to WBT while living in Fort Lauderdale. Henry Bogan painted a picture of Charlotte that was very appealing he was probably the best promotion the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce ever had!
Though the years I got to know Henry while I worked at WSOC AM 930 and he couldn't have been nicer to me. Somehow Henry would even promote my show on WBT! I'm sure management would not have liked that if they had heard him, but Henry acted like WBT was his to do with it what he wanted, and I guess in fact it was.
After several failed formats at WSOC, I was shown the door. They decided to stop trying to do anything with WSOC-AM; it just wasn't working. I had made some friends at WSOC-TV and they would occasionally give me TV spots to read. On one of those trips Bill Ellis at WSOC-FM told me that Steve Harmon left the all-night show at WBT and I should get over there and apply. Ellis and James K. Flynn were good friends so there was a pipeline between the two stations. Wow, you didn't have to tell me twice! I went right over there and talked to Program Director Dave Bishop, who explained they were not sure what they were going to do with all nights, they might add Larry King (which they did). However if I wanted to, I could do overnight till the decision was made. Being unemployed (but not for long) I jumped at the chance to ride the big 50,000-watt signal of Charlotte's personality powerhouse. While on the air I used to hear from friends in Miami who were listening and made new friends up and down the east coast including a man who lived 20 miles north of Montreal. The overnight show was all oldies which I have considerable knowlege and interest in, so doing overnights at WBT was a dream come true!
The dream was short lived because in a couple of months station management had decided to go with Larry King at night. I heard that Larry himself was very interested in landing WBT as an affiliate. Larry's show had been heard in Charlotte on WSOC. If only they had held on to Larry King at WSOC, who knows what might have happened!
From my full-time but temporary stint overnight I went to weekends and vacation fill. Hey, I've got my foot in the door and I'm having way too much fun to give up WBT! So, from the rest of 1985 till 1990 I worked whatever shifts I could work. In fact at one point I did three shifts on the weekend: a Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon followed by a Sunday late-night shift.
The Sunday late night was something that Henry Bogan had started called "The Sunday Show" it was all standards and similar to what I had done at WSOC This was the last time I was allowed to pick all my own music. The overnight oldies show was done that way as well. Most people don't realize that radio stations do not let the jocks pick the music, it used to be hand picked by the music director and later done by a computer list. On the "Sunday Show" I would play "Heartaches" by Ted Weems and tell the story of how Curt Webster, using the power of WBT, made the song a hit all over again some 10 years after it came out. I think when working at WBT you must know about the history of the station and those who came before.
My fondest moment would have to be the night Jim Patterson came on the "Sunday Show" at my invitation to host it with me. First of all I was hesitant to even ask since I knew he had to get up early for the "Good Morning Show" on WBTV. Having seen all the pictures around the station of Jim at the turntables I just had to ask. To my surprise he not only consented but seem genuinely pleased that I asked him! We had a great night on the air. I let Jim talk and play anything he wanted. He brought some records with him and he left at Midnight leaving me to do the last hour solo. I thought it was great and hoped to do it again but that was not to be, Jim died a few months later. I remember being on the air the day we heard about his accident. It was a very sad day to be sure.
It was my good fortune to work with a staff that was pure magic. Bob Simpson, Mike Collins, H.A. Thompson, Henry Boggan, Ray Gooding, Don Russell, James K. Flynn and David Appleford. In news, Scott White, Cleo Crowder and Lee Melvin. In sports, Gary Sparber and Steve Martin.
That's just a few of the talented people who allowed me to spend some quality time with them. I never had an issue or "ego problem" with any of these fine people. Many in fact were very supportive of me, a comparative rookie.
For me radio will never be quite as good as it was then.
I had a great time at WBT and was happy to be a small part of the station and it's history.
—Mike (Sheridan) Miranda
PS: I still think Don Russell should be on WBT full time!
The nicest thing for me was to be able to do the top-of-the-hour ID with pride: "The news voice of the Carolinas, WBT, Charlotte...."
March 11, 2008
That's Andy Anderson at the switcher, Wade Lawrence seated the camera shading console with back turned toward camera, and Cliff Livingston talking to (a then) young man whom I cannot identify.
The picture is taken looking back toward an equipment rack in the background. Behind that rack was the film chains room (two of them) with live operators, like Ron Hovis. And, behind the film chair room was the quad VTRs room, where T. Keller Bush presided over five or six large 2-inch tape machines that require "5 second roll cues".
To the right hand side of this photo (roughly the direction Wade Lawrence is turned) was the engineering shop with veterans like Warren Wilson and Harvey Hood.
Bill [Napier] is right about what awful color pictures those giant TK-42 cameras made. We had three of these in the larger studio, and two more in the smaller studio where Betty Feezor's kitchen set was located. These monsters required 500 foot-candles of light to work, as compared with about one-fifth that amount (now called "lumens") to make beautiful High Definition color pictures with modern equipment. The TK-42's were so heavy... the camera heads themselves, that the pedestals had to use an electric motor to "boom up" or down. They barely "rolled" and it took a lot of momentum just to get one of these studio cameras moving around the studio floor at all. Therefore, we tended not to.
Most of the shots were from fixed positions for newscasts, the cooking shows, and "Top 'O The Day."
When we taped Jim Crockett's "Championship Wrestling" (hosted by Big Bill Ward) on Wednesday nights for playback in "access" early evening time on Saturday nights... a one-hour live-on-tape circus... we had to use a large industrial motorized wench to raise one of the TK-42's camera heads to go atop a separated raised electric pedestal on top of a heavy duty construction scaffolding to get the wide shots of the temporary wrestling right that had to be erected and torn down in between Wednesday night's 6 and 11p newscasts that were produced from that same studio "A." That included the crew having to pull out bleacher seating for the live audience who lined up at One Julian Price Place every Wednesday afternoon.
