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Old 07-01-2008, 10:16 PM
Location: Butler County
116 posts, read 194,588 times
Reputation: 16


While searching for something on The Do you rmember the Cool Ghoul, Bob Shreve, Larry Smith . . . Thread

I found this http://www.tvparty.com/lostcincinnati2.html

It really covers a lot of early Cincy TV History.

Anyone living in Cincinnati during the glory days of local television will remember at least one or two aspects of what it was all about- and what made local TV in Cincinnati what it was. Aside from the kids' shows, television stations in Cincinnati laid much of the groundwork for many other markets to follow, and also accomplished a lot of things that can never be imitated or repeated.

From news (Al Schottlekotte) to talk shows (Bob Braun, Phil Donahue and Jerry Springer-- well, one-and-a-half out of three isn't bad) to just plain honest laugh-out-loud entertainment (who else but "Paul Baby" Dixon), Cincinnati was the Midwest's nucleus for quality local television. And just in case you can't remember much of what we grew up with, let's see if I can jog your memory with some of these. (and anyone reading is more than welcome to expound on these seeds) ...

'JUVENILE COURT': WCPO drama starring real-life Judge Paul Trevor. An obvious fact-based forerunner of People's Court and its numerous successors. The only difference was that on Juvenile Court, except for the judge, the participants were actors.

'BPA's KING OF BOWLING': hosted by WCPO sports anchor Jack Moran. The one thing I remember was the sponsor- Burger Beer, or, as Moran said, "That SMOOOOOO-TH BURGER!"

'THE EARLY 9 MOVIE': hosted by Wirt Cain on WCPO. A weekday afternoon movie with plenty of giveaways. Cain also hosted a short-lived local game show called 'What Would You Say?', an imitation-combo of 'Truth Or Consequences' and 'Beat The Clock'.
-'THE NICK CLOONEY SHOW': An afternoon affair on WKRC (ch 12). I remember the theme music, his "Nostalgia" moments, and some "Spinning Wheel" contest where they used an instrumental version of Blood Sweat & Tears song of the same name. I remember most where a member of the audience would always introduce him saying "And now here's Nickey Cloone!" (Think maybe that's where Rosie O'Donnell got that idea??)

'TELETARGET 5': During the early 70's, WLWT had a contest called Teletarget 5. During a 'Beat The Clock' (with Jack Narz) commercial break, an announcer would call someone at random and they would play over the phone. A camera would be positioned behind the sights of a dart gun poised to hit one of three bullseye targets- each a different shape (a triangle, a square and a circle target, all with rings numbered 1 to 5, with 5 being the bullseye.), and the player would adjust the range of the gun from home over the phone by simply saying "up", "down", "left", "right" or "stop" and then "fire" when it was where they wanted it.

The closer they got to the bullseye the more they won. They got only one shot, and if they hit the mystery target (which was selected before airtime), they would win a bonus. I remember an instance where one caller completely missed all three targets. When she said "fire", The announcer asked her if she was sure, to which she replied yes. Obviously she wasn't watching the TV screen.

'PLAY IT SAFE': A Sunday morning kids' game show (WCPO) hosted by an actual police officer (who opened the show by blowing his whistle and saying 'Stop what your doing! It's time to... Play It Safe!'.) The game was played on a large-scale quasi-Game Of Life game board complete with a shuffling "number board" (which kids used to determine the number of spaces they moved by yelling 'stop!'- ala "Press Your Luck"), stop signs, dead ends and a judge/puppet who would dole out rewards or punishments (anything from going forward a number of spaces to going to jail.) to players who landed on certain spaces.

The game itself dealt with kids, in multiple teams of three or four, starting out at school and going across the game board trying to get home. They would answer trivia questions about safety, traffic laws and identifying road signs by pulling paddles marked "yes" or "no" out of their color-coded team smocks while moving along the game board. The first team that completely made it home would get a prize or two while the others would all get as many pennies they could carry courtesy of the Provident Bank.

