radio and growing up in New Orleans in the 50's, 60's and 70's!
I'm not a real old New Orleanian, but I loved watching Dick Bruce eat all those McKenzie Blackout Cakes or Chocolate and Lemon Meringue Pies.
Did you know Dick Bruce was actually supposed to stay away from sugar, in spite of his classic 60's TV bakery spots? Also, back then, they did some of his "mmmmm...pies" commericials live on tv . At the end of one of his McKenzie's TV spots, as usual, he forked a piece of pie into his big mouth and smiled, then the commercial ended and the camera faded to black. It should have gone to another commercial or back to the show at that point...but instead, the camera accidentally switched back on the air to Dick Bruce, who was seen spitting out his mouthful of pie in the trash can on live tv!
I have a fond memory of something that happened to me including a certain song called "Harry, The Hippie," although I can't remember who sang it. About 5 or 6 of us left town and headed for Florida for a few days and when we were trying to get home we ran across numerous problems ranging from flat tires to running out of gas. We were all teenagers that had never left home on our own before so it was a new adventure for each of us. I myself was only 17. Needless to say we were all homesick trying everything we had to get us all home in Slidell. When we crossed over the Bay Bridge in Bay St. Louis, we were able to tune into our favorite radio station WTIX, where I believe if not mistaken , Bob Mitchell was the DJ at that moment . We all went crazy cause we all heard this song "Harry, The Hippie", as in the New Orleans area it was a popular song yet it hadn't gotten to Florida yet cause we hadn't heard it since we left Slidell. We all knew we were almost home when we heard it. I will always carry that memory with me even after 28 years .
A belated "welcome home," Janette! You could have felt better a lot sooner on the way home because WTIX could be heard from Houston to the entire Florida panhandle. Bobby Womack was the singer on "Harry Hippie." Ahhh, the fun and the pitfalls of those Spring Breaks.
Being a student at John McDonogh High when it was an all-girls' school (1950 and 1951) - I rode the St. Claude bus to Esplanade where I had to get off to transfer to the Esplanade bus. The boys at St. Aloysius would hang on the fence and make comments which, for the most part, made the day a good one for those of us who appreciated them. It was all good, clean fun!
You should have looked closely...one of those leering Crusaders might have been Benny Grunch.
I was born in 46. Radio was on WTIX in the 60's. In a 57 chev. Living in the parish. Had a 65 GTO once until it filled up with water from a storm.You should remmber it. Played music at the Joy Lounge in Arabi. VFW dancing at the river. Arabi Frostop & more good days. TIX was the thing.
'46 baby here too. I love thinking you were listening to us on TIX in a '57 Chevy! Dem Chalmatians really loved TIX and still love dem oldies today. Bet you loved da Contours too.
I remember during my high school years at Dominican having my good friend's cousin dating (WNOE DJ) C.C. Courtney....This was big time stuff since he was a radio celebrity...things never went anywhere with them, but we all enjoyed the notoriety of having him show up at the family house one day...Great excitement to sixteen year olds.
One other memory, although I wish I didn't recall this one....In a issue of the Dixie Roto magazine of the Sunday paper, the cover to be exact, about 1975-ish, there was a *one-armed man riding a white horse. The article was about how this man told his girlfriend (who later became his wife) that she would know he loved her when she saw him arriving at her door on horseback. Needless to say, he got the attention he obviously sought. That man, deceased today, was my father....Franklin Rodriguez, then the planning director for Jefferson Parish and the City of Kenner...a brilliant man and loved getting the attention.
*He lost his arm in the Battle of the Bulge which was just brought to the forefront with the opening of the WW II museum.
I lost touch with C. C. Courtney in the late '70's. (Update: he found this site in September of 2002 and emailed. Since then I've established my C. C. Courtney page here in our Tributes pages. Check it out for all the updates on C. C.)
