The Vasthead Masthead

Houston Retro Radio

silhouette of arrow sign with water in background

 

KEY PAGES
The Vasthead
Work Samples
What Others Say
Articles

Houston Retro Radio
The Galveston Arrow
The Houston Balloon
Texas Weather
News Fronts
James Thomson
Full Moon Nights
Vast Headroom

RADIO PAGES
Radio Home Page
Mainly '80's
Mainly '70's
Mainly '60's
KILT A-GO-GO: KILT in 1966
Album Rock
KXYZ: When music could still help you relax
Adult Formats
News & Talk
Ads, Promos, PSA's
KPFT-Pacifica
Alex Bennett
Suburbia, Exurbia & Galveston
Distant Signals
Outside Links
Blurb Page
About These Pages
Radio Email Page

Email this site
If you don't want your name to be used or an email to be quoted, please state that at the beginning of your message.

Unless otherwise indicated, all commentary and photography on this site are by Grady McAllister.


On January 21, 2009, Alex Bennett wrote:

Grady:

Just came upon your site and all the things you saved and I lost years ago. Thanks so much for doing this. I have downloaded them to keep in my archives.

I just wanted to thank you very much.

Boy some of those performances by me were horrid.

Thanks,

Alex Bennett
New York, New York

Hear me on Sirius Left 146 9a-noon (ET)


On January 17, 2011, 9:59 AM, Michael Graviano wrote:

I can remember listening to some scary stories by Alex Bennett. It must have been around Halloween. I listened to him on my transistor radio when I should have been asleep. I was in my early teens. Thanks for the memories!

My response:

I was in my late teens, but I still went to bed early when I had classes to attend. I had gotten out of the habit of listening to the radio in bed, but I would sometimes be taping the second or third hour after I had gone  to sleep.

The show only lasted for part of one year, but it seemed like an entire era in itself. It was a new kind of talk show, and I recorded many of them.The show just happened to come along when I could afford to buy reels of tape by the dozen.

I believe that all of the Bennett material was recorded on Scotch Dynarange 1.5 mil, 1200-foot reels. I recorded in quarter track mono at 3.75 ips, so each reel held four hours. Usually, I only taped two hours of a show, even though the program lasted for three (10:00 PM to 1:00 AM).

 

Painting by Monet

Above: Celebrating the beauty of pollution, an impressionistic painting by Claude Monet. Waterloo Bridge, Overcast Weather, London, 1900.

 

 

Alex Bennett

Alex Bennett airchecks received from others

KILT, Houston, July 9, 1966, James Bond

KILT, Houston, February 13, 1967, Alex Bennett

KILT, Houston, July 9, 1967, Alex Bennett

KILT, Houston, 1967, Alex Bennett


Alex Bennett airchecks I recorded

Alex Bennett: "The man you love to hate"

Please note that many of the program nights are in two parts, each about one hour long. The shows actually lasted three hours, but I never recorded more than two of them. For some of the early broadcasts, I turned the tape over went to bed without hearing the second hour live. There are probably parts of some shows which I still haven't listened to carefully.

KILT, Houston, February 17, 1967-1, Alex Bennett

KILT, Houston, February 17, 1967-2, Alex Bennett

KILT, Houston, February 18, 1967- 1, Alex Bennett

KILT, Houston, February 18, 1967- 2, Alex Bennett

Alex Bennett's talk show career began in Houston, and this was his first week doing all talk. His ascendancy to the talk position followed a DJ stint as "James Bond," a morning man slot which he had held at KILT since 1965.

The above items are Alex Bennett's first Friday and Saturday night talk shows. On the first segment, Bennett seems to achieve a record for the hanging up on the maximum number of people in the shortest possible time.

"YOU'RE TOO YOUNG!" (Click.) I was just barely old enough to call in myself, but you do hear me on two of my Alex Bennett airchecks.

Purportedly, the new morning drive DJ was fired for refusing to run Bennett's flamboyant promos. However, rumor had it that the dramatic on the air firing of "Jay Edward Payne" was really a publicity stunt.


KILT, Houston, March, 1967-1, Alex Bennett

KILT, Houston, March, 1967-2, Alex Bennett

Alex Bennett interviews the Peace Pilgrim. Exact date not recorded. Please write if you know it. Peace Pilgrim web site.


KILT, Houston, April 12, 1967, Alex Bennett

An ordinary night on the Alex Bennett show. The first caller is yours truly, the author of this web page.


KILT, Houston, April 21, 1967, Alex Bennett

A lively discussion of the motorcycle gang lifestyle.


