Gotta Fill the Hall

In the early ’60s I was working at radio station KSTT in the Quad-Cities. In addition to being on the air, I also did commercial production. One day during my air shift, the receptionist buzzed me on the intercom. “Ulysses is here.” I asked her to send him back to the studio.

Ulysses Walker was a local promoter who from time-to-time would bring acts to town for a one night show. They were always up-and-coming black artists who were not well known. Whenever he had another act, he would come to me to write and produce the commercials for the event. He refused to talk with our sales reps about his advertising. He said I was the only one he wanted to work with.

“Not many have heard of these two singers,” Ulysses told me. “But, Bill, they are really good, got a good band, and with a good spot on the radio I think we could maybe fill the upstairs room at the V.F.W. hall. It holds about five or six hundred people. I gotta fill the room to make any money.VFW 02

I told Ulysses I’d give it my best shot. He handed me a 45 rpm record on some obscure label, and told me a little about the group – a duo, with a band, from Tennessee. I had never heard of them. He liked the commercial I put together, handed me cash to pay for the ad schedule (he did everything by cash) and we started running the spot a few days later. It was a small schedule, Ulysses could only afford about twelve spots.

Well, it turns out the show did fill the V.F.W. hall to standing only capacity! Ulysses credited my commercial for the success, but as I told him, “It wasn’t me. It was those two and their band. What a show!” Either the commercial did work, or more people than we realized had already heard about this group…(scroll down)
“The Ike and Tina Turner Revue.”

1 responses to Gotta Fill the Hall

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