Glad your dad became a knight on a white horse to prove his intentions. He'll be remembered along with many thousands of brave men through the WW II Museum by grateful Americans everywhere.
Original elephant at Audubon Park named Itema after the Local Item newspaper.
Wright Root Beer, 7 cent bus/streetcar rides with transfer.
Blue Plate Margarine box top let you into any United Theatre for a nickel.
My dad loved to take me to see Itema at the Audubon Zoo when I was a kid too.
And those Blue Plate box tops sure came in handy at the Poplar.
Hi Bob. Congratulations on your induction into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. You are most deserving of this prestigous honor. Thank you for your contribution to rock & roll. I have been listening to you and the many others way way back during the WTIX days up to the present. Visiting this site brought back a lot of memories. Thanks for doing this site too and doing it well. Have you ever considered writing a book? I would buy the first!
Save your money, Mike, because all my book material and memories are being placed online slowly but steadily as I think of new things to put in. I'd rather share the recollections for free with you on my site than sell them.
Ever realize that I stole that line "Quittin' Time, Quittin' Time" from one of the first scenes in "Gone With The Wind?" (shhhhh...my secret gets revealed).
Hi Bob, Love your page. I didn't know Oscar Talbot had passed away (distant cousin). I remember going to the K.C.Hall off Louisiana Ave. to hear Deacon John. I used to work for George Indest (CPA). Do you have any pics of Ted Green, Blake Blevins or Walt Andrus? Would love to see old NOE crew too. I remember when TIX was on Paris Rd. next to dump and vividly remember the smell in summer time.
Yes, I miss Oscar too. Great engineer and all-night jock on TIX. I don't have pics of Ted, Blake or Walt but I will post them if I get some. I lost track of Ted Green in the early 70's after he went to TIX's sister station, WQAM in Miami. And, yes, I would post pics of the NOE crew if I can find some (anybody out there have pics of C.C. & Lou??). Even though TIX and NOE competed on the air we were mostly great friends who bent an elbow or two often. And I heard that those days broadcasting from the WTIX transmitter site were memorable too, although that was '64-'66 or so and just a little before my time at the Mighty 690. I didn't join until the WTIX studios were at 332 Carondelet St. in '67. However, TIX old timers told me that they used to bring their shotguns for nutria and their crab nets when they worked there in the "swamp" at the studio, when they moved it to Paris Road in Chalmette...a dumb decision to locate there but, hey, who am I to question it at this late date? The smell was probably the nutria (plural) that they shot! Chalmette was looser in those days, obviously.
CAROL FROM CHILLY GENTILLY:
Your website is "far out". I hope it spreads like a wild fire (I'll surely spread the word). I don't think anyone can bring back the memories like Cherie did on her monologue to the "backseat memories" portion of her show.
Here are some of my memories as us old-timers to go "Back to the Future"!
For starters -Krups on the lakefront; A&G Cafeteria on Gentilly Blvd. across from the library; Rockery Inn; Roast Beef sandwiches from Wallace and Raoul; Backseat memories at Lenfants; dances at Sacred Heart and St. Antny (Anthony); Krystal Hamburgers on Royal Street; Solari's (the bug deli); Diamond Jim Moran's; The Playboy Club; swimming Stallings Playgound; K&B soda fountain on the corner of Esplanade & N. Broad (hang out after school for McDonogh high); Maison Blanche in Gentilly Woods Shopping Center; Debut of King Cake parties in the 50's; Melba Ice Cream on Franklin Avenue; '57 Chevy hardtops; The Steer Inn; The Hitching Post; drag races on Marconi Drive; submarine watching at Lover's Lane (before the levees) and the Point; Rizzo's Pizza on Bourbon Street (pizza at its best); Franklin Avenue without overpass and underpass --oh those miserable trains; Natal's Lounge; the Safari Lounge; Sugar Bowl bowling lanes; and let's not forget PONTCHARTRAIN BEACH!! McDonogh Day at the beach; bicycle rentals at City Park; Mona Lisa Drive in City Park; the Skyvue and Do Drive-Ins.