Hope these memories add some "color" and detail to your posting.
April 6, 2008
Thanks for a terrific BT Memories website. I was at WBTV from 1983 until 1999 as a camera operator, audio and master control tech and satellite truck tech. I've spent the last number of years with CBS News in New York. I count myself fortunate to have worked at JP during what I would consider to be the end of the heyday years. I grew up in Charlotte in the 60's idolizing Fred Kirby and Uncle Jim. How fortunate I am to have been able to go on to work with my childhood idols.
When my dad passed away in 1985, Jim Patterson wrote me a wonderful heartfelt note of condolence. Who could known that Jim would pass just a few short years later? I still have Jim's note to this day, and I treasure it greatly. (And by the way, talk about connections... my parents used to tell the story that my dad briefly dated Betty Feezer back in the early 50's, before my parents ever met!)
I drop in on your website from time to time and it saddens me to see the names of the folks I knew and worked with who have passed on. But you do a great service to them and to the memory of One Julian Price Place, back when our business was a much simpler one. Thanks for your work and best wishes to the BT alumni, past and present...
March 29, 2008
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for putting my dad's pictures on the BT web site. He died before several of his grandchildren were grown and I have been able to share this with them. I am very proud of what he accomplished in his career. We were alway 'Channel 3' people and very proud to be affiliated with Jefferson. On the memorial page, I am sad to see so many people that were a part of my dad's life. As I may have told you before, I remember as a child being on the Betty Feezor set and meeting Clyde McLean many times.
Again, thank you so much for what you did for my family.
—Debbie Reynolds Reavis
March 13, 2008
I am looking for a video/dvd of the Betty Feezor show to give my mother as a gift. Is there anything available?
February 16, 2008
Thanks for the great website. I grew up watching Fred Kirby, Jim Patterson, Betty Feezor, Cloudy Mclain, Ty Boyd (his brother gave birth to me!) and so many others on WBTV. What a special time that was in my life. I just wish it was still the same. The Mooresville of my youth is long gone.
February 11, 2008
I recently moved back to the Carolinas after being away for a number of years (graduate school and a teaching appointment in Louisiana). I was surfing and stumbled onto your BT Memories site and man! Memories came flooding back!
2) Are you, or is anyone else, writing the history of WBTV into a book? If not, I would think that would be a worthy project. I know I'd snag a copy up in a heartbeat. Being a history buff myself, even though I'm trained as a biologist, I would think it would be an exciting project for someone.
—Kerry D. Heafner
January 27, 2008
I am a former employee of WBTV.I was close to Jim Patterson and sometimes co-hosted his morning program.I would like to locate some people who used to work there: Tony MacMahan, Blaine Fischer, Jack Dula, Bobby Green, C.J. Underwood, to name just a few. Any help you could give me in this regard would be appreciated.
January 26, 2008
I'm hoping you can help me re-discover some CBS Color TV history I saw first hand displayed 'museum-like' behind glass at WBTV some 23+ years ago.
I visited WBTV in late 1984 to deliver and help set up the first Satellite News Gathering uplink truck. I worked that weekend with Terry Phillips in the inaugural use of the SNG truck to send back a story about an execution at the NC State Prison which was being protested by hundreds of people.
I am Cliff Benham, long time broadcast Engineer, now a member of the Early Television Museum in Hilliard, Ohio. http://www.earlytelevision.org/index.html
The display I'm interested in contains early WBTV Engineering artifacts from 1949 to about 1952, most importantly, original CBS color wheel TV monitors, cameras and support equipment. The CBS color system was only used for a short time in 1950 and 1951 and was incompatible with the NTSC TV system still in use today. Vintage CBS Color Equipment is therefore extremely rare.
I'm interested in knowing if this display of CBS color equipment is still in place at WBTV and if there are photos of the equipment, photos of it in use and if there are newspaper and Jefferson Newsletter articles about this short lived phase of color broadcasting that relate specifically to WBTV.
Finally, if the equipment is still available for viewing would it be possible to visit WBTV and take photos of it for the ETF website?
Thanks for any help you can offer about the history of CBS Color at WBTV.
January 25, 2008
I have a signed picture of Grady Cole that might be a nice addition to your website. I frequent auctions & this picture was in a box lot that I purchased. I have had it for many years & until several days ago didn't have any idea who Grady Cole was. I have enjoyed your site & be delighted to donate this to you. If you are interested, please e-mail me back with the address & I will be happy to send it to you.
— Angie Urps
Subsequently, Angie mailed us the photo. We scanned it and placed it on this page.
January 23, 2008
Just stumbled across your wonderful website today. Wonderful work and great memories!
I'm poking about for archives of old "hello Henry" shows. I saw your clips, are there more somewhere? I listened nearly every night growing up, as did my brother. It would be a treat to hear more.
Thanks! Great work!
January 22, 2008
I have an extremely vague memory of a children’s show featuring a ventriloquist in a naval uniform called Captain Phil. Part of my admittedly disjointed recollection connects the phrase “secret island” with the show.
To go into more detail, my impression is that the show had a science fiction or high adventure theme, complete with eerie music and sound effects, which may have scared the bejeezus out of me because I must have been but only three or four years old at the time. Since then I have come to associate Philip Morris of “Morris Costume” fame with the ventriloquist, perhaps because of the coincidence of the name, or his preference for macabre entertainments (I DO clearly remember him as Dr. Evil) or it may be that I came across a b&w publicity still of Mr. Morris in a naval costume somewhere that triggered an association.
Was this a WBTV program, or I’m I just dreaming?
