"Online since 1999"
radio and growing up in New Orleans in the 50's, 60's and 70's!
AARON DESOTO, HATTIESBURG:
Hi Bob! Really enjoying those old Fats Domino tunes on your New Orleans Jukebox Gold page. The next time you do a new show, how about doing a Jack the Cat midnight show. I can still hear him in my mind playing "Night Train" by Buddy Morrow. I think this is right. His opening lines were "This is Jack the Cat saying where you at. From the house that Jack built on the banks of the muddy Mississippi,with Jacqueline the Kitten."
Oh, how I remember those good old days. I would stay up until midnight with my crystal radio, just to hear those opening lines. That was the main cause of my running late for school at Fortier.
It would be cute to throw in a Rosenberg commercial, I know you remember that one at "eighthceeen twenty five Tulane", and also Ponchtrain Beach, as well as "Ever Dry Extra Dry" deodorant which there never was...it was endorsed by a doctor which had to get back to his patients, upon opening the door you could hear cows mooing.
Those were some creative and fun days in New Orleans radio. Jack the Cat did actually broadcast from his house, which was on the banks of the Mississippi River. It was in that house that he recorded a young teenager named Art Neville, along with his early high school buddies he called the Hawketts, performing a song called "Mardi Gras Mambo" in 1954!
ANDY COLE, FLORENCE, SC:
Hi Bob, I ran across your web site while searching for Wayne Mack and Bruce Miller. Very interesting, and it brought back a lot of memories for me.
My dad was an announcer at WDSU, Lynn Cole. He worked with Wayne and Bruce. Later, he became the manager of WVMI-AM and WQID-FM in Biloxi, but continued to to the Public Address at the Superdome for Tulane and Saints football.
Do you remember him? He died a couple of years back at his home in Pass Christian, at the age of 62.
Sure do...he was a fine man and an excellent announcer. Broadcasters of his quality are rare indeed.
LEN "LENNY" SAMUEL:
Dear Bob, thanks for putting together a website such as this it does bring back alot of memories. The updates regarding the members of "The Jokers" and the demise of Roland (LeBlanc) Stone and Starky Whiteman were received with some sadness and regrets. I went to high school with Roland and Eddie Roth, those were the days. (We graduated from Warren Easton High School too many years ago to remember.
After graduation from school and spending some time working for Interstate Electric Company (the then distributor for Columbia Records) then Columbia Records themselves and then Delta Records, I met you years ago during a visit to WTIX with previous DJ Bob (Echols) Robin and Bob Spendlove.
You might find it intresting that Harry Batt Jr. used to buy the music that he used to play along the midway / walkway at Pontchartrain Beach from me at Lenny's Music Center (as I ran the only full music store in the Lakefront area, in my opinion). Anyway, when I tried to get him to play something other then the The Village Stompers, or the Nashville Brass he would say that he had a wide age group to appeal to and he didn't want to upset or encourage anyone to start dancing or having too good a time. He was a very nice man and had very nice family and didn't make a fortune (as we all thought when we were kids). He did the "right" thing and that was not always the most profitable thing. It was a business and it cost a lot to continue against the major "theme" parks which he had to compete against. He told me, once, that he knew that he had three "cracks" at you. Once as a kid, then as a parent and then as a grandparent and then you weren't going to be coming back to the Beach for "fun." He had been President of the Amusement Park Association and was well respected for his operation. Willing to spend a buck if the returns were there and it was good, clean, wholesome fun for everyone. I'm sure that security was an unspoken issue, but he did the best that he could.
I will always miss those days, but they're gone and we're not going to ever see the likes of that type of "amusement" again and that saddens me for the many thousands of families and friends which availed themselves of a decent and happy time "At the Beach...."
I have many good memories of those times and your website has reopened some of those memories for me. Thank you.
Wow! Lenny's Music Center...what an icon of the old days and those great record shops we loved to hang out in! And Harry Batt Jr. certainly still is a Prince. I'm surprised he didn't bring three lead milk bottles and a baseball to your store when he bought records for the Beach, and give you chances to knock down the bottles...and if you couldn't you would give him his records free!