Wow, Carol, you DID get around, didn't you? Bet your mama never saw you much!
Hey Bob, just discovered your website on your show yesterday evening. I was born September 18, 1946. Been living in Marrero all of my life. Grew up listening to "Poppa Stoppa" in the early 50's. Then you and Robert Mitchell on "TIX." I'm still one of the many "Oldies But Goodies" fans on the Westbank.
Here are some fun things I remember...the Salvo soap tablets we used to throw in the Mardi Gras Fountain.....drag racing on Destrahan Ave. in Harvey.....the Walnut Room at the Lakefront Airport.....the Arrow Room on Jefferson Hwy.....the Sands on Jefferson Highway...the Crow's Nest in Gretna.....the Fat Cat in Gretna..... the old Scorpio in Marrero.....the Fireman's Hall in Westwego...the dances at the VFW Hall in Gretna. I once met Professor Longhair at the Saturday night dance at Immaculate Conception Gym. I have a lot of fond memories of my nights at the submarine races at the lakefront.
Nice to remember how you used to make the rounds before you got "too pooped to pop!"
Hello Bob......wanted you to know how much I enjoyed your website.....brings back some memories.....I've always enjoyed making my way home from work (St. Tammany Hospital....where I am a nurse) in the evening with you.....it does bring back memories as a kid listening to WTIX....with my father concerned about that terrible music I was listening to...we were going to grow up to be degenerates....and now that I think about it.........maybe we did!!!!!...sooo......from one degenerate to the other....thank you for the good times.....
Thanks for listening...always a pleasure to hear from a fellow degenerate! But your dad was wrong...it wasn't the music of Elvis, Fats, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, etc. that turned us into degenerates...it was the secret government chemicals in those pin-scrape vaccinations that left ugly round scars on our upper arms!
KATHY (Part 2):
Hi Bob..... was happy to receive your response to my letter.... thank you... made my day..... a smile too... WTIX..... brings back so many memories..... one that really sticks out above the others......10 years old.... new group called the Beatles...... every night at 8:00..... an hour of the Beatles...... I locked myself in my bedroom every night....... 8:00...... as a matter of fact, Bob,... I still lock myself in my room at night and listen to oldies...... so years ago... it was my dad..... yelling .... "how can you listen to that garbage???!!!!"........ and now...... I still hear the same thing.... from my 15 year old daughter...... "Mom!!!... how can you listen to that old stuff!????"........ go figure.....
P.S........ can't believe your 40th anniversary in 5 years.... wow!!!!...... make sure I am invited to the party!!!!........
I remember that show well, although I was still just a listener in '64 or so when it aired. It was called "Beatle-Rama" and it was on WTIX weeknights from 8-9 PM, featuring DJ Ted Green. Remember when, as an added feature during the show, he would have a phone report from Louise Harrison Caldwell, sister of Beatle George Harrison? "Beatle-Rama" was such a success that competitor WNOE started to air "Mersey Beat" from 8-9, and I think C. C. Courtney must have hosted the show since it was during his night show tenure at WNOE, but I'm not positive. The show might have been just a whisker before C.C. arrived at 'NOE. "Mersey Beat" on WNOE expanded upon the concept and played the Beatles along with the Dave Clark 5, Gerry & The Pacemakers, the Kinks, etc. Both shows were off the air not long after the Beatles' concert in City Park in September 1964. See our C.C. Courtney Tribute in our Tribute Pages.
Here's some trivia for you...the Beatles New Orleans concert in City Park Stadium was the only stop on all of the Beatles American tours that LOST money...in fact the promoter went bankrupt on the show! New Orleans was not then, nor is it now, a "Beatles town." We favor that good old R&B.
