Ken Rainey was a little upset because I refused to share this story at the reunion. It is something that happened in the 70's known to only a few. It involved, in addition to myself, Ken Rainey and Dan Jamison. Tony Beason may have been involved, but I can't remember. Adrian Gibson was not involved because, at the time, he was the boss. I may also add a damn good boss too! Hey, this guy not only knew where all the dirt was he knew where all the dust was. Talk about an amazing resource.
Anyway, it is a tale I hesitated to tell because of a real concern about Mr. Smith upchucking that delicious BBQ. Plus, given my fondness for Mr. Smith and his family, I still feel an element of guilt. So.. for the first time ever.. let the truth be told.
Most won't remember this, but waay back when anchors had to work on Saturday. So, sitting around one day in the newsroom we decided enough is enough. Not to brag, but back then we were all household names with incredible ratings and carried a bit of weight. Albeit, most of it in our heads.
We decided to go into Mr. Smith's office and demand to be taken off weekends or we were all going to quit! His reaction, with his face turning a scary pale, was immediate. Within two weeks we were all off weekends.
Now, the real story.
Incredible as it may seem, given Mr. Smith always being on top of and into everything, he neglected to do one little thing that day -- look at the calender. You see, it was April the 1st.. April Fools Day. The whole thing was a JOKE!
But seeing the effect of this dubious, rather cruel and childish attempt at humor as we glanced at each other the same thought passed among us. What the hell, now is NOT the time to back down.
Should we have been forced to be the only anchor team in the city to work on Saturday? Probably not. Should we have accomplished what we did the waay we did it? Okay, we were jerks. But then it was a joke. Or, at least, it started out that waay.
Whew, now that that's off my shoulders I feel a little bit better about myself. Truth be told, however, we also felt pretty damn good at the time about not having to work weekends any longer either.
Mr Smith I truly felt and continue to feel sorry about causing you to almost go into cardiac arrest. But it was, as God is my witness, a joke. Not funny, but there it is.. another slice of WAAY-TV folklore.
With much love from Irene and me to you and your family and all of the WAAY-TV family,
[ Editor's footnote: I do know that I learned to always take people seriously. A few times in my younger years, I might laugh, assuming someone was joking when they were not, and that had bad outcomes. So, even if I might have felt they were joking, I would have handled my response with complete seriousness. And as you see, even as an April Fool's joke, there was seriousness behind it. I also had been approached times before and after these years, where I was put into a bind and a key person would threaten to quit unless his/her demands were met. Usually, they got their demands met until I found replacement personnel. In this group's case, they were not serious about quitting, but did want off weekends and we did find ways to work that out. MDS ]