SAM DE PINO:
At least somebody is continuing a history of broadcasting in New Orleans! This is Sam DePino. I've told Gary Straub about your website and you could be hearing from him soon. You might remember he was my co anchor at WVUE TV for a year or so. I was also exec producer until Gifford came to the station. Alec appointed me the first "Action Reporter" in New Orleans and possibly the first in the nation because he ripped the concept off from the Washington Post. Gary was the guy who put himself in jail for April first, April Fool's day, because he allegedly was very fearful of any tricks that might be played on him! LOL. I'm sure he'll get a kick out of your remembering that if he doesn't tell you about it himself. Me, well, I also co produced and hosted a weekly remote broadcasts for public broadcasting in New Orleans called "Ever on Sunday." We visited a lot of pride locations, including the Cabildo, a Canadian Aircraft Carrier and much more.
I was also a stringer for UPI and independent correspondent/producer for the ABC News Network which led to being offered a full time contract with them, based in New York and Washington. Many of my newscasts there are in the Library of Congress now. I'm afraid I'm so much a part of history now that I don't get paid for any reuse of my works, including my documentary on the Woodstock Music Festival.
I went on to freelancing in Chicago and even had to resort to writing film scripts. Nothing outstanding. A couple years at WLS and a government job for 14 months (docs, etc.) and finally retirement to my old 1871 house in town and a small farm to help keep the wolves away.
I miss New Orleans and it's nice to see my name attached to it again! Thanks!
What a treat to hear from one of our very high profile TV newscasters from back when. You've had quite a career, Sam, and we're all richer that one of your stops was in New Orleans. Enjoy your retirement and keep watching for those residuals...I'm positive the checks are in the mail!
Bob: When I was in school we made an annual trek to the John McDonogh statue in Lafayette Square. Every kid in every school walked past the statue and dropped flowers at its base. Many of the school bands performed in the square in the celebration that honored a man who did so much for the schools of New Orleans. I don't believe he or his statue gets any attention these days. I wonder how many of the visitors to the Radio Shrine remember the words to the McDonogh Day song we all sang as we passed the statue?
Hmmm...no one has stepped forward with the words yet. But I'll post them if someone passes them along. They're probably too busy dancing around the May Pole.
Hey Bob. Just discovered your web site. What great fun and memories. Norm Willy gave a pretty good snap shot of what I've been doing since leaving WTIX and WSMB. It's nice to see that Norm and Richard Knight are still kicking. There was a picture of Charlie Ray (he was News Director at TIX at one point) and me with Jerry Vale, the singer, at the Blue Room that was run by the Times Picayune in their Pictures from the Past section recently. The picture was from 1964. I hope that other WTIX and WSMB alums are still around and doing well such as Roy and Jeff, Keith Rush and Richard Fahey. Other WTIX jocks left New Orleans around '63 such as Ron Martin, who went to Kansas City; Lan Roberts, who went to Seattle; and Danny Dark, who went to Los Angeles. I have no idea what became of them.
I did return to New Orleans at one point in 1988 as the General Manager of Metairie Country Club. I left there in 1990 to become G.M. at Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra, FL. Right now I'm semi-retired living in Howey in the Hills, FL and working for a country club management company called Pinnacle Golf Services. I miss the fun that was radio in the 50's and 60's but love my current job. Howey in the Hills is a charming small town suburb of Orlando. I have a home on Little Lake Harris, which Howey overlooks, and love to fish and cruise the Harris chain of lakes in my pontoon boat.
I'd love to hear from any of my old radio buddies so you can post my email address for them if you wish.
