Saturday, July 31, 2004

Mel Jass And Me

   When I was young and impressionable the afternoon TV movie was hosted by the pitchman extraordinaire Mel Jass. The thing about his show was that it was done on the cheap, with local sponsors, and had a limited budget for feature films. The genius of Mel was that he could get quality European films by Fellini, Antonionni, Ealing comedies, etc. for next to nothing, and, being such a personable host, people would tune in to watch HIM and stay for the movie. The Coen brothers have been quoted about his "influence" on their film career. My brush with Mel occurred in the late-seventies, at the Aquatennial (a summer festival) parade. Standing in his convertible Cadillac, he was surrounded by a phalanx of beauty princesses (the queens rode on a float) and he was obviously "in the moment". I felt a need to reach out to my hero, but how? Just as he passed I shouted "WE LOVE YOU MEL!" . He smiled, and with a twinkle in his eye he turned, and looked straight at me. He raised a bullhorn to his mouth and spoke those words I'll never forget: "The movies are great on WTCN!

   Yes, the movies were great on WTCN, but not as great as you Mel!

By Professor Batty



5 Comments:

Blogger Kristin said...

Just stumbled on your blog after searching on Mel's Matinee. I was a big fan, too!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a child when we would watch Mel's show. On one occassion, I don't know the date, but my dad apppeared on his show as "Satellite Dan and the Misfits." This would have been in the sixties and late night verson of the show. Does anyone know how to finda anything like that show. My dad has died and really would like to see that clip if possible.


Blogger Professor Batty said...

... the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting in St. Louis Park may have some kinescopes of local TV shows...


Blogger Mark Schussler said...

Love your little story. My friend grew up near Mel's house and he told me that Mel gave out full size bars at Halloween.


Blogger Professor Batty said...

He was a truly great guy.

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