Damn You, Kay Russell! (reprint)

Ok, so this is the story about how Kay Russell ruined my life, but first we have to go back to 1952, the year WSYR-TV introduced Ladies Day. Thousands of Syracuse housewives tuned in each morning to watch Kay share recipes and sewing tips, and when Ladies Day finally went off the air in 1977 it was the longest running "women's program" in the nation. Growing up I was only peripherally aware of the show - my mom watched once in a while - but other than the bouncy theme song Ladies Day held no real interest for me until one fateful day in 1972. I don't remember the details, but somehow I knew my grandfather's band (the Royal Vagabonds) had played at a charity fundraiser and that Kay had been there, covering the event for Ladies Day. At school the next day I told everyone all about how my grandfather was going to be on television, and either my teacher was a Kay Russell fan (possible) or I just wouldn't shut the hell up about it (more likely) because the next thing I remember was the AV aide wheeling the giant television stand into the classroom so we could watch Ladies Day. The class sat quietly in the darkness as the familiar theme began, and things went pretty well through the opening recipe segment. Some of the boys got a bit restless during crafts, and by the time the fashion report came on there was open horseplay going on right there in the classroom. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the torment was over and the closing credits beg... hey, wait a minute! My grandfather wasn't on! I stammered an apology to Mrs. Heisler, saying maybe they didn't have time for the segment he was going to be in or maybe I got my dates mixed up. Suddenly a voice came, loud and clear from the back of the room: "aww, he just wanted to watch Ladies Day!" And that's the exact moment my life ended.


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Anonymous said...

Awesome story!

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Robert Steingraber said...

CAught your blog. WOndering if you remember "Kay RUssell"s real name -I'm drawing a complete blank! I used to interpret in the medical segments for the deaf on both Kay's show and the replacement show (her name was changed forthe show also) in the litlte ovasl in the lower left corner.
I'm tyring to remember Jim Delina's real name also. They always changed them es[pecilaly if they sounded jewish. I remmeber the tumult around the studioafter kay's death about what the new name of the new host would be. So they picked a name and whoever got the part had to use it.
Robert Steingraber

Charles Consaul said...

According to an obituary of her son, Kay Russell's real name was Joan Barrett and her husband's name was Lawrence McQuade. I will post the url but it will probably not list as an active link, so you will have to copy and paste it into a search engine


Hope this helps