I still remember listening to the melodious voice of Dave Nebel on 'TIX in the early 60's. It was that fun sound that enticed me into radio broadcasting. Write to Dave Nebel at: email@example.com
In response to your answer regarding Dusay's Pet Store. This was my grandfather's (Richard Dusse) store. Around the early 80's they changed from a pet store to a catalog pet supply company. My grandparents moved out of New Orleans to Picayune, Mississippi, where the company was based until the mid 90's. My grandfather sold his business and retired. They now live in Georgetown, Texas. I'm not sure who bought their business but it is no longer run under the Dusay name.
Thanks for the update, Joel. The building is still there on Carrollton Avenue across from the Seminary, but it's no longer a pet store. Dusay's Pet Store was an icon and we hated to see it go, but best wishes to your grandparents in their retirement. They brought a lot of pleasure to us when we were kids and we bought so many hamsters, goldfish, rabbits and other pets at Dusay's.
BOB PRIEZ, HAMMOND, LA:
Hi Bob...enjoyed very much browsing your great website; it brought back a lot of my own memories of days as a teenager in Algiers and New Orleans. I recognized quite a few of the bands and players listed on the page and wanted to call your attention to one of the early rock & roll bands from the Westbank that was popular from about 1955 - 1960, the "Syncopaters." It consisted mostly of Behrman HS & Behrman band guys, but had other members from around the west bank, and was the band where Frankie Ford honed his rock & roll chops. We played a lot of the HS sock hops and dances around Algiers, Gretna, Marrero & Westwego, including Behrman HS and Immaculate Conception, as well as the usual 'joints' [clubs - many of which are listed on your page] and picnics. The band had a pretty regular schedule at the Lafitte Grill and the Moose lodge in West End in the late '50s.
The "Syncopaters" was started by Dale Wattigney, on trumpet, and Joe Riemer, on alto sax/clarinet, at BHS and also included: Tony Licata, drums; Bob Priez, trombone; Buck Baker, tenor sax; and Frank Guzzo, piano/vocals. A few other guys 'subbed' or played occasionally through the years; but by 1960 the band started to dissolve. Frank was getting busy with touring after his "Sea Cruise" hit, most of the other guys went off to college or to jobs with other bands in the area, and it became difficult to keep it all together. By the mid-60's, the band no longer worked on a regular basis.
Keep up the great work with your website; I hope this bit of nostalgia adds to your enjoyment of the New Orleans music scene.
Another great page in the New Awlins Rock & Roll scrapbook. Thanks for sending it, Bob!
MOVIE MIKE HURLEY:
OMG- Lenny Samuels & I were great friends years ago and have lost touch. I just saw his post on your site. I used to hang around Lenny's Music Center in the 70's. It may be a long shot, but if you know his e-mail address, could you send it to me, or send mine to him? I'd be forever greatful if we got back in touch through your site
Also, I saw that several posts on your site refering to a pizza place next to the Tiger Theatre on Franklin Ave., but the name was not mentioned. It was Artista Pizza Parlor. It was owned & operated by the sons of the owners of the United Bakery, on St. Bernard Ave. The pizza was excellent, and great salads, and I can still remember the smell of pizza as I went to work at the Tiger in 1972 & 1973.
Thanks again for the memories.
Unfortunately I lost Lenny's email address but if I hear from him again I'll send it to you. From all the folks who have written, Artista Pizza must have been great. I used to have a route for Tom's Peanuts & Candies in 1966 and the warehouse was a couple of blocks away on Treasure Street by the Claiborne overpass and the tracks but I never took the time to visit Artista for a pizza. One would really hit the spot with a cold beer right now.
JOE TOM EASLEY:
An earlier post from someone asking about Leon Kelner and Peter Toma, the leaders of the house bands at the Roosevelt Hotel, got me remembering late night radio on WWL as I was a child growing up on the Mexican border. Clear channel WWL 870 came in loud and clear, and I went to sleep at night listening to Dick Martin and his Moonglow With Martin jazz show. It came on at midnight right after the live broadcast from the Blue Room of the Roosevelt, a broadcast featuring either Kelner or a travelling band, and at that time hosted by Charlie Lake. Do you know what happened to Dick Martin and Charlie Lake? And thanks for a great web site!
