02 November 2008

I Am All Oregon, Baby, The List Explained: Nos. 1-10


In the master I Am All Oregon, Baby list, reprised here, I listed a fish-ladder's worth of trivia and personal observations on a life lived as an Oregonian. It's not a quiz, but I think it would be fair this time to post my commentary on my remarks (which Stan did the yeoman's job in taking on in the comments to that listing).

We'll do it in sections. Here, comments on the items 1-10.

You could really be an Oregonian if:

1. You know who Gene Brendler is: Gene Brendler, who passed away a few years back, was one of the stalwart faces of KPTV Channel 12 ... Yesterday's KPTV, anyway. If you follow the link previous, you'll see his young face in the upper right hand corner of the fabulous YKPTV front page. Perhaps not the most classically-handsome face ever on TV, but warm and affable and a definite sign you were watching Oregon's 12. He hosted more than a dozen programs over the course of over 30 years with KPTV and was, as much as Rod Anders or any one of those pesonalities, part of the heart and soul of the legendary 12.

2. You watched Ramblin' Rod: Speaking of whom, Rod Anders was KPTV to the kids. For about as long as Gene Brendler was employed, Rod helmed the morning kiddie show, which was for years known as Popeye's Pier 12 and lastly The Ramblin' Rod Show. Smile contests, the button-replete sweater, the never-ending smile and the commercials for Pop Shoppe pop ... there won't be another like Rod coming this way, we fear. He was one of the last of a breed of purely Portland entertainers, including such names as Rusty Nailes the clown and Bob Adkins ... or as the kids knew him, Addie Bobkins.

3. You or some family member appeared on Ramblin' Rod, no matter what age you are: while the on-stage audience for RR was chiefly kids from elementary school, sometimes the adveturious group of teenagers would be on as a lark. Rod cheerfully welcomed all.

4. You inveigled your parent(s) to buy Pop Shoppe pop because you saw it on Rambin' Rod. Yes, The Pop Shoppe, pioneers in recycling and amazing flavors. You bought the little bottles, gulped them down,and took them back to Pop Shoppe for more. And RR was the place most of us heard of them first. And me and my brothers begged until we got 'em.

5. You know what Ramblin' Rod and Lars Larson have in common. This one is for real heavy locals. Both Rod and Lars came from Tillamook. Wikipedia on Rod has it that he started at KTIL radio in Tillamook, as did Lars. KTIL today is known as KMBD-AM 1590, though the KTIL brand still exists on the FM side. Fittingly, Teh_Lars's show is still carried on KMBD ... how's that for closing the circle?

6. You can name which TV stations the following personalities anchored for: Richard Ross, Pete Schulberg, Ivan Smith, Kathy Smith (no apparent relation), Bill Lagatutta, Bill O'Reilly (yes, that Bill O'Reilly), Robin Chapman, Tom McCall, Fred Jenkins, Rod Luck, Jim Bosley, Rick Meyers: Stan did a great job at answering this one, so here, for the edification of all (and ups to Stan) is the answers to the above (I'm way sketch on the dates, so if anyone can offer them up, I will edit):

  • Richard Ross (d. 2007, age 86): Started at KGW, finished with KATU.

  • Pete Schulberg: KGW, later had a great column at The Big O, which I miss still. Ames Carlin has followed his act well, but there's only one Pete Schulberg.

  • Ivan Smith: KGW. Started there with Richard Ross.

  • Kathy Smith: KGW as well as KATU and KPTV when the "Oregon's 12" brand was rolled out. Either she or Tracy Barry (still working at KGW) was famous for changing hair color every so often.

  • Bill Lagatutta: Kathy Smith's co-anchor during part of her service at KGW (early-mid 80's, if memory serves)

  • Bill O'Reilly: The Factored One (yes, Mr. WE'LL DO IT LIVE!)was famously on KATU for a brief time in the mid-80's, which I (thankfully) missed). Legend has it that he was soon moved on after he neglected to remove his check stub from the copier. This is complete hearsay and I can't remember where I first heard it to say it. I respectfully request you put the appropriate amount of stock in it.

  • Robin Chapman: KGW. I remember her from the Evening local magazine show. I had a crush on her. Loved her hair. This was mid 70s.

  • Tom McCall: The Best Governor Ever™began as a news anchor on KGW with Richard Ross and Ivan Smith. left KGW in 1964 to become Governor of Oregon.

  • Fred Jenkins: Science editor on KATU. I learned to identify and home in on his voice because science was, in my kid vernacular at the time, "neat".

  • Rod Luck: Sports anchor at KATU toward the end of the Eyewitness News years. I remember something about his tenure being stormy, but I can't now say why.

  • Jim Bosley (d. 2008, age 73): The Greatest Weatherman Ever™, his bald, smiling, avuncular countenance would be one of the defining voices on Oregon's unpredictable weather. His Rating The Day annoyed me a bit, though, because the rate depended on how nice the day was. A dry day in the 70s is great ... but not when you're in a drought. But I quibble, shame upon me thereon.

  • Rick Meyers: The face of KATU during the Eyewitness News days. I liked this fellow. Something about his basic good looks and measured delivery just seemed to say that the man dripped intelligence. For some years after retiring from the anchor desk he gave occasional commentary, and I watched for those to. I was a Rick Meyers fan.

7. You know what Fred G. Meyer's middle initial stood for. Fred Meyer was the man when it came to shopping in Oregon. Credited as one of the originators of the One Stop Shopping concept, he started in downtown Portland at SW 5th and Yamhill and conquered the Northwest. But what did the G. in his name stand for? We surmise the following, because nowhere is it explained, but it is common-enough knowledge that his birth name was Frederick Grubmeyer. If there's one thing Fred understood, it's marketing, and Fred G. Meyer is a lot easier on the eye and the tongue than Fred Grubmeyer (and makes for more compact signs too).

