Adam in the Evening Some More
All of a sudden in 1965 events started happening in a hurry. It seemed like things were coming at me left and right. One was a great big flood, and then they started coming port and starboard. To cover the flood, WQUA put a newsman on with me all night. They all drew straws and Harry King lost. Harry had a great set of pipes and a big laugh to go with them, and I liked him a lot. One night at the end of my show, as always, I played the little footsteps and the door slamming - under the news intro. The studio was at the top of some stairs, so I added the sound of a man falling down a really long flight of stairs and moaning at the end. I turned on the news mic, but Harry had his cough switch on. His head was on the table, and I could hear his big laugh through the window between us. The sounder had run out so I opened my mic and in my big announcer voice I said, "One moment please." Well, that made him laugh even harder. So I played a record. I was going to play "River Stay Away from My Door" by Spike Jones, but I was afraid that would be too much for Harry.
Not long after that Harry King got a job at the first all news station in Chicago, WNUS, and went on to have a long career in the Windy City.
I met a lot of really nice people in the Quad-Cities. Tom Dunn was one. He lived down the hall from me at the LeClaire Hotel. Not knowing what to expect from the flood, I decided to move from the 12th floor to the 14th. Tom said he would give me a hand. From the 12th to the 14th was only one floor. Either they ran out of money and decided to skip one or they bought a factory second elevator with a missing number. It didnít take us long to move my stuff. All I had was two suitcases, a big trunk, and a duffle bag full of dirty duds that Dale Reeves shipped to me from Louisville. Oh yes, there were a few odds and ends, including a faded photo of Noah holding a platypus with a puzzled look on his face (Noah, not the puss.) After the move Tom and I went down to the Jug for a drink. On the way through the lobby we stopped at the newsstand for a copy of the Chicago American, and youíll never guess! The girl behind the counter was the waitress (from the restaurant across the street that had gone out of business due to lack of interest.) I could see she had given up on the Twiggy look ("Does this dress make me look flat?")
At the time I didnít know it, but Guy Harris was lurking around the 6th floor (It was really the 5th.)
Meanwhile on the All-Night Fistfight, strangeness abounded. For example there was the Adam Jones Live Alone and Look It Club. All you had to do to be a member was listen. But if you saw someone you thought was also a member you were to give them the secret sign: pulling on both earlobes at the same time. One girl called and said someone did that to her and she was insulted. I also tried to start a rumor that there was no gold in Fort Knox, that it had all been sold years ago by President Herbert Hoover to Costa Rica. Before that it was just called Costa (I had had a lot of fun with that one in Louisville.) Back in 1965 the price of gold was set by the U.S. Government at $20 per ounce. I had a cart with the voice of "Helen of Troy." I would say, "Well, Helen, whatís the price today?" and she would say, "Still $20." And then I would say, "Just checking on the price of gold." They made me stop doing that because they thought it was suggestive. (I thought it was just anti-inflationary.)
Oh, I almost forgot Ė the dikes held, the water went down, and sandbagging high school and college kids got some nice plaques around town from the station.
Things were going well with the Wells Fargo Lounge. I met Jack Pulford the manager. They bought some spots, and we interviewed all the acts that came to town. We also did some remotes. (I bought Les Johnson a new tie.) We formed the "Night Peoples Bowling League" at the Highland Park Bowl. One night about 1 A.M. Gene Snyder flew into the Moline airport to see about booking some acts at the Fargo. He was in a small private plane and he asked the air traffic guy, "Do you know Adam Jones?" "Everybody knows Adam Jones," was the answer.
I met Guy Harris a few days later at the station. He had worked as National Program Director for Westinghouse and recently had been hired by the Small Brothers in the same capacity. Guy had already been listening to the station for a number of days. He said, "Hello Adam. I would like to talk to you." My first thought was, where did I put that contract? But he had a firm handshake and he was smiling when he said it. A few minutes later we walked out of the station.
"Want a donut? Homerís makes the best in the world." I pointed to the right. He shook his head.
"Want to see the dirtiest bar in the world? Wally will even wash a glass for you." I pointed to the left.
"What else you got?" he asked. "Thereís Rolly Bowly on 7th Street." I pointed straight ahead.
"Letís go to the LeClaire, Iím staying there," he said, and pointed me up the street.
When we got to the hotel we went to my apartment, had a drink and talked about a new music format he had for WQUA. Then he said he wanted me to do the 8:00 to 12:00 PM slot. I told him I was happy doing all-night and I was building a good following. He said he wanted me to do 8 to 12 so I could be hooked up to WIRE in Indianapolis.
"Wow!" I said, "The Adam Jones Radio Network. Thatís always been my dream. That and Adam Jones the Musical. Do I get more moo lah?"
"I think thatís one word," he said.
I asked him if he had got the Brass to okay this. He hadnít, but he was sure he could after I got settled in 8 to 12. I told him I would rather make it 8 to 1 so if it didnít work out the all-night listeners wouldnít forget me. And I wanted a raise for moving to 8 to 1 and another one if the WIRE thing went through. He agreed. We came to terms on money, shook hands, and he said, "Whatís more fun, Rolly Bowly or Dirty Wallyís?"
"Wallyís," I said. "Itís closer. And by now they will have changed the DeSantis cakes in the menís room."
(I couldnít resist that.)