Friday, September 9, 2011

Paul Is Dead... Kinda, Sorta

Article in the Michigan Daily about the "Paul is dead" rumors

WTTO proved to be the kind of gig that serves as a great step off point for bigger and better things. The extraordinary level of top down management made it difficult for Jim to do much on the programming side, but the constant gimmicks Mike employed to keep the station's ratings up helped me build a solid track record. I never had a down book... meaning a low rating... all the time I was there.

It befell us, therefore, to express our creativity off the air and we did that with constant, in-your -face, style promotions. When we did a bumper sticker promotion for instance, we went out on the street handing those stickers to anyone and everyone we could find. Where they stuck them... road signs, the sides of trucks, mailboxes, and most importantly all over the bumper of our main competitor's car, didn't matter. The night jock at WOHO, “The Mojo Man", was apparently waiting with a pistol one night when some of our over zealous fans decided to go after his car. No shots were fired, but they did manage to cover that bumper up.

Another little soiree began as a response to something my old pal Terry Knight did. Perhaps you remember the “Paul Is Dead” rumors back in 1969. Presumably there were “clues” buried in Beatles albums dating back to Sgt Pepper. “Revolution #9” when played backward sounds eerily like “turn me on dead man." The order of the Beatles on the Abby Road cover and the way they were dressed supposedly symbolized a funeral. George, dressed in denim was the grave digger. Paul (or his double), in a suit without shoes was the body. Ringo, dressed in black was the undertaker and John, dressed in white was the priest. The OPP patch on Paul's uniform on the Sgt Pepper cover symbolized the Ontario Provincial Police officer (Billy Shears perhaps) who found his body after a terrible car accident, while the Beatles were in Toronto. The inclusion of some lines from King Lear at the end of “I Am The Walrus”:

Gloucester: “What, is he dead?”
Edgar: “Sit you down, father. Rest you.”

It went on and on. I heard about the rumor one night while listening to Russ Gibb on WKNR, but I think the idea sprang from a song Terry had recorded just before he started managing Grand Funk, "Saint Paul." Some of the lyrics seemed to refer to Paul in the past tense:

You had a different view
Hey there Paul what's new?
Did Judas talk to you or did you put the whole world on?
I think there's something wrong
It's taken you too long to change the world
Sir Isaac Newton told you it would fall
You didn't listen St Paul..

Terry later claimed that the song was inspired by a brief encounter with the Beatles in London just as they were breaking up. Whatever the case the rumors were hot and heavy, and I was determined to get in on the action. I found all the “clues” I could and put them on tape cartridges, then recorded a 3 hour special based on the theories I'd heard on Russ's show. It was outright plagiarism, but who cares? I got the thing on the air and man-oh-man did that raise hell in Toledo!

I'd no sooner finished the show than the calls started flooding in. Everybody either wanted to hear a rehash of everything I'd done, or had new “clues” of their own to offer. It seemed as if no one had actually heard Uncle Russ that night, so my plagiarism went undetected. SCORE ONE FOR ME! Hey, I already said I was shameless!

The next day when I got to work there were hundreds of calls from listeners waiting for me, and more importantly from the media. Everybody and his brother wanted to interview me, and get my opinion on whether Paul was really dead. Of course I accepted all of the invitations, and became an instant celebrity in Toledo with my face all over the 6 O'Clock news and my picture in all the newspapers.

I mentioned earlier that I was a late bloomer, and that women hadn't noticed me until I was in my 20's. Well by now I must've "bloomed" some more, because as soon as my picture hit the paper I started getting calls from women... LOTS of women... some of whom would show up at the station in extremely provocative clothing wanting to “interview” me. Many were no more than high school brats trying to look 25. I recall one who showed up wearing a see- through dress with nothing underneath!. Even the receptionist... who used to wear some pretty provocative stuff herself... was outraged. She called me in the studio and said “Pat, there's a young whore waiting to see you. Did you ask her to come by, or should I send her away?”

I HAD to come out and take a look! C'mon, wouldn't you?

I have to admit here and now, when it became obvious to me that I was becoming attractive to women I didn't exactly run to the shelter of my home and marriage and meditate. I was a willing subject. Maybe it was because I never felt attractive to girls at all back in my adolescence, but more than likely it was because, well, they were there. Lots of them. I'm not saying I had dalliances with all or any of them... I've decided to leave all of that out of this reminiscence. But you have to understand that once I began to sense the way the wind was blowing, I was a naughty boy. A very, naughty boy.

And it didn't escape my attention that Deb was beginning to spend a LOT more time with that "very handsome" boss of hers. I can't blame her, I wasn't the worlds most attentive husband. If I wasn't working on some project at the station, making an appearance somewhere or riding around on my motorcycle I was most likely hanging around with Felton or some of the other station folk. Unlike WKNX where she was involved with everything I was doing, at WTTO she was involved with nothing. Also, Deb was basically a small town, home girl. This radio lifestyle was definitely not to her liking.

My career was beginning to take off, but once again my marriage was about to make a crash landing.

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