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For those that know me well, they have heard me talk about Mr. Putt Putt. I'm convinced that every neighborhood has a Mr. Putt Putt in one shape or form.
Years ago a family with a teen moved into the house across the street. The teen drove a compact car that he had put a louder muffler on. Back in the day, I called it an "Orange Peeler." On a small car it sounds more like indigestion. I named him "Mr. Putt Putt."
Over time, Mr. Putt Putt would come and go multiple times a day...sometimes within minutes. One day, there was no Putt. The car sat collecting pine needles for months and months. Eventually it disappeared. Time passed. Friends came and went. Mr. Putt Putt practiced his guard drills as part of a rifle team from school in the yard and generally seemed helpful to family.
Not long ago, another compact car appeared with the same puttering muffler. Then a motorcycle appeared.
Much like the original compact car with the orange peeler, Mr. Putt Putt revs his engines what seems like daily on both his small car with the louder muffler and his motorcycle.
The point of this post is to take you back to your first cars and bikes and how important to you they were when we were teens.
Roll on Mr. Putt Putt!
I was caught off guard again today when I learned of the passing of another WESC Alum, Country Earl. It seems like yesterday we said goodbye to Wally Mullinax and now it's time to say goodbye to Earl. Wally and Earl were a lot alike in many ways. They both knew how to make a radio listeners and advertisers feel special.
Country Earl was really "old school" for WESC working there in the early days before FM radio was prevelent. Just Google his name and search the images. You'll see a very young man behind a WESC microphone. In the 1980's, Earl came back to WESC for a 4 hour show on Sunday nights playing Classic Country music. Sunday nights does not generally garner lots of listeners, but Country Earl had a large following of not only loyal listeners, but loyal advertisers. One of my jobs in the early years was calculating the number of commercials Earl did so he could be paid. It amazed me how successful he was.
What really made Country Earl's show popular was, it was kind of like a club. He named just about everyone that came to eat at his restaurant, "Country Earl's Chompin' And Stompin'"...talked about their illnesses...what they were wearing....and also called out some for not being there. Advertisers loved him because some nights they got the 60 seconds they paid for.....and other nights Earl would go on for 3 to 4 minutes about an advertiser.
One of my favorite Country Earl memories is that anything with a 2 in it was "Tootie." It's highway One Tootie Three in Easley. Or, the Tootie Five by pass. He mastered phrases that we'll remember for years.
What I will take away from Country Earl is his enthusiam for what he did. Being a musician himself, he loved the music he played. He knew that it took a ton of skill to make what his listeners enjoyed. He was also enthusiastic about those who advertised with him. It wasn't about ratings or the length of time Earl spent talking about them. It was more about the person that listened to Country Earl would be the type of person they would want as a customer. Times have changed, but the simple things you learn in life last forever.
One kid says to another, "My Mom can play drums better than your Mom." I think he's got a point.
Images are courtesy of Getty.