Get Up and GO
He may be strictly for the early birds, but Gary Owens takes his civic responsibilities seriously. On Station WIL from 5:30 to 9 each morning, he wakes up St. Louis. It takes some doing. Gary must first rouse himself, then his wife "Arty" (Arlette), then one-by-one the "cast of thousands" who assist him in his morning shenanigans. Despite the heavy labor, Gary insists he enjoys the routine - "especially around 4 ayem, when I make coffee in my pajamas." ("Sometimes," quips Gary, "I wish we had a percolator!")...But the cast of thousands don't wake easily. For the most part they're a rascally bunch, destined to get coal in their stockings come Christmas. Among the leaders are Clinton Feemish, career nepotist; Fenwick Smoot, unlisted; The Marquis de Sade; and an amoeba named Frank. For a fictional break, Gary puts on his horn-rimmed glasses and plays "Uncle Don" reading the funnies. "Suddenly a huge black-lettering balloon comes out of the head of Rex Migraine, M.D.," narrates the GO-man, "and in big, blac k letters spells, 'Sorry, I can't remove your pancreas for only $25; however I may be able to loosen it a bit'...The nurses in the series," puns Gary, "are just too cute for wards."...Back in Plankinton, South Dakota, some 24 years ago, Gary didn't have such heavy duties. Just born, no matter how hard he cried, he couldn't wake more than 750 sleepyheads - the entire Plankinton population. On the "GO" ever since, Gary's been artist, journalist and deejay extraordinary. Gary also has the distinction of being the first American deejay to phone Moscow to ask if they kept a Top Forty list. "It was a Party Line," Gary surmises. "They told me the U.S.S. R. prefers the classics."...Because his wife Arty majored in psychology in college, she understands GO and shares all of his "real gone" enthusiasms - like sipping espresso and playing Monopoly. But then it's time for WIL's wake-up man to quiet down. By nature he's not an insomniac, but, before drifting off, Gary likes to think about his great system for rabbit-hunting in St. Louis. "You just wait for the rabbit to come by," says GO, "and make a noise like a carrott!"
(Originally published in TV/Radio Mirror 1/1959)