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Mike Prele Farewell To Ted Brown
Ted Brown, Talk Show Host and New York Radio D.J (NY Times)
Recalling Ted Brown (NY daily news)
Mike Prelee’s Farewell to Ted Brown, 3/22/2005
His studio chair squeaked. “Getting here at this hour is half the job, ” he would say. Yasha Bunshick was seldom if ever late.
Jamie & Samantha… Members of the Ted Brown family, Rabbi, loved ones and friends. If Willie B “dunked his doughnut up to his elbow” like Ted used to say about William B, then Willie would fire back with his favorite name for
Ted, Tubby Teddy. “Oh there were many names for the Golden Radio Giant around the newsroom. Tough guy–soft heart. Ted gave John Kennelly and me heavy wool sweaters for Christmas one year. I still have mine. John’s sons, Paul and Sean are here today. Ted gave gifts to many folks. He was a generous man… . He also gave “Aggida” to many folks but what he gave us most of all… was his gift of talent. Ted Brown loved that microphone and his fans loved him. He loved the Giants, the Mara family. He loved that old hat he wore to the Giants football games. He even wore it in the broadcast booth. He loved horse races… he loved Helen Giamanco and the coffee she had ready for us each morning from the Automat. Helen is here today.
Ted always reminded us he loved “Kids and Dogs and People, “and he loved his Renee, he adored his Renee, and often played her favorite song–”Satin Doll”–and he really loved his Jamie and Sam, there when he needed them. Here today when he needed them.
Ted played the greatest music he loved: Billie Holiday, Bobby Darin, Billy Daniels, Ella and Frank. He loved to chat with Willie about Sinatra. And oh did he love to tell jokes. He did hate a few things. Junk radio is the only one I’ll mention… but boy, could he read a commercial! Tropicana, Campbell’s Soup, Chicken Delight… and on and on. Andy Fisher, Kenny Dashow, Glenn Crespo, Charlie Yeavasis (Ted’s engineer, and he’s here today) all know a ton of stories about Ted. Charlie and Andy reminded us all that Ted was a World War Two gunner. His B-17 was shot down over Germany and Ted was a prisoner of war for 18 long months. He seldom spoke of it. Did he love the racetrack? Awww! He would tear up his betting stubs in the morning and toss them in the news garbage cans. He’d just look at me and say: “shut up Mike, and do the news in English, not Italian. ” Know what they did for Ted Brown’s birthday one year? They played the “Stripper” music and hired a young lady dressed in a nun’s habit to do a strip tease dance. Oy! Bob Ballotta remembers an Atlantic City trip. Ted took me along in a limo. There was a news conference. The introduction of a new phone or something and Ted said, “look Mike, I really don’t wanna spend too much time down there, will you get me out early? We’ll attend the news affair for just an appearance and go off and gamble for awhile but do me a favor, if I’m winning at the craps table, grab me by the arm and get me out of there!”
So yes, he met the people who sponsored the event and I believe Ted was hired to do their radio phone commercials, then he won about four thousand dollars in ten minutes at the craps table and then the casino manager heard that Ted was there and it was the manager’s birthday and he had always wanted to meet the great Ted Brown, in person! So we went up to the management suite and sang happy birthday with the gathering of casino employees who were all waiting for us. Then I grabbed Ted by the arm and whispered, “Ted, let’s go. You won a few thousand, you met the casino manager who loves you, and you got the gig to do the radio commercial for coming here, all in a little over an hour!” We quickly jumped into the limo and took off for home laughing and he couldn’t stop thanking me. The whole deal was about five hours including travelling time. What memories! He sang, “put the coffee pot on mama, I’m comin’ home.”
Finally, some insiders of the old newsroom will remember how tough it was when the old format days were numbered. Ted burst into the newsroom one morning and announced: “Listen everyone, I want you to each write my obituary right now and I want to read it now and be honest about it. Say what you really think of me! Don’t hold back!” We all looked at each other.
When he became ill months later after leaving WNEW, John Kennelly and I visited him in the hospital. His room was filled with cards, letters, pictures of his family and fans, all for the man who indeed had become a legend of the Golden Radio Days.
Teddy, thanks for the fun times my friend and rest well. I miss those mornings that lasted 12 years for me. Arlene and I bring our love and prayers to this beautiful gathering today. Teddy, say hello for me to Willie B., John Kennelly, Jim Gordon, Bob Hagen, Jazzbeaux and Scottzo. So long Yasha Bunshick.
