It was back in the early 60’s and I was moonlighting at KBTX, Channel 3, in Bryan, doing whatever the logbook required. I was in the company of some very good friends who were having a ball and being paid for it. Our nighttime crew must have given our great General Manager, Harry Gilliam, fits, but he never told us to quit. As I recall, those stalwart gents were named Shearer, Woods, Greathouse, Franklin, Arhos, Hughes, Huffaker, Dungan and me. Woods, Franklin and Greathouse were at the controls. Arhos, Huffaker, Dungan and I were in the studio.
There were others who came and went, but this crew was together the longest. We had one black-and-white camera (Arhos); one kitchen table with mic and logbook for recording local spots on a reel-to-reel for breaks(me); one podium/mic we stood behind, in front of a blue curtain, to do Sports(Huffaker/Hughes) and Local News(Dungan), in one small studio just large enough for a single automobile to be parked for ‘live’ commercials. Everything but half-hour breaks was ‘Live’ at first, but eventually we got a video machine. We were flying by the seat of our pants and it was a HOOT!
Our news block ran from 10 – 10:30PM, with some news/weather by microwave from our sister station, KWTX, in Waco. Local/Sports and live commercials done in studio. We always ran a late movie at 10:30 (many were the type that never made it to theaters) and all but the skeleton crew in the control center hit the road to ‘Square Lake’ for a night of frog gigging. Arhos was quite adept with a bow and arrow and the rest took flashlights to spot the croakers. We waded just off-shore and quietly shined lights that revealed a bunch of eyes looking back at us. We usually went to my house with a ‘mess’ of fine eating. Marilyn always had Sarah Lee fruit turnovers and coffee ready. Following the preparation of the ‘legs’ (which made for good eating on Saturday night, donchaknow), we enjoyed each other’s company and those wonderful pastries. This went on for two years or more. The crew broke up with Bob Huffaker going to KRLD in Dallas (He was reporting live on CBS-tv when Ruby shot Oswald). Troy Dungan left and began doing weather at KTRK in Houston. Bill Arhos left to become producer/General Manager of KERA, educational television on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.(Arhos was very successful in developing many award winning programs on PBS, including “Austin City Limits”. He was honored by President George W. Bush with a “Medal of Freedom’ and placed in the Rice University “Roll of Honor”) I began a stint night-time at KORA-am radio there in Bryan.
I ‘ve not enjoyed a meal of frog legs since. Troy Dungan finally landed in Dallas with his bow-ties and lasted for decades as one of the nation’s most respected weathermen. He and I are about the last ones standing. I can truthfully say that we miss those guys, daily. Talk about ‘chemistry’ between men! It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s warm and everlasting. Really. By the way, we ruined a bunch of shoes, but it was worth it, donchaknow.
And, that’s what I get from MY box of chocolates. AMEN