Gadabout is born.The handle "Gadabout" came about just as casually.
When we were wondering what to call the show a few days later, one of the boys came up with the answer.
"Why don't you call him 'Gadabout Gaddis?" he wrote. "That's a good name for him, because every time we're looking for him he's gaddin' about the country somewhere."
So that's how I got the moniker, and it stuck.
Funny, I didn't like it at first. I mean, all my life I had been called "Vern" for Vernon or "Gad" for Gaddis. The only other printable name anyone had ever called me was my given name--Roscoe. And thank goodness only my mother did that.
So, like it or not, I was stuck with Gadabout.
Something called Television
One fall night in 1939 my telephone rang. An Executive from WGY was on the line. "You have a lot of fishing movies, don't you, Gad? " he asked.
I said I did.
"How would you like to be on television?" he asked.
"Television?" I asked. "Do you mean my movies on television?"
He explained that General Electric had done a lot of testing and now was set to open an experimental station in Schenectady. NBC was about to do the same thing in New York and Philco in Philadelphia.
"We'll spread some sets around town for a starter and program a couple of hours a day," he said.
"Sounds like you may have something," I said.
"Want to be part of it?" he asked.
"Sounds like it may be fun," I said.
And it was.
The station's call letters were W2XD-- to be changed to WRGB-TV in later years when television became a bigger thing.
And I was part of it as it grew. I had a 15 minute show on Friday nights and the format wasn't unlike that of my series today. Occasionally I'd do some demonstrating on camera, but mostly I showed my movies and narrated them.
Those first viewers deserved a medal. Talk about your technical difficulties! If something wasn't going wrong in the studio, the set in the home would be kicking up.
I can recall more than once being in the middle of a casting demonstration when one of those powerful water-cooled lamps would explode. Man, we'd all but jump clean through the studio roof.
The home sets were pretty awful too, burning out one tube or another just about every time you turned around.
Even when things were operating smoothly on both ends, the picture would be jumping to beat the band. And while it was flopping, I don't know why the viewers weren't flipping.
But they were a loyal breed and bravely bore alone with all the imperfections.
The television people were as helpful as possible. Since newspapers didn't list the programming, the station printed the schedule on the back of a penny postal card and mailed it to every set owner each week.
Meanwhile the operation grew.
Gadabout - Part III
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!