Archive for February 2010

A Treasure Chest Of Photos

Posted: Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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I’ve always been fascinated by history..especially the history of the company where I worked for 32 years.
If anybody had a question..or needed information about the station’s background or its early celebrities, I was the go-to guy.
I first started rummaging through the Keloland archives in 1978 when I was asked to put together the two hour special celebrating Kelo’s 25th anniversary.
I spent months going through old films and boxes of photographs. I did it again for our 35th, 40th and 50th anniversary specials.
The point is, I thought I’d seen every film, video or photograph that was ever imagine my glee when I got an email from Michael Hartig wondering if I’d be interested in some pictures he had received from Ken Mills,another former Kelo Radio guy, who has produced a fine documentary on Midcontinent Broadcasting.
Michael is the son of Leo and Gena Hartig who were on-air personalities at Keloland for nearly 20 years. They were great people and I learned a lot from them both. Leo passed away several years ago but Eugenia is still going strong and looking great. She lives in Omaha now..close to all three of her boys.
When I received the disc and downloaded the images, I just sort of giggled at seeing so many for the first time.
I thought I might share a few of them here with you every once in a while.
The photo below is of Roger Russell going through some of the mail sent in from viewers of the Morrell Treasure Chest. He was one of several guys that hosted the nightly drawing. Roger also filled in on weather and he did lots of commercials and had a regular shift on KELO radio.
The Treasure Chest couldn’t have been simpler. Just pick the correct key to open the lock and receive a treasure trove of Morrell meat products.
I’m not sure if more products were added after each unsuccessful draw. Maybe somebody remembers.
The next photo I find especially interesting.(Try enlarging it on your computer to see the numbers better) It was taken in our new Kelo TV studios on election night 1960. I don’t know any of the ladies on the phones..but the guys doing the broadcast are..from left to director, Doug Hill, Bart Kull, Will Carlson and Murray Stewart. 1960 was the year when John Kennedy edged Richard Nixon for the presidency. (Not in Republican South Dakota, of course.)It was the year when George McGovern tried unsuccessfully to unseat longtime GOP Senator, Karl Mundt. McGovern was later named by President Kennedy to head up his Food For Peace program. It was also the year that Democrat governor, Ralph Herseth (Stephanie’s grandpa) was unseated after just one term by Republican, Archie Gubbrud.
Both incumbent Republican Congressmen (yes, we used to have two) Ben Reifel and E.Y. Berry cruised to re-election that year.
Kennedy ended up carrying the state of Minnesota, but DFL’ers  weren’t able to get their man, Orville Freeman, re-elected governor. He lost to Republican, Elmer Anderson.
But Freeman wasn’t without a job long. Kennedy named him U.S. Secretary of Agriculture..a post he held until 1969.Let me know if enjoy these pictures and behind the scene narratives..there are lots to share.You can also find several old Kelo photos by clicking Keloland history down the left side of our home page.

Cabin Fever Diversion

Posted: Monday, February 22, 2010 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Linda and I are going on an adventure this afternoon…something we’ve never done before…and NO it has nothing to do with a trip to Annabelle’s first..sheesh!
What could it be, then, ask..tubing at Great Bear? (Not likely since Linda is already medicating to prevent brittle bones and that snap, crackle, pop I hear each morning is not coming from my Rice Krispies.)
Well, then are you going to rent an auger, and some fishing gear then drive big red onto the ice at Wall Lake to try your luck at catching a few perch or bullheads? (Oh, yeah..I can see the headlines now; “Bodies of elderly Sioux Falls couple found clinging to fishing poles inside their heavy Lincoln which broke through the ice. Police suspect husband error.”)
Perhaps you’ll be getting out the ladder, a hammer or tire iron and be climbing onto the roof to bang the ice away from the eaves in order to prevent that damn damming problem? (That would be an adventure alright. But I’d rather have a leaky ceiling ( if and when it ever thaws) than a broken back from the 12 foot header I’d surely take off the slippery last rung of my aluminum ladder.)
No, no..none of the above.
We’re actually going to the movie theater for a matinee showing of the film everyone is raving about and is nominated for so many academy awards; Avatar.I know its been out for several weeks..but we wanted to avoid the crowds.
I’ve grumbled here before about my aversion to theaters..not only because you pay ten dollars for a dime’s worth of popcorn or pop but also because you have to sit with other people. You know who I’m talking about; the inconsiderate clods who, despite the pleas from management and other movie patrons, talk and text and chomp throughout the whole picture.
But, if we’re to have the total Avatar experience..we can’t wait until it becomes available for rent at home. The film is in 3-D and, according to my granddaughter; it’s absolutely amazing..even if you have to wear those goofy glasses to get the proper effect.
I haven’t been to a 3-D movie since the 50’s and remember those cheap cardboard glasses they passed out with the one green and one red lens.I don’t recall much about the film except that it was pretty low budget with little or no story line..just a lot of zooming and panning to demonstrate the 3-D effect which lost its magic after the first 10 minutes.
So, I’m anxious to see if Avatar provides the wow factor that was lacking in the one 50 years ago.
Even if it doesn’t, on Oscar night, we can at least say we saw the movie that’s expected to force James Cameron to build a bigger trophy case.I don’t that I think about it..maybe we might just swing by Annebelle’s on the way home. 

