"Athletes and musicians always impress the heck out of me."
"Skiing? I love it. Only been doing it for about three years;
wish I'd been doing it for 30." Arnold Dean was the speaker. "Art
Johnson had claimed that I have all the grace of a severely wounded
rhinoceros. The kids call me `the chicken of the slopes' in the winter
and in the summer `chicken of the sea.'"
Friday is his day off from work at WTIC AM-FM-TV Channel 3 and
he likes to head for nearby slopes. Son Arnold Jr. is in the Junior Ski
Club and his dad would like to go on a trip with the Club some day.
Right now there is variety of work back at Broadcast Plaza. Among other
things is the New England Ski Report which Arnold and Bill Clede (both
of Wethersfield) give (Thursday through Sunday) from the middle of
December until the end of March so that listeners will hit the right
Thirteen year-old Arnold, Jr., and Mary Theresa, age 11,
sometimes ski with their dad. "My wife, Helen, decided not to take it
up." Richie, their nine year-old son is a hemophiliac and mustn't ski.
Born on July 1, 1930, Arnold Dean is younger than people who are
avid fans of his radio shows featuring Big Band sounds would think:
Monday through Friday (the Friday show is taped on Thursday) at 12:30
"Meet Me on The Plaza," "Sunday Showcase," a broadway and Hollywood
music show and his monthly program, "One Night Stand With the Big
Bands," a 55 minute program: "I do an interview with some Big Band
celebrity, trace his career, and play records. It was through this that
I got to meet my hero, Artie Shaw.
"I have had the interest and experience of doing so many things.
Both my wife and I were born in the same, small town, Cortland, New
York. I knew my wife's father long before I knew her. We played in the
Cortland Civic Band. Her father played the trombone. I knew her older
brother. We went to the same high school, but she is three years
younger and we were four years apart. In high school that's an
BIG BAND ERA
A musician when he
was younger, a career choice was hard to male: "I played saxophone, but
clarinet was my instrument and I made the New York State All State
Band." He idolized Artie Shaw. Owned every one of his records. "I wore
the old 78's through. I loved Goodman, too." He was a middle-teen-ager
when the Big Band era came to an end. "And that's too bad because it'll
never come back. It's a matter of economics."
Do you know Arnold Dean from his TV Channel 3 sportscast at
11:25 p.m., Monday through Thursday, "Close-Up on Sports," Channel 3 on
Saturday at 6:05, "Strictly Sports," on Saturdays at 6:20 on your
radio? Perhaps you know him as one of the voices of the Hartford
Knights (Doug Webster is the other). Arnold has been a sportscaster for
the Knights home and away games since the team originated. Or could be
you've followed him as anchor man on GHO coverage. He started this in
1966 and has done it ever since then. Then there is his coverage of the
Harvard-Yale Regatta for radio and TV. He's also done color for UCONN
football and basketball for both TV and radio.
Included in the great variety of programs are Mike-Line. He
substitutes for George Ehrlich, WTIC Sports Director when he is on
vacation or assignment, takes over for Bob Steele when he is on
vacation. He had substituted for about everyone but Art Johnson (and
this isn't because of Art's crack about Arnold's grace on the ski
slopes) Art has "The Other Side of the Day," on AM radio from 11:35
p.m. and on FM radio from 1 a.m. until 5 am.m. when "it's Don Tuttle
THE FLIP SIDE
Sports or music, the
slip side of the record of Arnold Dean's life is really great. He
started out in the world of radio at the age of 18 on WKRT, a 1,000
watt station in Cortland: "Small stations are great places to start.
They gave me about two days to break in. I was taught to run the
controls and started work on the regular shift, 5 p.m. until 11:15
p.m." The only one there, anything on the air he did it. He was there
for three years, after which he could do play-by-play of any sport,
report fires, you name it.
"I decided to complete my education after that and went to
Syracuse University Liberal Arts College, majoring in Broadcasting and
Languages, and had the golden opportunity to get a job in a job in a
radio station in Syracuse."
The station was WAGE and he "was so wild about the place that
when a sophomore in college I auditioned and was hired." From then on
he worked a 40-hour week while he went to college.
How do a career and college mix? " I was on academic probation
my first year and on the Dean's list the other three."
WAGE, a 5,000-watt station, had a larger staff, was more
specialized: "One weapon I've got going for me today, it's versatility.
Three stations in a row (for me) have been sold while I was working for
them. WAGE was sold to WHEN, the pioneer TV station, that moved me to
There was no Teleprompter there. The staff did everything,
"News-casts, station breaks. It was a well-rounded range of experience.
The best work I do is when there is a problem of some kind, the old
adrenalin pulls you through."
