I woke up this morning with Dancin’ Don Hall singing in my head, “heigh ho, heigh ho, it’s over the hump we go, just keep on singing merrily heigh ho, heigh ho, heigh hoooo”.
Great memory from my youth.
Don Hall was the man. The voice that got you out of bed and get your day going. He was funny. He and his morning cohorts like Scott “The Cub” Smith, Tim Peters, Bo Robbins, and Barbara Baan. He had regular bits. Canned franchise stuff, like Syd the Agent, and there was a police chief one too, but I don’t remember his name. Birthday songs by impersonators of Sammy Davis (ended with Sammy saying he would “keep an eye on things”) and Frank Sinatra (Don commented he could smell “High Karate”. ) And I can’t prove it but I swear he had a clip of an applauding crowd and a crowd moaning that he used back in the early 80’s and was still using in the 2020’s.
I used to tape his banter and bits and listen to them all the time. Not just the franchised bits, but just him talking.
I knew Don too. Back when KKRD was struggling to compete in the top 40 genre, Don would host the midnight movies at the Mall Cinema. He would do live remotes from my Dad’s office promoting the movie. It was among those early days I discovered Pink Floyd The Wall. Dad use to have concert speakers brought in to blast the 70mm print to the audience.
I really wanted to be a DJ because of him. Although one night, and I was maybe 10, Don sat down in the office. I was coloring. He said, “I’m gonna put you on the air.” I freaked – I remember running out of the office and hiding in the stairwell that led to the projection booth. A week or so later, Dad and Don were having breakfast and Don told him, “funniest thing, I introduced him on the radio, played it up big, turned around, and he was gone.”
Don was also kind enough to host a school fundraiser for our Freshman class, we did Remote Control, and he seemed to enjoy it.
I would tell my folks I wanted to be a DJ. Because Don was so cool. The radio field was where my Dad wanted to go but he discovered there was no money in it. My mom said, I could do anything I wanted to be, except a theater manager. The business was good to my dad, but it was weekends, and nights, plus holidays. So, I went into television, turns out there is no money in it either (and you work nights, weekends, and holidays). Then I worked for the state, turns out no money there either. But I do get off nights and weekends. Seeing how Bill Warren sold his theater business for millions of dollars. I have to say, mom was wrong on that one.
Don was killed by a drunk driver on his way to work early on April 29, 2020. Wichita mourned his loss.
I’m not sure the reason why I posted this. I guess I really wanted to pay props to Don and all the great moments he gave me, and Wichita over the years.
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