Bud....The Arkansas State Fair begins this weekend in Little Rock. I am sending a picture of me from the Fair in about 1963.
(Click on the above for a bigger picture of a handsome young man! bs)
KAAY, always in the middle of any kind of promotion, wanted to be very visible at the Fair. A.J. Lindsey, Doc Holiday/Program Director (I am going to have a problem referring to him as the "Late" A.J. Lindsey for a while) , wanted me the spend the fair duration in a KAAY Sailboat on top of the entrance to the fair. The promise was that the boat was brand new, and all finished out inside to make it very comfortable. Well, it wasn't. Very unfinished, with just a plywood bed and an electric blanket. I had a menu from a nice restaurant up the street, and used it to order any food delivered, whenever I wanted. We also had a telephone and a microphone for me to do my show, and cut-ins with other jocks, whenever I was available. If I was awake in the middle of the night (candy apple hits side of USS Emperor Holiday), I called in for a while.
The appearance was a big hit and lots of fun. As always, we had our set of unforeseen problems. Hurriedly put together as it was, we did not have a sail. Some local ladies sewed together enough sheets to make a sail, and we painted the big KAAY on it. The sail helped cause our biggest problem. Ya see, the boat had to be built up on a wooden frame. I had a ladder to climb up into it in the rear. Then when the north wind came, the sail caught it enough to nearly blow boat and skinny D.J. into an anxious crowd. Engineers quickly came out to cut holes in the sail. I later took down the sail when the wind blew so hard that the whole frame lifted in the rear. The whole promotion was a great success, so much so, that the Fair said "Never again". We kept the entire entrance stacked up. I had a rope/basket contraption rigged up to allow people to send me up "stuff". I had stuffed animals all lined up along the edge, and so much food that I had a hidden garbage bag for it.
I never thought about being unsafe, even after the fair had closed for the night. For those familiar with the fair location on Roosevelt Road, you would guess... that I would not want to spend even daylight hours there today.
One of the attractions that year was Sonny James, who had a decent career with "Young Love" and others. I got word that he listened to us and wanted to visit me. He wouldn't fit in the "Teddy Bear Sling", but did come by and sent up autographed pictures, etc. Come to think of it, Sonny Martin may have been a bigger hit than Sonny James on that trip.
Because of the major entrance clog, the fair officials moved us next year to a "Fall Out Shelter" between the Hall of Industry and Barton Coliseum. The late Tommy Riggs (Rock Robbins) got that call. No one but us ever knew if he was in there for sure. There were no windows. His bath did not look like Soji Tabuchi's either. He had a camper toilet with plastic bags. I will not repeat his comments to me over that one. Fall Out Shelters, it seemed, were very tight. Kept nuclear stuff out....odors in.
Speaking of toilet facilities: My sailboat had a portable toilet, about 5 feet high, with enough chemicals to last for the week. Because it was so tall, the only place to put it was right under the entrance to the boat. Sitting on this monster, my head had to stick out the top of the boat. Midway fans would see me waving to them, and have no idea what the bottom half of my body was up to.
None of us got extra pay, or even thought about asking for it, for such adventures. It was just a very exciting part of our job. We all considered ourselves very lucky to have been part of this great radio station adventure.
Jerry Sims.....aka Sonny Martin....1962-1967