But out of all the games, all the sports, all the local movie shows, during the days when local television was much, much more than just local news and meager community service shows only seen on late Sunday nights, one man, Iowa born and raised, who began his broadcasting career in Chicago, who came to Cincinnati in the 40s first as a newsman, then as a disc jockey, would for nearly 20 years stand head and shoulders above all the others. His real name was Gregory Schleier. But under his stage name he was famous for hosting...
Between 1955 and 1974, the undisputed king of local daytime TV in Cincinnati was, of course, Paul Dixon. 'The Paul Dixon Show' entertained thousands of housewives (and on occasion just as many non-housewives and kids, myself included when I wasn't watching Uncle Al.) in Cincinnati as well as in Indianapolis, Dayton, Columbus and quite possibly thru syndication in Louisville and Lexington.
The show was simple: A 90-minute broadcast (it originally started as 30 minutes) Monday thru Friday taped live, warts-and-all, with no rehearsals or scripts; just Paul along with his co-hosts Bonnie Lou (left) and Colleen Sharp, both of whom would sing a song on each show; house band Bruce Brownfield and the Bellaires would occasionally play while the cameras panned thru the audience.

Even Paul, although he couldn't carry a note in a wet paper sack, would on occasion sing a song himself. (The one I remember him doing was "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You") And except for an occasional guest star, which was a extremely rare occurrence, that was it... in a highly truncated nutshell; nothing more, nothing less. For nearly 20 years, that's what housewives came to love.


Either because of or in spite of his huge following, "Paul Baby", as his fans came to affectionately call him (the nickname was given to him by one of his prop boys) managed to get away with doing many things that in this day and age you just can't do on television- unless of course your name happens to be Jerry Springer (who also worked on TV in Cincinnati! Is there a pattern here??) But considering that only 1% of the show featured guest stars, Paul's antics, though they might have been on a sliding scale, were repeated on numerous occasions.

Chief among them took place at the beginning of every show: Paul would use his binoculars and squirt bottle, two of his numerous trademarks, and examine the village of Kneesville, of which Paul Baby was Lord Mayor. Kneesville was nothing more than female audience members, all wearing miniskirts or hot pants, sitting in the front row. (Legend has it that the ladies actually fought to get a spot in Kneesville!)

Paul would use his squirt bottle asking how many of them took a bath that morning, and then award the best-looking knees with a garter, or a "knee-tickler", a dangling earring he'd attach to the hem of her skirt. Oh, yeah. In this day and age that would have litigation written all over it!

Another Paul Baby-ism, and the one that stands out the most for me, was the T-Shirt. Whenever he gave a T-Shirt to a female audience member he would put it on her himself, pulling it over her head in such a way that would work itself into an embrace between the two. Hmm... a sexual harrassment case in which Exhibit A is a Peter Pan Peanut Butter T-Shirt? Go figure!

Paul Dixon Show
I was pleased to find your article on The Paul Dixon Show. I grew up in Dayton, living there from '62-70. "My mom was a big fan of Paul, Baby and I spent many a morning during summer vacation watching the show with her--me absolutely HATING it! "It's the same show every day," I'd complain to her, not getting that that was the entire point of it. Can't explain the show to anyone who hasn't seen it.

"The song I remember Paul doing was "I don't know why I love you like I do," which developed into a periodic bit that included his inviting a lady from the studio audience to share a love seat with while he sang to her, I think in a hokey French accent. I think after a while, he took to pasting on a mustache to enhance his role as lady-killer.

"Also "Everybody in the studio audience today gets a free bag of Lay's [?] potato chips!" BIG CHEER FROM THE AUDIENCE. "This is the size of the bag," he'd continue, holding up a tiny snack back and tossing it over his shoulder to land behind him on the floor (Letterman is indeed in his debt.)

"I still have the knee tickler Paul put on me. That was a big part of the show.

"Also he called nurses "Reargunners", and my girlfriend and I took him a nurses cap, so he chose us for the knee ticklers that day, and we were thrilled. It's a pin with a small chain and small ball on the chain that would tickle your knee when you walked.

"Hot Pants were popular, as well as Mini Skirts. so Paul loved putting them on, and we loved getting them. It was a great show!

Nancy Thacker

"I wrote to WCPO in Cin'ti and they said Paul Dixon died several years ago but Dottie Mack was living in New York and was in Cin'ti not long ago to receive a local award."


by Michael Shaver
[/SIZE][SIZE=2]:: PART TWO[/SIZE] [/center]

The stunt that I think would really raise N.O.W.'s ire today is one I think Paul Baby took from Steve Allen (or maybe the other way around. I'm not sure.). At the risk of sounding somewhat pornographic, on several occasions Paul would chat with a lady and then award her with a giant salami from Oscherwitz Kosher, which was not too much unlike the canned hams David Letterman gives away on his show, which I recenly found out was inspired by Paul Dixon himself.

