When my nephew Jamie, (with me above) who lives in Jacksonville with his beautiful wife Lindsay (also shown with me) and their five special daughters, said that he was remodeling his home, (bottom photo) it gave me chills. Not only did it frighten me, but it also brought back some bad memories.
Years ago when I first moved to the US, it was very scary. Growing up in Canada as I did, you never felt like the Canadian Government would ever let you starve to death. However, after arriving in America, I was pretty certain that wouldn’t be the case here.
I was the station manager of CFTR in Toronto when I received an offer to become the National PD of Fairbanks Broadcasting which was headquartered in Indianapolis. Even though things were going really well in TO, I couldn’t resist, hey, in my world, if you haven’t played in the States, you haven’t played.
When we moved to Indy, things were good, not only were we doing some very creative radio, I was also having fun, so I relaxed, and I stayed relaxed for almost eight years. However, when I turned 39, things got scarey again. I don’t know if Mid-Life Crises was involved or not, but I decided that not only was I going to celebrate my 40th birthday in California, I wasn’t coming back.
The plan was to start my own business which sounded exciting but it was not popular on the home front so It looked like I would be making the big move on my own.
In August of that same year, I realized my lifelong dream of living in California by moving to San Diego. Upon arrival, the first thing I did was to purchase an old house in Coronado which was right near the beach. However, before I could spend any beach time, I needed to modernize the place.
Things went a lot better than I expected. but I was still nervous about being out on the skinny branches all on my own. What I did was open up a bank account which I called my f**k you” account hoping to bring a little security into my life.
My goal was to squirrel away about two hundred grand so I wouldn’t have to take any s**t from anybody. Hey with 200 K in the bank, you would think a guy could at least feed himself for a little while.
When I finally had the nest egg all saved, I lightened up a lot which I never should have done. As I said, when I first bought the house it needed to be modernized, so I turned it into a Mediterranean Villa. I walled it, pooled it, Mexican tiled it, and blew in French doors. It looked beautiful and you’d never know that it was built in 1914. (see photo on top) Unfortinately though, on the inside things were starting to fall apart. The bathrooms were shutting down, the wallpaper was peeling, and the plaster was coming off the wall. Time to remodel baby!
I don’t know how the architect and the decorator found out about my account, but before too long, my “f**k you” account was wiped out. All I have left of it now are these old photos from “Better Homes and Gardens.”
Ron Chapman: On my list of “most unforgettable people,” I have Jack McCoy as second behind Jerry Jones. The first thing I remembered was “he who controls the verbiage, controls the buy”.
More to come…
Geo: I, like you, Ron, have many McCoyismns still swirling around in my head. I’ll never forget introducing you to him and doing our first of many recording sessions with him at KVIL. As I remember it, as you tried to explain to Jack the details of the promo you wanted him to record, he said, “That’s already too much copy, I’ve got it.” As he began, you looked at me like I was crazy because we had no idea what he was talking about, but we soon did. I hope you’re doing well old friend? (My Friend Jack)
Steve Dinkel: I first had exposure to Jack during my stint as Sales Manager at KSLQ in St. Louis. Part of the Bartell group- KCBQ, WOKY, WMYQ. There was always a lot of talk about “this guy” in San Diego cranking out incredible station promos. Later as VP/GM of KLSI in Kansas City, I sent many large checks to Jack’s company for promotional items such as the “Incredible Prize Catalog.” The checks were large, but the results much larger! And when the audience would call the station asking to hear the promos… you knew he was making “Magic in the Mind” for the listener. And that is what it’s all about…. Radio as it was meant to be!
Geo: Thank you for remembering those giant checks Steve and I of course also remember the giant ratings. The prize catalog couldn’t happen today because they don’t care about giant checks heading into the building, they only want to prevent giant checks from heading out.(My Friend Jack)
Candis Johns: Jack McCoy is one of my dad’s coolest friends. I remember when he would visit us in Indiana, as was sometimes the case with various radio types. Even as a young kid I could see he was smart as a whip, witty, and funny.
When he found out I was a gymnast he proceeded to demonstrate some mad skills right in our dining room, doing a handstand in his dress clothes, which was beyond surprising – and incredibly impressive.
Jack McCoy, an epic storyteller, has recounted some of the most hilarious tales I’ve ever heard, which had me laughing so hard that I could barely breathe and which remain part of the soundtrack of my childhood.
I still remember them and to this day occasionally retell them to people at parties when unkind swans, heated hotel bathroom floors, or would-be hotel fires come up in conversation.
I had the honor of working for ‘Mr. McCoy’ in my senior year of high school and, as such, witnessed the creation of those amazing promos.
When I had the opportunity to say hello at my dad’s 70th birthday party, he was still just as cool as ever. In fact, they don’t come any cooler than Jack McCoy… always ‘Mr. McCoy’ to me. (My friend Jack)
Peter Z: When you wrote, “It is said that when the restoration of Notre Dame completed, the only person still living will be Keith Richards.” I said, “Seriously? I think when the restoration of Notre Dame is completed, Keith Richards will be making a birthday cake for Betty White.” (3 Halls Of Fame Baby)
Jed Duvall: George, thank you for the aircheck clips of Chuck. Although we were never close and although he gave me a great deal of grief, I realize now he was training me, as were you, Jim, Gary, and Bake, to adhere and never budge from demanding high standards, which stuck with me in my professional radio, TV, web and print career. I was fired a couple of times for not budging, but at least I could look at myself in the mirror the next morning and go forward. Listening to these clips bring tears to my eyes and re-opens the small hole in my heart. You and others have a bigger gap in the soul because you worked with Chuck longer. He was a talented person that no one could ever forget. (Whatever Happened To My Old Friend Riley)
Jim J: I am SO glad I found this! I have been a HUGE Chuck Riley fan from the first time his voice leaped out of the TV towards me on CBS. I feel Chuck never got the respect he deserved as one of the great voice talents. Ernie was solidifying immortality with The Love Boat liners and Don was….well Don but when you search today and there is very VERY little info on Chuck Riley.
Talk about a double bonus to read that you actually sat on the other side of the booth from him!! Okay, I have to ask you. Did you ever record Chuck in the 1990s? Listen to this flipping promo from 1995.
I just have to know what kind of a mic he was using? Most likely a 416 but I just had to ask if he had his own mics he liked to use. Also, do you remember how close he worked the mic?
Thanks again Geo for giving the man some props on your site!
Geo: Thanks for the read, Jim. No, I didn’t work with Chuck in the ’90s, by then I was living in Boston. However, when I did work with him, he preferred the Neumanns and he worked them rather far away because he liked how they opened up and sucked up all his low tones.
The main reason that Chuck isn’t as famous as his contemporaries, is probably because he didn’t want to be. (Whatever Happened To My Old Friend Riley)
Geo’s Media Blog is an inside look at Radio, Music, Movies, and Life. For a sneak peek at some upcoming Blogs or to see some that you may have missed, go to GeorgeJohns.com. On Twitter @GeoOfTheRadio. Sharing and commenting is appreciated.