HUNTINGTON THROUGH THE YEARS

Through the years, the residents of Huntington have cried, laughed, and loved together. We have faced tough times and came together to help our fellow citizens get through. We celebrated victories together and partied together and shared success together. Through the years, Huntington has stayed together. We are Huntington. I grew up in Huntington after moving here in the mid 70’s.

 The 70’s started out in tragedy. I did not live in Huntington at the time but even as a boy in Cumberland, Md I remember hearing about The Marshall Football Team Plane Crash. The horrendous crash happened on November 14, 1970 and claimed the lives of 75 people. According to the website “November 14, 1970 ... Remembered Memorial of the 1970 Marshall University Football Team Plane crash Crash”http://www.marshall.edu/library/speccoll/virtual_museum/Memorial/default.asp “On a rainy hill side in Wayne County, West Virginia, the lives of 75 people were lost in the worst single air tragedy in NCAA sports history. Among the losses were nearly the entire Marshall University football team, coaches, flight crew, numerous fans, and supporters. The event marked a boundary by which an entire community would forever measure time... before or after "The Crash". It took time to recover from the accident and in many ways we still have not recovered as the pain of the accident and the loss of loved ones will always be within Huntington city limits. But, Marshall football has risen like a Phoenix and given Herd fans much to celebrate. “We Are Marshall” was a successful movie about the crash that was released in 2006. The widely acclaimed movie brought both smiles and tears to Huntington residents. Marshall was the winningest college football program in the 90’s with 114 wins. We cheered watching the heroics of Randy Moss, Chad Pennington, and Byron Leftwich. The Thundering Herd won the NCAA Division 1-AA National Championship in 1992 and again in 1996.

 

Tragedy visited Huntington in the 70’s and 80’s when Huntington Police officers were murdered. I remember reading about the murder of Clemmie Curtis not long after I moved to Huntington. The chilling murder has stayed in my mind for years. He died on August 3, 1976. From The Officer Down Memorial Pagehttp://www.odmp.org/officer/3728-patrolman-clemmie-e-curtis “Patrolman Curtis' body was found handcuffed near his patrol car in a wooded area just outside of the Huntington city limit. He had been shot through the chest once. In January of 1985 one of America's worst serial killers, Henry Lee Lucas, on death row in Texas confessed that he and his partner Ottis Toole, on death row in Florida, had killed Patrolman Curtis. Lucas died in prison in March of 2001. Toole is the primary suspect in the death of Adam Walsh. Police were still investigating the murder when Toole died of cirrhosis of the liver in prison in September of 1996.  Patrolman Curtis had been with the agency for nine years.”

officer Clemmie Curtis

 

After returning home from working the evening patrol shift an unknown assailant ambushed officer Mills. Officer Mills was shot once, leaving him paraplegic. He succumbed to his injuries five years later. Read more: From The Officer Down website: “December 14, 1981, Police Officer Paul Harmon was shot and killed while investigating a break-in at approximately 1:45 am. The two suspects were escapees who were burglarizing the service station. The suspects attacked him and struck him in the head. They then obtained control of his service weapon and shot him several times. Both suspects were convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life. One died in prison in 2000. Officer Harmon had served with the Huntington Police Department for seven years and had previously served with the United States Air Force. He was survived by his wife and two daughters.”

Officer Paul Harmon

 

“December 15, 1981- After returning home from working the evening patrol shift an unknown assailant ambushed officer Mills. Officer James Mills was shot once, leaving him paraplegic. He succumbed to his injuries five years later.”

There were many sad times but Huntington citizens survived the pain – together. The victories were many as well. Not just Marshall Football but Coach Rick Huckaby ignited Marshall’s Basketball team in the 80’s (1983-89) and were known as Huck’s Herd. What I have most loved about Huntington through the years is that it is a close-knit community who stands together through good and bad. If tragedy strikes Huntington residents are there to do their part and when Huntington is successful, the city celebrates together.