So, strictly speaking, the G. either stands for nothing (if he was given no middle name at birth) or represents the part of Fred's name that was lopped off. It is entirely possible, of course, that he did have an actual middle name starting with G, but there's no record we can find of what that might have been.

We see nothing amiss in altering one's name to be more marketable, for what that's worth.

8. You knew that Freddy's was where you found things were "My-te-Fine". "My-te-Fine" was Fred Meyer's house brand until about late 70s/early 80's. The logo were three distintive crossing stripes (of primaryish colors of which I curiously forget) with the MY-TE-FINE on the one running from upper left to lower right. Succeeded by President's Choice, succeeded by whatever they're doing now. (NB: due to its ownership by the Kroeger chain, we sometimes call FM "Freddy Kroeger's". And calling it "Freddy's" just gets on The Wife™'s nerves)

9. You remember than Fred Meyer once had a store on SW Morrison St in Downtown Portland. There was one. It was a small thing, on the southeast corner of SW 5th and Morrison, and was about the size of a large 5-and-Dime/Drug Store. It really was a strange and wonderful little place. After the building (The Corbett Building) it was in was levelled, it moved to SW 6th and Alder, then became a PayLess Drugs. I think it's a Rite-Aid now.

10. You understand why all Fred Meyer ads that aired during that time seemed to indicated that virtually nothing Fred Meyer advertised was sold at that Morrison Street Store. It was intriguing to someone like me, familiar with Freddy's and reared in the hinterlands, to see how, as the avuncular voice of the FM commercials peppily stated, "Available at all stores except Morrison". It became an article of faith. Well, see the last answer: you could take the Morrison store and fit it into the Gateway store maybe ten times over and still have room left over for a 7-Eleven or two. It was tiny, strange, and wonderful. I must have spent an hour and a half browsing the Morrison store when I finally got to see it just because I couldn't believe there was a Freddy's this small.

Next time, the answers for numbers 11 to 20. Bis naechestn Mal!

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stan said...

Wow, I got more correct there than I thought. I was kind of guessing on some, but the guesses must have come from deep within my childhood memories. So they were educated guesses, in a way.

I didn't know that about Fred Meyer's original name. Interesting stuff.

Oh, and don't forget about our other late, great weatherman, David Apple. Aside from the Boz, he was my favorite weatherman. I liked Jim Little, too, and I think he made it to every station in town at one point. I never liked Matt Zaffino (too cocky), and I'll still call Mark Nelsen "college kid". Randy Querin was way too dry. Bruce Sussman could project an entire weather map on his teeth. Joe Sottile seemed nice enough, and you have to give props to Jack Capell. WHOA, I'm really talking about weathermen too much, so I'll stop.

Ben said...

"You'll find it at Freddy's..." Which was later "What's on your list today? You'll find it at Fred Meyer." now all phased out as Kroger just wants to market the "ONE STOP SHOPPING" mandate.

I remember Fred's as a kid WITHOUT GROCERIES as we lived in Idaho, where they bought out Grand Central. Finally in 1997, we got a 'real' store. (then Kroger bought and wrecked it, yada yada... ;))

I wish I could see that store now. We didn't have Fred Meyer TV ads, but I remember how nothing was available in our circulars at Burlingame (sometimes) or HOLLYWOOD. Apparently Hollywood's store used to be something/where else?

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

@Ben: I can actually relate to whereof you speak. I spent a short time in Idaho Falls some years back. And it was thrilling for me to see the Fred Meyer that was at the time at the corner of E Anderson St and the Northgate Mile.

It was funny to go in and find that it was a rather large variety store with no grocery or anything.

Ironically, the Burlingame store in Portland had everything. It's still there. It's an interesting store, nestled into the side of a hill in the tony, hilly west part of Portland, overlooking the I-5.

Ben said...

I <3 Fred Meyer Burlingame, it and Stadium are just 2 of the things I miss about the quirky magic that is Portland, Ore.

Seattle = yawn.

WhyCuzICan said...

True story...My name is Suz and I now live in a small midwestern town of about 16K (Dixon, IL) and yes, I DO remember that downtown Freddy's... In fact, there was a mug they sold that that made a joke about it being "Only Available at Fred Meyers at SW 6th and Morrison"...man, I should have gotten one back in the day.

I'm 48 and remember ALL of this stuff.

Never went on the Ramblin' Rod show, (dang it, always WANTED to), and it was Kathy Smith who messed with her hair. that was in the 80s when she and Bill Lagatuta (sp?) co-hosted and they did the promo billboards etc annoucing the new news team, and then she went on the air with suddenly BLONDE hair (rather than the dark PR hair photos).

I saw Bill, when I waited on him at a Deli near Lincoln High in SW Portland (Morrison St. Deli was it's name) and said, "Mr. Lagatuta, can I ask you a question?" and he laughed and said, "Just dont' ask me about Kathy's HAIR". It was still newly a sore subject back in the day.

Oh, another funny thing I remember about Portland. the EVENING show. They had a mystery food critic named "The Phantom". I worked at Merrakesh Moroccan restautant when he first opened over off of NW Evertt or so (forget now) and he came in to do a piece, and yes, I was on TV for that spot.

Good times,
Signing off from dull small down Illinois,

Randal L. Schwartz said...

While the Freddie's Morrison store was open, they had a carrying bag for sale that said: "You can't get this bag anywhere... 'except morrison'". Damn, I wish I had bought one of those.