Writers often ask about Dick Martin and Charlie Lake. Since I didn't know them I have no idea what happened to them, but check back here from time to time and I'm sure someone will let me know and I'll post it.
How ironic...about the same time you were DX'ing WWL near the Mexican border at night, I was here near WWL and I was DX'ing XERF right over the Mexican border and listening to Wolfman Jack at night in the early 60's!
DON PRIETO, TORRANCE, CA:
As a born and raised Nuawleanian I move to Los Angeles in 1963 and miss it terribly. I'm 66 and I want you to know that I enjoyed many a romantic night while listening to the Golden tones of Dick Martin at WWL's midnight to one slot aptly titled Moonglow with Martin.
I later met Dick when was the host and greeter at the newly opened Playboy Club in the Quarter.
I was born in 1936 at Mercy hospital and lived in the Carrollton section of town. My first recollection of radio was an Atwater Kent that was taller than me---in the living room. We listened to the Pelicans play by play broadcast by "the ol' redhead" Ted Andrews. He also wrote a column in the Rider's Digest that you got free on the bus and streetcar. Jill Jackson also had a radio show and a gossip column at the same time in the same throw-away Rider's Digest, courtesy of NOPSI.
My mom and dad were avid radio fans. She stayed home and listened Stella Dallas --Helen Trent--Pepper Young's Family and all of the soaps. My memory is filled with commercials for things like Lux toilet soap--Octagon soap--Cream o wheat---- My dad, he worked for Cloverland Dairy for 42 years and then was the bookkeeper at Ponchatrain Beach and City Park---for the Batts. He and I would listen to One Man's Family---Lowell Thomas ---Jack Smith---Beulah---Lux Radio theater---Lemac quiz show---Burns and Allen---Fibber Mcgee and Molly---Great Gildersleeve---Our Miss Brooks---Fanny Brice as Baby Snooks---Inner Sanctum---Lights Out and My childhood favorite Spike Jones and the City Slickers.
I listened to the Top Twenty on WDSU religiously after school and remember Too Young by Nat Cole battling My Truly Fair for first place on that list.
Your Hit Parade was always a week late with the latest hits and I could never figure out why.
My Introduction to R&B, which made my mother crazy, was from a black bar on Washington Avenue and Galvez that backed up to the body shop where we were working on a friend's car.
Shirley and Lee---Fats Domino---and others blared from the juke box in the bar and we couldn't help ourselves. We had to move to the rhythm.
The car radio became the source of choice in high school and it was tuned to Dr. Daddy O and Poppa Stoppa when we were not in class.
Did a stint in the Air Force 54 to 58 and was stationed in Shreveport. My radio in the Barracks was hooked to the big antenna at the radar site and I picked up WWL and KMOX in St. Louis--WCKY Cincinnati--Ernie's record shop in Memphis and got exposed to the Louisiana Hayride in that town.
We hung around a small daytime-only 5000 watt station KJOE in Shreveport and one of our guys in the squadron was on the air as a DJ--you may have heard of him His name was George Carlin. THE George Carlin as it turns out. He often had us on the show (my friend John Scully and me) to talk about pool. Billiards actually. We were the local hotshots and he loved the game.
His irreverence showed even then because he was always in trouble with the comments he made about the Second Air Force and its officers.
But I digress. Spent lots of time at the College Inn necking in the drive in portion when we could get a spot---maybe Delicate Jerrys down on Carrolton where the onramp leading on to I-10 toward downtown---always with the radio blaring. For some reason I vividly remember listing to Gay Batson on WSMB when it was in the Maison Blanche Building broadcasting live about a huge fire that was burning in the quarter--I think it was a coffee company that burned.
We usually skipped art class and went to Tujaques, now Domilies's, for sandwiches and go to Audubon Park and eat and listen to jazz---Billy Eckstine---June Christy---Stan Kenton---Billy May and for the life of me I can't think of the station.