Although I live in Huntington, there are some things I miss about Huntington. I miss the chocolate cake with vanilla icing from Big Bear bakery. I miss the smell of freshly made donuts from Ward's while walking Fourth Avenue. I miss how great Dwight's Kingburger was at 4 am after a night of clubbing with my friends, and the smell of popcorn when you walked into Hill's. I miss the pepperonis under the cheese of Delapa's Pizza in Proctorville. I miss The Hot Dog Special at Frank's Sandwich shop and fries and blue cheese of Julio's. I miss buying an out of town paper at Nick's News, cassettes at National Record Mart, 45 rpm's at Davidson's, and import albums at Opus One and Sight N Sounds. I miss the Huntington Blizzard, The Huntington Cubs, Huck's Herd, and the Marshall football Herd playing for 1-AA Championships. I miss a hot summer day at Olmpic Pool. I miss Georgie from The Copa, Blondie from Davis' Place, fistfights at Verb's, happy hour buffet's at Robby's, one armed Harry Hill at the after hours bar Old Coachman's Club on Fifth Street, comedy night at The Old Library, drinking ice teas from mason jars at Bojangles, Ali at Rockers, and John Black's cackle at the old Jake's. I miss the music of Foxwagon, James Murphy and Zachariah, and Menlo Park. I miss Billy Ray and The Players packing the Ragtime Lounge full of hot women every weekend. I miss drinking beer on Big Bear parking lot after a long night of work. I'll always remember drinking Stroh's Beer on the porch listening to the Cincinnati Reds on WGNT. Also, there was Bob Miller in The Morning and Trivia on WGNT, Gary "Music" Miller on WKEE, Dr. Demento, King Biscuit Four on the FM radio. Of course, Mr Cartoon and Beeper on TV 3 and Ernie Salvatore writing about Mary ex-Model's Derby Day bet. I don't miss paying a dime to cross the 6th street bridge, the long traffic on the bridge or the many years we had to wait for The East End Bridge. I don't miss Dave Peyton writing for The Herald-Dispatch. I don't miss Cruise Ave but I do miss Chi-Chis. Huntington has grown bigger with Pullman Square, Wal-Marts, and consolidated high schools. I miss the freedom of the safety of being out at night and being able to walk downtown without bums begging for money. I'm still in Huntington and still love Huntington, a part of me still longs for the innocence of Huntington of the 70's and 80's. Was it Huntington or just the time period?

Beer Truck Drivers 

 I wrote this song about 15 years ago as a tribute to local beer truck drivers. I started working at Big Bear on 1st Street in 1981 and one of my duties was working the back door and checking in vendors. I got to meet a lot of great guys over the years - both drivers and salesmen. Later, I managed a Rite Aid, was an assistant manager for Super America and managed a 7 11. I kept a lot of these relationships going. One beer driver I met was Andy Fife. He was a driver for Atomic (Miller) when I started at Big Bear - him and Chauncey, would come in. Later, he became a salesman. He was very good. Always tried to increase mine and his sales. Always got my store anything we needed. I would see him out a lot and he would always insist on buying me a beer. Just a great dude. He died of cancer about 15 years ago. I still think of him when I see a Miller Lite display. I met a loot of great guys over the years. Some like Mike Garrison and Mark George were drivers but moved up in the ranks of the beer world. Some like Britt Arthur moved onto other things, last I heard Britt was a police officer. Every now and then I run into one of these guys and it brings out some great memories. Hey,Marshall games would be boring without our beer truck drivers. I was walking down the street 15 years ago on the way to a class at Marshall and saw a beer truck driver sweating and it brought back memories of the days when drivers had to throw cases of beer off their truck onto a 4 foot dock at Big Bear and this song just wrote itself. It's gotten a lot of plays over the years and southern rock fans overseas liked it real well. Soooooo....please listen to Beer Truck by Alligator Jackson. I wrote it but did not perform it....an old ensemble band of mine did. It has been recorded by by a few different singers as Tommy Jones, Tracy Dement , and Dave Scarboro as all did versions with Nigel Cuff rocking up one version for a metal version. The version that had the most success is this one with Scarboro on vocals.

