Archive for November, 2009

Fish and weiners with Orvil and Officer Don

November 30, 2009

The following is another excerpt from Officer Don and Orvil the Dragon (aka Terry Kelley.


Governor Ellis Arnall

November 28, 2009

About half way thru my half-a-century with WSB-Television, I did a series on Georgia’s then 7 living Governors.   The first in the series is Governor Elllis Arnall.  ELLIS ARNALL DIED IN 1992 AT THE AGE OF 85.



November 28, 2009

Heard any demagogues lately?   The dictionary defines a demagogue as someone who appeals to the prejudices and emotions of people to gain power.    That could be the power of political or religious office, the power of money or personal glorification.   The demagogues care little about what they say.  For some, it’s simply entertainment.   The demagogues satisfy their listeners and followers by articulating their beliefs better than they can themselves.    Heard any amplified demagogues lately?


November 26, 2009

I’ve long been an admirer of people who write columns for Thanksgiving detailing their gratitude.  Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Furman Bisher is among the best.  Furman always gives us a bit of insight into his personal life with a focus on the sports beat.  So recognizing that my attempt will be amateurish, here goes.

I’m thankful for the grace of God.   He gives me the choice, but I’ve always  thought that He gave me hints about which choices are best.  I’m thankful for my family.    Gisela and I found each other after both of us had failed first marriages.   Finding your soul mate is one of God’s miracles.   I’m thankful that Barbara, my first wife and the mother of our son, Scott, is a good friend.  She and Scott are having Thanksgiving dinner again with Gisela and me.

I’m thankful that our other son, Chris, found Alexia who came with two children we can claim as our grandsons.   I’m thankful for 5-year-old Carston, born after their marriage.  He’s a pistol.

I’m thankful for my brother Jerry, the only other surviving member of my original family.    My parents and my sister are no longer with us.  I’m thankful for Jerry’s extended family.

I’m thankful for the meows and purrs from our beautiful felines, Misty and Mac.

I’m thankful for the rain and the resilience of people when there’s too little or too much.    I’m thankful for the warmth of the sunshine that follows the rain.

I’m thankful for so many dear friends and other members of my family.   How can I ever count the names.  How can I ever tell each of you how much you’ve enriched my life.   Thank you!    Thank you!   Thank you!

I’m thankful for the opportunity to spend almost 50 wonderful years at WSB-Television.    I’m thankful to the Cox family and the  thousands of fellow employees-friends who have made WSB the giant it is today.

I’m thankful for the medical teams who’ve repaired and replaced my worn-out body parts.  I’m thankful to get up in the morning feeling a little less pain than the day before.   I’m thankful to get calls and inquiries about how I’m feeling.

I’m thankful for the privilege of running…now mostly walking… for the feel-good feeling that comes after you’ve exercised.   Though this is the first Thanksgiving, I’ve been unable to run in almost 40 years, I’m thankful there’s a possibility I’ll soon be on the roads again.

I’m thankful for the staff and people at the Emory Heartwise Risk Reduction Center.   I’ve learned to love you guys and gals.

I’m thankful to you, the viewers and readers.    During my almost half-a-century with WSB, you have touched my life in so many ways.   As one reader commented on an earlier blog, “Thanks seems hardly enough.”

Officer Don and the skylift

November 26, 2009

From the Popey Club and Officer Don files: Terry Kelley (aka Orvil the Dragon) remembers one of his favorite segments.

Our make-believe video wasn’t the slickest in those days of low-technology, but perhaps it required more of the “let’s do it with what we’ve got”.

Adam and Eve and the falling leaves

November 25, 2009

Here in Georgia, driveways, lawns and roofs are covered with leaves.  These autumn decendants remind me of Pianist Roger Williams toast to our ancient ancestors, Adam and Eve.   As I recall it went something like this, “..Here’s to Eve, the mother of us all who always wore her fig leaves in the prim and proper places and here’s to Adam, the father of all the races, who knew just what to do when the fig leaves began to fall…”  Cue the first note of “Autumn Leaves”.

