I did a post on Bob Crane. Morning radio especially was the playground for wildly creative and funny entertainers. Some of my earliest comic influences were disc jockeys – Dick Whittington, Robert W. Morgan, Bob & Ray, Lohman & Barkley, Dan Ingram, Gary Burbank, Don McKinnon, Larry Lujack, Gary Owens, Dale Dorman, and the two gentlemen I’m highlighting today – Dr. Don Rose and Emperor Bob Hudson.
These two jocks could not have been more different in style, approach, delivery, and content.
Dr. Don ruled mornings for years in the ‘70s and ‘80s at KFRC, San Francisco and his show was organized chaos. Highly produced with sound effects, wild tracks, kazoos, and a constant barrage of the worst jokes EVER. And yet, by sheer volume, and his presence, which was so upbeat and infectious, you found yourself laughing. Ironically, he himself battled numerous serious health issues. In the video I’m showing you’ll notice crutches off to the side. But despite the darkness and pain he continually experienced, if anyone ever had the gift of lifting other peoples’ moods it was the good doctor.
In contrast, Emperor Bob Hudson was your strange uncle who always seemed hungover and couldn’t wait to bolt from Thanksgiving dinner. Emperor Hudson toiled (and that is the right word) in the morning at a variety of Los Angeles stations in the ‘60s – KRLA, KBLA, and KFWB. He was the W.C. Fields of Top Forty radio.
Unlike, Dr. Don, Hudson’s show was completely off-the-cuff. Nothing was ever prepared. But that was the beauty of it. He could spin amazing imagery and nonsense right off the top of his head. Along the way would come hilarious sarcastic or outrageous remarks. You never knew what he was going to say or do next because he didn’t. In many ways, it was word jazz. (Bob later teamed with fellow D.J. Rob Landry to become the comedy team of Hudson & Landry that enjoyed some success on TV, clubs, and records.)
The one thing the Dr. and the Emperor had in common however, was their ability to really create a world of imagination on the air. Sadly, that appears to be a lost art.
I’m going to show you samples of their brilliance along with behind-the-scenes profiles. Both were made as student films. Both were extremely well done. Oh, the one about Emperor Hudson – that was George Lucas’ student film at USC. Yes, that George Lucas.
Enjoy a couple of true comic artists.