A Tasteful blast from the past 

Hmmmmm.. hot pizza and cold beer at Mario's while skipping a class at Marshall, Fries and Blue Cheese from Julio's, a steak sandwich or Hot Dog Special from Frank's Sandwich Shop. 

My stomach roars thinking of the great food I've eaten in Huntington over the years. Ming's, Chi Chi's, Chilli Willi's, Steak and Ale, Dwight's....the list goes on. 

Please enjoy some of the pictures I have collected from sites such as You Grew Up In Huntington If, Vintage Huntington, 70's and 80's Huntington, Huntington Quarterly, and others. Feel free to share your favorite past Huntington eatery or meals....Pardon me...I believe it's dinner time!

Calamity Cafe

Frank's Sandwich Shop

Heritage Station

Snak's Fifth Avenue

Minor League Sports 

The Huntington Blizzard were a Minor Professional hockey team based in Huntington, WV playing in the East Coast Hockey League from 1993 to 2000. The team played in the Huntington Civic Center. In 7 seasons their record was: GP-W-L-T-OTL-SOL) 486-196-245-0-5-40 Their average home attendance was: 1993-94 3,739 1994-95 3,765 1995-96 2176 1996-97 2411 1997-98 2563 1998-99 2253 1999-00 2365 The Reading Eagle listed the 93-94 Blizzard squad as the worst ECHL team ever.

http://www2.readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=116656 1. 1993-94

Huntington Blizzard (14-49-5) Pro hockey returned to hard-scrabble Huntington, W.Va., in 1993 after a 40-year absence. The Blizzard had numerous ups and downs in their seven seasons, but were never so low as that inaugural year. They still hold the ECHL marks for most goals allowed, 6.07 per game and 413 total, and their 14 wins are tied with the aforementioned Roanoke Valley and Greenville teams for fewest ever. The Blizzard were also on the short end of two of the three worst whippings in league annals, a 15-0 loss to Greensboro and a 16-3 loss at Nashville on Super Bowl Sunday in which goalie Jim Mill played all 60 minutes. This team, which once gave up 67 shots in a game against South Carolina, also had a 16-game winless streak, a league-record 12-game home winless streak, is second-worst all-time with just 33 points and is tied for the third-worst winning percentage at .243. The Blizzard had three coaches that year, including former NHL player Bob "Battleship" Kelly, who was fired after a 5-14-2 start. Defenseman Jared Bednar finished with a plus-minus rating of minus-82. What gives the Blizzard the slight edge over the 2003-04 Grrrowl and the 1992-93 Rampage, however, was that they lost four of seven games to a horrid Louisville (16-44-8) team. The Blizzard bounced back to make the playoffs the following season. They stuck around until 2000,.

HUNTINGTON CUBS

The Huntington Cubs played at St Cloud Commons in Huntington from 1990 until 1994. They were a Cubs affilate in the Appalachian League. Their best season was in 1990 when they were 40-29. Their debut year would be their only winning season has they fell to 25-42 the next season. In 1992, they rebounded slightly to 28-34 and improved again to 33-35 in 1993. Their final season was 1994, in which they were 28-39. Actor Ken Arnold played shortstop for the Cubs in 1990. Arnold works as an actor-director-producer with 62 acting credits. Arnold played the role of astronaut Buzz Aldrin in the movie “Men in Black 3.” Arnold also was in the motion picture “Abduction” and his favorite role was Nazi SS officer Max Hansen in the World War II film “The Wereth Eleven.” Included on the roster was a light-hitting outfielder by the name of Jason Sehorn, who hit much better as a safety in his NFL career with the New York Giants. Tommy Helms Jr. followed his father and former Reds star Tommy Helms into pro baseball. Amaury Telemaco was one of the Cubs that made it to the big leagues with Chicago. Outfielder Pedro Valdes made it to the big leagues with the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers. Pitcher Terry Adams featured the longest baseball career of any former H-Cub, playing 11 seasons and appearing with the Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays, Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers. Matt Vasgersian was the team’s radio play-by-play man and now does play-by-play for Fox Sports telecasts of Major League Baseball.

