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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Boys From Brickell

Nowhere was the talent of our employees more apparent than in our often vulgar, yet often poignant Christmas skit reels, which the public at large never had the privilege of seeing. If it was WCIX Channel 6's most creative product, it was also, for obvious reasons, its best-kept secret.

I was blown away by the first skit reel I saw, at our 1980 Christmas party. Whoomp, there it was: our serious and self-absorbed bosses making fun of themselves, and allowing us to make fun of THEM. Behind-the-scenes folks stepping in front of the camera, mixing comedy, music, and sardonic satire. And people who may have been underestimated, throughout the course of the year, stretching out and showing just what they’re capable of doing, given half a chance.

Caution: baseball metaphor ahead!

Let’s say you’re a catcher, and you’re trying to get your coach to give you a chance to get on the mound and pitch. But several others want to pitch as well, and nobody else wants to wear a mask and squat for nine innings. So no matter how hard you try, and no matter how well you play, your team needs you to don the “tools of ignorance”, and get out behind the plate. It’s not just your job, it’s your identity. It’s what you do, and because you’re a team player, you do it, even though you know you have a killer fastball and can do a lot, lot more to help your team win.

I was that catcher, but in my case, I was a potential producer stuck behind Chyron IV. Since I could type (call the pitches) and spell (block the plate), there were those who would have loved for me to be a lifer on that super-generating contraption. After two-and-a-half years of electronic graphics, I finally had a chance to produce something: two segments for the 1982 Christmas skit reel. It was also a chance for my videotape editor, Gary Slawitschka, to show that he had skills that had not yet been displayed. People were surprised. By the following Christmas, I was a news producer. A good thing, because the chest protector and shin guards were getting awfully heavy!

The video that follows is “The Boys From Brickell”. Some of the lines may seem outdated now, and some of the inside jokes probably won’t resonate with many. (“Tanger’d Up In Blue”, for example, spoofed General Cinema Vice President Al Tanger. Trust me, it was funny at the time.) Still, I hope you get a kick out of seeing this. I even had a chance to sing one of the songs (“Tainted Lunch”). You’ll hear Jim Hayek and Mike Medrano among the vocalists, along with the inimitable Keith Moore performing “The Theme From Taft”. Makes me want to send $11.11 to 1111 Brickell Avenue. Void where prohibited!


Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember any of "The White Baron" show when channel 6 first signed on?

Jeffers66 said...

That was the station's locally-produced children's show. The theme song was by The Funky Five, who were actually members of Wayne Cochran's C.C. Riders. We were trying to remember the White Baron's real name. I think it may have been George DeVries, though I'm not 100 percent sure.