Myself...and this is hard to fathom at this time...I couldn't afford a ticket (tickets were $5, but that was a lot of money in '64) so my friends and I had to settle for looking thru the iron fence way behind the stage on the sidewalk. We heard the music and all the screaming but all we could see was Ringo's back as he frantically played the drums! I did get close to George Harrison's face on the other side of the window as their limo drove out of City Park Stadium after the show, though. Later I found that a friend of mine was inside the concert and snuck in an 8 mm movie camera (remember those?) and got some film of the show. I have a tape of that film now.
Meanwhile, Cherie Your Oldies Sweetheart worked at WNOE (the station that ended up as the official station and MC's of the Beatles concert) years later and stumbled across a treasure trove in the attic. After the concert, WNOE acquired the mikes and cables from the concert, along with the Beatles' bedsheets from their rooms at the Congress Inn on Chef Menteur Highway. The station cut them up into small pieces and gave them away as prizes on the air. A number of these prize artifacts were left over after the giveaway and Cherie found them in the attic and, ummmm, "acquired" them. She still has them as well as other souvenirs of the Beatles' concert that she found there.
Geez, Kathy, your dad was ahead of his time. He should have waited until he heard the obscene trash that passes for music today. If he had, he would have thought the Beatles were a group of holy Singing Nuns!
And when I retire from radio for good at 3 pm on November 15, 2005 (my 40th anniversary to the minute from my first show on Baton Rouge campus station WLSU 660-AM...my first show ever and their first show ever, and my show, ironically, was an oldies show called "The Bob Walker Wax Museum"), we'll save you a seat at the party. Just don't ask me to DJ the music!
I really enjoyed your web page which listed memories of New Orleans from the 50's, 60's, and 70's. Although I grew up in Houston, I was born in New Orleans, and was baptized at Mater Dolorosa (by Father Joe-Joe I believe). I often visited my aunt and uncle Frank & Shirley Drexel when they lived on Carrolton & Spruce Street (two houses down from the Spruce Street cleaners).
Another uncle - Louis "Red" Martel - said that he used to work with someone named Bob Walker at a company called A.B. Clark Lumber. Since "Walker" is a fairly common name, it's possible he may be referring to a different individual.
One of my brother's New Orleans memories is the old "Crystal Preserves" billboard from the 50's with its prominent chef. I think the sign is still standing.
One of my memories is taking the passenger train across the incredible Huey P. Long Bridge. As we crossed the river, you could probably hear a pin drop inside the passenger cars.
Thanks for sharing your memories with us.
Boy, a lot of people certainly knew Father Joseph from Mater Dolorosa, huh? I was an altar boy there and hated serving with him because his sermons were so long. And with his thick Polish accent the only word you could understand was "money," and he said it often!
No lumbermen in my family. My dad worked in the bottle shop at the real Jax Brewery. What a great job...they could drink free beer on their breaks!
The Crystal Preserves chef is still on the sign just off Carrollton by Tulane Avenue, but he has to stretch his neck over the top of the interstate now to watch the cars. The whiff of smoke that used to come out of the pipe next to the chef as he "cooked" hasn't been seen in years though. Just as gone as the Falstaff weather ball down the street!
Hello Bob: This is Father Monty! I've just bumped into Rodney Fertel "The Gorilla" right here at President William Jefferson Clinton's Boyhood Town in Arkansas. I'm writing a piece about him, do you have any facts about Rodney's run for mayor of New Orleans and his encounter with Huey P. Long or the story behind him bringing back two gorillas from Singapore to New Orleans? Love your webpages!! Neat stuff.
Actually I thought Rodney Fertel was dead. All I remember about him is that he ran for Mayor of New Orleans in the mid 60's and getting two gorillas for the Audubon Zoo (there were no gorillas in the zoo at the time) was his platform. He lost the race but he did bring two gorillas to the Audubon Zoo anyway after the election. Then we all lost track of Rodney. That's all I remember. Welcome him back to the land of the living for me!
