The Mold is cast.I'm a Gadabout by birth as well as by nature. Between the day I was born and my seventeenth birthday, my folks lived in seven towns spread across five states.
George Gaddis and family pitched their tent in Mattoon, Illinois; Greenville, Mississippi; Shelbyville, Indiana; Owensboro, Kentucky; Madison, Indiana; Great Falls, Montana; and Paducah Kentucky.
The longest we ever stayed in one place was six years--in Matoon, where I was born on January 28, 1936.
I'll never forget year 1938.
War was brewing in Europe, Douglas (Wrong Way) Corrigan headed his outdated monoplane from New York toward Los Angeles and somehow ended up in Dublin 28 hours later. Kate Smith introduced God Bless America to a nation. Spencer Tracy won an Oscar for Boys Town. And Joe Louis flattened Max Schmeling in one round at Yankee Stadium.
I remember it better for two personal reasons--events that would play a mighty big role in my future:
1) I got my own radio show and 2) my nickname 'Gadabout' was born.
Actually both phenomena were laced into one.
My appearances at sportsmen's clubs had been going well and a lot of people would say, "Vern, you ought to be in radio." That didn't mean a thing to me for a couple of reasons. One was that these weren't radio people. The other was that I didn't feel my show was suited for radio. It was all visual--demonstrations and pictures. A man doesn't watch radio, he listens to it.
That shows how much I knew.One day I bumped into a radio man from WGY, the General Electric-owned Schenectady affiliate on NBC's Red Network of that era.
"I've been hearing a lot about your show," he said. "Fishing folks say it's pretty darn good."
"I'm a tackle salesman," I said. "The other is just a hobby."
"From what I hear it's a pretty good hobby," he said. "ever thought of radio?"
I said no and gave my reasons.
"Lets go to the station and talk about it," he said.
Talking never hurt anybody, so I went along. And before I knew it, that boy had me lined up to do a 15 minute show once a week.
"Before I sign anything, I'd better call my home office and get permission," I said.
I telephoned the president in Kalamazoo.
"Sounds great," he said. "It should be wonderful exposure for the company. By the way, who's the sponsor?"
"We haven't gotten that far," I said. "I wanted to get your clearance first. But the boys here at the station don't think they'll have any trouble selling it."
"How much are they asking?" he said.
I told him.
"Heck," he said, "we'll buy it."
So my start in radio happened as simply as that.
Gadabout - Part II - More about Dear Ole Gad's Colorful Life
NEED I SAY MORE !!!!
We would especially like to thank Pocketbook and the authors for giving us
permission to reprint several sections of Gadabout's book!