After being at WHEN-TV for the better part of a year, Arnold who
was in ROTC in college, went into the Air Force (this was after the
Korean War ended) and did some flying and became a maintenance officer
for the Strategic Air Command. "Which is something for a guy who can't
even lift the hood of his car." As a Lieutenant, he spent his last year
in the service at Westover, "My first contact with New England."
and Arnold have been married now since 1955 when Arnold was in Flight
School, :Helen and I had gone together and were engaged before I went
into the Service. After a few months away from her I decided I don't
need any more of this."
Not only was Westover his first contact with New England, it was
a contact with his future: "I happened to tune in Channel 3-TV. Bob
Steele was MCing a show." He had heard of WTIC. "Anyone who has been in
broadcasting knows this station has a reputation unique in the
industry." He'd seriously considered staying in the Service , had
enjoyed it very much and had done TV work in Springfield, worked on a
telecast and MC'd a couple of Service shows.
Out of the Service, the Deans went to Syracuse and Arnold went
back to WHEN-TV where he eventually became News and Sports Director.
There he stayed until 1965, thought he had written to WTIC in 1964.
"Nothing opened up for a whole year. In July of '65 I was hired (by
Well prepared for the
work here, as a result of the work in Syracuse where they were not
allowed to use a Teleprompter and had to memorize, he recalls one stint
when he hosted, live, on-camera the late movie: "There was a fireplace
set, with a chair by the fireplace and I sat in the chair like I was
reading a book. At intermission I'd say, `Well, let's pause in our
story,' and go into a commercial. When signing off a movie we had to
name off the name of the top half dozen stars and the name of the next
night's movie. This was a chore. One night there were six strange names
and I said the move had an unforgettable name and couldn't remember the
name (`Anna Karenenina') and asked the cameraman who said `It's Anna
Karenova or something,' and this went out on the air."
In 1968 Arnold Dean was named Connecticut's Outstanding
Sportscaster of the Year on the vote of other sports reporters: "it was
very flattering that they would have no honored me." This year his name
is on the list of the three finalists for 1972. The others are George
Erhlich, WTIC Sports Director, and Dick Galiette, Channel 8-New Haven,
both full-time sports men and he is proud to be in that kind of company
as a finalist.
The University of Hartford named him an Honorary Alumni athlete.
He is from a different area, has been here just eight years, and said:
"I;m not an athlete and I'm not even very honorary."
musicians always impress the heck out of me," he said, making reference
to some of the guests he has interviewed: (Bart Starr; ex-Green Bay
quarterback, lunch with Wilt Chamberlain, dinner with Arnold Palmer.
"He's refreshing, not spoiled. One year when I was covering the GHO,
Palmer finished out of the money. Instead of elbowing his was out of
the crowd, Arnold signed autographs, held babies, posed for
photographs. To have suffered a set-back like that. `He was as gracious
as anybody could have been.
"Stan Kenton, Charlie Barnett, Ray Mckinley (who lives in
Stamford) Harry James, Benny Goodman, Ray Conniff," only a partial list
of the Big Band names, he has interviewed and admires. "A tremendous
amount of fantastic musicians around."
For the program, "One Night Stand With the Big Bands," he wanted
to do an interview with Artie Shaw, "on the spur-of-the-moment basis."
For this he did a lot of preparation before going to New York with the
producer and the engineer. He read Artie book "The Trouble with
Once in New York they were met by the receptionist who took them
to Shaw's office-apartment with a narrow vestibule in which there was a
trunk topped by an old saw and wrought iron twisted to look like a
rooster. With the three men equipment and overcoats the little space
became too little space: "and the thing went clattering off the trunk.
The clatter went on and on. Artie left the guests in his living room,
saying: "What the hell's that?"
The interview was off to a bad start. "I think he was impressed
that I knew so much about him and all of a sudden our voices started to
loosen up and it became a very friendly thing."
ARTIE SHAW: NOT
INTERESTED IN YESTERDAY
Artie Shaw told his
interviewer, "I'm not interested in yesterday at all. I'm interested in
what I'm going to do tomorrow.
By the time Shaw had finished the interview he asked if Arnold
Dean would send him a copy of the tape, both edited and unedited (a
great compliment), and on the way out of the apartment he said: "It was
a much different thing," (than when they first met).
Of Artie Shaw, a genius with the clarinet, with eight Gold
Records to his credit (among then "Begin the Beguine") Arnold said, "He
is very humorous and one of the most intellectual people I've ever met."
While being interviewed, Arnold Dean moved to keep pace with his
schedule to a TV Booth, a small studio surrounded by clock, monitor and
technicians (on the other side of a glass wall). He made announcements,
Station Breaks, commercials, was the voice one hears when the face is
not appearing. Between breaks, on the job which Arnold describes as
watching TV and getting paid for it, we talked about his career.
Looking through the window into the control studio where there were a
number of people with whom he works, he suddenly leaned back in his
chair and said, "What a fine bunch of people there are in this place. A
great group to work with."
He feels the same way about his town, too, and has twice been
President of Highcrest School PTA. In fact he was the first one, and