Sunday, August 2, 2009

Emperor Holiday (a three-part story)

PART I: The Emperors of the Airwaves

A.J. Lindsey ("Doc Holiday" the second) was well known for his antics as "Emperor Holiday." Ron Henselman from Chicagoland was a regular listener of KAAY in the 60s when the Emperor was ruling the airwaves, and Ron was able to provide some fascinating background about A.J. and his rule:

"I first heard A.J. as Doc around 1963 or 64 in the evening from Melrose Park, IL. Doc had a young lady on the show he called Belle Starr. She had one of the sexiest voices I have ever heard. Sometimes he called her Belly Starr to make fun of the way the name is spelled. Once in a while Doc referred to himself as The Rockin' Doctor. I'm not sure he even remembered that. All of this stuff was very important to me when I was sixteen or seventeen.

Each major radio market had their own emperor. Chicago had Emperor Weber who was/is Clark Weber from WLS, and at KAAY, Doc Holiday became Emperor Holiday.

Most of the Emperor routines played on the radio were produced by the same company for the different stations around the nation. The recorded routines promoting Emperor Holiday featured voices from the production company, so I am not sure how often we actually heard Doc's voice in those routines."

If you would like to get an idea of what the Emperor routine was about, here is a link to a page about Emperor Clark Weber:
You'll see that an Emperor had a proclamation, play money to give away, and a recruitment notice for "Lieutenants" who got their orders from listening to the Emperor's radio show.

Ron noted that
"When Clark Weber was doing the Emperor Weber routine, his friend Ron Riley had his own group on WLS. Ron's counter-part to the commandos was called Rebel Ron's Raiders."

Another well known Emperor, perhaps the first, was Emperor Bob Hudson of KRLA, Los Angeles; see
for a listing of the "typical" exploits of such a radio Emperor.

Yet another was Emperor Hal Murray ("Murray the Magnificent") at KQV, Pittsburgh. See

Of course, an Emperor's job was to generate publicity, and in his blog A.J. documented many of Emperor Holiday's antics. (See for a long list.) A.J.'s post of August 24, 2006 is a good place to start:

Remember the cast of characters for the Emperor bit? There was Col. Splendid, Daphne, and Lt. Cavendish. In each market the comedy material was the same, just the Emperor's name changed. Lt. Cavendish was the foil of many of the jokes. Daphne was the bright, sexy, one. When we made personal appearances we had staff members who often played the parts.

In the fall, Emperor Holiday made football predictions. Mostly local high school teams. However, what the public didn't know was that these predictions were made based on how we could get the most reaction. For example, Hall High was in Little Rock and always had a good football team. North Little Rock High [NLR] was across the river and had great school spirit. We felt we could get far more reaction by predicting NLR to lose. We appeared at the NLR pep rally and at the game, spent most of the time on the NLR side. We were booed, pelted with drinks, etc. The Mayor of North Little Rock even entered into a wager. If NLR won, Emperor Holdiay would spend a day working for the street department. If Hall won, Mayor Casey Laymen would do the Emperor's radio show. [Hall] won and the Mayor did 3 hilarious hours.

Finally the story behind the [left] picture: Emperor and Daphne cool it on the side lines. Daphne was played by Barbara Lewis, the secretary of the KAAY's manager. She also did cheerleading for the Commandos Basketball team. Barbara was a great team player and a good friend.

To Be Continued....

---Dave S. ( )

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