Aw..Isn’t That Sweet?

Posted: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Every time we visit our desert daughter in Phoenix we make sure to bring along a few Twin Bing candy bars. Bing bars, made in Sioux City, were a favorite of Christy’s as a kid but she can’t find them for sale anywhere in Arizona..which makes her crave them all the more. 
I’ve never cared much for Bings. The texture seems odd to me and they’re about as appetizing to look at as the floating Baby Ruth which cleared out the country club swimming pool in Caddyshack.
Visiting with friends the other night, the conversation somehow got around to candy bars that we used to love but can no longer find.
Topping all our lists was Walnut Crush…which disappeared after the Fenns Brothers company in Sioux Falls sold out to Heath candy in the 70’s. My first job in town was right across the street from the Fenns plant and I was greeted at work each morning with the intoxicating aroma of those sweet confections being created just a few yards away.
Walnut Crush, distinctive by its orange wrapper, was made from fluffy marshmallow nougat and slivered walnuts dipped in chocolate. Fenns also made the less popular Nougat bar which was pretty much the same thing with a different balance of ingredients and a very bland wrapper. And, who remembers the Butter Brickle toffee bar? It was a Fenns’ creation that turned into the Heath bar following the sell out.
All of them are gone now or have been morphed into something totally unrecognizable.
Linda’s all time favorite was the Mars bar. She noticed a few years ago that stores stopped selling them. Well, that’s because Mars Candy decided to discontinue them in 2002. The company must have felt the heat from Mars bar fans ,though, because they’re making a comeback and will be reintroduced to the market this year.
I used to love a candy bar called “Big Boogie.” I don’t know the manufacturer but it was billed as the biggest bar you could buy for a nickel. Hardly anyone remembers them..but Big Boogies were made from white taffy and nuts. On a hot day it was soft, chewy and was quite capable of sucking out your fillings.
On a cold day Big Boogies would turn as hard as 8th grade algebra..requiring lengthy stays in the mouth in order to become pliable enough to chew. A situation that could get you in big trouble if you tried eating one during class in school.
Bit-O-Honey taffy pieces are very similar. I love them too but they’re also getting hard to find.
Another favorite; Munch bars.They managed to stave off that craving I get for peanut brittle which is year round..not just at Christmas. I haven’t seen a Snickers Munch bar in years..nor the much inferior version from Planters for that matter.
I also used to be a sucker for Chuckles; those little trays of fruit flavored jelly chunks  with a sprinkle of sugar on top to provide a bit of a sand-like grittiness and promote cavities. I didn’t like the black liquorish flavored piece, though. I have no idea why the makers had to throw that one into the mix; perhaps as penance for our enjoying the other globs of goodness so much.
Some of these candies are being manufactured again..on a limited basis.
In fact, there are lots of places on the web where you can now buy the sweet treats we remember from our youth.
But they certainly don’t cost a nickel anymore and, so far, nobody has revived the Walnut Crush. Darn!

Happy Valentine's Day Linda

Posted: Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Linda Lee Lund..My favorite Valentine Now and Always!

