Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Local Urban Myths in Television Part 2

For the readers of this blog, I am doing something that I've never done. I'm using the comments of one of the folks who posted a response to one of my blog postings. As I mentioned in a previous post, for the 17-plus years I've been in Memphis I've heard various incarnations of the story of WMC's Dave Brown getting punched out for saying it was not going to rain and it did. This supposedly happened when he worked as weatherman at WHBQ-TV many years ago.
Dave Brown has attempted to clear up the mystery for years and he shared the story on my previous posting about local urban myths. As was suggested by a reader, I'm posting Dave's comments for those who don't bother reading all the comments.
Many thanks to DB who is in my opinion, a class act and a good sport for taking time to share what really happened.
Here's Dave's account from my previous blogging:

Amused, I am indeed. This story has better legs than anyone could have ever imagined. I have "set the record straight" many times on this, yet the legend lives. I doubt this post will fix it either, but here goes...

FACT - In March 1975, a mentally disturbed man came into WHBQ. He asked for me because I was the only name he knew at the station. He came into the old second floor newsroom. Ed Craig, Charlie B. Watson, the 10pm producer and I were the only ones around. We thought he might be armed and began insisting he leave the building. He struck me on the side of my head with his forearm. I was not hurt at all.

We got him out of the building with no harm. We notified police. Some thiry days later, he returned. After I identified him as the previous intruder, the police were called, he was arrested and at his court date it was immediately apparent to all that he was quite mentally disturbed. He was returned to a mental institution in Waukeegan IL where he had previously been treated for alcohol and drug abuse that was at least partially attributed to his serving in Vietnam.

FACT - It had NOTHING to do with me personally.

FACT - It had NOTHING to do with the weather.

FACT - It had nothing to do with Wrestling. On the three occasions we saw him, he never made any coherent statements that made sense.

FACT - He was NOT a farmer, concrete contractor, roofing contractor or irate husband/boyfriend. He was not an irate housewife or bride-to-be.

FACT - I have heard over 100 variations on the story. NONE of them are true.

FACT - At least 3000 people have told me they saw it happen on the air. It was not on the air. There was not even a camera on the floor where the incident occured. It was about an hour before the 10pm newscast.

In those days, television stations doors were unlocked and a receptionist was on duty until after the late newscast. I claim that this story sold more "buzz-to-enter" door locks to television stations than any other single event in the history of the medium.

As to Ed's version...I assure you he was telling the story to amuse. In fact, he and Charlie were instrumental in helping to remove the guy from the building.

Hi to the lovely Mrs. Larkins and to Byron Day and all others who commented!

P.S. The microwave tower climber was on Union Avenue. Razor wire now covers the fence surrounding that tower.

Dave Brown

8 Comments:

Blogger newsboyarizona said...

Okay, now clear up the story about the WHBQ ND who was desparately waiting for a reporter to finish a package. When the reporter did finish the piece and was on the steps to deliver, she fell down a flight or two and was pretty dazed. While she was dizzy and trying to right herself (and may have been bleeding), the ND simply grabbed the package tape from her and rushed to the control room, with no word of care or concern. Pretty much sums up a life in TV, I think.

Or how about another WHBQ ND who went nuts and barricaded himself in his house and held off the SWAT team for a couple of hours. Did that really happen?

By the by, how is Bryon Day doing, and has he heard from Dave Cochran lately? It seems that no one has heard from Dave in years. Just wondering if he's okay and how he's doing.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Joe Larkins said...

I never heard that first story which sounds like the opening sequence of the movie Broadcast News.
Can anyone shed any light on what is being asked here?
As for Byron Day, I know he reads this blog periodically. Last I heard he decided to get a real life in North Carolina.
As for Dave Cochran, wasn't he doing some type of news consulting work?

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last urban myth I heard was that Dave Cochran was Sivad's love child. (Everyone should remember the old Fantastic Features that was on Sat. nights)

1:31 PM  
Blogger newsboyarizona said...

Hadn't heard that about Dave Cochran. Does anybody know the name of the consulting firm? Was it a big name like Magid or AR&D or a smaller boutique firm?

Okay, here's one for you. Does anybody have the tape of the WMC noon newscast from 1989 where Dick Williams walked off the chroma-key over to the news desk and demanded to know what Dick Hawley and Janice Broach were giggling about, live on the air! I only saw it once when I was interning at WMC and somebody pulled out the tape one night. Somebody should put that on YouTube. It was a riot.

7:01 PM  
Blogger newsboyarizona said...

Hadn't heard that about Dave Cochran. Does anybody know the name of the consulting firm? Was it a big name like Magid or AR&D or a smaller boutique firm?

Okay, here's one for you. Does anybody have the tape of the WMC noon newscast from 1989 where Dick Williams walked off the chroma-key over to the news desk and demanded to know what Dick Hawley and Janice Broach were giggling about, live on the air! I only saw it once when I was interning at WMC and somebody pulled out the tape one night. Somebody should put that on YouTube. It was a riot.

7:01 PM  
Blogger autoegocrat said...

It's not terribly unusual for a blogger to devote a whole post to a single comment from a reader. It's usually referred to as "promoting a comment to the front page."

Dave Brown is the classiest of the class acts. Nowhere in television have I ever seen or heard of a meterologist with the gravitas and screen presence of an anchor.

Dave Brown makes Tom Brokaw look like Pee-Wee Herman. All right, maybe that's an exaggeration, but it's not too terribly far from the truth. He made that wrestling show seem like a real sporting event.

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dick Williams... Where is he now? He is still living right? WMC-TV should do a special on Magicland!

Only in Memphis did the top rated station have a rasslin commentator and magician doing the weather!

9:50 AM  
Blogger Rappel said...

Dick Williams is alive and well. Virginia passed away last year and Dick and his granddaughter live together in Lakeland. Check his website out. www.magiclandtv.com

4:30 PM  

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