In retrospect, I believe the main reason he did get away with what he did was largely because the word "sexist" had not yet entered the sociological vocabulary, and to many women, being a housewife was still a point of pride. Moreover, Paul Baby's fans knew he wasn't really leering at ladies legs, but merely taking a vaudevillian approach and going after the laughs generated from the illusion that he was. Hey! It worked!


In my opinion, one of the most appealing things about "The Paul Dixon Show" was the fact that it was broadcast live. Except for station breaks and an occasional recorded portion or two, everything was done live, right down to the commercials, though they were the only aspect of the show that might have been relegated to script. But anything scripted was quickly turned to hash under Paul.

The result: A better commercial. And the audiences delighted in it. Any product plugged by Paul became the product to use. Here are my memories of some of his commercials:

Once or twice a show, during a shampoo or hair spray commercial, or some other instance that might require Paul to take off his jacket, Paul would strike a pose and the band would play "glamour" music.

The show quickly got on the bandwagon when Pringles' Potato Chips were brand new. I remember Colleen and Bonnie making duck bills out of them.

Whenever he did commercials for Bounty Paper Towels he would mention they were made in Green Bay, Wisconsin, at which point the band would launch into "On Wisconsin".

The clearest vision for me was when they did commercials for Libby's canned fruits and vegetables. Bruce Brownfield and the band sang the jingle: "If it says Libby's Libby's Libby's on the label, label, label, you will like it, like it, like it on your table, table, table, If it's Libby's Libby's Libby's on the label, label, label!"


When you do a live 90-minute show, things have a tendency to leap from the borderline to the sublime to the downright incredible... all in less than a single bound! Case in point, Author Mary Ann Kelly expounded on one particular incident in her book "The Trouble Is Not In Your Set", a book about Cincinnati's television history.

On a suggestion from upper management, Paul decided to have a "Mystery Voice Contest" in which Paul would call people at random and they would win a considerable prize if they identified who the Mystery Voice was. The first voice was Ralph Lazarus, CEO of Federated Department Stores (now known simply as Lazarus). After a huge promotion and heavy build up to the start of the contest, the very first contestant Paul called- remember he chose the phone numbers at random from the local phone book- and played the voice for, guessed Ralph Lazarus without so much as batting an eyelash! Neither Paul nor the audience (nor anyone else, for that matter) could believe it.

When asked how she could possibly have known his voice, she laughingly explained she used to be his private secretary!! It goes without saying there is no mathematician dead or alive (well, maybe dead) who could compute the completely incredible odds on that happening, but sure enough...


The one incident that gave "The Paul Dixon Show" the most fame- and notoriety, for that matter- was without a doubt the legendary "rubber chicken wedding". Paul decided to marry off the two rubber chickens that had been long-time props on the show (Paul had taken to calling them Harry and Pauline).

For this stunt, Paul decided to go all out, sending wedding invitations to agencies, press people, sponsors and numerous others. The wedding was televised on his show in March 1969. Paul officiated over the wedding as Kneesville's mayor (completely decked out in a tattered and torn coat and matching top hat), with Bonnie and Colleen as Matrons of Honor, and with Bob Braun as Best Man.

There was even a huge reception held at the Lookout House, a now-defunct classy restaurant and nightclub near Covington, Kentucky (just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati) complete with all the trimmings right down to the wedding cake. And though I have no memory of it, I actually got a piece of the cake through a friend of my mother.

The chicken wedding turned out to be the highest-rated episode of the show's near 20-year run. The wedding was a quasi-holiday for many people- they adjusted their work schedules or simply stayed home from work while many kids wanted to stay home from school just to see the wedding.

(Believe it or not, you can actually order a copy of the wedding on video if you visit the VME Web Site at "http://www.vmevideo.com")

If there was one aspect about "The Paul Dixon Show" that made it so appealing not just to housewives, but to people in all walks of life, I think it can be spelled out in one word- consistency. It didn't really matter when you tuned in to see the show. You always saw the same thing. The same commercials; the same house band and singers; the same Paul! You never really missed much of anything if you missed a day or two- and the viewers knew it. Nonetheless, they came to love Paul like a trusted friend and continued to tune in day after day- and they loved every damned minute of it.


Like Oscar Wilde, if great comedy stemmed from great tragedy, then, sad to say, Paul Dixon was the epitome of such an adage. In 1970 Dixon suffered his first heart attack shortly after his 19-year-old son Greg was killed in a auto accident. Paul almost never recovered from it (in fact, at one point Dixon was so grief-stricken he had to be helped onto the stage for his show).