The Floods of 97 

The rains came over twenty years ago and did not stop until the Tri-State area was literally underwater. At the time of March 5, 1997, I was living in Proctorville, Ohio, we were cut off from Huntington for a few days as the Ohio River flooded Route 7. I happened to be on vacation from my job as manager of 7 11 in Huntington. It was good timing for a vacation because it would have been a long swim. The water crested at 57.52 feet. It was the fifth highest crest since the floodwall was built. According to The Herald Dispatch " Dozens of roads were closed, including two lanes on Interstate 64. Two St. Mary's Hospital nurses died while driving home along Twelvepole Creek." The pictures were from The Herald Dispatch and LVM Photography. The pictures demonstrate the total chaos caused by the floods.

The Railroad in Huntington 

The railroad has always been a big industry in Huntington. The railroad brought a lot of people to Huntington, and not just as customers, but as employees. My father, Melvin Williams, was transferred to Huntington in 1976 from Cumberland, Md. He eventually was General Plant Manager of The Huntington shops He was later transferred to Jacksonville in the late 80's but chose to take early retirement and retire in Huntington.

My dad Melvin Williams is first man on left in bottom picture from late 70s or early 80s.

I have met dozens of people who have also moved here from Cumberland because of the railroad and I feel an immediate connection to them like being part of a family.

Although I grew up with train pictures and pics of The Chessie cat, I do not have many so I have collected pictures from many sources around the internet. If I have "borrowed" any from your sites please feel free to credit your site under comments of the pciture. Many were taken from the Facebook page of CSX Huntington Division Photography and Videography - HDPV. The Chessie System and The B&O Railroad remain dear to me as I'm sure it does to many in this area.

From http://www.american-rails.com/chessie-system.html The Chessie System, as an independent railroad would last but a mere eight years. However, its legacy, continues to live on to this day. The railroad itself was comprised of three principle railroads, the Chesapeake & Ohio, Baltimore & Ohio, and Western Maryland (which by the early 1970s was a B&O subsidiary). From a corporate standpoint the railroad was quite a moneymaker and earned handsome profits during a time (the 1970s) when the industry as a whole was spiraling downward. What the railroad, however, is most famous for was its striking paint scheme which featured a dazzling blend of blue, yellow, and vermilion with the kitten’s silhouette overlaid in the Chessie “C.”

My brother Melvin Williams Jr. was an engineer in Cumberland, Md. Since there are many more people that know more about the railroad in Huntington than I do, please post pictures, information, and stories about railroad history in Huntington.

The Record Stores of Huntington 

 

The news that Best Buy is discontinuing CDs signifies that the end of the CD is near. It means it will be the end of music as a tangible product. Music sales will mainly be in download or in streaming form.

This had me thinking of my long live affair with 45 rpm singles, cassettes, 8 track tapes, albums, and CDs....and yes, my long love affair with record stores.

My first memories of record stores in Huntington began in 1976. Fourth Avenue in Downtown Huntington was the home of rock and roll for me. Any chance my friend Jeff Westlake and I got, we were over at Davidson's Records and National Record Mart, even though we'd visit Opus One Records farther down Fourth and occasionally Audio Records and Tapes, my budget was more along the lines of 45 RPM singles.

I liked album rock and at the time, AOR singles were not hitting the top forty so I didn't usually buy singles from Hart's or K-Mart. Davidson's had a new release section. They would have singles by artist like Ted Nugent and Nazareth. I remember buying Wango Tango by Ted Nugent. Davidson's had a vast oldies selection as well. National Record Mart had lots of singles and had cut out albums. These albums were marked down and often within my budget.

My parents would often shop at Big Bear in Ceredo. Opus One Records was in the Plaza. As I got more money, in my junior and senior years in high school, I started buying albums. I remember buying the first Iron Maiden album and Saxon's Wheels of Steel album at opus One just because I liked the cover.

The Huntington Mall had National Record Mart, Camelot Music, and Musicland , which became Sam Goody's.

