Mar 26, 2010
By Gene Stevens
Actually I’m not a big one for silly practical jokes – although we “radio types” generally love to pull pranks, and there have been some truly infamous ones. Here are a few I can immediately recall; these are always told by old-timers round radio get-togethers, and I love how the ‘young ‘uns’ stare wide-eyed at these stories from ‘the good ol’ days’.
A long time ago, a radio prankster pulled a good one on the evening host of a rival station, calling him up on the ‘request line’, imitating the well-known voice of that station’s boss. Well, he proceeded to trick the young kid running the evening show into believing he wanted him to go to the remote-control equipment room, and actually turn down the station’s transmitting power – as if for a test of some sort. In those days, one actually COULD do that sort of thing at some stations. Pretty cruel trick, I’d say – but delicious, devilish fun !
Of course the most famous April Fools prank in local radio has to be Mike Cooper’s infamous act pretending someone came into his studio, while hosting nights at 1050/CHUM, brandishing a gun. Suddenly the sound effects of a shot rang out on the radio, and there was silence. Mike was a daring young dude at the time, and this was really ‘off the hook’. The police didn’t think it was very cool though, and they had words with management, who, ahem, “had words” with ‘Coop’.
When you see the current morning co-host of CHFI, tell him Gene shared “some” of his April Fools gun-play story with you – ask HIM for the rest !
Other stories about news legend Dick Smythe having his newscast papers stapled to the desk moments before he was supposed to read ’em on air, or perhaps setting fire to the papers while he was reading the news. Then there are the timeless stories of trying to cause newscasters to start laughing during their serious reads – by pulling down one’s pants in front of them.
Come to think of it – not all these things necessarily happened at April Fools Day … some were just common radio station pranks good for a laugh – ANYTIME. Yep – they were the ‘good ol’ days’.
But as I said – I’m not one to do such things myself – I let the ‘experts’ do them…stand back and watch. He-he !
So, why am I telling you all this ? April Fools Day is coming up soon – and THIS Sunday (March 28th) I’m doing my annual “novelty songs” special feature on “Vintage Favourites” –Sunday afternoon 2-4pm. If you like silly songs like “The Thing”, “Alley-Oop”, ‘Mairzy Doates”, “Der Fuhrer’s Face” and “Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb” – then this will be a feast for your ears. Two hours of the craziest novelty songs from the vintage era – from early 1900s thru the 60s.
I see you smiling already…have fun…I will. Catch you later.