Saturday, March 14

Part 5 ... Sometime in 1948 another announcer left and his replacement was a Jewish kid from New York City by the name of Gerald Lenhoff. He was known as Jerry Leighton on WKIC in Hazard. Jerry was a very pleasant guy who was a born comic. He'd do anything for a laugh and it didn't make any difference if the audience was one or a hundred. He especially enjoyed breaking me up on the air. One time he came in when I was dong a record show and we started chatting on the air. After a while he said, "Well Don are you through?" I said "Yes I guess so." At that he leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Well then wipe yourself." Another time he came in just seconds before I was to go on with a commercial for one of Hazard's restaurants. He had it timed just right so just as I turned on the mic for the commercial he handed me a new commercial and said, "Charlie wants you to use this one rather than the one in the book." I didn't have time to review it so I started it cold. The first few lines were like any commercial but then it started to refer to the waitresses and I started to get suspicious. I paused and glanced at the next few lines. He had expanded on the waitresses attributes and started to describe their beautiful big busts and their cute behinds. I ad-libbed the rest of the commercial and somehow got through it. All the time Jerry was behind me snickering. When I finished I screamed at him and called him a few of the names I learned on the railroad. But the best stunt Jerry pulled was on George Davis - The Singing Miner. George was the WKIC celebrity that had two live shows a day. He sang the old mountain songs and coal mining songs he had written. He claimed he was the one that wrote "Sixteen Tons" and not Merle Travis. I don't know but I know George was singing it in 1948, long before Tennessee Ernie Ford made a big hit of it. George had a theme song that had words in it to the effect, "Just have chicken and I'll drop in for a spell." George always had a few people who would come to the studio and watch him do his show. This one morning a lady in the audience brought him a live chicken. It was in a gunnysack. George always finished his show with the hymn of the day. Jerry found out about the chicken and as George was in the middle of "Rock of Ages" Jerry came into the studio with the chicken in his arms and threw it up in the air. The chicken flew around the studio with Jerry chasing it. All the time George was trying to finish the hymn. Everyone but George thought it was hilarious. He was mad as hell and it's a good thing Jerry left the station before George was off the air. Jerry was dating an Italian girl from New York and after Jerry was here for a while she moved to Hazard. They were married in the Perry County Court House by Judge Taylor Witt. WKIC receptionist Elizabeth Warren was a witness. They had me and Shirley over a few times and this one time she had all the ingredients sent from New York to Hazard and made a pizza pie. I never dreamed that it would be as popular as it is today.

4 comments:

  1. I remember "The Man on the Street" prgram that came on every weekday around 12:30 p.m. I don't recall the name of the man who interviewed any one on the sidewalk that would stop and chat with him. His humour was good, too. He came on, I believe, just before the Singing Miner.

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  2. Joe Baker, you are exactly right. The Singing Miner came on at 12:15 PM followed by the Man On The Street program hosted by Hugh Dunbar each afternoon at 12:30. He conducted the show in front of People’s Bank on Main street and Begley Drug (now Huff Drug) on East Main Street. Sponsored by Baker Motor Company. Large crowds would gather to watch Dunbar do the show.

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  3. Ah, yes! Hugh Dunbar! I have tried several times to remember that name but couldn't. A very popular bit of programming for WKIC. Another attention getting program and well followed was a "Scavenger Hunt" type of weekly program that provided a two-line rhyming clue to the location of that week's clue to some yet unrevealed item which, if found, would provide the finder with some kind of reward. that would go on for several weeks, until someone would find the prize. The whole town followed the clues and searched for the hidden item. That's all I remember, and that may be a bit incorrect. i was young at the time. Perhaps you recall the programming details. Joe Baker

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  4. I remember when Jerry Leighton came to the Hazard Radio Station. He lived in the same neighborhood as former Mayor J.J. "Pat" Moran. After Pat Moran died, Mrs. Moran and the housekeeper, Willie Mae Greenlee, stayed in the house for a while. Then Mrs. Moran left the area to take care of some business elsewhere. She left Willie Mae Greenlee to take care of the house. During the time Mrs. Moran was away, Jerry Leighton tried to get Willie Mae Greenlee (an African-American) removed from the house because he felt it was inappropriate for anyone of color to live in his neighborhood. I thought this was unusual behavior for a New Yorker. I don't remember if he was successful in his efforts. So, my memory of Jerry Leighton is not one that I cherish.

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