 A guy named Gary Fizer opened up Sight N Sounds in East Hills Mall and later moved in Downtown on 4th where Opus One was Downtown. Gary was the greatest music salesman ever. He'd played us new bands we never heard and me and my friends would buy them. At the time many of the albums were only available on import. Regular albums were 7.99 but imports were 10.99.

I bought records like a red vinly large single by an unknown band from California known as Ratt. I bought a album on a indie label called Leather Records by an unsigned band called Motley Crue. I also heard Pantera, Metallica, and Guns N Roses for the first time there. After Gary closed, I began losing interest in records. Gary died a couple of years ago.

Jay Mitchell bought Davidson's and it became hipper and included piercing for tummy rings and ear rings and more metal oriented.

In the mid 90s, I started buying from Vince at Now Heat This. I began buying CDs. Me and my friend Steve Pruitt began buying grunge. We first discovered Creed there and Matchbox Twenty long before both were considered pop.

I also bought albums and CDs at Second Time Around. I have always loved music. I enjoyed collecting albums and CDs. I no longer own any, but having something to hold in my hands was a lot of my reason for being such a music fan. Collecting and sharing CDs with my friends was part of the fan. I think kids will be missing out without albums and CDs. Downloads just seem so impersonal. Another part of my childhood has slipped away.

Huck's Herd 

 

Rick Huckabay coached Marshall University's Thundering Herd with flair and tenacity and electrified the Tri-State area from 1983 to 1989. His fast and furious teams scored over 100 points 6 times in his tenure that included 4 Southern Conference titlesand a record of 129-59. Huckaby's teams became known as Huck's Herd. Huckaby pulled an average of 8,334 fans into the Henderson Center in a town known mainly as a football town.

Huckabay made the Asheville, N.C. Civic Center the place to be in March for Herd fans at The Southern Conference Tournament, as green and white clad Marshall fans flooded the city for every tournament game in the 1980s. Herd fans even spent $2 bills one year, just to show the impact of Marshall on the Asheville community and the mayor of Asheville could often be seen sporting a green blazer in anticipation of "Huck's Herd" and followers.

John Taft

 

Huck's Herd contained many fan favorites like Skip Henderson, John Taft, Tom Curry, Sam Henry, Rodney Holden, LaVerne Evans, John Humphrey, Bruce Morris (who made a field goal from 89 feet 10 inches known as The Shot Herd Around The World),and Andre Cunningham.

With his outspoken comments, his exciting approach to the game, his penchant for ripping refs, Rick Huckabay created excitement like no other Marshall basketball coach has and made Marshall basketball a front page story.

Although Huck was forced to resign in 1989 over a recruiting scandal, Huck will go down as one of Marshall's top coaches. Huckabay might best be remembered for him and his staff wearing white tuxedos with kelly green ties to coach in at their first Marshall-West Virginia game, won by the Herd 78-67. Huck went on to coach in the area at South Point high School. He died way too young at 59 in 2006.

Here are some great quotes that displayed his unique personality. This year, I thought we were going to do pretty good, Coach, I don't think you're the man to win here. (Rick Huckabay) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- If I were president of the United States, I'd hire those three sons of bitches that called that game to guard me. Their attitude toward 'Mickey Mouse' Marshall and the other teams in the tournament (University of Kentucky Invitational, Dec 1988 ), and the other teams in the tournament upsets me. They were looking at Marshall and saying, 'Who are these piss ants out there They're not supposed to be very good.'

 

Skip Henderson

Cruise Avenue 

Anyone who grew in 1980’s Huntington had to be familiar with Cruise Avenue. Cruise Avenue was essentially a strip of land in the parking lot which is now Pullman Square. Teenagers from all over the area would park and stand outside of their cars. Many others would cruise up and down on each side of the road. The cars would go slow and often talk to the car in the other lane. This was essentially the concept of an ‘outdoor teen dance.’ This gave the mostly teens and early twentysomethings somewhere to socialize.

