|
|
Examiner
  • Jerry Plantz: Radio used to have a little flair

  • After scanning the divisive AM radio dial, I miss Mike Murphy and 1970s radio. Who, younger readers may ask? Murphy was a talk-show radio genius spanning 48 years of broadcasting.

    • email print
  • After scanning the divisive AM radio dial, I miss Mike Murphy and 1970s radio. Who, younger readers may ask? Murphy was a talk-show radio genius spanning 48 years of broadcasting.
    I first met him in 1969 while working for KMBC-TV 9 news which was located in the same building with KMBZ radio in downtown Kansas City.
    When I had to use their studios to transpose some audio tapes, I could hear his voice emanating from the hallway speakers. He was funny, always promoting something, including his broadcast brother whom he called the “Cincinnati Dancing Pig.”
    Murphy was an innovator, a comedian, a charity fundraiser (especially for the Salvation Army), a sincere listener and devout family man.
    Mike left KMBZ and moved over to KCMO AM in the ’80s, where he worked until his retirement in 2004. He died in 2011.
    He left so many wonderful memories such as the annual cattle drive through downtown Kansas City – latter moved to Mission, Kan. He talked of UFOs and wanted to collect some 2,000 pounds of human hair from local barber shops and salons and drop it from an airplane over Mount Baldy in Arizona.
    Perhaps his greatest achievement, other than making us laugh, was the creation of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. What started out as a stunt in 1973 as the shortest parade in the country – a walk from a downtown tavern, with two of his drinking buddies, to a site only a block away – eventually evolved into the third largest St. Pat’s parade in the country.
    Once while on his radio show I suggested we have an invisible parade for charity. I visualized loads of empty convertibles with celebrity names on the side such as Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, James Cagney, George M. Cohan, even Elvis Presley.
    An invisible announcer would tell of all the invisible bands going by. We’d pump in the music over hidden speakers.
    The grand marshal would be Claude Raines, star of “The Invisible Man,” a famous 1933 movie. A visible person would be walking that invisible dog with that visible leash.
    We could boast of the worlds largest invisible parade float.
    Mike pondered for a moment then said. “I don’t think it would work.”
    When I asked why he simply said, “I just can’t see it.”
    I miss Mike Murphy.
    I give you President John Adams’ toast: Independence forever.
    Jerry Plantz lives in Lee’s Summit. His website is at www.Jerryplantz.com. Reach him at jerryplantz@msn.com.
     
     
      • calendar