Well now, did you ever watch a television show called “Can You Top This?” Last week’s column included an original obituary about the demise of Waldo, my robotic vacuum. This inspired a local reader to send a day brightener that is included today. I am withholding his name, as promised.
However, sometimes emails spark memories, and this was a reminder of my radio days. Here is the backstory.
In the mid-’80s, I started doing programs for the blind and visually impaired on The Radio Talking Book Network. My mom had lost her sight, and friends set her up with special audio equipment that my mother referred to as her “window on the world.” These friends were volunteer readers, and they read my News-Times column on the air to the delight of my mom.
Before long, the director of the RTBN asked if I would read the column myself, and soon special audio tapes were flying back and forth between South Beach and Omaha.
This segued into a Newport (KNPT) morning show called “Bobbie’s Beat On the Air.” One of the head honchos at the radio station was Bob Spangler, known as The Voice of Lincoln County. Both Bob and I had the same quirky sense of humor. Bob would interrupt my program with goofy remarks because he could — he worked at the radio station with all that fancy equipment and I taped my show at home. Burt was my “runner” who happily delivered tapes to be broadcast six days a week. That program (which did not include this column) was such fun because of Bob.
A local listener, lacking a humor gene, thought we were enemies. He obviously didn’t get that it was just hilarious competition. We knew we had a considerable fan club and were not surprised when an avid listener dubbed the program “Dueling Radios.” People tuned in to find out what new mischief we had cooked up.
When Bob contacted my kid brother Paul for fodder about me, I started calling Bob’s sisters for stories about him. No matter how hard I tried, “Spang” always managed to top me. The 10-minute show aired at 7:45 a.m., and we loved hearing about the Lincoln County Courthouse parking lot. Employees would sit in their cars listening to the radio, and at exactly 7:55, car doors flew open and worker-bees (still laughing) hustled in to work.
I’m pretty sure there are old timers who remember Bob Spangler with great affection. He was dedicated to this community for over 40 years, a regular sportscaster for Newport High School games and beloved by hundreds of kids. Burt and I were speakers at Bob’s memorial service, held in the Newport High School gymnasium, rightfully named for Bob Spangler in loving memory.
Back to last week’s column and the local guy who sent the following day brightener. He didn’t exactly say my obit to a vacuum cleaner was lame. In fact, I didn’t call it a day brightener — just an attempt to let readers know I had managed to dig myself out of the Pity Party Hole. I definitely think the following is very funny. Here it is.
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The Pillsbury Doughboy — In Remembrance
Please join me in remembering a great icon of the entertainment community. The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection and trauma complications from repeated pokes in the belly. He was 71.
Doughboy was buried in a lightly greased coffin. Dozens of celebrities turned out to pay their respects, including Mrs. Butterworth, Hungry Jack, the California Raisins, Betty Crocker, the Hostess Twinkies and Captain Crunch.
The gravesite was piled high with flours. Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy and lovingly described Doughboy as a man who never knew how much he was kneaded.
Born and bread in Minnesota, Doughboy rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with turnovers. He was not considered a very smart cookie, wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes. A little flaky at times, he died a crusty old man, yet was considered a positive roll model for millions. Doughboy is survived by his elderly father, Pop Tart, his wife Play Dough, three children: John Dough, Jane Dough and Dosey Dough — plus, they had one in the oven. The funeral was held at 3:50 for about 20 minutes.
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Thanks to Mr. Anonymous, I got to take an unexpected stroll down memory lane and those long ago radio days.
The Doughboy obituary has been floating around for years. I still crack up over the description of Doughboy’s family, especially his elderly father Pop Tart and his kid named Dosey Dough. Whoever wrote this is my kind of guy/gal.
If the day brightener made you smile, pass it on to someone who is having a crummy day.
Bobbie Lippman is a professional writer who lives in Seal Rock with her cat, Purrfect. She is the author of “Good Grief: A Collection of Stories As One Woman Journeys From Heartbreak To Healing Through Honesty and Humor.” The book, with all proceeds going to the Rotary International Foundation, is available at JC Market in Newport and directly from Bobbie, who can be contacted at [email protected]