January 20, 2008
My name is Alan Newcomb. My grandfather worked at WBTV & I just came across your "BT Memories" site. I just wanted to let you know that I think it is wonderful that you are keeping the memories that many people seem to have of that organization alive. I have heard from my dad & grandmother how special the group of people that my grandfather worked with there were, and I too lament the increasing influence that corporate takeovers & acquisitions have the media in our country. But I would also say that your efforts are in the right place with the website; the internet is a purely democratic media. Keep it up, & take care.
January 13, 2008
My name is Des Flynn. My son, Addam, has been assigned a fourth grade class project to prepare a written and oral report, presented in the first person, about a famous North Carolinian. Addam has chosen Fred Kirby. While researching, we found the wonderful Fred Kirby video collection on the BT Memories Video Center. I see where the videos were provided courtesy of Mike Cline, but can’t find any further contact information.
Can you please tell me if there is any way we can possibly contact Mike Cline and/or get copies on DVD of two of those video clips for Addam to play for his class, i.e., the PM Magazine Feature (Circa 1980) from Fred Kirby’s 80th Birthday Bash (May 19, 1990 on WBTV); and Moments with Fred Kirby – Fred sings with “Uncle Jim” and “Lucky” (time 3:05). Since he has a limited amount of time to present, these two short clips, I think, would greatly help to convey some of Fred’s loving and gentle character (yes, as you can tell, as a native Charlottean, I’m a HUGE Fred Kirby fan myself! I met him as a child at Tweetsie, saw him riding Calico in all of the parades, and never missed his TV shows!!)
Thank you so much for any help or direction you can offer!! Addam will be giving his presentation at school on Friday, February 1, so I’m hoping we can assemble enough “show and tell” memorabilia, including a CD of one of his albums, to allow Addam to pass along a portion of Fred’s abundant legacy and blessing to a generation who will sadly grow up without him.
(FYI - While researching, I learned something about Fred that I never knew… Fred never charged when performing for children with disabilities. This makes this report even more special to me as Addam is affected by autism.)
Have a wonderful and blessed day!
The photo of Bill Curry and Ty Boyd, with the WBT mobile studio is on the corner of Main Street and Gay Street in Lancaster, SC. I recognise the Goodyear store and the sign across the street says 'Eleanor Shops or 'Eleanor Dress Shops'. They are standing in front of what in 1961 was the Bank of Lancaster. Just above the Eleanor Shop is where Dr. Ira Adams's dentist office was. I am 100% sure of the location, as I was born in Lancaster in 1957, and lived there until 2001. Travis Bell is a second generation photographer from Lancaster. I believe his father would have taken the photo you have. I think the father's shop was called Bell Studios. I believe Travis, at one time, was a photographer for the Lancaster News.
I live in Marshall, Missouri now. Thanks so much for all the sweet memories! I grew up watching WBTV on sunset Drive, just off Grace Avenue in the Lancaster area, actually just a couple miles from Tommy Faile's childhood home.
—Freddy D. Dawley
November 22, 2007
I noticed a question on your "Men at Work" page: "In what town was Travis Bell photography located in 1961?" The answer may be Lancaster, SC. I grew up in Lancaster and remember there being a Bell Studios. So I "Googled" that and found the operation still exists, now a larger multi-city operation and run by the son of the founder. See more at http://travisbellphotographers.com/bio/.
—John Harp (age 44)
October 21, 2007
Thanks for putting this web site together; it means a lot to those of us who were there when it was a real television station…
My work history at WBTV from 1978 to 1988: filled in (through Kelly Services) as office help for John Edgerton, who then hired me; worked in Personnel for a brief time; worked in Data Services as Program Coordinator, then Commercial Coordinator for Sandra Thomas; then Ron Shuping let me transfer to Production staff, where I learned & worked chyron, floor crew, remote shoots, The Morning Show with our beloved Jim Patterson, Top o’ the Day (where I was eventually associate producer; that was my last assignment), news shows; then upstairs again to Creative Services to be a creative director…as friends often say, those were the golden days/years…
Currently, I am community resource coordinator at Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc., in Lenoir, NC
October 7, 2007
I stumbled on your web site "BT Memories". My father worked at the station for about 30 years. I searched your site and found his name in a story about Grady Cole. I wanted to make sure this was my dad in this story. His name was George K. Reynolds from Gastonia. He worked at the station in Charlotte and I have lots of early childhood memories of visiting the station. I met many local celebrities, such as Betty Feezer, Ty Boyd, Clyde McLean, Jim Patterson. Later in his career, he worked at the Spencer Mountain transmittor tower and eventually took a promotion and went back to Charlotte. I have a collection of black and white pictures that I inherited when he passed away. They are pictures of the station letters and some behind the scenes shots, too. If there is anyone at WBTV that would be interested in the pictures, I would love to share them. Please let me know if this is my dad in this story with Grady Cole. It would mean the world to my family. Thank you for your time.
September 6, 2007
Just a quick e-mail to let you know how much I enjoy browsing the BT Memories website. My late father, Larry Harding, was a long time employee of BT, so this site brings back wonderful memories.
I can remember going to the office with Dad on Saturday afternoons when he had to catch up on some work. Clyde McClean's weather board, where he used to draw on with a huge marker, and Mr. Crutchfield's office are two of my most vibrant memories.
I am no longer that fat kid who followed his beloved Dad around. Next month will mark my 21st year in law enforcement (Sergeant, Special Operations, Iredell County Sheriff's Office) but it is a joy to relive, however briefly, a great time in my life.
Keep the memories coming and if you see any of the "old timers" around, please tell them hello for me.
