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April 03, 2006



...and I remember.

Charles (L.P.) Russo's nickname was actually "Little Pussy". It was just one of many that were affectionately given to him by some mail room volunteers who were required to scribble his signature before stuffing the bulk mailing into envelopes. Forgivable, I think, as it was much more of an ordeal than it is today, and we needed something to entertain us.

My memory of the Paul Sobolik incident was that he had been playing Eleanor by The Turtles non-stop for hours, then got a call from a REALLY PISSED OFF LISTENER whom he kept on the phone, asking him why this bothered him so much, keeping at it until Paul had the listener worked him up into a real lather. At one point he threatened to come down to the station and beat the crap out of him. This entertained Paul to no end! Finally, Paul told him "okay, I will stop playing Eleanor by The Turtles if it REALLY bothers you." He then proceeded to play Eleanor by Flo and Eddie non-stop.



After all these years, it still amazes me how much, in contrast to every other FMUer I've ever met, John Narucki looked *exactly* like I pictured him from hearing his voice on the radio.


Additional info:
Lil' Wally was just one of the many interesting characters that would show up during Lou's show. He owned the Lil' Wally Accordian School (he pronounced it "ac-cord-DEEN") in Irvington, down on Stuyvesant Avenue. Over the years, the band consisted of DJ's and listener/voluteers, who were encouraged to bring in their instruments, and then pass them around so that you ended up playing an instrument that you were not familiar with.

The Duck

Chuck's nickname was stuck on by The Duck in a segment entitled The Wit and Wisdom of Charles "Poosy" Russo, by "announcer" Word Farr. In actuality, the wit and wisdom was a scratchy vinyl of Senator Sam Ervin reading bits from the Bible, Shakespeare, his Aunt Maude's letters etc., but the scam was that it was Chuck elucidating on the vagaries of life.

Larry Ozone

I must point out an inaccuracy in Bob Rixon's statement "We had a couple of funky turntables"

This is a myth.

Around 1980 the station raised enough money to purchase two Technics professional broadcast turntables. They were far from "funky" - in fact, they were among the sturdiest made in the world. I bought 8 model 1200 MK II turntables (The mobile DJ version) around the same time, "bounced" them around in my truck for 15 years, and there wasn't one that ever needed any service.

I had tried to persuade Chuck to buy a 1200 MK II to give the DJ's the opportunity of changing speeds on the records, but he declined. (Most likely he was influenced by the "Record Dictator" John Narucki, who had a hatred for dance music - John had instituted a de-facto ban on anything he felt was a dance record, and made a point of destroying such classics as "Shake your Body down to the ground")

There were certain "FMU Old-timers" who actually worked with antiquated equipment in the 60's and early 70's. Then there were "would-be Old-timers" who started on the station as technology improved, but liked to visualize themselves as a Scelsa - just a voice and some records broadcasting from a dark basement, everything switched off except for the controls and turntable lights. And part of being a W-B-O-T was making jokes about the poor quality of the equipment.

Sorry, but it just wasn't so. The turntables were great, and so were the tape decks. Chuck was VERY proud of having purchased two Scully open reel decks. They were the BEST - but they were a bit complicated to use (as much professional equipment is). Jim Price figured them out fast, and was one of the few who could work audio magic with them, a still existing example being the master of my "Village People Mega-mix"


A blast from the past -- on the "Hour of the Duck"
I fondly remember the genesis of the (originally titled) "Little Wally's Plastic Polka Deadfish Band", which I believe had it's maiden (though unchristened) voyage on the Hour of the Duck's Christmas Show in the 70's. Vin Scelsa was guest host for the evening, and a work study student from Bloomfield College on accor'deen (that would be "Walter/Wally") and I on clarinet created the cocophony de nuit and spot commercials for Lil Wally's accordeen school. It unfortunately led to no more radio spots for Walter or I but certainly a memorable evening!

Robert Resnik

Shed a tear for Lou the Duck, who is probably cueing up La Gazza Ladra for Rossini himself on some sparkling celestial turntable...
One of my all-time radio heroes, gone way too soon.

-Robert Resnik, Vermont Public Radio, Burlington, Vermont
(an avid FMU listener during the magical years of '67-'70!)

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