Sittin’ on the mike

November 24, 2009

It was a evening assignment. The year was sometime in the early 1960s.    Somewhere on the Atlanta University complex, the Black Panthers were meeting.    We didn’t know whether they would allow reporters.   But my assignment was to try.  I was a one-man band.   I shot, reported and edited.   My then wife, Barbara, was worried about my safety.   She volunteered to go with me.   I didn’t try to talk her out of it because I figured the presence of a woman might lessen the hostility.    We knocked on the door.   Two well-dressed almost military-like men opened it.  I showed my credentials and asked permission to cover their gathering with a camera.   They said they would check.   They returned in a few moments…allowed us inside and escorted us to a place where we put our camera.   I don’t remember the specifics of the rhetoric, but it was aimed at “whitey”.   I felt uncomfortable, but recorded the story.   Back in our vehicle, both Barbara and I felt a sense of relief  heading back to the station.

We returned to WSB in a company station wagon.  The communication link with the assignment desk was 2-way radio with a microphone that was placed on a hook attached to the vehicles’s console.  There were no mobile phones in those days.     On the drive back, Barbara and I talked freely about what we had just witnessed and several personal things.  When we got back to the newsroom, an engineer  was grinning when he told me he had something in the projection room that Barbara and I should hear.  He had recorded most of the conversation between Barbara and me during our ride back to the station.    I had tossed the 2-way mike on the passenger seat instead of putting it on its hook.  Barbara keyed it open when she sat on it.  My recollection is that there was nothing incriminating, but at the time it  was embarrassing.    The engineer gave me the tape.   I promptly erased it.

Remembering Zesto

November 23, 2009

This picture is from a current Zesto Restaurant website.   I didn’t know they were still around until I did a google search.   I had started to write about one of my favorite memories in my early days at WSB-Television.  I was a booth announcer who worked  2:30 p.m. till signoff.  The special part of the evening came after the early news.    I couldn’t get away to eat so I usually packed my evening meal.   But Wednesday was a special night.   Zesto was just north of WSB on Peachtree.   They had a Wednesday night special:  6 hamburgers for $1.25.     My then wife, Barbara, worked as a desk sales agent for Pan American Airways.    Every Wednesday after she got off, Barbara would stop by Zestos.   She got the 6 for $1.25 special.   We would have sort of a picnic in the announce booth.  There were usually enough hamburgers left for a final meal after signoff.    Several  years later, a fire destroyed the Zesto on Peachtree.   I thought it was the only one, but no.  The website says there are half a dozen locations in Georgia including one on Piedmont Road…another on Ponce De Leon.    I doubt those 6 for $1.25 hamburgers still are  available,  but the memories linger on.

Emily Beck

November 22, 2009

Emily Beck Nurse Practitioner

Meet Emily Beck, a nurse practitioner on the Emory University Hospital’s main campus.   Emily graduated Avondale High before earning  a degree in Biology at the University of Georgia.   The Georgia native worked at John Hopkins in Baltimore before returning home.    I met Emily Friday.   She took some of my blood.    The purpose is to determine whether a blood thinning medicine  is working.  The test shows it’s working too well.  My blood is too thin, but Emily’s attempting to fix it by adjusting my dosage.  I get to see her again soon.

The Ku Klux Klan and Tony Light

November 21, 2009

Tony Light was one of the young black men that we recruited for our apprentice photographer program at WSB. He joined our group in 1974. He worked as a soundman while learning how to be a photo-journalist.
He learned well. Tony is now our chief photographer…still shooting and supervising the other staff photographers.
Tony demonstrated his early “cool” when he volunteered to go with me to cover a KKK rally at Stone Mountain. It was in a cow pasture owned by the Venable family. The family patriarch, James Venable, was a lawyer and a grand dragon in the KKK.
The rally was on a Saturday evening. It was dusk when Tony and I pulled our van inside the fenced off cow pasture. Less than one-hundred yards inside the fence, the vanguard of the KKK had set up a stage with a lectern and speaker system. They had built a big cross to the right of the stage. It was surrounded by wood and straw ready for lighting. I saw license plates from as far away as New York, Indiana and Illinois. As the crowd gathered, they spotted Tony. Tony remembers hearing phrases such as, “why is he here”, “tar baby”, “string him up”. Venable tried to control his followers, but it wasn’t working. The threats continued. Finally, Venable came over to me and said that for Tony’s safety, we should get him out of there. We did, but not very far. I remained with the camera while Tony drove the van the hundred yards or so back outside the fence. If Tony was scared, he never showed it. He stayed with the van and waited till the flames of the cross had flickered out. Just as I had  ignored the verbal attacks by the Black Panthers on “whitey”, Tony tolerated more insulting language from the KKK. In both instances, we got the stories without violence.