August 11, 2007
I was program director of WBT radio from 1955-1960. I have been in touch with Doug Bell for some time and he recently gave me some websites, including BT Memories. I have thoroughly enjoyed using this site, also printing stories and pictures of interest to former WBT employees Fuz Walker and Bill Melson. I have some additions to your In Memoriam list which Fuz confirmed with me: Tom Ashcraft, former sales rep for radio; J.B. Clark, formerly in the news department who did some special news shows such as "Profile;" and Wade St. Clair who was in the sales department for radio and who succeeded me as program director for radio. I am not sure about Jeanne Alexander who was the co-host of "Jim and Jeanne" on radio. I think I remember her obituary in the UNC alumni magazine but Fuz doesn't remember anything about what happened to Jeannne. Thanks for your good work. I was at WFMY-TV for 18 years and don't believe they have anything similar.
April 11, 2007
Well, now that the cows got loose, they only told me about the barn door at BTMemories.com!
I was commissioned to write about WBT's already rather well-told history for the April 2007 edition of Radio Guide magazine. In fact, most of that history is well told in the artifacts you have on BT Memories, but I sure wish I had known about them to include a factoid or two here and there.
At this very moment, the Radio Guide publisher, Ray Topp, is laying out the Aprial issue and getting it printed for mailing, April will be a tough month for Ray as it is the month of the BIG annual NAB Convention in Las Vegas, which will take a week and more out of the month for him.
Sometime after all that, he will put the PDF files of the April edition up on the Radio Guide website, which will be the best place to get them to you...once that is done.
For my own personal part, I started a radio and later international telecommunicaitons engineering career in the late 1950s down in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.....where WBT was our Conelrad skywave key station, the one we monitored on an old Hammarlund HQ-129X receiver with a carrier alarm after our local Conelrad key station sighed off at night. Many's the Sunday night when my curiosity was piqued at hearing the sign-off announcement that said, "This is WBT, Charlotte, with WBT Repeater, Shelby, North Carolina...." Repeater? Hardly any AM stations had a repeater? At the time, not knowing a bit of the WBT story, I wondered why WBT had a repeater. I of course found out more later.
But. the primary item that piqued me to write to you was the Kurt Webster/Heartaches story. In 1959, I had gone across town down in St. Petersburg, FL to join in the engineering side of opening a new daytime station that featured a Big Band format. The station manager actually ran out in the hall all excited one day to tell us he'd just hired a great Big Band personality for an afternoon DJ. The Big Name was Elmo Tanner, the whistler of "Heartaches" for Ted Weems.
Since you mentioned there weren't many famous whistlers, Jack seemed to have a short pang of memory about then, as he apparently recalled Fred Lowery, the blind whistler who had made many records. Jack said, "Uh-oh....wait a minute! Did I hire the blind guy? Can he run his own board?"
Well, it turned out that Elmo was quite [well] sighted and he could run his own board and not destroy the budget of our little local daytimer. Elmo, in fact, enjoyed quite a long career in St.Petersburg, ultimately retired there, and had a newspaper article written about him every few years, In the final one just before his death, he said he'd lost all his teeth and couldn't whistle any more.
Everywhere Elmo went, people asked him how to whistle. In fact, he'd tell folks openly that he was not a whistler by trade; that Weems hired him as a vocalist and the whistling part only came about in the arrangement for "Heartaches." It was the only song he ever whistled.
In fact, Elmo could not whislte very loudly. He said that to do the song live, he'd cup his hands around a microphone and whistle ever so gently across the mike! He did teach me how to warble softly the way he did. and I got to the point of being able to do a fair rendition myself.
At any rate, I hope there might be something of interest to you in all this, and in the April Radio Guide article when it gets published. We do have a few bits like the Nazis listening to WBT and transatlantic airplane pilots naivgating by it.
P. S. Egads! You even mentioned Rich Pauley! In the late 50s. he was a mid-day DJ at WTSP in St, Petersburg, FL, whre I was a dewy-eyed Boy Engineer who was thrilled at being permitted to work in the control room. One day, he was gone, and all the other talent was agog, "Rich landed a job at 'BT!" I listened to them all in wonderment. It was sad to hear a few years later that Rich apparently died of testicular cancer while in the employ of WBT.
March 29, 2007
J. B. Clark was my father's brother and I am trying to locate his son Barry Clark. So far I haven't been able to. I have lost touch with that side of the family. Can anyone help me?
March 1, 2007
1. The upcoming book, The WBT Briarhoppers: Eight Decades of a Bluegrass Band Made For Radio (not my title but the one chosen by the publisher) should be out this summer by McFarland Publishing.
2. During this search, the following Briarhoppers were found alive and well...Billie Burton Daniel (the little blonde girl in the old pictures, a member from 1936-1940...Martin Schopp, aka Tex Martin of the Tennessee Ramblers and the Briarhoppers, a member from 1938 to 1942...Eleanor Bryan Fields ( the female yodeler brought in by Claude Casey), a member from 1940-1941.
3. We found the original video tapes from the 1985 "Charlotte Country Music Story," featuring the WBT Briarhoppers, the Johnson Family, Charles Crutchfield, Bill Monroe, Wade Mainer, The Tennessee Ramblers, Snuffy Jenkins and Pappy Sherrill, and others...we are currently getting the tapes transferred from one-inch tape to digital. The tapes belong to WTVI and that is where they will be returned, along with the digital copies.
February 13, 2007
I have a strange request. Does anyone remember a kids T.V. show called "Easy Street" It was broadcast by Jefferson Pilot on WBTV back in the 1980's. It featured Thomas Keys and was a 30 min. show. It was a show that covered sports to bike safety, magic and other fun things for kids. I was on this show for the two or three seasons it ran and would give almost anything to have video's of these shows to share with my own children. Can anyone help me?
|January 29, 2007
I'm relatively young - 50 - but have some very fond and cherished memories of WBTV. When I would come to visit my grandmother in Kannapolis - we lived in Burlington - her huge "Magnificent Magnavox" tv/radio/stereo console was tuned to WBTV almost constantly. She watched Betty Feezor as a lead-in to As The World Turns and Guiding Light every single afternoon. I would lounge on her sofa in the evenings watching The Lucy Show, Ed Sullivan, or the Jackie Gleason show with her and my grandfather. On Sundays, it was Fred Kirby after church. And yes, my baby-boomer friends and I can still do the "high sign"! We later moved to Charlotte after my parents divorced, and WBTV became a huge part of my life.
