Saturday, February 15, 2014

From Primetime to Daytime: Ask the Manager (1974)

If you've ever wondered just what goes into programming a television station, WSBK in Boston had the answer. In 1974, the station, once again an independent after the demise of the UPN network a few years ago, introduced what amounts to definitive reality television.

Ask The Manager launched that year, airing on Sunday nights with replays on Saturday mornings ahead of their screenings of Charlie Chan movies and Three Stooges shorts. No station in my market has ever tried to duplicate the format, and Lord only knows why they wouldn't. Viewer questions are answered on the air by the station manager himself.

By the mid 1980's, that manager was Daniel Berkery, who was also a station vice president, aided and abetted by a rotating cast of station staff, including WSBK's most famous on-air personality, Dana Hersey, and sportscaster Sean McDonough (now with ABC/ESPN after a short stint with CBS in the 90's), son of newspaper columnist Will McDonough. Back then, as now, WSBK was an independent station, so they could fill all their hours with whatever was available. The Stooges, predictably, were and still are very popular, and were often a subject of viewer questions, especially when they were put "on vacation" for a while, although in some cases, other stations would snatch up the rights to the classic shorts for a period, and then WSBK would negotiate to get them back.

Following is the first 5+ minutes of an episode from 1985. Hersey is also the voice-over announcer, whose intro is pre-recorded since he's in the studio. If you really think Hersey & Berkery are in Paris, you'd probably buy a bridge from these guys...............

There were those moments where Berkery would actually come up with some funny lines. Must've missed his true calling.

Rating: A.

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