‘WKRP in Cincinnati’ Reunion Set For Los Angeles This Week
Baby, if you’ve ever wondered,
Wondered whatever became of me…
It was the opening line to the iconic TV sitcom ‘WKRP in Cincinnati’ theme song, but fans of the show won’t be wondering anymore this week as the cast of the show reunites for a special event in Los Angeles, Wednesday night.
The Paley Center for Media is sponsoring the walk down memory lane, celebrating the show, which ran on CBS for four seasons, from 1977 to 1982, – 88 episodes in all.
Scheduled to appear are:
Howard Hesseman, “Johnny ‘Dr. Fever’ Caravella”
Loni Anderson, “Jennifer Marlowe”
Tim Reid, “Venus Flytrap”
Organizers also say additional guests will be announced.
The only cast member who will definitely not be attending is Gordon Jump, who played the station general manager Arthur Carlson (AKA the ‘Big Guy’). He passed away in 2003.
The show was memorable for so many different reasons.
I can still remember watching the first episode back in the fall of 1977, when the radio station switched from a classical music format to rock and roll, and Dr. Johnny Fever was born right in front of my eyes. It was right then and there that I, and a lot of other teenagers around the country, caught the ‘DJ Bug’.
Then there was Loni Anderson.
From the moment ‘Jennifer Marlow’ appeared on the screen, you couldn’t take your eyes off her. And yet, rather than playing the role as the typical 1970’s ditzy bombshell, Anderson played a strong, intelligent character that drew you in even more.
The show also rekindled the type of debate we saw back in the ‘Gilligan’s Island’ days in the 1960’s, where male fans of the show identified themselves as either ‘Team Ginger’ or ‘Team Mary Ann’. With WKRP, you were either ‘Team Jennifer’ or ‘Team Bailey’, siding either with the hot receptionist, or the cute, quirky billing and traffic girl Bailey Quarters, played by Jan Smithers.
The male characters were all memorable in their own way, along with Dr. Johnny Fever, Mr. Carlson, and Venus Flytrap, there was the country charm of program director Andy Travis, played by Gary Sandy, the obnoxious personality (and clothes) of salesman Herb Tarlek, played by Frank Bonner, to the tightly wound newsman Les Nessman, played brilliantly by Richard Sanders.
I will argue, and a lot of you will agree, that the most memorable moment from the show was the ‘Turkeys Away’ episode, which aired October 30th, 1978.
That was the one where Mr. Carlson comes up with what he calls the ‘greatest Thanksgiving promotion in radio history’ – dropping live turkeys from a helicopter, while Les described the scene from ground level.
That episode was ranked by TV Guide as the 40th greatest in television history.
You can watch a live stream of the reunion event, Wednesday at 9:30pm CDT.