I have a huge love of television history and still feel that it was a travesty when the Wilder Building was demolished. I hate it that Lincoln Financial is literally splitting up the family.
A quick and funny side note - when I was a very little girl, I was very timid and shy. The oddest things scared the daylights out of me. Three of them were directly connected to CBS. One was the old endcap, in which the eye opened and closed like the shutter of a camera. I would run screaming from the room, much to my parents' exasperation. The other was the opening theme and graphics from "The Twilight Zone". Okay, okay, that one still creeps me out just a little, but back then I'd hide my head under a pillow! The last was watching Ann Sothern wink during the opening credits of "Private Secretary". I still haven't figured that one out.
Recently I found a clip of that old endcap online and wondered what in the world could have bothered me so about it - now I get such a kick out of looking at it, along with the old NBC chimes visual.
Thanks for your BT memories website, and the great memories!
January 26, 2007
Thank you so much for all of your hard work on this. I have had a wonderful morning looking at all of your hard work. I worked in WBT-TV sales department as a sales assistant working with Dick Tomlinson and Bud Coggins from 1973 until about 1979 – plus I grew up in Charlotte as a child. This has been fascinating.
Thanks for your wonderful website - it certainly brought back some memories for me.
December 8, 2006
Just looked at a few memories. The trip to Havana to interview Robert Williams brought back a lot of memories. I got the worst case of the Cuban Fandango ever. The food was questionable and scanty (embargo, etc). The crew consisted of Ken Alvord, Cloudy [Clyde McLean], Nat Tucker, and me. Nat was photographer and I was director. The show was for programming, not news. Alan [Newcomb] did a special with the interview.
December 5, 2006
Just wanted to drop you a line to thank you so much for the absolutely fantastic job you've done on the BT Memories web site. I grew up in Catawba County in the 1970's and your site is just a treasure trove of excellent stories and memories. Looking through these photos and stories of people I saw and heard 30+ years ago, I still miss them all. Especially Fred Kirby and Uncle Jim!
September 15, 2006
My children and I just happened upon this site and were THRILLED to find an old photo of their dad, Ken Alvord, interviewing Robert Williams in Cuba.
As you may know, Ken passed away of cancer in 1990; our son Scott Barnum Alvord is now 25 and our daughter Julie Victoria Alvord is 16.
It means a lot to us all to have Ken remembered both personally and professionally.
—Lynn Flaster (Alvord) Paul
September 15, 2006
I would like for BTers to know that Tex Martin (aka Martin Schoff, Marty Roberts) is alive and well in Illinois. I interviewed him for the Briarhopper Book. He came to WBT in 1938 and left in 1943 when he was drafted. In the 1950s, he had a hit in rock-a-billy called "Baby" and was a world-class DJ. He is 87 years old now. He is the last link with the Tennessee Ramblers who were a part of the Briarhoppers. Now, the only remaining Briarhoppers are Roy "Whitey" Grant, Eleanor Bryan Fields, and Tex Martin. Celebrate, please.
March 29, 2006
I can't thank you enough for the BT Memories website, although I'm afraid it has created an itch that can't be scratched enough. Growing up in Charlotte in the 80's and 90's, my dad's radio was always locked in at 1110 AM. Whether we were having breakfast in the kitchen, or riding in the car, there were the voices of Don Russell and James K. Flynn, John Hancock, "Jeff Pilot," Moira Quinn, Mike Collins, Henry Boggan, and many other hosts and news anchors and reporters.
December 13, 2005
I am the young guy that inherited your desk at WBTV when you transfered to JP in April of 1972!
You, at that time, and then I shared the cubical with Vivian Harris. Yes, I am Dennis Phillips.
I worked at BTV from April of '72 until September of '75. Maybe you recall the Kid's Show I created named Whistlestop? George Booker and Eddie Wade made the Whistlestop set that Rick Frye and I designed.
Notable highlights of my years at WBTV are: I wrote and produced the Carowinds opening day show. I still have the script! I also wrote and produced the WBTV 25th Anniversary Show that may exist somewhere in their archives. It has probably long been transferred from 2-inch quad.
For the finale of that show, Dave Clanton laid on the hood of my '74 Hornet Sportabout as Jim Patterson drove it up the winding road at the old Spencer Mountain transmitter site. Clanton was rolling 16mm on the Arri . In the background was an audio montage of past news and programs. We then closed the program with Jim standing in the transmitter building looking out at the distant (and small) Charlotte skyline reading the final monologue and using the then current slogan "Part of your Life!"
Other things stand out, like helping Russ Ford on the air at WBT Radio News cover the Eastern Airline Crash in September 1974. I also used to often sit in with Jim Patterson from 5AM to 6AM when he did that hour on WBT. I helped with the remote telecast when President Gerald Ford visited Freedom Park and gave a speech in 1975 where the first shots of the American Revolution were fired. There were also countless hours of the Boys Town Auction.
I know that you have purged from your mind one of the funniest bits ever done on any local television show. You and Vivian Harris (I think—maybe it was Fuzzy Prevatte) appeared as "guests" on the Morning Scene and Jim Patterson interviewed you. You were dressed in a bowling jacket and wore sunglasses and the gag was that you and your "wife" were a team trying to set a Guinness record by going coast to coast on roller skates while yo-yoing. She was dressed as a bimbo and was chewing a mouthful of bubble gum! Jim Patterson played the bit with all seriousness while all of us off camera were laughing hysterically.