Cruise Avenue came as a response to the traffic problem that was caused by the teens cruising up and down Fourth Avenue. The teens would cruise up and down all weekend night long backing up the traffic downtown and creating a traffic jam. The teens would talk to cars in the other lane. The city then set up Cruise Avenue so the cruisers would have a place to go and would not clog up Fourth Avenue.

Cruise Avenue worked for a while but still caused traffic problems downtown. Although the teens did have somewhere to go it was not really deemed by most parents and city officials as being a proper hangout for teens. It was very hard to keep drugs and alcohol out of the area even though the police patrolled the area regularly. Occasionally fights would break out. Pullman Square as turned out to be the solution to the problem of bored teens. Teens congregate there on weekends and it is a much safer environment. As far as the traffic, well, it appears that Pullman Square ridded the tri-state of teen cruisers…either that or high gas prices, lol. Though, to many people who hung out there back in the day: hot summer nights, loud music, the opposite sex, newly found friends and old friends, and the snuck ice-cold beer were a recipe for fun and memories.



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Big Bear Supermarkets 

written around 2010-2011

Big Bear was a grocery chain centered out of Columbus, Ohio. They had three Huntington locations and one in nearby Ceredo-Kenova. I worked at Big Bear for eight years as I split time at the 1st Street and 29th Street stores. Big Bear held it's own against national powerhouse Kroger, helped forced Mr Moneysworth and Cub Foods out of Huntington, and outlasted local chain Tradewell. Some may credit Wal-Mart with putting the final nail in the Bear's ample coffin but many say that their last owners - Penn Traffic did the damage. Penn Traffic went into deep debt buying Big Bear that it could not afford to battle Wal-Mart's low prices.



Big Bear was well known for it's customer service which included carryout service. They stressed friendly, personal customer service. They advertised and ran effective marketing campaigns despite corny phrases like "That's My Bear." The Bear roared with a highly regarded in-store bakery and a fresh deli. Several stores had cheese shops and floral botiques. The Bear was near flawless in the operation of it's stores. It was in the overall operation at Penn Traffic's headquarters and the burden of the rest of Penn Traffic's chains that executed Big Bear. Here is a piece of an article I found on the internet:





"When I left eight years ago, we had the best team in Columbus, and this guy from New York has absolutely decimated the company," said Michael J. Knilans, president and CEO of Big Bear Stores Co. from 1976 to 1989.



"This guy" is Gary D. Hirsch, chairman of Syracuse-based Penn Traffic Co., which bought Columbus-based Big Bear in 1989 in a hostile takeover.



Knilans and former Vice President of Operations Richard Vogel were interviewed May 13, the day Penn Traffic announced the sacking of folksy Big Bear President Stephen Breech, 141 other Big Bear employees in the company's Grandview offices and four other Penn Traffic division heads as part of a corporate restructuring.



"He bought a jewel and proceeded to run it into the ground," said Knilans, an Upper Arlington resident who serves on two supermarket boards. "He has micro-managed a company that didn't need to be micro-managed. When I left we had $35 million in the bank. Now the company has $1 1/2 billion in debt."



The problems at Big Bear, Knilans said, include declining sales and rising prices aimed at helping Penn Traffic pay its debt.



Hirsch, he said, "did everything contrary to good business practice."



Knilans' criticism of Penn Traffic and Hirsch were echoed by Richard Vogel, who was vice president of operations for Big Bear under Knilans.



"The man who took over never understood the business or the market and proceeded to ruin the company," Vogel said of Hirsch. "An awful lot of good people are losing their jobs through no fault of their own. It upsets me to no end.".



- Business First Magazine May 19, 1997







Big Bear was a sort of a 'coming of age' period of my life. I met many life-long friends there. I feel nostalgic now due to a few recent deaths. Mark Erwin, who was an ex-manager and hero of mine, died about two years ago. I read online that my first manager, the guy who hired me, Jim Delozier had recently died. Also, Greg Tucker with whom I worked at 29th Street passed just weeks ago.



