A good time was had by ...
I thought the Survivors reunion couldn't get better than the '93 version. Well! The April '94 bash was even bashier than before! Proving that, unlike other survivors reunions (such as the survivors of the Boer War or the Titanic), our numbers grow each year as word of the event spreads. The '94 Reunion hosted more than 350 survivors with smiles so big and broad, the glare from all those perfect teeth was blinding.
The ever gallant Ron Conner of Channel 12 escorted me to the door, where I immediately discerned the golden tones of Frank Pollack. After a few jokes and pleasantries, we ran into Brad Berry, who introduced me to his charming mother. (Hi, Brad's Mom you made the newsletter!) More melodious tones caught my ear as Johnny McKinney's voice rang out with laughter. In fact, considering the guest list, I would venture to say this group has cornered the market on the best voices in the business. You can't dispute that when I tell you Frank Sprague was there, as were Phil Allen, Sandy Gibbons (look for him in the film "Lightning Jack" and others), Jim Spero and Ray Odom.
Speaking of voices, the MC for the evening was Wally Grant, who gallantly escorted me back to my car at evening's end. Enroute, he introduced me to Ralph Anderson, former sports director for Channel 5. Wally swears Anderson gave him his first big break riding a pogo stick as the singing janitor. Really, Wally, a pogo stick?
I was delighted to see Vick Wilmot, Jack Frost and Dave Rolland. Didn't know I was watching, did you? Others I greeted with hugs and kisses included Phoebe & Ray Thompson, Ruth & Emmet Lancaster (my former boss when he was Art Director at Channel 12), Ginger and Bob Allingham (yet another former boss, the program director from Channel 12. Heavens! In those days everyone was my boss!)
More hugs and kisses went to one of the best ladies of early television in Phoenix everyone's favorite (certainly mine!) Sherri Chessen. I also had big hugs for Bob Davies and Bennie Garcia, which brings me to a special thanks for one of my favorite people, Barry Wicklliffe, who played chauffeur for Benny who needed a lift that night.
Who else did I see? Well, Pat Thompson, Don Hassler, Patricia Meyers, Hal Ackerman and Sherwin Block seemed to be having a really good time as were Bill Close and Bob Garland. It was great to see Marilyn Von Wagner (Brown) from Flagstaff. I was able to spend a few minutes with Jan Johnson, a kind and knowledgeable lady who has been so nice to me in my position as co-founder and Executive Director of Project Prevention. Two other faces I always enjoy seeing belong to Sue Ellen & Gary Edens. Not far away was Tom Churchill. Ah, the memories.
Representing Phoenix Magazine was Mike Skerlak, and I saw KOY's Pat Cooke (McNeela) and former KOOL Station Manager Dick Brader making a "klatch" with Jim Frazer, Jack Willis, Grace Perry and John Scher.
Russ Fons should have won a distance prize for joining us from LA. I spent a few minutes with photographer Ben Arnold and spoke with video magnate Jerry Kosowsky. Free-lancer, Betty Latty was there as was Karen DeWall of Karen & Company.
Sitting with Gayle and Bill Kiviat, I learned that Bill had been with KPHO-TV and that Gayle's background in art direction incudes Arizona Highways and Phoenix Home & Garden. I also met Frank Idaspe of KOLD in Tucson and his partner, Mary Pat Dodds of 4-Star Advertising. Being your "On the Spot" report certainly led me to meet some fascinating people. One person I went out of my way to meet was Jack McAward, who had sent a copy of our last newsletter to his San Diego friend (and mine) Steve Irwin, formerly with KRIZ. Steve sends his regards to everyone here.
Several survivors could not attend in person but sent their good wishes via the postal service. Bea & Hal Starr wrote from their home deep in Mexico. We also received a letter from Neil Sargent who shared the last news letter with former KOY "deejay" Dan Armstrong. Lloyd Clark had commitments in Tacoma but asked to hear from people wishing to share recollections of Ivan N. Shun's Advertising Counselors. Lloyd is in the Sun City phone director. give him a call.
Looking forward to seeing YOU this April 7, 1995 at the BeefEaters!
Your eyewitness newsperson,
(Pictures to come.)