In 1975 the handwriting was on the wall that the glory days of local TV production were coming to an end, due to cable TV, satellite and home video systems. I left the Whistlestop show to Jim Strader and moved to Orlando, Florida. Today, my wife and I own a costume business, Allied Costumes. (http://www.alliedcostumes.com) I am a college professor in the theater department at a local University and I still find time to do a bit of radio.
Thank you for the memories! ...All were from the best days of my life!
If you would like some photos and information from my collection, I will be happy to add to your collection.
Full disclosure: The bit on the Morning Show was on an April Fool's day. Jeanette Garner (who worked in the program department) and your editor appeared as "Buster & Yolanda," an itinerant husband and wife act. Buster was a yo-yo artist; Yolanda a tap dancer. Their simultaneous performance was a flurry of dazzling and daring dexterity, a veritable blizzard of terpsichorean and yoyo-ean excitement. They/we were yo-tapping our way across America, with the ultimate goal of being booked on the Ed Sullivan Show. Perfectly costumed, of course, Yolanda had on something shiny, short and tight-fitting, tap shoes a-clacking. I was outfitted not unlike a conga drummer in the Xavier Cugat orchestra, wearing black tuxedo pants, an outlandish puffy-sleeved shirt and a colorful cummerbund, all topped off with a fake mustache and a cheesy-looking hairpiece I had borrowed from a toupee salesman. We leapt into a frenzy of yo'ing and tapping, all the while being interviewed by the hosts, Dick Taylor and Jim Patterson. Somewhere in the performance/interview they happened to mention that Ed Sullivan had gone off the air several months before. It was in all the papers, they said. We were deflated. In fact, our crests were fallen. What'll we do now? Were our yo-dancing careers over? The hosts were suitably sympathetic and did their best to comfort us.
Although the bit concluded with a full screen card that said "April Fool!", some elderly viewer immediately called in, so distraught over our predicament that she offered to let us come live with her. I'm sure that producer Michael Nabicht, a mischievous co-conspirator in all this nonsense, encouraged us to do just that.
December 9, 2005
Thanks so much for compiling so many great memories of a truly great radio and television station. I have the honor of telling friends and family that my first radio job was actually at WBT in 1976. I filled in for regular Sunday morning board-op Tom Brock (who is still with WBTV to this day) playing WBT's regular Sunday lineup, including Casey Kasem's Top Forty. I probably did that all of twice, but simply sitting in the main studio in the same chair as legends Bob Lacey and H.A. Thompson was inspiration for me. I have now been "in the bizzness" for 29 years....the last five with The Performance Racing Network.
Ty Boyd, Jim Patterson, Fred Kirby, Doug Mayes, Clyde McClean; they were more than broadcasters, they were family when I was growning up in the 60s. It's a pity that in all of the "advances" in broadcasting, no engineer or consultant has been able to preserve the feeling of family on the airwaves. It is truly a lost art. I often tell my 13-year old daughter about those wonderful days when we could only receive five channels, but amazingly, there was always something on we wanted to see. Now, we have 500 and I would rather read.
Please keep the memories coming. Somewhere in my vast collection of video, I have a 1987 special produced by WBTV following the death of Clyde McClean. If you ever decide to add video to the site, I would be happy to donate a DVD copy.
— Kent Bernhardt, PRN
To our readers: We hope to get Kent's DVD and make the Clyde McLean memorial special the site's first video. Any chance the powers that be at WBTV would object?
December 6, 2005
I noticed this web page while I was searching the Internet for some information regarding the Rangers Quartet, a favorite of my father and uncle in the field of gospel quartet. I have recently acquired two newly remastered digitalized CDs of the Rangers Quartet. The Rangers were sensational in the 1940s. On this photo, from a link below on your website, I noticed the Rangers Quartet at the far right of the photo. I have a question for you. At the bottom of the webpage is a statement, "A project by and for former employees of WBT/WBTV Charlotte, North Carolina." Since my father has been asking me if there was any way to find any possibly existing video of the Rangers Quartet, was the Rangers Quartet ever on your television station, WBTV? Thank You,
December 6, 2005
I just wanted to say how much I am enjoying your website. WBT has such a rich well- documented broadcast history. I thought I had seen it all until I saw your website!
I worked at WBT from 1985-1990 part-time first on the overnight oldies show "After Hours," then when Larry King came in I did weekends and vacation fill. It was one of the high points of my career. On Sunday nights WBT did a program called "The Sunday Show" which featured the music of the '40's and '50's of course I played "Heartaches" with a sense of pride and awe as I repeated the famous story behind the music.
Gathering up my courage one day I asked Jim Patterson if he would be a guest on the show. To my surprise he not only consented but he was obviously pleased that I had invited him. He did the first two hours together from 10 till midnight (the show ran until 1am) despite the fact Jim had to do the morning show on WBTV the next morning. We had a great time, I let Jim play anything he wanted and we talked and the stories came. I only wish I had recorded it because it was not long after this that he passed away. I was on the air the day Jim died in that accident. The sadness throughout the entire building was like nothing I had ever experienced. Everyone loved him.
I played a small part at WBT. Some of the talented professionals I worked with include James K. Flynn, Don Russell, H.A. Thompson, Henry Boggan, Dave Bishop (PD), Mike Collins, Bill Jennings, Tony Renaud, and Bob Simpson. In engineering there was Sam Robertson, Karen?, Bob White, Bob Denny was Chief Engineer.
Also there was Rockin' Ray, David Appleford, Andy Bickel (PD), Lee Melvin and Scott White (in news), Kate McKinna (in programming) and engineer Bill Booth in the list of really great people I worked with.
That's just a few of the very talented people on the staff. I came to Charlotte in 1981 to work at WSOC-AM and was there till 1985 doing afternoons and music director duties. Comparing the two stations I would have to say the radio and TV staffs at WBT/WBTV were closer and worked together more than the staffs at WSOC.
