Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Of Skateboards and The Blue Goose Restaurant....

Jerry Sims and I had a conversation awhile back and he promised a couple of "insider" stories that are hilarious...and we enter the "theater of the mind" as we read them below:

"Early Skateboards were very crude. Many had metal skates attached to a very rigid board. Very few had polyurethane (or whatever) wheels that allowed the ride to be fairly smooth. Because of these problems, there were lots of kids being thrown to the street. Lots of broken arms, etc. Parents hated them.

Being the days of all the Surfing songs, there was a group who put out an album called "Sidewalk Surfing". Being "The Mighty 1090", and able to break records over a large part of the country, they were willing to give us a huge stack of albums to give away. Knowing parents wanted to get the little rascals off the boards, we offered an album to anyone who would trade in their Skateboard to us. Kids hated it, Moms loved it. We got lots of them everyday. We, in fact, ended up with a room full of them. Not wanting them to go to waste, several of us would pick out one with smooth wheels to do some mean "hall surfing", up and down what used to be, rather quiet halls. This was in the earliest days of KAAY when we were upstairs, over KTHV Channel 11, the CBS Television station in Little Rock. We shared the upstairs with the television executives and their accounting and traffic departments. The TV folks never did like us very much. Imagine a couple of D.J.'s racing down the hall, usually me (Sonny Martin) against Buddy Carr (Richard Wiethan) only to scare mild mannered TV accountants on their way to the ladies room. Or maybe even George J. Jennings coming out of the news booth. He was a great newsman, but not much of a Skateboarder, as I recall.

You have to be old to remember, but TV stations were not on 24 hours a day. There would usually be a late movie after the 10 pm News, that would be over at about midnight. They would then sign off, lock the doors, and go home. We were on 24 hours a day, and highly against the wishes of our land lord, on occasions would allow "fans" inside to join the party. Hey, if they had traveled across several states to visit what they thought was "Party Central", the least we could do was unlock the door for a brief visit. Sometimes they might stray downstairs into the TV area. A definate No-No.

The reason we were in the building in the first place, if you have not figured it out yet, was because KTHS (which became KAAY) was there. When Arkansas Broadcasting Company sold their radio station, call letters were changed to KAAY, and they moved in. TV folks, most likely, regretted this on about day two. We later moved to the new building (a former Doctor's office) on 7th Street, adjacent to the State Capitol Building. Ironically, I ended up spending most of my broadcasting career back at the Channel 11 building. Being Weather Boy, News Reporter, Account Executive, and other things. Even in the same office that I had once used as Music Director at KAAY.

Also while thinking of people who thought Little Rock was the "Rockingest" possible place on earth: I knew of some who even planned their vacation around a Little Rock visit. They always wanted to visit the station, and see the "Blue Goose". Howard Watson (Ken Knight) deserves most of the praise for the promotion of the Goose. He started referring to it as "the elegantly appointed Blue Goose", and several of us took up the cause. It was described as Little Rock's most elegant and special restaurant. It, in fact, was a local beer joint. We used to watch furry animals scurry about the trash bins over there. I remember one time a man decided to drink as much as possible before killing himself in his car there. You might find a disc jockey, or a TV news anchor there, but not exactly a proud stop on the Arkansas Tourism map. Anyway, visitors to KAAY would have second thoughts about a meal there when they got their first look. It was usually a shock for them too, to see one little old me, upstairs in a dark building, attempting to lead a multi-state party, in the middle of the night, when they expected maybe, "a cast of thousands" (OK, two or three anyway). I believe still, it was magic. KAAY. I was just a small part of it.

Jerry Sims....aka Sonny Martin...a while back."

Jerry, I DO remember the TV stations signing off, with the National Anthem, followed by a test pattern.  (I believe Jonnie King has such a test pattern on his site, along with pictures of old TV shows.)  Sure brings back memories.  Now, you'd be hard-pressed to hear the National Anthem anywhere outside a ball game or find anyone who actually knows what a test pattern is....

I also remember a recording of a radio show where A. J. Lindsey, Sonny Martin III, Pat Walsh and a couple others were discussing the Blue Goose Restaurant.  They made mention that the deejays, while describing the fine dining, would have a soundtrack going in the background, complete with tinkling glasses, silverware scraping on plates and what-have-you.  So many people fell for it, that they called the place for reservations...the fellow answering the phone replied, "You want WHAT???"

Thank you, Jerry!  What great stories!  Please keep 'em coming!

Bud S. (staceys4@hotmail.com)

2 comments:

  1. I told you I check the blog often. I even read my own post today. I guess the "executives" that we terified got back at me. Maybe that is the reason they were "executives" and I was on the skateboard. And yes, I usually use spell check. And....the Goose had a phone?

    Jerrry...oops

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  2. I was one of the parents who took my two kids down to the studio to trade in their skateboard for the albums. By the way, it was Jan and Dean, I believe. I think, maybe, it was none other than Jerry Sims (a/k/a Sonny Martin) who was the DJ to whom we surrendered the dangerous instruments of accidents. My daughter, who was about 6 or 7 at the time, had broken her arm on one skating down a hill in the Levy area of North Little Rock where we lived. So I made her and her brother, 1 1/2 years older. surrender their skateboards. We went down to KAAY in the evening, had to ring a bell or something like that, to get in and turned the nefarious things in to a young man who looked very similar to the Jerry Sims photo on the blog recently. My son and daughter are now 53 and 52 years old, so we are really dealing with ancient history now, but I remember it well, and it is still one of my positive remembrances of KAAY.

    I also remember the Blue Goose. It was actually a drive-in that also had seats inside, and as Jerry noted was a beer joint. I ate a lot of hamburgers out of there. If I had known what Jerry noted with the "furry animals" I might not have liked it so much. I hope everyone will keep on posting these memories, because they bring back a lot of my own.

    Jim Clark
    Rogers, AR

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