Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Mad Daddy was an absolute sensation in Cleveland. Then in 1959 the big time called. WNEW in New York. Pete left for Gotham. The only trouble was WNEW was a middle-of-the-road station, playing Frank Sinatra and Doris Day records. Pete convinced them to let him do his Mad Daddy character at night, arguing it would broaden the station's audience. They gave the okay, he did one show, and the complaints and uproar from the regular listeners was deafening. They almost burned down the station. The Mad Daddy experiment lasted all of one night.
Everything about Pete Myers was bizarre. Who gets their picture on a book of matches?
A few years later a Top 40 station in New York, WINS hired him away and Mad Daddy returned for two years (until the station went all news). He was welcomed back at WNEW and once again he was "lovable laughable" Pete Myers.
I thought today I would play you samples of both and you can see for yourself what an unbelievable contrast in styles these two acts were. First up, Mad Daddy. This is from WINS in 1963. Get ready for a TOTALLY unique act. (Note: The music on both airchecks is cut out.) That's followed by Pete Myers on WNEW in 1961. To give you some context, this was around the time of MAD MEN in the early '60s. Don Draper was still wearing hats. (My thanks to Rob Frankel for providing the WNEW segment.)
Crazy, no? Unfortunately, Pete Myers took his own life in 1968. It's a macabre tragic story, but for those of us radio geeks, there will always be a place in our hearts for Pete Myers. RIP Mad Daddy.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM