Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Town Characters

I was fortunate enough in my over 60 year career in the radio/TV business to have worked with two of the nation's best newscasters: Sam Donaldson and Julian Barber.
Sam Donaldson 2007

Sam, of course was the most famous of the two and had a national following.
Julian Barber WTOP 1967

Julian's following was more locally centered around Charlotte, Winston Salem, Washington and Chicago.

I first met Julian in 1952 when he returned from serving in Korea and was hired as WGIV's news director. (WAYS, where he had worked before being drafted, refused to hire him back after he returned from service.)  After a few years at WGIV, he moved on to Winston Salem and his first job as a TV anchor man.

Then to Washington's WTOP-TV where in 1961 he and I were once again working together. Sam Donaldson was also on the staff at that time.

I felt very much at home there since another Charlottean, Bob Raiford, was also on the announcing staff. The three of us talked a lot
Bob Raiford 2009
about Charlotte and as I recall, Julian could name almost every restaurant and small eatery within a 10 mile radius of Mecklenburg County.

Another favorite "game" of ours was "Name that Character."

For example, "Crazy Jerry"  "Sing Song for a nickle"   seen all over town pulling a cart loaded with old newspapers.
"Walking John" seen all over town....just walking
"Mr Thursday"  A well dressed Black Man who brought flowers to the Department Sales Ladies every Thursday.

I think Julian usually won that contest as well.

A character's name came up the other day that I remember, but never knew much about.  I just remember this HUGE guy who hung around the teen center on Hawthorn Lane....looking formidible.

His name was ARAB.......pronounced A RAB.

 I thought I'd ask our thousands of readers of the CHS54 blog if they remember anything about him.

He was always nice to me, but frankly he was one scary character!  As I remember, he must have weighed about 300 lbs.

Does anyone else remember him?

And does anyone know whatever happened to him?