Blankety Blank Don Rivers! Some Stories From The Bayou 104 Days
I guess your first question is what is "Blankety blank?" It was my first name for a while. It's a way to cuss and take the lords name in vain at the same time. It's never a good thing when someone says it in front of your name. It's a worse thing when the person saying it before your name is your boss. Welcome to the past ... my world in the mid to late 80's at legendary radio station Bayou104!
It was a great time too. We were number one by leaps and bounds. We could not buy a drink or dinner. We were young and on top of the world. We all knew how special of a time it was and we took it all in. The names will not be changed to protect the guilty. I worked with Uglee Jerry and Misses Uglee, Mark Roberts, The Real John Steele and many more. I can't tell their stories but I can tell mine.
The station was owned and managed by Al and Dixie Johnson. Dixie gave me my new first name. They were in their seventies by this time. Dixie ruled the roost and Al just did his best to keep her happy. When Dixie was not happy ... nobody was happy!
I gave Dixie plenty of reasons to be unhappy. We had a cool little Bayou Bug. It was a yellow Volkswagen Bug convertible with some huge speakers and the station logo painted on it. It was a blast to cruise in. I totaled it! Yep, rear ended someone and totaled the Bayou Bug! Then a couple of weeks later I took out a chandelier.
My office was in what was once the kitchen in the old house that held our studios at 311 Alamo Street. We got the ratings and we were number one again with increases! I jumped up pumping my fist in the air and hitting the chandelier. It fell to the floor and shattered! Mr Johnson was walking by my office. He just stood there for a minute looking at what was left of the chandelier. He then looked up at me and said "Rivers, you're good, but you're destructive!"
I am only going to tell one party bus story. I do have to protect the guilty here. Those party buses were the stuff of legend. I'll tell you about the bus to the Prince "Purple Rain" tour stop at the Houston Summit. You have to first remember that we always served alcohol on the bus. I personally usually bought a bottle of tequila, limes and salt. I generally served as the host and instigator. We were rolling down I-10 towards Houston when a car pulled up beside the bus with a sign that said "party bus? What party?" I took this opportunity to check the PA system on the bus and announced ..."Everybody to the passenger side of the bus and moon the car next to us ...pressed ham on the windows please." They did it! That car got a shot they'll never forget! That's the only Party Bus story I will tell I get the subpoena.
OK...one more story today. When I first arrived in Lake Charles it was the spring of 1984. Rick Springfield had a sold out concert at the Lake Charles Civic Center and I was hosting it. I had a little more hair and was skinnier back then. I walked out on the stage and the crowd went wild. I thought "wow, this town really loves this station." I introduced Rick and went to enjoy the concert. After the show I took my date backstage to get pictures with Rick. he stood like a statue with his arms out. A person would get on each side, the picture was taken and you were ushered out. Not quite the party most people thing "backstage" represents. So a pretty good evening though.
The following day I was on the air at Bayou 104 when I got a phone call from a young girl. She ask "is this Don Rivers?" I said "yes." She informed me "I just wanted to tell you that the only reason clapped for you at the Rick Springfield concert is because they thought you were Rick Springfield." Ego blow number one for that week.
Later that week I was taking the same girl (that I took to the Rick Springfield concert) to the Jackson's Victory tour. This was all the Jackson family playing together and one of the biggest tours ever! I went into her living room while she finished getting ready in the back of the house. That is when I saw it. I saw the sure sign that I was once again being used by the fairer sex. On here TV was a picture. In the picture was her, Rick Springfield and no one else. She had cut me out of the picture! I was furious! I started to walk out the door when she appeared from the back. She was stunning!She was a very beautiful girl. I thought to myself "well she will look good on my arm" and I took her to the show. I had no self respect. LOL
Enough stories for the day.