The Lore

When Jack Friday was still doing evenings, he and the impish engineer Burt Golden (pictured at right) would fill big plastic trash bags with the helium Don Bleu used to suck in to do is "air-head" character. Then, they'd launch the trash bag balloon off the 8th floor balcony. One time it blew right by the windows of the posh Carnelian Room restaurant atop of the Bank of America building. Imagine sitting there in your Gucci shoes, eating Lobster and watching a big trash bag, gaudily festooned with toiler paper and spray-painted signs saying things like "KOIT sucks" majestically float by. It was great. For some strange reason, Burt kept a life-sized cardboard blow-up of John Hayes and "his mother" (part of an old TV promotional campaign) in his car for years and years. Maybe he liked the connection between Hayes and cardboard. Maybe it kept the veggies insulated from the heat of the floorboard on his way back from the market. Who knows? Burt has remained one of my closest friends in the ensuing years and of all the former KYUU staffers, he's the only one I have any regular, meaningful contact with.

Other festive activities in the evening included the hurling of promotional 45's off the balcony and watching them crash against the Sutter-Stockton garage across the street and shatter into shards of vinyl. The evening crew was the "Animal House" of the station. Even the sales staff got into the action, hurling catered burritos off the balcony during the NABET engineering strike. Oh yeah, the NABET pickets outside Terry DeVoto's home in Mill Valley or wherever it was during a staff party (that the striking engineers pointedly were NOT invited to) was another sad, memorable event. While I attended the party, briefly, I didn't stay for dinner. Not with my friends out there on the street (as ill-advised and tacky as their "personal" picket was). DeVoto should have invited them to the party, in my opinion. The snub is what made it personal, I think. Hey, we all learn from our mistakes, hopefully.

Standing around in the hall one day in 1986 with a couple of engineers, I said "watch this" as music director Annette Lai went into the john. Knowing that the plumbing ajoined the mens and ladies room, separated only by a common wall, my idea was to simulate an earthquake by jiggling the toilet bowl on the men's side with my foot, thereby causing the ladies side to jiggle in turn. Of course, I could only guess at which bowl Annette might be using. The prank backfired when the toilet bowl on my side fell off the wall and shattered on the floor. Meanwhile, the toilet on the other side flew up, hurling Annette into the air on the other side. She ran out of the bathroom screaming -- and I had to think fast. To protect my job, I had to concoct the embarassing story that I sat on the toilet and it broke loose from the wall -- as hoards of sales people, engineers, management, you name it -- all paraded into the bathroom to see my handy work. The ruse was a success, but my humiliation was amplified by a write up of the incident in Herb Caen's column and let the whole city know that I had broken the toilet when I sat on it. Not that it was any easier for poor Annette. Former PD Mike Phillips sent her a toilet seat with a seatbelt attached as a gag gift a week or two later.