I've gone on far too long. I leave some for another chapter. Love your site.
Always a pleasure to hear from another Carrollton kid. Thanks for sharing.
I found your web site by accident this AM. It's fantastic and I'll recommend it to all of my "yat" friends. Here are some of contributions I'd like to make to your list of great memories:
Phillips Restaurant on Maple St. and their pizza ... William's Snow Ball Stand ... Delicate Jerry's, Rockery Inn, and Lenfant's Drive-In Restaurants - great places to go to "make out" ... The Basin Street Six ... Big Shot Soft Drinks ... Home delivery of soft drinks by Home Beverage Service - a case of Cokes cost a dollar ... Home delivery of French Bread every morning ... 5-cent and 10-cent bags of popcorn at the "neighborhood theaters" ... The kids section in the end zone at Tulane Stadium where a kid could see an entire season of college football with a season ticket that cost about $3.00 for the whole season ... The candy apples that were sold at those Tulane games and what great missiles they made when they were hurled at other kids in the end zone ... Pelican Stadium ... Ted Andrews, "The Old Redhead", the Pelican's play-by-play announcer ... The grilled hot dogs at the little place in the open-air parking lot across from the Roosevlet Hotel ... The City Park Casino ... High school football games on Sunday afternoon in City Park Stadium ... The sreened-in watermelon stands all over town in the summer ... Freitag's individual fried pies ... Jack The Cat - one of the first white disk jockeys to play R&B music in The Crescent City ... Mel Leavitt ... Terry Fletrich ... Jefferson Parish's gambling houses - Club Forest, The Beverly Country Club, O'Dwyer's, The Old Southport Club ... Slot machines in the A&P in the Arrow Shopping Center in Jefferson Parish ... Jefferson, Kenner and Metairie High Schools that were consolidated to form East Jefferson High School in 1955 ... The Warren Easton High School cheerleaders and their white sweaters leading Mardi Gras Parades.
Once again, you have a terrific web site. Keep up the great work!
It's amazing how that line of Warren Easton cheerleaders still stands out in our minds. I had a crush on the cheerleader who wore the "O" in the parades around '61 ... her name was Betty Hines and she made it definitely a capital O !
Re Pontchartrain Beach: I remember my birthday (I think it was #6). My mom took me there early in the day when the park just opened. It had rained the night before, so as the little golf ball rolled over the felt mini-golf carpet a little roostertail of water followed. It was pretty much just me and Mom in the whole park, spending my birthday together in the humid morning. That's the memory that comes to me first. Then I remember how incredibly tall and fragile-looking the Zephyr looked. We moved to Houston before I could work up the courage to ride it, one of the big regrets of my life. I remember how terrifying the giant clown head looked down at the end of the fairway (as I turned my head away, I swear I saw his eyes move!!!). I remember whirling yellow lights, the psychedelic glow of florescent paint under blacklight, the smell of carnival food, the lion that sucked trash out of your hand. Me and my burr-haired buddies daring each other to ride particular rides. Pontchartrain Beach has shaped my experience of every amusement park I've ever been to, and none have even come close to eclipsing its wonder to me.
Everybody has such wonderful and special memories of Pontchartrain Beach! Too bad you didn't ride the Zephyr tho. The actual top of the first hill of the Zephyr is still on display in the park next to Kenner City Hall if you ever still want to be close to that Promised Land that you never did experience!
Playing softball on the Canal Blvd. neutral ground
I think we all played some softball there with the bomb shelter as a ominous backdrop to the innocent fun of youth.
Bob, the final summer of my teen years was full of changes as well as experiences of a lifetime. My goals were simple enough : earn a little money for the summer, have some fun, and stay out of trouble. When the summer of 1969 was over, its events would be far reaching. My last summer in New Orleans was only one year away. A job as an offshore roustabout on a gas production platform out of Empire, La. occupied a great deal of time; we worked 7 on, 7 off. While not working offshore, my brother and I painted the outside of our house. There is nothing more motivating (to get an education) than painting outside during the summer in NOLA.