Well, enough rambling! It was a happy experience to say the least. Thanks for a really fine website.
— Mike Miranda (aka Mike Sheridan)
December 7, 2005
I just discovered your INCREDIBLE website, and have just spent two hours exploring and enjoying it.
I grew up in Statesville (1950-1971), and WBTV was, of course, the flagship station at my house. I appeared on the Little Rascals Club once, and attended tapings of Championship Wrestling during the mid 60s.
Stayed up many Friday nights to watch HORROR THEATRE with DR. EVIL PHIL MORRIS.
I remember Big Bill's Clubhouse with Bill Ward, Three Ring Circus, Castle in the Clouds, Romper Room, Let's Talk TV, Pastors Face Your Questions, and a local kids show on Saturday Mornings featuring pirates (Phil Morris was one). Treasure Cove or Treasure Isle or something like that.
I remember the day that Alan Newcomb died (my 11th grade English teacher announced it to our class). Plus Betty Feezor, Pat Lee, Gil Stamper, Big Bill Ward, "Cloudy" McClain, Uncle Jim Patterson, THE AMOS 'n' ANDY SHOW weeknights at 6:00 p.m.
"How we love The Little Rascals..."
THE BEST OF HOLLYWOOD, CINEMA THREE, THE MILLION DOLLAR MOVIE...
Ty Phoid, I mean Ty Boyd, used to babysit a group of us as elementary school students in the school library during the monthly P.T.A. meetings. Ty's mother was my fourth grade teacher and school principal for my six years in elementary school.
Great stuff...great days...great memories. TV was REALLY something in those days. Today, well, never mind.
Thank you for providing the internet with so many great memories.
I have two friends currently at the station...David Whisnant and Tom Brock.
—Mike Cline, Salisbury, N.C.
October 10, 2005
There's no doubt about it. Today (October 10th, 2005) may be the end of an era for both broadcasting and for the city of Charlotte.
The sale of Jefferson Pilot (along with the company's TV and radio units, including WBT and WBTV) to Lincoln Financial could bring many major changes, since Lincoln intends to keep the broadcasting division.
Let us hope that Lincoln will keep the senior management of Jefferson-Pilot Communications, and that the broadcasting division remains known as Jefferson-Pilot. With new ownership that, as far as I know has no experience in broadcasting, the potential is there to ruin what for over eight decades has been one of America's great radio stations and what for nearly six decades has been one of America's great television stations. I hope I'm wrong; I would love to read on BT Memories ten years from now how Lincoln Financial's ownership helped WBT and WBTV (plus Jefferson-Pilot Communications as a whole) reach new heights of excellence, public service, and success.
Even though WBT and WBTV may not be the stations they were twenty, thirty, forty or fifty years ago, they are still better (based on what little I know about today's WBT and WBTV) than most other stations in markets Charlotte's size.
Lastly, kudos for BT Memories! It's one of the best broadcasting history web sites around.
—Joseph Gallant, Norwood, MA
October 4, 2005
What a great site! I am so glad that you have taken the time and have the passion to build a site that acknowledges the history of, and those involved with, The Great Colossus of the South, WBT. So many of the people found in these pages have been supportive of me in my time at WBT, and it is because of the people on this site that makes being a part of the history of WBT such an honor.
There is not a day goes by that I don’t think of Charles Crutchfield. Mr. Crutchfield made it a point to be my friend, and I will always be thankful to have known him. I can only hope that someone, someday, will still have the passion and love for ‘The Blowtorch’ that they will honor those who work today to uphold it’s legacy, and are honored, as I am, to be a part of this station’s rich and honorable history.
To all represented on the site, THANK YOU … It is indeed a different time, but there are still some who love radio for what it was, and is some cases can still be today.
— John Hancock
August 3, 2005
I just took a stroll around your website (mom gave me the address to check it out.) What a delight. I’m running into some run-time errors which are keeping me from accessing some things, but overall a really nice job. My dad, Al Pruitt [former WBT Program Director], passed away on July 26, 1997, but I didn’t see his name on the In Memoriam list. I’ve printed some of the pictures to share with mom, and I know she’ll enjoy them. Keep up the good work – it’s a lovely site!
August 2, 2005
Thanks for this wonderful Web site. I'm only 26..but I work in broadcasting, and I've always had such respect for what I knew about WBT's past. I used to listen to Henry Boggan crackling through on 1110 at night when I was a kid. It's great to see a site dedicated to WBT's legacy. Keep it up!
July 19, 2005
I just scanned through what was available on the great WBT radio/TV station of the wonderful past. I am Ray Stikeleather of Hickory, N. C., formerly of Charlotte. I am now retired as an air traffic controller. I was formerly a Queen City Trailways bus driver out of Charlotte, and I'm still driving tour buses on a limited basis in my 44th year safely.
My bus career originated there in charlotte with Queen City Trailways in March 1961. For the first three to four years I had the great pleasure of hauling Arthur Smith, Ralph, Tommy, Carl Hunt, Ray/Lois Adkins, Skeeter Haas, so many family members. It was like a happy family. I have many fond memories of our trips.
Once we ran upon a thought-to-be-dead snake coiled up in the middle of roadway somewhere down in South Carolina. There was nothing to do but stop and see this very large snake (we first thought it was where some farmer had passed with his horse). It was a very large moccasin snake. Some car had merely hit and made it mad. My elite crew of entertainers got off the bus in middle of the road to investigate the snake.
Well, we had a problem. The snake was not dead, only mad at the auto driver who had barely hit him. Tommy and big boy Ralph go over and kick at the snake. That was not the best thing to do at the time, for the big snake was only mad and not hurt too badly. He rares back and makes a big lunge at the big brave entertainers. They moved faster than my bus.
