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Author Topic: Goodbye, Johnny Fever and Some Old WKRP/WLS Musings  (Read 900 times)

Henry

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Goodbye, Johnny Fever and Some Old WKRP/WLS Musings
« on: January 31, 2022, 07:47:40 PM »

This thread is titled in honor of the actor who portrayed the eccentric DJ Dr. Johnny Fever on WKRP in Cincinnati. Howard Hesseman, the actor in question, died at the age of 81. He now joins Frank Bonner, Gordon Jump and Carol Bruce among the actors from that series who have passed on.

Quote from: Johnny Fever
(from the very first episode of WKRP in Cincinnati, when the former elevator music station flips to a rock & roll format)

"All right Cincinnati, it’s time for this town to get down! You got Johnny, Dr. Johnny Fever, and I am burning up in here. We’re all in critical condition, babies, but you can tell me where it hurts because I got the healing prescription here from the big KRP musical medicine cabinet. Now, I am talking about your 50,000-watt intensive care unit, babies!"

I'm sure that every AM Top-40 radio station in the country at the time the series aired had a Dr. Johnny Fever working for them, and for WLS in Chicago, it was Larry Lujack who also doubled as Les Nessman, albeit without the glasses, suit or bowtie, as he read farm reports, aka Animal Stories. (News director Bud Miller eventually took on the Les Nessman role himself.) As the evening man, John Records Landecker could be seen in the Venus Flytrap role, though without the heavy R&B-leaning act. Bill Price, the station's program director at the time, could easily be Chicago's version of Andy Travis; Linda Marshall and Kathy McFarland gave off sort of a Bailey Quarters vibe, as they both were working in the newsroom; and there probably was a hot Jennifer Marlowe-esque blonde at the front desk and a sleazy Herb Tarlek-type accounting guy; I'll have to look through wlshistory.com to find out. Also, I wonder what happened to former DJ Charlie Van Dyke (the guy with the "big bass voice"--my description, not that you were wondering--who made a living voicing over several TV stations nationwide); it seems like you don't hear much from him anymore.

What were your favorite stations like, in comparison to the fictional Cincinnati station that (AFAIK) never had its frequency mentioned? Let's have one final salute to Dr. Johnny Fever and the people that made radio worth listening to in the good old days (something that iHeartRadio can never do, no matter how it tries).
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abefroman329

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Re: Goodbye, Johnny Fever and Some Old WKRP/WLS Musings
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2022, 07:54:48 PM »

there probably was a hot Jennifer Marlowe-esque blonde at the front desk
That was Lorelai, over at WLUP-FM.

As for Hesseman, I think he should have won an Emmy for the two-parter where he became Rip Tide.
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Takumi

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ErmineNotyours

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Re: Goodbye, Johnny Fever and Some Old WKRP/WLS Musings
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2022, 06:42:10 AM »

Also, I wonder what happened to former DJ Charlie Van Dyke (the guy with the "big bass voice"--my description, not that you were wondering--who made a living voicing over several TV stations nationwide); it seems like you don't hear much from him anymore.

Interview with Charlie Van Dyke from October 2020:

https://kenlevine.blogspot.com/2020/10/ep195-voice-of-god-and-eyewitness-news.html
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OCGuy81

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Re: Goodbye, Johnny Fever and Some Old WKRP/WLS Musings
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2022, 12:00:35 PM »

It’d be cool to see the Bengals win it all as a tribute to WKRP and Johnny Fever!
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kurumi

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Re: Goodbye, Johnny Fever and Some Old WKRP/WLS Musings
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2022, 12:21:34 PM »

It’d be cool to see the Bengals win it all as a tribute to WKRP and Johnny Fever!

Imagine if Seattle repped the NFC, and we could roll out "As God is my witness, I thought Seahawks could fly"
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Henry

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Re: Goodbye, Johnny Fever and Some Old WKRP/WLS Musings
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2022, 08:11:40 PM »

It’d be cool to see the Bengals win it all as a tribute to WKRP and Johnny Fever!

Imagine if Seattle repped the NFC, and we could roll out "As God is my witness, I thought Seahawks could fly"
And in that same vein, Atlanta, Arizona, Baltimore, New York and Philadelphia can also fit the joke well, with their respective team names substituted in (Falcons, Cardinals, Ravens, Jets and Eagles). But given that three of those teams have already won a Super Bowl, along with the aforementioned Seahawks, the first two would be the most worthy of that joke, especially after the Falcons' 28-3 debacle of five years ago (and also, because series creator Hugh Wilson actually worked at a station in Atlanta).

But yeah, it would be cool if the Bengals did win so they could dedicate it to the memory of Johnny Fever!

(Hey, how could I forget the Big Guy himself, Arthur Carlson? He and his meddling mother were sort of like the ABC Radio Network, which owned and operated WLS at the time, along with its FM counterpart at 94.7 to complement the TV network's own O&O WLS-TV/ABC7 Chicago. The final episode had the Carlsons flipping WKRP to News/Talk, and seven years later, ABC did the same thing to WLS, but not without playing Chicago's Just You 'n Me as their final song. The irony in this is that the series originally aired on rival network CBS, and Hesseman went on to star in ABC's Head of the Class.)
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Big John

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Re: Goodbye, Johnny Fever and Some Old WKRP/WLS Musings
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2022, 10:21:57 PM »

Just as long as he did not have his funeral here:
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roadman65

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Re: Goodbye, Johnny Fever and Some Old WKRP/WLS Musings
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2022, 01:02:14 PM »

Frank Bonner, Gordon Jump, and now Hessman.  All those we know from classic shows are now gone.

RIP Howard, now your with Jump and Bonner.
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Takumi

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Re: Goodbye, Johnny Fever and Some Old WKRP/WLS Musings
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2022, 07:34:45 PM »

The show’s creator Hugh Wilson also died a few years ago. He appeared in a couple episodes.
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