State Of The State (Theater)

Posted: Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Senator Tim Johnson has managed to pull a few strings and direct 200 thousand dollars from a “Save America’s Treasures” grant program towards the on-going restoration of the 84 year old State Theater. It’s a long way from the overall 5.2 million dollar estimated cost..but still.
The first movie I remember going to at the State Theater in Sioux Falls was a corny western comedy in 1962 called “4 for Texas” starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Anita Ekberg and Ursula Andress. I don’t know why I have any recollection of the film at all because I was there with an older girl (A senior from Brookings)   who had a bit of a rep and was way out of my league.
My pal Donny Tucker was just 17 but already had a cool 1956 Mercury which I helped wash and wax on a regular basis in order to earn the privilege of riding around with him…including a double date on a Saturday night in 1962 driving all the way down to Sioux Falls to see a show.
I had managed to get this date through Don’s girlfriend and I was nervous as John Edwards on Fathers’ Day. 
The theater was beautiful inside with ornately decorated walls and ceilings. The main floor was packed so, after spending about every cent I had for tickets, popcorn and Cokes, the four of us made our way up to the balcony. By the time Frank and Dean were putting the moves on Anita and Ursula on the big screen, my friend, Don already had his girl in full lip lock.  I, on the other hand had just built up enough nerve to reach for my date’s hand which she accepted only to find it damp and salty from nervous perspiration and popcorn. Later, I could feel her looking at me and when I turned, I received an unspoken invitation to come closer. The fuzz on her angora sweater tickled my chin and the aroma of Evening in Paris cologne, Juicy Fruit gum and Aqua Net hairspray was intoxicating to a young guy wondering where this was going to lead. I didn’t have to wonder long because it lead to nowhere. The light’s came up and the curtain came down: Show’s over.
That was my first and only date with this evocative mature woman and even though I can’t for the life of me remember her last name, I’ll never forget that evening at the State Theater 48 years ago.
So you see, nobody would like to see the State restored more than I.
 But the reporter in me feels the need to ask a few tough questions about “The Show Must Go On” plan before I chip in to the renovation fund; answers that I haven’t gotten from the group’s web site or recent stories in the media on this latest financial acquisition courtesy of Tim Johnson’s magic wand.
For example: is the goal to have it be a first run movie theater, as I’ve read, or a multi use facility for live events like concerts and plays..which I’ve also read?
Can it be both?
Will film distributors be willing to provide the latest big-draw movies to a theater that doesn’t show movies full time? Does the cost of renovation include a big screen and adequate sound system to go along with the modern digital projector?  When would movies be shown?Would somebody like Jeff Logan “Logan Luxury Theaters” be in charge of scheduling, concessions and marketing? Can a theater today, no matter how exquisite inside, be a financial success with just one screen? Most operators say they don’t make any money at all on ticket sales. Their profits must come from the ridiculously high cost of concessions. Yet, the State Theater website talks about “affordable” concessions along with ushers and valet parking. I don’t know, maybe the object isn’t to make a profit..but with a brand new multi-plex theater being built on the East Side, it’s going to be tough attracting a big enough audience to the matter how nostalgic the experience may be.
The idea of people taking in a movie on a soft summer night..then strolling across the street after the show to enjoy a beverage and live music at one of the many sidewalk cafés, sounds positively marvelous. But in order to make a go of it, the State would have to be open on cold winter nights too when people would rather stay home snuggled under a blanket sipping a hot chocolate and watching their latest Netflix DVD on a 56 inch flat screen TV.
As for showing classic films; the Sioux Falls Film Society, which purchased the State in 2001 and spent a sizable sum on initial restoration and a feasability study, had to give up the project a few years later for lack of public interest and funding.
But the questions don’t end there. If the State Theater is to be used as a venue for more than concerts and plays..what would set it apart from the other two like-size performance halls, The Washington Pavilion and Orpheum Theater, just blocks away? Both have been controversial for requiring sizable and regular city subsidies to keep going.
Are the pieces in place for live stage performances like plays? Or, would curtains, lights, drops and other necessities need to be acquired?
The plan also calls for spending  a quarter of a million dollars to restore the mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ that’s been sitting silent in the State Theater for many decades.
When would it be played?  For silent movies? Concerts?
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to hear it!  But, boy, that seems like a big investment if it’s not going to be fired up on a regular basis.
Believe me, I’m not trying to be a nay-sayer here and I understand that preservation doesn’t always have to be practical or profitable. I also understand that it’s a little too late to turn back now. But I can’t help wonder if the lovely old State can actually live up to the expectations of those trying to breathe new life into her. I hope so.
By the way, I swiped some of the State Theater photos from my e-mail buddy, Eric Renshaw, who has a wonderful website on the history of Sioux Falls..including big old photographs of all of the former downtown movie houses.
To see it CLICK HERE.
Eric is also a big supporter of the State Theater project and I hope he and others involved understand that my queries are not meant to be obstructive.  Just a reality check.
Here’s an idea; try to find room on the State Theater’s marquee to put the name “Sanford” up there.    

