It wasn’t too far back that I added an HD OTA antenna to the NO Princess Palace. Since my technological progress stalled out back around 2002 when my brain could no longer absorb new information , it took awhile for me to figure out all I knew about an HD antenna. When I hook that antenna into the back of my DISH receiver and then scan the local channels through the receiver it conveniently places those locals on my DISH program guide. Increase the cool factor by 25 when I discovered I could also record those OTA locals to my DVR. Am I an awesome techno-geek or what??
This HD business added the capabilities to like piggyback more channels in underneath the main channel. I can’t explain it but there is probably magic smoke involved. Gotta be. So I get the San Antone Channel 4 WOAI on channel 4.1. And then underneath that they have channels 4.2, 4.3, 4.4 etc. I get them too, automagically of course. Channel 4.2 is something called AntennaTV which airs American Classic TV series from the 1950s – 1990s. I have told y’all before that filling up the long hours while sittin’ on a gate is a challenge. A good TV with a plethora of programming is one of the ways I get by. I send ol’ Charlie Ergen (ORHS ’72) at DISH my monthly tribute so’s I can feed that TV.
Now I ain’t makin’ this sh*t up you millenial Beleibers. In the not too distant past, you were good if you got the 3 major network TV channels on your TV – and you had to get up off the couch to go change the channel. On top of that, your phone was connected by a wire to the wall and if you wanted cash out of your bank account you had to go stand in line at the bank and interact with a live person. I can’t make this stuff up, OK? You can check it out your ownself if you are a disbeliever.
Along with most folks watchin’ the Evening News, we also watched the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He was The Man long before Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel were even born. I really lucked out when I found out AntennaTV was airing the entire Tonight Show library every evening. The show is a perfect window to back in the day and I am enjoying it immensely. If you were any sort of star or news worthy person back then you went on The Tonight Show. John Wayne, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Paul Lynde, George Carlin and too many more to count were on the show.
One of Johnny’s staples were his skits and my two favorites were Floyd Turbo and Art Fern.
“Art Fern”, the fast-talking host of a “Tea Time Movie” program, who advertised inane products, assisted by the attractive Matinee Lady, played by Paula Prentiss (late 1960s), Carol Wayne (the most familiar Matinee Lady, 1971–82), Danuta Wesley (1984), and Teresa Ganzel (1985–92). The fake movies Art would introduce usually had eclectic casts (“Ben Blue, Red Buttons, Jesse White, and Karen Black”) and nonsensical titles (“Rin-Tin-Tin Gets Fixed Fixed Fixed”). This would be followed by a four-second stock film clip before coming back for another commercial, usually catching Art and the Matinee Lady in a very compromising position.
On giving directions to a fake store he was touting, Fern would show a spaghetti-like road map, sometimes with a literal “fork in the road”, other times making the joke, “Go to the Slauson Cutoff…”, and the audience would recite with him, “…cut off your Slauson!”
The character was previously named “Honest Bernie Schlock” and then “Ralph Willie” when the Tea Time sketches first aired in the mid-to-late 1960s. At least one surviving pre-1972 Art Fern sketch that originated from New York had its movie show title as “The Big Flick”, an amalgam of two movie show titles in use at the time by New York station WOR-TV, The Big Preview and The Flick. On that sketch Lee Meredith was the Matinee Lady. Carson’s Comedy Classics features an episode where Juliet Prowse is in the role of Matinee Lady, from 20 August 1971.
Man oh Man, that Carol Wayne was a good lookin’ woman! In the interest of propriety befitting a 60 yo curmudgeon such as myself, let’s just call her “eye pleasin” and leave it be at that.
On one of the shows I watched last week, Ms. Wayne came back over to Johnny’s desk for a little chit chat after the sketch. They were teasing back and forth and the subject of their age difference came up. Johnny said “45 is not really that old!” and Ms. Wayne replied “Well, I hope I make it to 45”. She was 30 yo in 1972 when that show first aired.
I found that statement completely bittersweet knowing what I know now.
On Ms. Wayne:
The success of the Tonight Show, helped lead to her ultimate professional downfall. Johnny Carson began to push for a reduction in the shows run time from 90 minutes to 60, and while this was good news for the network, as it led to the creation of “Late Night With David Letterman” it led to her spot in the show being reduced drastically.She was married several times, first to Rock and Roll photographer Barry Feinstein then later to TV and film producer Burt Sugarman.
Following the cuts in the Tonight Show she was having severe financial problems, and reportedly had fallen into drug and alcohol abuse. Toward the end of her life she had resorted to being an escort for rich men.
(excerpt from wiki: )
In January 1985, Wayne and her companion Edward Durston were vacationing at the Las Hadas Resort in Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico. After an argument with Durston, Wayne reportedly left to take a walk on the beach. Three days later a local fisherman found Wayne’s body in the shallow bay.
Authorities later discovered Durston had checked out of the resort the day the couple argued. He had left Wayne’s luggage at the airport. Later, an autopsy performed in Mexico revealed no signs of drugs or alcohol in Wayne’s body. Her death was eventually ruled as “accidental”.
Carol was deathly afraid of water, and would not have gone swimming. The water she was found in was only 4 feet deep.
Excerpt from Carol Wayne website http://www.tvparty.com/wayne.html )
According to published reports, Carol Wayne was on vacation in Santiago Bay, Mexico with Los Angeles car salesman Edward Durston on January 10, 1985 when (it has been reported) the couple had a argument about where they were going to stay that evening (they were scheduled to fly back to Los Angeles the next morning).
Durston checked into a hotel and Wayne reportedly left to walk down the beach (to cool off?). That was the last time anyone saw her alive. Local fisherman Abel de Dios found her limp body floating in the shallow bay waters three days later.
Mexican authorities wondered how Carol Wayne came to drown in waters four feet deep, fully clothed. There were no cuts or abrasions, so a fall from the nearby rocks was ruled out. The coroner stated that death occurred 3 – 4 days earlier and the body tested negative for drugs and alcohol.
Suspicions were raised: Carol Wayne had to be identified by workers at the Las Hadas resort where the couple had been staying earlier in the week. When locals went to look for Wayne’s traveling companion, they discovered that Edward Durston checked out three days earlier – leaving Wayne’s luggage at the airport with a message that she would pick up her bags in the morning.
As an aside, many readers may remember the (alleged) LSD related death of Art Linkletter’s daughter Diane. She jumped (or fell) from a sixth floor apartment building in 1969.
Art Linkletter basically ended his successful television career when he started crusading against drugs with a fervor that made it hard for middle America to find the afternoon talk show host funny anymore.
Not that it necessarily means anything, but Diane Linkletter’s companion the night she was killed was Edward Durston.
Carol Wayne was 42 yo at the time of her death. Yeah, bittersweet. I will continue to remember her as the ditzy, funny blond on Carson.
On the side………. I am an Amazon affiliate and have been for years. The few cents I make if you click through on one of my blog links to Amazon keeps the lights on around here. Don’t cost you anything extra but it sure helps me pay the bills. Just sayin’………..
End Note: “Rust Belt Fields” by Slaid Cleaves from the Still Fighting the War cd. This guy deserves more air play.