Part 3

"Memories of nearly 50 years in the Biz"

Postby Jack Bennest » Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:02 am

(Part Three of my Good Old Days in Radio)
By Brian Lord

The CFUN Good Guys just had to get out in public more. Self Image -- Public Relations – Sponsor tie-ins; all that kind of stuff. One of our first appearances was at the PNE where we were on display in an open booth next to the "PNE Prize House" that somebody would win in a raffle after the fair. We usually, depending on the time of day, had between 50 and 100 mostly kids staring at us. We didn't like it much because we couldn't dress casually – we had to wear these double-breasted blazers with CFUN's old logo on the lapel (just the call letters and 1410) and a tie. We couldn't pick our nose or scratch or swear if something went wrong. But it was exposure.

The last week of that first year the PNE sponsored a televised "Dance Party" and because we were tearing the ratings away from CKWX like duct tape off a hairy chest (and just as painful, I'm sure) the Exhibition picked "The Swingin' Men at 1410" to host this hour-long Dick Clark rip-off. We took turns. McCormick and Forst, Landa and I paired up. None of us liked the idea, much. I had done a stint in TV so it was kind of old hat but aside from me nobody had been on television before.

Well that's not quite true. Dave McCormick and I, as I mentioned last time, had become pretty good friends and Dave took a short vacation (months before CFUN changed format) to come up and visit me in Kamloops for a few days. I was showing him through the TV station, explaining how it worked and when we got to what used to be called the "tele-cini" -- the room where film was focused onto a two foot by three foot white screen and picked up by a video camera for broadcast -- Big Daddy pointed at the screen and asked "what's that big black patch obscuring half the picture?" I told him to move his arm and it went away so Dave had, after a fashion, been on TV previously. Once. At least part of him.

Frosty Forst had heard about a fictitious individual named "Fujikami The Warrior" and a bell rung. He developed a shriek like a Japanese Samurai who had been hit with buck-shot and screamed idiotic phrases between a 24 beat rock riff with the rest of the "Good Guys" offering homage as in "yea Fujikami" like a bunch of drunken fools from the Zambezi Delta after each of Forst's jagged screeches. We recorded it but it failed to make Billboard, in fact It became irritating so we decided to get rid of Fujikami. One afternoon with Dave describing the action as best he could -- being buried deep inside the radio station -- Forst and I tied 30 helium balloons to a paper maché mock-up and floated Fuji off CFUN's roof straight across Cypress street into a tree. He was found that evening in Burnaby after we had climbed among the branches and pulled him free in front of a group of kids. Nah, that wasn't embarrassing.

The television series, "The Untouchables", starring Robert Stack with narration by Walter Winchell, was a prime mark for the CFUN DJ's. A top rated television show in the early 60's, about Elliot Ness and his liquor barrel axes busting up Al Capone's booze imports ("What'za-matta Ness, ya don't like beer?"). We spent until 5AM one night cutting a sound track; I did the Winchell imitation while the rest of us wrote script and figured out clips from popular songs of the day and spliced them into a hodge-podge tale of how the CFUN Good Guys busted Al "Cornpone" Junior – sample: narration: "The Headquarters for the new gang was Vancouver Canada…" (insert clip) Connie Francis singing the line "Where the Boys are"; "Jerry Lee Landa at the Vancouver airport reported…" (insert clip) Everly Bros. from "Ebony Eyes" "The plane was way overdue"; the mayor added his personal plea to Al Cornpone (insert clip)… Elvis "oh my darling please surrender" with McCormick adding his indistinguishable voice at the end answering the question "how did The Good Guys do it" … "Simple, They were Corruptible". This record, "The Corruptibles", on the CFUN label, we gave away at one of the fast food outlets when somebody bought a chicken leg or an order of egg foo yung.

We had a tag line, read by the board man bracketing the 5PM News sponsored by the huge car dealer Dueck On Broadway: "Not Best because we're Biggest but Biggest because we're Best" Something of a tongue twister and one day I was filling in for an absent Dave McCormick and read it "Not Biggest Because we're Best but Best because we're Biggest" and bore the insane wrath of Sales Manager Doug Gregg who came flailing into the announce booth ready to fire my ass off the air on the spot…probably the first huge "on-air" foo-pas out on many down through the years.

We had a "Christmas Bureau" thing in which people were asked to send in money in Christmas cards and CFUN would donate the take to the establish charity at that time in Vancouver. One night a guy named Joe showed up at CFUN's back door with two huge Doberman Pincer's -- rang the bell, and announced to Jerry Landa he'd give a car away in a draw the 24th of December. As I was named the announcer with the most time to handle the "Christmas Bureau" promotion, I heard Jerry on the air and rushed over to the station to meet Joe. He seemed legit. He owned a Used Car lot on Kingsway and he was good to his word. We collected maybe four times the money we expected because of Joe's generosity. But it turns out Joe was a gangster who'd recently been paroled after hosing down customers at his former car lot and was currently in business illegally. I didn't find this out till December 25th when the young lady who'd won turned up to claim her Christmas present, as had been arranged. For some reason nobody had ever mentioned the make or year. It was a ten year old Chevy in terrible condition, and we, Joe and I, had to push it down Kingsway as the woman jumped the clutch and the car belched oil smoke and jerked off … a lump of iron which must have cost her 500 bucks to get running properly. Joe said the car wasn't worth it. I could have killed him.
CFUN did these things without ever checking with management, it wasn't necessary, radio was open to any creativity within reason and CFUN played it for all it was worth..

Then Dave McCormick and I went to California and a new group came to 4th and Cypress to join Frosty, Al, Jerry, and Mike Powley the music librarian – they included Cameron Bell, Fred Latremouille and Red Robinson and the fun carried on.

But I was off to enjoy rockin' California in the 60's. Next time.
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Postby radiofan » Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:01 pm

Great stuff Brian!

For anybody who hasn't heard "The Corruptibles" ... we have it here on the RadioWest site ..
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.
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Re: Part 3

Postby 45 RPM » Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:00 am

Thanks Brian for the behind the scenes look at C-FUN in the early sixties.

Growing up in that era out in the Fraser Valley my radio was glued to 1410.

What are the rest of the original C-FUN Good Guys up to these days?
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