Hi Bob! Found your web site the other day and hope you can help me. In the 70's I had gotten a catalog from DuSay's Pet Store and I had purchased many products for my dog. I would love to know if they are still in existance and if so, what is the address. Hope you can help!
Nope, Suzy, I'm afraid the Dusay's coupons in the catalogue are no good anymore. Dusay's Pet Store went out of business around the mid-80's. I think the dogs were barking too loud and disturbing the Archbishop at the Seminary across the neutral ground on Carrollton Avenue!
Hi Bob. I really enjoy your website. I'm looking for some WNOE and WITX surveys from 1950's or 60's. Can you help me out or do you know anybody that can help me out? Thank you.
I should have collected those surveys all along but didnt. Every now and then I meet up with somebody who has collected them but I couldn't put my hands on some old surveys right now if I had to. So I guess I'm not much help outside of the surveys I have displayed here on my site, both of which came from other people. Geez, and I did the layouts on those TIX surveys weekly from '69-'75, even the one I have posted with Lou Saint on it (I took that picture too). But I didn't collect them. My prize survey though would be one from WNOE with pictures of C.C. Courtney and Lou Kirby, if I could find one. Wish I could be of more help. If I can get more surveys I'll post them.
Back in the seventies, there was a song played every May around graduation time. What was the name of the song, and who was the artist that performed it? Back then I listened to you on WTIX.
That was "Graduation Day" by Stark Whiteman, a member of the Crowns and the Jokers. It was first released in 1959 and was played every year on TIX and other stations until we had to deal with the corporate and brainless "a-holts" of the radio industry and out of town owners and consultants who knew/know nothing about the wonderful history of music in New Orleans and couldn't care less.
NEAL IN JACKSONVILLE:
During my high school days in Tallahassee (50's) I listened to WWL and the music from the Roosevelt. A drive to the "coast" (as we called it), alone or with a date, was enhanced by the sophisticated music from old New Orleans. There are some references to Leon Kelner in the Blue Room on the web. I recall another band from the Fountain Lounge I believe. Was there a Peter Toma, His Accordion and Orchestra? If you know anything about these bands and if any recordings are available please post some info on your wonderful site or email me.
Yes, Peter Toma and his accordion did grace the Fountain Lounge in the Roosevelt. Those occasional polkas kept the place jumping, I'm sure. The other bandleaders in the Blue Room after Leon Kelner included Jan Garber, Dick Stabile and Herb Tassin. I don't know if any recordings were made or still exist by any of these music men. But if you find any, the next time one of those obnoxious drivers pulls up next to you playing rap music with volume and bass that makes your car quake, turn up your Peter Toma and his Accordion CD even louder.
Bob, I stumbled onto this website the other day, IT IS GREAT!!!!! I went to school with one of city's oldies DJ's BLAIR "ON THE AIR." Blair and I took Home Economics at East Jefferson High School. At the time we were at East Jeff it was not co-ed, so the guys took Home Economics so we could go to Riverdale, our sister school and use their facilities, since the Home Ec program was new at EJ and we did not have the sewing and cooking facilities. It was great to be in a classroom with girls even though it was not that often.
I have a lot of memories listening to THE MIGHTY 690. One that I remember the most was the song GRADUATION DAY, when I was a senior in 1976. Whenever I heard that song it made me think that geez, my parents were right, your school days were the fun days. I keep in touch with my best friends even though I no longer live in New Orleans, and when I come into town every Mardi Gras we talk about the "old days" out at the lakefront, good grade days at Ponchartrain Beach and "ring day" at TEKE BEACH, listening to WTIX and drinking "Miller ponies." TEKE BEACH was another name for the "Old Beach." The area is located not far from the Bayou St. John bridge, on the UNO side of Lakeshore Drive. That area was a GREAT makeout site, until they installed the gates in the mid '70's and closed it on weekends.
