When I first started at the station on the river back in September of ’97, I had the pleasure of working with Mary Beth as one of my first assignments.
Joe had taken a two-week vacation and I was tabbed to fill in with Mary Beth. She and I hit it off right away and it was perhaps the best introduction to the station and to Memphis that I could ask for. At the time it was Mary Beth, Todd Demers and Joey Hadley with traffic. The format wasn’t as stiff as it is today so there was lots of chit-chat time built into the rundown.
After a few mornings I was feeling pretty good and getting more comfortable. After every morning show ended we produced a 30-second promo that would be used during the 10pm show that night. Mary Beth would write the script which would include some story we knew we would run, then tease traffic and weather. Joey, Todd, Mary Beth and I would all stand in front of the chroma key wall with some generic background computer generated behind us.
This was the week of the Mid-South Fair and somebody (maybe it was me) got the bright idea to try to make it look like all four of us were riding a roller coaster during the tease for the fair, the weather and the traffic.
We stood so that it looked like we were all sitting on a roller coaster. We had the director put a shot of the sky behind us. When the tape rolled, we leaned back like the roller coaster was going up hill, then we read the script. Then…we all leaned forward and yelled (like the coaster was going downhill) and then sideways left, and then sideways right (screaming too). Then we’d stop screaming and lean back like we were going up hill again.
The promo was a hit in the newsroom. They rolled it back and most everyone laughed. I just knew this was a promo that people would remember.
Not five minutes later, we were all called into the news director’s office and told we were wrong and that the promo would never air. We got yelled at and told we were unprofessional and that “this kind of promo might work at a college station, but not in Memphis”.
Somewhere, someone’s got a copy of that promo. If I ever get one, I’ll post it here.
Joe and Mary Beth are two of the people I miss most from my days at 3. Mary Beth and I clicked from the beginning and my days filling in on the Live at 9 show are still my fondest memories of 3. If I could find a show like that to be part of, I’d do it until the day I die.