Four years later, on December 28, 1974 (the day before my eighth birthday), Paul died suddenly of a ruptured aneurysm at the age of 56. I remember that day very well. That morning WLWT ran clips of his most memorable moments. The same evening then-WLWT news anchor Tom Atkins hosted a special tribute to Paul. Even rival TV stations in the Tri-State area made mention of his passing. Following his death, WLWT, realizing that Paul Dixon's shoes were impossible to fill, had no choice but to bring the show to an abrupt, and therefore a sad conclusion.

If you were one of those who loved Paul Dixon- and there were many, or if you were one of those who disliked him- and there were many, news of his death was a personal as a slap in the face. For all of Cincinnati, all of Dayton, all of Indianapolis and Columbus, all of the people who knew him, it was like a death in the family, but no one missed him more than the thousands upon thousands of women for whom he a more than welcome rest from their daily routines.

"I play to that one woman who is sitting at home watching me," Paul once said. "Sure, I play to the studio audience, but it's that one girl who knows I care for her."

The most fitting end for this article (at least from my point of view) doesn't come from me, nor could it. In 1970, Dick Perry wrote a book about the history of WLW radio and television called "Not Just A Sound-- The Story of WLW" in which he dedicated an entire chapter to Paul Dixon, who was a close friend. Here is an except from that chapter:

"He wanted... to please those people out there watching him on the tube. He wanted... to please those sponsors who shell[ed] out hard cash to advertise products on his show. And in some lonely way he... always wanted to please himself but because he [was] Paul Dixon he... never quite figured out how. I mean this seriously. Paul Dixon, I suggest,... tried so hard over the years and given so much of himself to please all those [people] that when it [came] to pleasing himself he [was] at loose ends and [did] not honestly know how. "'How did I do?' "He... asked me that question many times. 'How did I do?'"

"I said nothing. I mean, what can you say to a friend you love? How can you tell him he's good? For one thing, he won't believe you. He does not believe that of himself. Since Iowa, Dixon [had] been running real fast, grabbing for the brass ring, hoping for success. He [had] acquired brass rings by the dozens but he is not aware of it. He [had] had more success in this business than any ten men I know but he doesn't believe it.

"Yes, I could have gone on and on, but he wouldn't have believed me. So pretty soon we parted. He went one way and I went another. As I watched him walk, alone, down Sixth street, headed back to the station, head down, tired, perhaps the loneliest man in the world right then, I could hear him say in my imagination, 'How did I do? How did I do?' I didn't answer you then, Paul. But I'll answer you here. "You did fine. You did just fine."

Bottom line- it was all done in the spirit of fun. That's all there was to it. God Love Ya, Paul!

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Old 07-02-2008, 03:11 PM
Location: Ky
323 posts, read 931,806 times
Reputation: 63
Default old time cincinnati television

I remember very well the shows your talking about. Paul Baby always mentioned when advertizing liquid gold wood polish , that he used it on the paneling where he had to sleep in that DAMP! basement.LOL. Another good show was The Ruth Lyons show. She always wore gloves. When on a cruise her only child (a daughter ) died. Ruth was never the same and slowly it became the Bob Braun show. Because of my parents we watched the midwestern hayride. All the shows sure bring back alot of good memories.
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Old 07-02-2008, 07:08 PM
205 posts, read 805,167 times
Reputation: 51
Very nice post!

I remember all of the shows mentioned and also "Signal Three" hosted by Lt. Art Mehring - the helicopter traffic cop for whom Mehring Way is named.

Somewhere around here I have a book which I think is titled "The Trouble is not in your Set". It was written by someone involved in early Cincinnati TV and had lots of wonderful stories and memories.
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Old 07-02-2008, 11:01 PM
Location: Ky
323 posts, read 931,806 times
Reputation: 63
I also forgot to mention that at 11:00 Al Achocoate , I know I didn't spell it right. But anyway it would start out " It's 11:00 do you know where your kids are."
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Old 07-07-2008, 04:55 PM
Location: Erlanger, KY
87 posts, read 307,271 times
Reputation: 46
Thanks for the trip down memory lane. A few other tidbits.

1) Nick Clooney actually got his start on WLW-T (Ch 5) as the announcer on the Vivianne Della-Chiesa (I know I spelled that incorrectly) show in the mid-1960s. From there, he got his own show...but not on Ch 12, but on WCPO (Ch 9). The Nick Clooney Show was on opposite Bob Braun in the late 1960s. I remember my older sister getting to go to one of the shows with her best friend. Tiny Tim was the featured guest that day.