I have lived in Sacramento, California since 1985, however I visit my old home at least once a year, and visit old friends. I just want to thank you again for the years I listened to you on WTIX, and for this great website, to keep new orleans radio history alive.
I think they hung a "Wanted" posted with Blair's picture on it both at the Old Beach and EJ. And no need to explain where the Old Beach is...we've all been there for varying degrees of debauchery. Enjoy California...we'll eat some spicy crawfish tails and suck da heads...and drink some ice cold Dixie in the sun out at the lakefront...and think of you!
Can you tell me more about Henry Dupre? Is he the man I remember sitting in an easy chair during the holidays asking viewers to remember the children in New Orleans? I seem to remember that it was a "Toys For Tots" promotion. This commercial has been on my mind lately and I as I look on the 'net you seem to have the most info about him.
By the way my dad ran the Camellia Grill from 1962 almost until his death on 1977. I remember Mrs. Cook. She made the most awesome pecan and chocolate cream pies in the world.
Henry Dupre started off with the "Dawnbusters" wake-up radio show on WWL 870 in the Roosevelt Hotel (with live orchestra and guests) around the late 40's and 50's.
Next he was "Uncle Henry" on "Popeye and Pals" on WWL-TV Channel 4 from the late 50's thru the mid-60's. I can still see him smiling in his sailor uniform and cap!
After that, as he grew old and his health deteriorated, he did features for Channel 4 and he did run the Toys For Tots program for many years. As I recall he died in the 1980's.
I grew up and lived at 8115 Maple St., a block down Carrollton from Camellia Grill, till 1966. So I probably at least saw your dad there on the other side of that shiny counter. Got lotsa fried chickens from that place in my time. We damn nearly put dem Camellia Grill fried cluckers on the endangered species list.
To this day my idea of culinary heaven is a fried chicken and fries (and Mrs. Cook's chocolate pie) from Camellia Grill, and 2 dozen Manuel's Hot Tamales (on different days of course).
NORMAN WILTBERGER (aka Chris Norman)
Bob, I'm a former PD, Traffic Manager, disc jockey and radio producer. I got out of the business in 1990 after the station at which I was working at the time went dark. I was in a medium market city then; I'm in Atlanta now, but not back in radio.
The reason for this email is that while doing research for a magazine article I'm writing on 'voicetracking' in radio, I ran across your web page by Jeremy. He had queried you about some aspect of New Orleans radio and I just had to comment on your response.
Please move over, your soap box has to be big enough for the two of us.
It's really ironic that I saw that web page and read your reply. You have stated just about everything that I've already got in my article. Way to go. It's unfortunate that more people aren't aware of what's going on in today's broadcasting industry. I'm a 53 year old Air Force (Southeast Asia) Vet and I was raised on Country and Big Bands. Then when Rock 'n' Roll came along, I was one of the handful of kids in the city that was allowed to listen to the "race music". And that's what I specialized in when I was on the air...Classic Hits from the '50's, '60's and '70's and I can discuss Glenn Miller, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, The Dorsey Brothers as well as Classic Country with anyone. I know what you mean when you say that these "consultants" (for lack of a more descriptive word) don't know what they're doing. As a matter of fact, I agree with everything you wrote to Jeremy. I've been pissed at Clear Channel and Cox Broadcasting for the past few years anyway. Some of my friends have been replaced by 'voicetracking', but then a couple are doing it themselves for other stations. So, anytime you need someone to help you 'spout off' when you get hoarse, let me know...I'm right behind you.
I say again that radio consultants are the cancer of a broadcast industry now dominated by even more ignorant owners who are just in it for greed. They should all burn in hell for what they've done to broadcasting. I hope I live to see the day when some form of internet broadcasting or satellite programming that truly gives listeners a choice and an opportunity to hear what they want to hear (and not what they're FORCED to listen to by these arrogant corporate A-holts), puts the greedy corporations out of business.
"Online since 1999"