Monday, October 19, 2009

David B. Treadway, Re: Mary Donald And Jack Lee

Delores Handy left her "Mary Donald" persona behind many years ago and apparently never looked back. She was at KABC, Los Angeles, by 1973 (if fading memory serves), did some fill-in anchor work at CNN and is currently an award-winning correspondent for WBUR in Boston, an NPR affiliate. I am certain that I have left out many stops along her way, for her stack of credentials must be five feet thick by now.

I remember her as being unflappable on the air. Phil North and I certainly tried to crack her up, but it was for nought. When the mic was on, she was All Business. After that, she loved to laugh--and the sound of it was musical to me. I had a crush on her as big as Dallas!

I remember two Jack Lees, the first of whom would have been there prior to 1971. He was Gary Souheaver (pronounced "SAI-ver") from El Dorado AR. That's all I know, except that I heard his family had some financial interest in stations in south Arkansas.

Mike McKinney (also from El Dorado; go figure) was Jack Lee from circa 1976 until he left the business for a lucrative career as an investment advisor. He was also the go-to guy for one of the Little Rock TV stations whenever they needed a complex issue explained in language that mortals could understand. It would not surprise me in the least if he retired rich.

I did not know Gary Souheaver, but I'll bet he was as competent and talented as Delores and Mike. You did NOT get a position in the KAAY news department unless you were the best available.

David B. Treadway
Doc Holiday VI (or was it VII?)


  1. So Delores Handy, who is about to be inducted in the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame is the "Mary Donald" of KAAY fame. Her bio says she was the first black anchor person in Arkansas television also, but it does not say anything about her KAAY history. She probably was the first black on-air personality at KAAY also. Let us hear more about this person and her KAAY connection.

    Jim Clark
    Rogers, AR

  2. I remember working with Mary Donald very well, for quite awhile she did newscasts on my show at night.

    Mary truly cracked me up one night when she reported an earthquake that hit China or somewhere. She stated something like "...the earthquake registered 6.5 on the RICHARD Scale."

    I was on the floor ! I explained to Mary that it was the "RICHTER" Scale NOT the Richard Scale.

    I used to tease her before she went on sometimes by saying: "Coming up in just a few minutes, Mary Donald, wearing her newest Orthopedic Sweat Sox, with the latest news."

    Mary was a sweetie and was well aware of my research, show prep, and, constant striving for "doing things the right way the first time, so you don't have to do them a second time." I was, and still am, a stickler for perfection, as most who know me well will attest to.

    So, one time when she was in the Control Room and heard me compliment someone about something they did, Mary said: "You got a compliment from Jonnie King ?! Boy, you better not forget that ! He doesn't cut anybody any slack !"

    Mary was a really nice girl, but I know that at first working with me she was sometimes intimidated. She hadn't been in the business all that long at the time, and she was a little leary of making the wrong moves or saying the wrong thing in her newscast when I was on the other side of the glass.

    However, after awhile she warmed up, and knew I "was on her side" and wanted her to do well, and became a good friend.

    I missed her when I switched from 8-11pm to Mid-Days.

    Jonnie King