KILT, Houston, April 26, 1967, Alex Bennett

Alex Bennett interviews Timothy Leary at Rice University.

The recording starts off with about a quarter hour of DJ Jerry Thomas. Then, Alex Bennett talk program begins. Bennett comments on the mounting drug problem and introduces Leary recording made earlier the same day.


KILT, Houston, May 29, 1967-1, Alex Bennett

KILT, Houston, May 29, 1967-2, Alex Bennett

Alex Bennett interviews the cast of MacBird, a play that satirized President Lyndon Johnson.


A traveling psychic comes to Houston

KILT, Houston, May 30, 1967-1, Alex Bennett

KILT, Houston, May 30, 1967-2, Alex Bennett

Alex Bennett interviews Dr. Gilbert Holloway. The psychic reader predicts world events and performs readings for listeners phoning the station.

Having not heard this material in 35 years, it gave me an eerie feeling go back and listen to the predictions and readings.

Some of his predictions were far fetched and never happened. California and Florida didn't fall into the ocean. Castro wasn't overthrown by a second invasion.

Yet a couple of his prophecies were remarkably accurate: Robert Kennedy did have less of a political future than Ted Kennedy (RFK was assassinated a year later.) Also, ten months later, Lyndon Johnson announced that he would not seek another term in 1968 -- an unlikely prediction in 1967.

Holloway also gives listeners individual on the air readings. Most callers to the show give Holloway credit for a high degree of accuracy. An exception is the last caller on part one of this recording. That last caller is none other than, yours truly, the author of this web page.

His reading of me was only about 30 per cent true.

His observation that I was interested in media could be determined from my voice alone. However, he overestimates my age at the time by about 14 years. I was not a high powered deal maker driving around Southwest Houston and hopping on airplanes. I was barely driving a car at all at that point.

I had forgotten the fact that the tape ran out in the middle of the conversation. It ends just as the reading for me is getting really interesting.

I can flesh out the rest of the conversation from memory: Alex Bennett asked me to give an accuracy rating. I stated that it was only about 20 or 30 per cent.

However, not wanting to be the spoiler, I tried to let Holloway off the hook.

I mentioned the fact that I had gotten a Holloway reading on another station the previous year and the accuracy had been much higher. Surprisingly, Holloway took this the wrong way and went off on a tangent. He remarked that he did thousands of readings each year and couldn't be expected to remember them all. That was true enough, but completely beside the point.

After I got off the phone with Holloway, I turned the tape over and recorded the second hour.


KILT, Houston, June, 1967, Alex Bennett substitute

This is actually a mystery host substituting for Alex Bennett. Probably recorded in early June.

Write to me if you know the exact date for this show or the name of the moderator. It was probably someone borrowed from KLIF in Dallas. He manages to be the equal of Bennett in the attitude department.


KILT, Houston, September 11, 1967-1, Alex Bennett

KILT, Houston, September 11, 1967-2, Alex Bennett

Alex Bennett conducts a live seance with a real life medium. My feeling is that, if the woman had really been psychic, she would have suddenly addressed the audience and said: "Let me tell you what will happen on this same day of the year in 2OO1 . . ."


"At an editorial meeting, we remain repelled"

KILT, Houston, November 30, 1967-1, Alex Bennett

KILT, Houston, November 30, 1967-2, Alex Bennett

By this date, Bennett was back on mornings, his nighttime talk show canceled.

Don't miss the Gordon McLendon editorial.


KILT, Houston, December 2, 1967, Alex Bennett

Alex Bennett's last tango in Houston. He dons the James Bond routine one more time.

Alex Bennett's web site. The site has some interesting radio history links of its own

Ronni Bennett's web site. Ronni is Bennett's former wife and program producer.

Bennett's politics are well to the left, a fact which was not always obvious while he was employed by the conservative McLendon stations. One listener I knew stated that Bennett was trying to look like "Mr. Solid Citizen."

His attitude toward Houston was also ambivalent. On his last program, he expresses appreciation for the success he had gained in Houston. One the other hand, he was fond of calling Houston a "cultural sewer." That was during a period when you could count two or more Houston stations playing classical music.

Semi-technical dissertation: I recorded all of my Alex Bennett items using a Wollensak reel to reel recorder made by the 3M Company.

I recorded at 3.75 inches per second in quarter track mono. The tape was Scotch 1.5 mil Dynarange, 1200 feet, also made by 3M. It was a time when Americans actually made things.


Houston Retro Radio is hosted as part of VASTHEAD.COM.

You can also access these pages by going to http://houstonretro.com