I learned about retail, marketing, merchandising, and life while working at Big Bear. Also, even when I did not work there, I did my shopping there. I miss Big Bear in many ways. There is a great facebook page where I got most of my pictures from plus, some of my pictures came from ebay where the items are actually for sale: just do an ebay search for Big Bear Supermarkets or Big Bear Grocery Stores






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70s and 80s Huntington Media 

Back in the 1970’s and 80’s, radio was king. This was in the time before ipods and satellite radio. In fact, the biggest competition came from the old 8 track tape deck in the car. Even stores and business offices played the radio instead of piping in music.

In the tri-state area, it was the glory days of radio. AM Radio was popular in the 70’s. WGNT, AM 930, out of Huntington had a loyal following a great line-up. Before shows like “Bob and Tom” and “The John Boy and Billy Show”, WGNT offered Miller In The Morning with Bob Miller when Bob moved onto Oregon, his little brother J.B. Miller inheritied his show and became a fixture in tri-state radio.
Hunting radio icon J.B. Miller interviewing Evel Knievel in 1983


WGNT featured DJ’s like Rod Grant and another tri-state radio icon Ernie G. Anderson. Ernie hosted the popular late-night trivia show. Callers would call in with questions and people would call in with answers. Before political talk radio took over AM, this kind of interactive radio let listeners get involved and feel like part of the show.

WGNT would occasionally rerun old 40’s shows like The Shadow as they helped celebrate the history of radio.

Many tri-staters had a ritual of tuning into WGNT on a hot summer’s night to listen to Marty Brenneman and Joe Nuxhall broadcast Cincinnati Reds baseball: or as they were called back then – The Big Red Machine.

Frank Giardinia was the long-time voice of The Herd – Marshall University sports. He has been the director of marketing and a broadcaster at Penn State. Jim Jablonski and Dee Delancey spent time in the WGNT newsroom. Delancey is tri-state news icon having spent many years on local Television newscasts.



WKEE was the king of local pop music in the 70’s and 80’s much the way it is today. Gary “Music” Miller was the iconic dj who commanded the airways for years and his name became synonymous with WKEE and local pop music. Jack O’ Shea was a popular daytime dj. Casey Casem anchored Billboard’s American Top 40 on Sunday afternoons.
WKEE legend Gary Music Miller with Billy Ray

WKEE Gary Miller with Styx


FM 105 came along in late 70’s and early 80’s and gave WAMX a run for the radio rock money. Out of St. Albans WKLC featured syndicated weekend programming which helped make it popular. Among the shows that were aired weekly was King Biscuit Flour Hour which featured bands like Molly Hatchet, Judas Priest, Foreigner and many more playing live sets. Dr Demento built a following of ‘dimensions and dementites’ by playing demented songs like “They’re Coming To Take Me Away”, “Pencil Neck Geek”, “Dead Puppies “ and many more.

Even WMUL, Marshall’s FM station, gained a following by playing the hard rock songs that no one else would play until the hair metal explosion of the early 80’s.



TELEVISION

Cable did not reach a lot of areas of the tri-state until late 70’s or early 80’s. For a while, most areas could only tune into the three local channels WSAZ, WCHS, and WOWK. One local show that caught the tri-states eye was Mr. Cartoon. Pre- Oprah, Mr Cartoon had the weekday 4PM slot sewed up for years. The WSAZ original program featured weatherman Jule Huffman as Mr Cartoon. He took over is 1969 and was the host until it went off the air in 1995. His faithful sidekick was Beeper. Wearing a costume that vaguely resembled one of the Banana Splits, Edwin Lake was one employee who played Beeper. The show featured a studio audience of local kids who interacted with the duo. In between, cartoons such as Looney Tune cartoons were played.







to sample the show, follow this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-8eGi-4EjM



WSAZ’s newscasts were number one in the area for many years. Bob Bowen was a long time sports anchor.

NEWSPAPER

The Herald-Dispatch was the morning paper and the evening paper was The Huntington Advertiser. The HD was the weekend paper. The Huntington Advertiser ceased publication in 1979.

Star writers for the papers included Ernie Salvatore (sports), Dave Walsh (sports), Dave Peyton, Lavonda Singer, Jack Hardin, Mickey Johnson and many more wrote for one of the two papers.