Mike Prelee, speaking freely on the Ted Brown Show.
photo added by WNEW1130AM editors
Ted Brown, Talk Show Host and New York Radio D.J
By Christopher Lehmann-Haupt
Published: March 22, 2005–NY Times
Ted Brown, a disc jockey and radio talk-show host who broadcast for more than 40 years on the New York City radio stations WMGM, WNEW and WNBC, died on Sunday at the Hebrew Home for the Aged, in the Bronx. He was in his 80′s. The cause was complications of a stroke he had in 1996, his daughter Samantha Brown said. She would not reveal his age, saying he always kept it private.
Mr. Brown broadcast in the 1950′s and 60′s, during what was considered the golden age of AM radio when melody and lyrics still mattered in popular music. He was one of a group of distinctive personalities, including William B. William, Jim Lowe, Cousin Bruce Morrow, and Gene Klavan and Dee Finch, who became familiar companions of millions of New York radio listeners.
As a teenager in the 1950′s, Jonathan Schwartz, another New York radio colleague, watched Mr. Brown broadcasting from his basement studio at his home in Riverdale, in the Bronx. In a phone interview yesterday, Mr. Schwartz recalled the ditty, sung to the tune of “Am I Blue,” that Mr. Brown used as his theme:
”Am I blue? No, I’m Brown
Got a smile on my puss, not a frown.
Every morn from seven ’til nine
We play discs and commit general crime.”
Theodore David Brown was born on May 5 in Collingwood, N.J., the youngest of four children of Meyer Nathan Brown, who owned a grocery store, and Rose Brown. He attended Roanoke College in Salem, Va. He told Mr. Lowe that he got his first taste of broadcasting at a dance when the master of ceremonies failed to show up and he filled in.
After college he joined the United States Army Air Force during World War II. He was a tail gunner in a B-17 bomber, was shot down over Germany and spent 18 months as a prisoner of war, his daughter said.
He was married three times, first to Rhoda, who teamed up with him on the air as “Ted Brown and the Redhead.” They had a son, Eric. He then married the actress Sylvia Miles, with whom he had several acrimonious battles on the air, particularly over alimony. His third wife, René Lee Brody, was the mother of their two daughters, Samantha and Jami Brown, of New York City. His daughters and Ms. Miles survive him.
“He was a major talent, with a keen sense of the ridiculous,” Mr. Lowe said. “He took his shtick with him wherever he worked. He would describe himself as 6 foot 3, which was not the case, with piercing green eyes. He would close his show by saying, ‘Warm up the coffee, Ma. I’m coming home.’ “
photos added by WNEW1130AM editors
Recalling Ted Brown
By David Hinckley
Daily News Staff Writer
Ted Brown’s family and friends gave his life a radio-style wrapup yesterday – clean, crisp, no wasted words, just fond memories of a man they characterized as energetic and kind. Brown, a popular host on WMGM, WNBC, WVNJ and especially WNEW-AM, died Sunday of complications from a stroke he suffered in 1996.
He was remembered yesterday at Riverside Chapel as one of the last major voices from the era when radio routinely played Frank Sinatra records and personality hosts worked clean – a little double entendre, a few winks, a raised eyebrow and leave the rest to the imagination.
Mike Prelee, Brown’s news director for 12 years at WNEW, recalled those years as never dull. “Ted was a generous man,” said Prelee. “He gave adjectives to a lot of people. But he also gave us his talent.” He could engage listeners with his needling, Prelee recalled, and didn’t hesitate to offer an opinion. At the end of the show, however, it was always “Put on the coffee, Mama, I’m coming home.”
He was, Prelee and his friend James Lipton agreed, a man of clear likes and dislikes. He loved his daughters, Samantha and Jamie, radio, the Giants, horses and Duke Ellington’s “Satin Doll.” He liked Helen, from whom he bought coffee at the Automat at 42nd and Third. Helen attended yesterday’s service. He disliked “junk radio.”
Brown’s third wife, Renee, mother of Samantha and Jamie, died in 1986, and Samantha yesterday told the family story of how they met, “the dancer and the radio man,” at a record store. “I know,” Samantha said, “that today they’re standing by the big turntable in the sky … where the melody lingers on.”