I See Spots Before My Eyes: Super Bowl Ad Review

Posted: Monday, February 8, 2010 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Funny, it was one of those Super Bowl games that I couldn’t care less which team won.
When New Orleans finally did pull off the victory, I sort of felt bad for the Colts..but then I’m always doing that: hating to see the stunned and saddened faces of fans, players and coaches. That’s what rooting for the Vikings over 48 years will do to you .
Actually, I was more anxious about seeing this year’s batch of Super Bowl commercials than the game itself..and there were plenty of them squeezed in the four hours.
How about we play a little game ourselves..where you comment on your three favorite..or least favorite ads?
I’ll start:
I thought the Late Night with David Letterman promo featuring Dave and his nemesis, Jay Leno, on a couch together with Oprah Winfrey sitting between them as a mediator..was great. Considering all the barbs that have been flying between these two former friends and Leno’s return to the Tonight Show, I was shocked and tickled. I read today that Leno actually flew to New York to do the spot which seems odd since he’s promoting the competition..but it was fun to see.
My second favorite was the Snickers ad featuring the wonderful Betty White getting banged around in a pick-up football game. She is such a delight and great sport as is Abe Vigoda..seen being tackled at the end of the spot. The actor first seen in The Godfather movie must be 120 years old by now.
My next favorite is a tie between the E*Trade babies..which always crack me up, and the little kid slapping around his single mom’s date for the evening..admonishing the suitor not to touch either his mother or his Doritos.
Most disappointing?
I wasn’t impressed with the Bud Light beer can house. I saw a feature on all the effort that went into making that commercial. It sort of left me to speak.
The Coke spot featuring the Simpsons characters also didn’t do much for me. The evil ruthless billionaire, Montgomery Burns goes broke, loses everything then receives pity from Appu who hands him a bottle of  Coca Cola and all is well. It was a sixty second spot and felt like it.
Finally, I hated the Brett Favre spot showing him in ten years at age 50 still unable to decide whether he should retire from football or not. I’m still smarting enough from that interception he threw two weeks ago in New Orleans to find anything he says or does funny.
Don’t agree?
Have at it with a comment or two.
You can review the ads by CLICKING HERE.

Talkin' Trash(men)

