Art Lake, one of the originals at WJAR, NBC10 in Providence, died Sunday. He was 85.
I didn’t know Art, but I came across this in his obit in the Providence Journal, and it blew me away.
The TV station WJAR arrived in July 1949, and the first newscasts were anchored by Lake and Russ Van Arsdale.
In those days, Lake told The Providence Journal in 2004, he and Van Arsdale had to drink Knickerbocker Beer, one of the station’s sponsors, throughout the show. They stopped because they were burping through the broadcast.
This reminded me of my sixth grade teacher, Mr. Edward Convery. Mr. Convery was a proud Irishman who would stand at the head of the classroom at Memorial School in beautiful Framingham, Massachusetts, and tell Irish jokes.
One day, he professed his love of Knickerbocker beer to the class. This seemed perfectly OK, because in our little minds we were the upperclassmen in the context of a grades 1-6 elementary school.
He had the class repeat after him: “Nicka-bocka-beeah. Nicka-bocka-beeah. Nicka-bocka-beeah!” Go ahead, try it. It’s catchy. And when 25 sixth graders did it in unison, it was downright fun.
Of course, drinking Knickerbocker during a newscast and having a bunch of sixth graders say the name of a beer in unison would be completely unacceptable now.
But just for fun, repeat after me…