Fred Gray worked at WPGC from February - October, 1958. He was
hired by PD, Gene
Winters and left for WEAM late in the year. He
later worked at WDON and WGMS. Today, he runs the eBroadcast
Center, producing videos for various commercial clients.
the 'Mr. PG Is Walking For Retarded Children' Promo
was a WPGC AM disc jockey working for Maxwell
Evans Richmond, and I am aware that there are stories about
an incident I was involved in. The stories relate that I was “fired”.
Nope. Read on to learn the story of Max’s
biggest hoax. It is true.
known as “Mac”,
owned WPGC, licensed, to Morningside, Maryland, a suburb of Washington
DC. WPGC was a strict daytime station operating with 1000 watts
and 250 watts close to sundown, but with this mighty signal strength
was unable to reach all of the metropolitan area. By the way,
Ed Walker (The
“Joy Boys” and WAMU) had worked there before me, he
was REALLY GOOD; to get the current weather and temps, Mac
had him make his way to the aux studio, dial the weather, and
copy the forecast with this pocket brailler, and get back to tag
the record before it ran out.
was a shifty promoter, a liar, and paid his “air
personalities” almost nothing. He invented a fake contest
game that promised to award “a new Admiral Color Television
Set” to the first person who followed the rules and identified
a mystery man that was alleged to be walking the streets of Washington
DC. The on-air copy went like this:
[Sound: walking footsteps] Who … is … Mr. PG?
[Sound up, fade] Mr. PG is walking. Walking for Retarded Children.
Listen carefully to these clues. If you believe you have found
Mr. PG, simply walk up to him, tap him on the right shoulder,
remember, the right shoulder, and say to him, ‘Are you Mr.
PG, of WPGC, Color Radio, walking today for retarded children?’
If you are correct, you win! Now, here is this hour’s clue:
ANNOUNCER – ad-lib any description of a nondescript male
person. Like “Mr. PG is 5 feet 10 inches tall, and is
wearing a brown overcoat…” THEN AD-LIB any possible
street or area, like “Mr. PG is walking on Connecticut
The intro was taped and played on the air each hour by the hapless
DJ on the mighty Ampex 600. You put a tiny reel of tape on the
feed spindle, threaded it through, cued it up, and started it
by turning the start knob manually. Every time. Every commercial.
News clips. Advertising spots. Everything.
hired me to work on his station for absolutely no pay whatever,
in 1958 for the entire Spring and Summer. He liked my performance
so well he made me the “morning man” and soon had
me cracking jokes and doing my schtick like a pro. He made me
hold my nose and talk in a funny voice pretending to be a talking
red-bulb thermometer! He had me pitching “Muntz TV”
with a “free home demonstration”, whilst touting all
the wonderful features of this cheapie TV model. You had to keep
your pitch freshened up, and you had to keep pitching until the
phone lines all lit up. (Jordan 8-6677) Sometimes it bombed and
you had to know when to quit, probably about 5 seconds before
every listener changed stations. They had a “Top 100”
music survey, probably written by the Payola-providing record
promoters. But hey, it was good material.
remember having the Everly Brothers sing “Wake Up Little
Suzie” and “Dream Dream Dream”
over my shoulder into the studio microphone to accompany their
hit ’45 on the Cadence label. We pitched the Eddie Leonard
Sandwich Shops, and I still can almost remember the addresses
of all of them. Well, I decided to return to college that Fall.
In an instance of true moral ethics, Mac
said if I’d stay on another 2 weeks he’s increase
my weekly pay from ZERO to 40 dollars.
back to the “Mr. PG” promotion. Here’s what
was wrong with it:
(1) It was entirely fake.
(2) It was logged as a PSA because it mentioned “Retarded
(3) It probably got some people socked in the kisser for touching
and annoying men on a public street.
(4) It was aired mercilessly over and over for weeks.
had taught myself how to edit recording tape by marking the decision
points with a china marker, cutting the tape on a primitive splicing
block, then mating and sealing the sections back together. I
proceeded to create a masterpiece, and on my last day in the studios
Southern Avenue SE, over the WM&A Transit Bus Repair Facility,
I left the edited substitute tape where it would be used and played.
They ran it for a few days, maybe a week, before any of the idiots
actually listened to what the recorded voice was saying: “……
"Are you Mr. PG … of WPGC, Retarded Radio, walking
today for Color(ed) Children?....” Sweet!
the original promo likely voiced by Gene
the edited version.
The footsteps used in the promo were from Les Elgart’s “Walkin’
and Whistlin’ Blues.” The hum was on the original
record. He recorded it in 1955 just one year after he recorded
“Bandstand Boogie” which was played thousands of times
as Dick Clark’s theme.
Add WPGC Music Survey from June 15-21, 1958 and jock photo.
Add Music Survey to Playlists page.
Add photo to Gene Winter's page.
Create Pages for John Mack, Alice Renee and Bob Bartel. Add photos
Add promo to Promos page.