And he, not Wirt Cain, was the original host of the Early 9 Movie. However, he only hosted it for a few months before turning over the reigns to Wirt. BTW, Wirt was also his sidekick on the show.

Nick moved over to WKRC (Ch 12) in the early 1970s, so he was on all three of the major network affiliates in town. But I don't think anyone would have thought his biggest television moments would be in the newsroom.

2) Regarding Paul Baby...I went to high school with the daughter of one of the Dixons' good friends. Supposively, the day before he passed away, he called his wife Marge and his daughter Pam (I think that was her name) into his hospital room to tell them good bye. So it was a shock to most, but I think he knew his time was up.

As mentioned, Paul never recovered from Greg's sudden death (if I recall correctly, he drove his motorcycle into a car). He suffered his heart attack about a year after Greg's passing, and was in and out of the hospital several times between the summer of 1970 and his death in 1974.

As a early teen-ager, I don't know how I got hooked onto that stupid show. It was the same dumb thing every day. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

But yes. I was hooked.

BTW...remember the Sara Lee jingle, "Everybody doesn't like something, but nobody doesn't like Sara Lee?" That was also introduced by Bruce Brownfield on the Paul Dixon Show.
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Old 07-07-2008, 10:13 PM
Location: Butler County
116 posts, read 194,588 times
Reputation: 16
Here is more info on early Cincy TV and radio.

Look at links on top left for info on individual celebrities.

Cincinnati Radio and TV Legends
Cincinnati Radio and TV Legends

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Old 07-07-2008, 10:21 PM
205 posts, read 805,167 times
Reputation: 51
That's a very nice site, Mikey.

Thanks for sharing it!
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Old 07-10-2008, 05:05 PM
3,758 posts, read 7,524,512 times
Reputation: 858
I remember watching the Paul Dixon Show with my mom when I was a little girl. I remember Jack Moran and Wirt Cain. Wow. Talk about memories. I even remember Ira Joe Fisher, the weatherguy who wrote backwards!
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Old 07-10-2008, 08:18 PM
Location: Transition Island
1,679 posts, read 2,176,645 times
Reputation: 714
I agree that this thread allows one to go down memory lane.

Who would think that the last name Paul which people teased me about while young would in actuality become Paul (maiden name) and Dixon married name (LOL)!!! The teasing became worse.

We did have some great television shows back then. Will we ever return to local television shows as we did back then?? I guess not being that it is all about the mighty advertising dollar.
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Old 07-11-2008, 03:25 AM
Location: Cambridge, MA
4,730 posts, read 10,929,204 times
Reputation: 6449
Let's carry this thread over into talk about radio stations!
My favorite "jocks" were Bob Goode ("How y'all are?"), Jim Scott, Lincoln Ware, Mark Sebastian, Robin Wood, and of course that national phenomenon Wolfman Jack. The parental generation swore by WLW and WCKY, Appalachian families and other White rural refugees stayed glued to WUBE, and WCIN was the voice of the AA community. I was perpetually tuned in to WSAI ("Thirt-teen siks-tee...") until I reached middle-school age. Then my loyalties were divided between that station and Q102 and 'EBN. Some Wyoming friends of the Caucasian persuasion brought me into their 'CIN cult when I returned to Cincy to finish high school. This greatly expanded my affinity for "soul" and jazz, and had me jumping to 1090 on the AM dial every weeknight at 10 for Lincoln Ware's pointless yet uproarious "I Got It" phone-in show. ("Hello?" "Hey Lincoln Ware!" "What!?!" "This is Tameka and I got it!" "What part of town d'you live in?" "Walnut Hills" "Where d'you go to school?" "Woot'ward" "You jus' a jive turkey, BYE!" All while a gospel recording wailed and shrieked in the background. You had to be there.) Then "everybody" was all ears when it came time for Mark Sebastian on Q102 to sign off, hanging on to every baited word until he finally breathed "...naked!" Affected boundary-pushing was standard fare on FM radio back then, never more so than on 'EBN. Its jocks were constantly spinning nudge-wink double entendres having to do with smoking pot or having sex. We kids lapped it up and screamed for more.

Something in Dayton's water made WTUE (prog rock) and WDAO (R & B) well worth listening to as well.
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