Needless to say, we did have a great time and one fine group of men made my trips most enjoyable. I will stop. Just thought you may get a chuckle from our past. Thanks.
February 23, 2005
Wow, what a great website! Being a native of the Charlotte area--quite literally growing up in the shadow of WBTV's old transmitter on Spencer Mountain--and a self-styled historian of television, BT Memories is a dream come true. For the first time in many years, I've gotten to see the faces of people I remember seeing on TV growing up as a child. My, how time has flown!
There's only one request that I have of you, and I hope that you'll do it soon. Put up some billboard art or TV Guide ads with the WBTV logo that was in use between 1978 and 1983. That was the last integrated "3" logo (just before the Ribbon 3), and now that I'm old enough to appreciate it, it was also the coolest logo. In fact, I've incorporated this logo into some buildings I created for use on the popular computer game SimCity 3000 Unlimited. I've attached a picture here, just so you can see what I'm talking about.
Again, great site! Cheers to you and everyone who keeps alive the great tradition of the Carolinas' first broadcast radio and TV stations!
January 18, 2005
I was at WBTV from 1972 to 1977 as a producer/director, and was the first producer of its successful "Top o the Day" program. We also worked on some very innovative local productions ... before the days when cable made stations concentrate mostly on news. I have great photos and archives from that time. Pat Lee was head of Creative Services. Hutch was a producer, and then head of Traffic. Unfortunately I am at Penn State University in PA at this time, and the archives are in storage in another state. In about a year or so I may be able to access them and will share them then. But please do let me know next time you have a reunion lunch or dinner. (I never got word on the last ones until after they were over.) Best wishes,
November 05, 2004
I just wanted to let you know what a fantastic web site you've created! I'm working with Jerry King in a job search campaign, and he mentioned the site to me when I saw him yesterday. I've spent the past couple of hours looking at it, reminiscing about some of the people, and sharing the memory of that special "spirit" you refer to that used to exist at WBT and WBTV, and that I remember so well from my brief years there.
You may or may not remember me, but you probably remember my Dad - Clif Livingston. I'm his oldest son, Tom, and I also worked at WBTV from July of 1969 to May of 1972 as a projectionist intern during my summers and holidays while I was a college student at UNC-Chapel Hill. That was not only a fun job to have for a college student, but it set the standard for the kind of working atmosphere that I would love to find again somewhere, although that's probably a futile hope. The people who worked there at that time, yourself included, were some of the most professional people I've ever encountered, and their enthusiasm for creating the best programs and advertisements/commercials they could create was contagious, and that professionalism has continued to inspire me in every job I've had since then. It was just great to have been able to share that experience with the people I worked with, and that was probably the only job I've ever had where I actually looked forward to going to work every day, primarily because of the people I had the pleasure of working with and the exciting "cutting edge" atmosphere that existed in those days. I remember that I had so much fun working there that I used to volunteer to work other people's shifts in addition to my own - letting them keep the money!
Jerry and I get together about once a week to review my progress with interviews, etc., but we always spend some of our time asking each other if we remember this or that person, and comparing our memories of what we experienced at Jefferson-Pilot. Jerry's done a better job of keeping in touch with people than I have, but I'm surprised at how many fond memories I still have of the people I knew over the years, not only from my own time there, but also from my Dad's 33 year career at WBTV (1950 to 1983). Your web site has reminded me of other people whose names I had forgotten over the years, and I've added the site to my "favorites" so I can revisit it periodically as you update it and add to it in the coming months and years.
Thanks for giving us "alumni" of the station such a terrific gift commemorating that special bond that we once had and can still have through our shared memories and stories of that time. You've probably done more good than you realize in contributing something positive to the lives of the people who will visit your web site. I hope everything's going well for you and your family these days.
September 28, 2004
Thanks so much for sending the link to your website. I loved browsing around in there, it brought back some good memories. As a student at Davidson College in the late 70s and early 80s, I regularly listened to 1110 WBT radio. The “Hello Henry” show was a particular favorite, and being a wrestling fan, it was fun when Henry challenged then US Champ Ric Flair to match on air. Not sure if that match ever took place! It was great to see the photos of Henry Boggan on your website.
There are other memories of WBT, only special to me perhaps, but still vivid memories almost 25 years later. I was fortunate enough to accompany my Dad on a business trip to New York City during spring break my sophomore year at Davidson, and listening to WBT on the way to the Charlotte Airport around 1 o’clock in the afternoon, the jock played Sinatra’s “New York, New York.” Talk about setting the right mood for the trip.
In another wrestling related memory, I once tuned in to find WBT playing what also served as the theme song on “Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling” (a direct descendant of the old “Championship Wrestling” show that once was taped at WBTV channel 3). I was very surprised; I didn’t know it was a “real song!” It turned out to be a George Winston tune, “Theme from Good King Bad.” I didn’t learn that until years later, but I’ve always associated it with listening to 1110 AM radio in Charlotte
September 16, 2004
Reno (or is it Vegas?), anyway, I finally took the time to visit the entire web site. DAMN, IT's GOOOOODDD! You are an excellent webmiser. Particularly for someone who was already 75 when Al Gore invented the internet. It truly is a walk (or maybe shuffle these days) down memory lane. I knew we had lost a lot of people, but you don't realize how many until you see the honor roll. If there was a more talented, professional, dedicated bunch of people in any station in the country EVER, I never saw or heard of it.
I'll be back visiting more frequently. Thanks for the time and talent you devote to it.
September 07, 2004
Your "BT Memories" web site is wonderful! I've gone through most of it and have a real nostalgia kick going here. I particularly liked your home page article on how it used to be. Thanks, too, for the pictures from the reunion lunch. It is nice to see the old crowd through them. You do good work! But then we all knew that.
—Eileen Corpening (now living in Pennsylvania)