Hurricane Camille - During one of my offshore "hitches," Camille entered the Gulf of Mexico. On the day we were scheduled to head in for Empire, word had already come down that all wells would be "shut in," since it was moving directly for the mouth of the river. When I returned home, it appeared that we would experience Betsy all over again. Fortunately, after reaching the river delta, Camille changed its track, and most of Louisiana was spared at the expense of the Mississippi Gulf coast. However, the river delta residents, most of whom worked offshore, suffered terrible losses. I still recall an evening news interview with one unlucky individual :
NEWSPERSON : "What are your plans, now that Camille has wiped you out ?"
FLOOD VICTIM : "I just need to move from this place; it hurts too much to stay here!"
NEWSPERSON : "Where do you plan to relocate ?"
FLOOD VICTIM : "Buras."
Man on the Moon - Another noteworthy event occurred while working offshore; Apollo 11 was launched. Fortunately, all went well with the mission, and, upon my returning home, the Eagle was close to its historic landing. My high school friend Mike and I got together for this occasion. We were both planning careers in engineering, having partnered as students to tackle the necessary physics and mathematics. On this day, we listened to the radio with his parents. Finally, when Armstrong stepped out onto the lunar surface, Mike's mother began to sing. I think she sang "America the Beautiful". Mike was later to lose his battle with cancer, passing away the very same weekend that Princess Diana was lost to an automobile accident. I was glad to have shared this occasion with Mike, and it is regretful that our careers kept us apart for most of the rest of his life.
Musical Happenings - There wasn't much nightlife offshore, but I tried to compensate during my time off. There was one place we visited in the French Quarter called "The Roach", and the band I remember most was "White Clover". They were from Topeka, Kansas and they could do all the tracks from "Shades of Deep Purple" perfectly. The only time I ever heard "Hot Smoke and Sassafras" (recorded by The Bubble Puppy) performed live was by "White Clover". Based upon my Internet research, I believe they went on to become "Kansas". By the end of the summer, there was an obscure advertisement in the Times-Picayune announcing the New Orleans Pop Festival. Luckily for me, this weekend event coincided with my 7 days off, and several of us (Mike, and my brother) were able to attend. Performing were Janis Joplin, Oliver, Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys, and The Youngbloods, among others. It was held outdoors at an oval shaped race track on the outskirts of Baton Rouge; attendance was between 40,000 and 50,000. While moving in the crowd, a familiar face suddenly appeared - it was the squadron commander from Air Force ROTC at LSU! My brother also reminded me of hearing The Youngbloods perform "Get Together" for the first time , at night, while the fireworks were set off. Anytime I hear that song again, I'm transported back to the summer of 1969, where we heard great music under the stars, and wished that the moment would last forever.
What a great time in our lives...when nothing mattered more than taking the advice of Sly & The Family Stone and "Dance To The Music." That rock fest was in Prairieville, right outside of Baton Rouge. My first wife went to it with a girlfriend. Or so she said...
I enjoyed listening to Hap when I lived in New Orleans in the 70's. A couple of nights ago I was watching the western channel and a 1964 Gunsmoke episode titled Aunt Thede, starring Jeanette Nolan was on. At the end of the show the credits were shown and Hap Glaudi was listed as a townsman. That floored me. My research cannot find out if this was indeed the same Hap of WWL. Perhaps Mr. Arness had met him and asked him to do the bit part. Do you have any knowledge of any of this?
I'm not aware of it being "our" Hap, but he would have been on Channel 4 Sports by 1964. I *think* Gunsmoke was a CBS program, and WWL-TV is a CBS affiliate. So, having connections with CBS, it's possible Hap may have been on vacation out west or been at CBS on business and they might have let him be an extra. I recall the Three Stooges invited all the hosts of their TV shows across America to come to Hollywood and be in one of their full-length movies they were filming, "The Outlaws Are Coming." Then again, how many people could possibly be named "Hap Glaudi?"