Anne, you were indeed fortunate to have so many good and talented people as regulars at your house as friends of your parents. Dawnbusters was probably the best radio show in New Orleans ever because of its fine cast. Look at the pitiful offerings on the radio today in the morning. It's enough to make you cry.
If you have any information about the history of the NORD Rangers, I would appreciate your forwarding it my way. We have a photograph of me with my younger brother and sister from that period, and I was ethusiastic enough about the "Rangers" that I wore my uniform in the picture.
I remember seeing those guys marching in parades in their crisp uniforms, performing their razor sharp moves. How we loved toy guns when we were kids. Too bad those years ahead showed us the other side.
Later, in the seventies, I listened to WWL because of the greatest morning man I've ever heard, Bob Ruby. At first he did the afternoon run as well. This was before the arrival of Eric Tracy. I heard that Ruby went to Texas to run a Ruth's Criss Steak house. There's a book being sold on the Amazon site, called Ruby in the Rough. Same Bob Ruby?
We had a fellow from WBSR at WLSU in Baton Rouge and he said they also had looked to WTIX for inspiration. TIX must have been one helluva station!
Ruby was another true talent in the days before corporate and cookie
cutter morning show hustlers, garbage mouths and product endorsement whores.
Not sure if that's the same Ruby in the book, but I suspect it is.
Our earliest fishing trips were simple affairs conducted at Bayou St. John, City Park, and the Lakefront sea wall. Later, we saved up to buy a used outboard motor - a 5 hp Johnson Sea Horse. This purchase allowed us to expand our horizons significantly when boats were available to rent. We fished at Shell Beach, Delacroix Island, and most often, the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain.
There was a ritual to these trips: pack the car Friday night, wake before daylight Saturday, head out Chef Menteur Highway over the Industrial Canal (smell the coffee beans in the early morning air), stop at Martin's restaurant for breakfast & take out lunch, on to Hwy 11, turn North, over the 5 mile bridge to North Shore. We always rented a skiff, either from a place called "The Anchorage" or "Bucks" in Slidell. Bait was either frozen shrimp or live shrimp, depending upon the season. Dad, sportsman that he was, most often chose lures (Mighty Mite or Sidewinder) to focus upon a most prized game fish, the elusive speckled trout. I, on the other hand, emphasized quantity over quality. "A fish is a fish", and to me, croakers and catfish caught with frozen shrimp were just as exciting. Besides, you didn't have to work as hard, and there was more action.
One trip I will never forget was the very first time my brother was old enough to participate in the ritual. My Dad had agreed to let me operate the outboard that morning, which was a very big deal. My brother sat in the very front of the boat, Dad sat in the middle, and I was at the controls in the rear. Starting the motor was a challenge; you had to prime the carburetor and pull the starter rope several times. Finally, the engine would fire, and, while still cold, it would offer several really impressive misfires.
On that morning, it settled down quickly, and we pushed off from the boat dock. I eased the boat slowly down the bayou; beads of pure testosterone broke out onto my forehead as we proceeded. Finally, at the end of the bayou, we came out into the open water of Lake Pontchartrain. I opened up the throttle to full, the little Sea Horse came alive, and the front of the boat sat up in the water. At that moment, I wasn't sure whether to laugh, cry, or wet my pants! My brother later confided that he too experienced a similar set of emotional swings.
Bob, it just doesn't get much better than that. Thanks Dad.
I did that same thing once with a relative's boat in the Mississippi Sound waters at Clermont Harbor. As you, my career as a boat captain began and ended that day!
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!
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.
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!