WDSU-TV ON AIR CELEBRITIES
Dick VanDyke had been a stand-up comic on the playboy
circuit. So was his banjo-playing brother, Jerry VanDyke. Dick became a
staff announcer at Ch. 6 and soon had his own daily 15 minute comedy
show. He was soon noticed by some entertainment moguls and was enticed to
leave New Orleans and WDSU-TV. We can only wonder what happened to him after
Another of New Orleans local musicians, Phil Gordon entertained the city's
TV viewers with his own 15 minute program.
Featured in the Fountain Lounge and the Blue Room of the Roosevelt (now
the Fairmont) Hotel, Leon Kelner's piano stylings were a favorite TV musical
show in the 50s. The announcer on the show was Bob Hamilton, who later
dropped the name "Hamilton" in favor of his real Name, Bob Howard. Bob also
was co-host, with Vera Massey, for some time on the Ch.6 "Our House"
program. He was an extremely popular DJ at 1280 on the radio dial, WDSU AM.
Maggie Brooks - "Maggie and Me Snake"
Maggie did the singing and me snake did the comedy. The voice of the
wise-cracking Me Snake was provided by stand-up comedian Frankie Ray.
Frankie and his partner, Shecky Green, owned the French Quarter lounge
"Shay When" which was located just off Bourbon Street across from Leon
Prima's "500 Club". At this time, there are no pictures of Frankie and
Shecky. Both of them left New Orleans to try their luck in Hollywood.
Lady Luck went with them because both of them were soon featured with
Vic Morrow in the ABC-TV "Combat" series.
Maggie treated viewers to her song stylings despite interference by
Me Snake. She's shown below singing with the Paul Guma Trio. The group
featured Paul Guma on guitar, Johnny Senac on bass, and WDSU-TV Music
Director on piano.
Jack Alexander held down an 8 hour booth announcer shift as well as
performing in commercials and hosting live programs.
Ken Scott was another fine announcer who handled booth announcing chores
as well as hosting programs and voicing and acting in commercials. Ken left
WDSU-TV to find fame and fortune in Hollywood. He starred in "The Three
Faces of Eve" almost as soon as he arrived on the West Coast. While in
Japan some time later, he was injured when a prop gun firing blanks shot
some material from the blank shell into his face. The gun was fired, as
part of the action in the film, by Edmund O'Brian. Ken manage to survive
the accident and went on ro make several more feature films.
Dick Bruce was the midnight 'till dawn DJ on WDSU radio in the Monteleone
Hotel. He made infrequent appearances on Channel 6. He left WDSU when ABC
Radio) tapped him to be the CBS Arthur Godfrey show competition. Instead of
taking the gig at the compensation offered by ABC, he hired an agent and
managed to talk himself out of the job. NBC wanted WWL's Bob Poole for the
same reason, but some how the "Old Redhead" managed to go on without
competition. He returned to New Orleans and established an ad-agency with
Chris Joslyn, an association that didn't last very long. Bruce married one of
the Ettringer (owner of McKenzie Bakeries) girls and became media spokesman
for the bakery. His television appearances were marked by his shoving a
Kenzie confection into his mouth. A style of commercial which, thankfully, didn't
catch on and disappeared when Bruce passed on.
Joe Fribley was another of the radio announcers who sometimes made an
appearance on WDSU-TV. Very popular with the ladies of the radio and
television audiences, Joe was referred to as "the handsome Joe Fribley"
in station printed publicity presentations.
His deep and melodic voice made Roger Wolfe a favorite of both radio and
television audiences. Roger was WDSU's Jazz and Turf authority. His other
great love was Dixieland music. He hosted radio and television programs
featuring the city's Dixieland greats. At the Fair Grounds in New Orleans,
Roger, in the overcoat in the picture below, called the races standing next
to the WDSU-TV camera on the roof of the clubhouse.
Orchestra leader Johnny Long, on the left in the above picture, is interviewed
by three WDSU announcers for Woody Leafer's daily "Big 6 On Channel 6" program.
Long and his orchestra were appearing at the Hawaiian Blue Room of the Roosevelt
Hotel. He was visiting the WDSU radio studio for an interview with Dick Bruce
and Roger Wolfe on radio. Woody brought all of them next door to the TV studios to
appear with him on his afternoon program (3PM Mon. through Friday).
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For more New Orleans radio and television memories:
"NEW ORLEANS RADIO AND TV SHRINE"