Posted: Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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What is the worst song ever recorded?
I got to thinking about that the other day as I was driving up to Watertown by myself and scanning the AM radio dial in search of some music instead of sports talk for a change. (Every sports talk radio host can only go about five minutes these days before bringing up how the Vikings threw away another opportunity to be playing in the Superbowl and I’m still not ready to  be reminded of that debacle against the Saints which left every Minnesota fan, who had dared to hope again, as deflated as the Hindenburg.)
The dial stopped at 910 The Ranch in Brookings which was playing old country.   I like country music okay but some of those tunes from the early days were real groaners; “If finger prints showed up on skin” by Freddie Hart always made MY skin crawl.  Same with some of the popular rock and roll songs of my generation (50’s & 60’s) which I just considered awful even though I played in a rock and roll band myself.
Topping the list was “Surfin’ Bird” by The Trashmen.  
It is regarded by some as the birth of REAL rock and roll laid open to the bare bones through pounding drums and electronic guitar racket in the key of E with a raspy repetitious satanic voice belching out non- seneschal lyrics appealing to our Neanderthal instincts insisting that the bird’s the word.
It was, I felt, playing right into the hands of those parents and preachers who believed  rock and roll was evil to the core and the snare used by Beelzebub to swoop up rebellious teenagers into his lair.
But how could you group The Trashmen in with the likes of Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, James Brown, Elvis, Connie Francis, The Everly Brothers, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, every singer on MoTown and all the other GENUINE  musical talents of the day?
But I hated The Trashmen for more than “Surfin’ Bird.”
I hated them because they were bad luck. I went to three of their concerts in the early 60’s and came close to getting my head bashed in at each one of them.
I’m not sure why, but in high school, I had my own version of the Scut Farkus from “A Christmas Story.” (That WAS the bully’s first name, by the way, not Scott.)
My nemesis’ name was Gary or Jerry..I can’t remember. He was from  Brookings who had a reputation as a “foot”fighter.
I’d never actually seen him in action but everyone said that long before anybody had heard of martial arts, he’d mastered the technique of lifting his leg up in a split second and able to knock your block off before you know what hit you. He and his toady, Virgil, would show up at dances where my band was playing and give me the stink eye on stage.
I don’t know why they hated my guts so much but they seized every opportunity to back me into a corner and make me beg for mercy…which, I’m ashamed to admit I did on every occasion including at two Trashmen appearances at the Showboat Ballroom in Lake Benton and one at the Brookings Armory.
I never did feel the sting of Gary or Jerry’s number 12’s on my nose but have also never forgotten the shame of wimping out in front of my friends as The Trashmen were playing that annoying "Papa ooh mow mow” in the background.
I don’t blame The Trashmen for their success with “Surfin’ Bird” because they were actually a pretty darn good band; doing  a lot of non-novelty top forty stuff too.
In fact, three of the original members..all pushing 70 now.. are still together and big hits in Europe where they begin another tour next month.
Wouldn’t it be something if I went to their concert in Oslo and this old guy came up threatening to kick my teeth in?
I’d probably still chicken out.PS The new South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum is now open on the second floor of the Pavilion. Lots more stuff to add but it’s really taking shape!

Keloland Alumni Party

Posted: Monday, February 1, 2010 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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I’ve had lots of awkward and embarrassing moments in my lifetime. One in particular occurred many years ago when, after a golf game, my two brothers, a friend and I stopped at the Brookings Dairy Queen for refreshments. I, of course, was elected to go up to the window to place our order. (No drive-thru or indoor seating back then.)  In the line ahead of me, taking their sweet time deciding what they wanted, were four or five huge guys who appeared to be SDSU football linemen. My big brother, Denny, rarely missed an opportunity to get a laugh at my expense, yelled out the window, “Doug, I thought you said you were going to shove those apes out of the way if they didn’t hurry up.”
I’d said no such thing, of course, but I was lucky those jocks didn’t stomp me into the ground like a used up Marlboro.
I only mention this because, over the weekend, a similar thing happened when someone, obviously trying to get me into trouble,  commented on my latest blog claiming that he or she heard me bad mouthing Keloland TV and did so on a regular basis .  What made that lie particularly offensive was that it came at a time when all of Keloland is mourning the loss of our beloved Dave Dedrick.
I have the power to delete comments but rarely do so unless it’s that annoying and prolific spam which infests popular internet blogs like buzzards on a rotting carcass.  I’m a big boy and can take criticism but will not abide computer vultures whose aim is to try stir things up just for laughs or to make me squirm…that comment was axed.
As a matter of fact, I spent a delightful couple of hours Friday night with Kelo colleagues, past and present, at a Keloland alumni reunion.
Lots of former and current employees showed up at Falls Landing to share a few beers, loads of laughs and fond memories of their time working at the station. As I made the rounds trying hard to put the right names to familiar faces, the recurring theme was “do you remember when…?”
I spent a lot of time talking with photographers and producers about some of the crazy stories I roped them into doing for Lund at Large or Eye on Keloland stories. Josh Munce likes to remind me of the one we did on the Sinai area farmer who raises camels. When it came time for someone to take a ride on that dromedary..I  grabbed Josh’s camera and started shooting as he reluctantly climbed aboard.
Madeline Shields accepted my long overdue apology for erupting in a rage when a 5 O’clock news show she produced disintegrated into a sea of technical foul-ups over which she had no control.
Had nice visits with former production people, engineers and news staff all of whom have good memories of their time at Keloland TV even though a few of them didn’t leave of their own accord.
I don’t know too many people who’ve gotten wealthy working in local television. Come to think of it, I don’t know anybody who has.
But it sure was fun hanging out and reminiscing the other night with other folks who, like me, have been immeasurably enriched by the Keloland experience.