Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
WKRP in Cincinnati
WKRP in Cincinnati (1978-1982) was an American situation comedy that featured the misadventures of the staff of a struggling radio station in Cincinnati, Ohio. It premiered September 18, 1978 on CBS and featured Gary Sandy, Howard Hesseman, Gordon Jump, Loni Anderson, Tim Reid, Jan Smithers, Richard Sanders, and Frank Bonner. The series won a Humanitas Prize and received three Emmy Award nominations during the early 1980s. The humor came more from known predilections and idiosyncrasies of each character, rather than from outlandish plots and racy situations.
Some particular character quirks of the show's characters included:
- Before approaching newsman Les Nessman 's desk, one had to "knock" on the nonexistent door, attached to the nonexistent walls of the nonexistent office he thought he deserved. Those who didn't would face his wrath - always good for a laugh. He was always wearing a bandage somewhere on his body.
- Jennifer Marlowe , the beautiful blonde secretary, was the station's highest-paid employee. She was informed, cool, and composed at all times. Although she was very aware of her sexual attractiveness and apparently had various important men at her beck and call, she was friendly and good-hearted with the station staff. Her apartment's doorbell chime, instead of the standard "ding dong", played the opening notes of "Fly Me to the Moon" in dignified tones.
- Herb Tarlek , the advertising account executive, always wore loud plaid suits and couldn't sell the big accounts - which would lead to commercials for items such as "Red Wigglers - the Cadillac of worms!" (Available at finer worm stores everywhere.)
- Dr. Johnny Fever, the "Everyman" of the show, was usually in one sort of trouble or another. For instance, he was fired from one major station when he inadvertently said "booger" on the air. In one memorable episode, he tells (the supposedly few) listeners of "the mighty KRP" to dump their trash at city hall. He is surprised when he is told by the program director, Andy Travis , he has to apologize - the trash heap turns out to be huge!. Johnny loses his voice and withdraws before finally finding the strength to confront his larger than he imagined radio audience and tells them to stop the trashing of city hall.
Even though WKRP switched to the rock and roll format, its ratings, much to Andy's frustration, showed little in the fictional Cincinnati market it inhabited. Part of the reason it was that Andy was unwilling to fire the existing personnel when he took over. This included the station's chief news reporter Les Nessman who approached his job with absurd seriousness, despite the fact that he was almost completely incompetent. Les was envious/dismissive/competitive (depending on the moment) with the fictional radio station competitor WPIG (and forever working to obtain the fictional Cincinnati radio news industry trophy "the Buckeye Newshawk Award", though he had already won it in previous years).
The series began when Andy Travis (Gary Sandy) comes to the station as the new programming director hired to attempt to improve the dismal ratings of the Beautiful music station run by Arthur Carlson (Gordon Jump), a weak-willed son whose main qualification to be station manager is that his tycoon mother is the owner. Travis changes the programming format to rock music with the gleeful cooperation of the disgraced DJ, Dr. Johnny Fever (Howard Hesseman). Carlson's mother confronts Travis about this change and only relents when her son gets the courage to defend the decision.
The best-known episode was the first season's "Turkeys Away"; it was named by TV Guide as one of the greatest episodes in TV history. It was centered around a disastrous Thanksgiving promotion, which included dropping live turkeys out of a helicopter. The station's goofy news reporter, Les Nessman (Richard Sanders), breathlessly described the fiasco in the same manner as Herbert Morrison when he witnessed the Hindenburg disaster. Afterwards, Carlson explained, "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."
There is a real-life radio station WKRC in Cincinnati, Ohio. Except for almost identical call letters, there is no known connection between the two entities.
WKRP theme songs
WKRP had two different musical themes, one opening the show and one closing it. The closing theme had nonsense lyrics.
Opening theme lyrics
If you ever wonder
Wonder whatever became of me
I'm living on the air in Cincinnati
Got tired of the packing and unpacking
Town to town, up and down the dial
Baby you and me were never meant to be
So maybe think of me once in a while.
I'm at WKRP in Cincinnati.
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