Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wirt Cain


Seen here is a gentleman named Wirt Cain. Back in the sixties, Wirt was Ed McMahon to Nick Clooney (George's proud papa) on Nick's Cincinnati talk/variety series. As was often the case in those days, he doubled as a staff announcer and throughout the early seventies hosted such local broadcasting staples as BOWLING FOR DOLLARS, DIALING FOR DOLLARS and THE EARLY NINE MOVIE. (At one point circa 1972, my family was actually called as the randomly chosen phone number on the movie show! We could've won 200 bucks if I had remembered that I had wanted to watch the movie that day after school! My spooky memory being what it is, though, I can tell you that the film was WHAT'S SO BAD ABOUT FEELING GOOD? with George Peppard and Mary Tyler Moore. Sigh. Important stuff escapes me but this I recall?) Nick's show switched stations at one point requiring Nick, by contract, to remain off-air for one year. When he returned it was with Glenn "Skipper" Ryle as his new sidekick, Wirt having stayed behind at the other channel. The two remained friends though and when I held a booksigning with Nick in 1994, I asked him about Wirt. He told me that Wirt was one of the nicest and most professional folks with who he had ever worked. He added that Wirt was then living in Texas. A few years ago Nick was appearing as a popular DJ on a local "Standards" radio station and at some point suggested that Wirt return to Cincinnati and do the same. He did! I enjoyed hearing Mr. Cain's pleasant Southern voice again but, as before, he was wearing several hats. One day, about thirty years after I answered his call and lost the 200 dollars, he called me at work to talk about our buying advertising time on his show! Well, that simply wasn't going to happen (do you folks have any IDEA how much radio ad time costs? And you think GAS is overpriced!) so instead we had a marvelous talk about his career. One of the things he mentioned was that he had been in several movies including THE CHASE with Charlie Sheen in 1994. Last week, I was mindlessly flipping channels on the remote (Don't give me that look. We all do it.) and I came across THE CHASE already in progress. Just as I was telling my wife that this was the film that Wirt Cain was in, he appears onscreen as a TV anchorman! The camera pulls back to see his set and HIS onscreen cameraman who turns out to be none other than Ron Jeremy whom I got to meet recently and wrote about here: http://booksteveslibrary.blogspot.com/2008/02/ron-jeremy.html

Wirt disappeared from Cincinnati again when the oldies station changed formats a couple of years back. I hope he's well. Sometimes it just amazes me the folks from my formative years that I actually get to meet! Thanks for talking with me that day, sir.

6 comments:

Marc Edward Heuck said...

I remember Wirt Cain two from the "E9M" as he used to call it in the TV ads. Glad he's still around and healthy, sorry to hear he's left Cincinnati again.

Chef Flambe said...

Wirt also hosted a lame game show in the early 70s called "What Would You Say?"
Jef Gamblee
Stage Mgr. for WWYS

Bill said...

I worked wit Wirt at WSAI in the mid 90's and you are right, he was one of the nicest people in broadcasting. I was in awe because I remember him years ago as well.
He lived in Withamsville (a Cincinnati suburb) for a while and correct me if I'm wrong but I think his wife was a chiropractor.
I last worked with him in '99 and ran into him at a restuarant on '03 and had lunch together. He was selling water filtration systems. I have not seem him since then. He should be about 82 right now.
I've e mailed a few years back but with no response.
Will Mason

michael cunningham said...

Wirt is my grand dad

GP Cain said...

Today, June 14, 2013 at 12:30p Central Time
Wirt Cain will talk about his memories of the Golden Age of Television.
Tune in at
Love is the Key® Radio Program Special guest Wirt Cain

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/loveisthekeyradio/2013/06/14/love-is-the-key-that-opens-every-door

If you miss Live Show you can still hear this priceless interview from one of televisions most elegant veterans and hear his wonderful stories. We rate it a NOT TO MISS show!

Gail
CEO
LOVE IS THE KEY Radio
www.LOVEistheKEYJewelry.com

MIKE STOECKEL said...

I remember tuning in to his show one afternoon to see an empty studio set. It was a holiday, I changed channels where another live show was on and the host spotted Wirt in his audience. He brought him down to chat and asked why he was there. He had made the mistake of thinking he had the day off! On realizing his mistake and looking shocked, he dashed out and over to his stations set! I beat him there by changing stations and saw him rush in... And the show went on!