Sunday, June 24, 2012

Its One o’clock…

I am a child of the television revolution. I spent most of my free waking, childhood moments watching movies, cartoons, sit-coms, game shows and anything else that was of interest to a young mind. Now, mind you, there were only 4 channels available at the time. One of my favorites was a local movie and commentary show hosted by Mr. Bill Kennedy.

At 1’ O clock his theme song “Just in Time” would play and Mr. Kennedy would introduce the movie. The show aired on  our Canadian border station of CKLW on weekdays and Sunday afternoons.

Bill Kennedy would present movies and interject comments and insights. Some of the “pictures” as he called them, were horrible and he never hesitated for a moment to warn the viewers. Going as far as putting clothes pins on his nose and calling the movie “a real dog….woof!”

He would also often do “live” interviews with local and visiting celebrities. His most well known being a phone interview with John Wayne in 1976 while he was finishing the movie “The Shootist.“ There was also an infamous Frank Sinatra Jr.  phone conversation that ended quite abruptly. I remember chats with comedians, singers, and other performers as well.

Williard Kennedy was born June 27th 1908. He had been  an actor in Hollywood and in the 1940’s was under contract to Warner Brothers. In 1956 he left Hollywood and returned to the Detroit area to begin Bill Kennedy at the Movies. In an 1975 article in Cream magazine he said “I’m not an actor and I have 60 movies to prove it.”

In 1948, he appeared with Ingrid Bergman in the movie  “Joan Of Arc” as one of her executioners. Where he uttered the immortal line, “we need some more faggots!” A line over which he argued against. Kennedy also performed with Cary Grant in “Destination Tokyo.” However, he is best known as the announcer at the beginning of the Superman Television show. “Yes, it’s Superman…”

I directly relate my love of old movies and “old Hollywood” to his commentaries. If callers asked a question that he could not answer, he would refer to his “Fabulous Files.”  His wit was legendary and I believe he coined the phrase, “Behind every great man, there’s a woman with a great behind!” His collection of files were donated to the Detroit Institute of Art in 1987.

Bill Kennedy retired to Florida in 1983 and passed away in 1997. He will always have a special place in the vast Broadcasting history of Detroit. Having met him once or twice, he was always a gentleman. I know I have great reverence and respect for his unique style and panache. 

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