Eleven years ago, Wm. Thomas Hamilton, General Manager of WNDU-TV, along with the late Robert Reidel, Executive Director of Junior Achievement of South Bend, created a project designed to offer practical broadcasting experience as well as experience in business enterprise to local high school students
On September 7th the call went out from the WJA-TV membership committee for new blood and was answered by 90 young people who represented all the South Bend's public and parochial schools. They were eager, with only a few leaving before the interview. A week later, after much brain-straining and straw pulling, the new five-man membership committee, put into effect this year, came to their monumental decision, and twenty-five students became the new company and assembled for an orientation session. During the next week, several members fell by the wayside, gone, but not forgotten, leaving us to call for more new blood.
In another ten days, we held our first full company meeting, a conglomerate of talented young people representing six high schools .
We began our officer elections on October 28th. The results were enough to make any Women's Libber's blood boil . The officers included a male secretary, (who incidentally, was Secretary of the Year) .
November 20th, we first entered the hallowed studio of WNDU. We filmed our closing sequence. Impish are the ways of the gods and we lost another member and 200 feet of film. The next week, another team member, which gave us our first brother and sister team, but we also lost another 200 feet of film. By the next week we were officially behind schedule.
On December 18th, the on-camera auditions were the great excitement. Instead of the old two-actor skit, a new 4 person soap opera skit was used, proving itself to be faster and less boring, During this time, we had a gentleman caller from Parade Magazine who was either a good actor himself or was impressed by our talent (especially our now-famous Black Scotchman and our thousands of variations on a simple John Wayne impression.) However, even with this altitude of talent (?), our new director, Mark Heller of WNDU, was not ecstatic.
Having more new members than old ones, this year's company seldom had parties. However, even at parties, this company felt compelled to discuss what last year's company--our severest critics--thought.
We were apprehensive about the year, because of the last year's sales record. With a talented sales leader, we sold out the entire format in less than half the time of the 1971 company. In the second week of April, Beyond Our Control sold out completely (as far as sales go, that is), bringing in profit and kudos for the 1972 company.
In 1972, BOC presented a new dimension in filmmaking: Jacks. A widely-acclaimed bit, done by filming in extremely short (one-frame) sequences, Jacks made it seem that objects (such as pancakes) were moving in a rather humorous manner.
For this year's company, there have been many firsts. Our last show was also a first: it was an hour-long special that combined all this year's most rewarding bits. This stands as one of WJA-TV's finest accomplishments.
Just one week after BOC's weekly meting, a large contingent of members attended the JA banquet. The highlights of the banquet were our President, James Skwarcan, as a featured speaker and the presentation of awards-Dave Bashover as Secretary of the Year and Jim Skwarcan as winner of the Free Enterprise Award. Last, but certainly least, Mr. David Williams, our fearless leader, received a six-years service pen and briefcase,
In an effort to perfect the company, Dave Williams must be credited with the yearly questionnaire. This questionnaire accumulates the opinions of company members on how we can increase efficiency and is an element that makes BOC most worthwhile.
Last, but most important, how did the public accept our work. Here, we leave it up to you, the reader, to judge for yourself:
- "I am 12 years old and I watch your show, but I wish it were an hour long, because time seems to go by so fast."
- -Paul Zulas
- "I wanted to thank you for your pancake adventures, Many years of top ratings."
- -Wade Mayberry
- "You have a considerable following at Notre Dame and we enjoy the program very much. Keep up the good work."
- -Neil Rosini
- "We all enjoy the show very much, It's very appealing to all ages. It's the only bright spot in a normal dreary Saturday cleaning, etc."
- Mrs. Pat Caron
Banks, Phillip. Phil's biggest blunder was waiting until he was a senior to join this company. We thus enjoyed the benefits of his considerable talents for only one season. Whether he was camping it up as Coach Duke "The Bear" Jones...tenderly crooning "Your Graduation Means Goodbye"...or biting off babies' heads as the star of rock group Bloody Pie...Phil was unfailingly impressive. He was also a regular member of the writer's committee and, as a salesman, was a complete failure.
Bashover, David. BOC's first all-male secretary, Dave brought a heart-throb of pride to our company at the annual JA banquet when he was named "Secretary of the Year." When be wasn't busy taking notes in his little steno pad, Dave was a) operating the audio console b) attending writer's meetings c) selling spots like nobody's business d) growing a beard. He was outstandingly successful at them all. Especially the beard.,
Bilancio, Toni It was Toni's profound misfortune to be briefly hospitalized this season with an ailment, which we shall not touch upon. Up and around, however, Toni will be remembered (in story and song) for a valiant attempt to deflate an invulnerable bosom while posing as the delightful Dolly Snout. Nice try, kiddo,
Binhack Art. We wondered all year about Arthur. Was he really that slow in getting our jokes? Was his foot really broken? Was he brain-damaged by bumping into that light fixture at our first filming session? Nonetheless, Art was a great Assistant to the Director and a frequent actor. He afforded us considerable pleasure with his winning portrayal of Chuck, the slap-happy-go-lucky "liver of life" in our story of a rock group. And why did he have to be a senior, too...
Boyer, Mark. He came to us late, left us early. But in his brief stay, he turned in some good performances. He was a frequent member of the writer's committee and will be remembered as the doctor to a paralyzed tap dancer...a host to a paralytic talk show...and a partial performance as Dean in our story of a rock group. Bye, Mark...
Cole, Penny. Mother of gangster, wife of convict, breaker of leg, lover of Hercules, and the unfortunate recipient of a collapsing set, Penny kept smiling through it all. A somewhat glazed smile, perhaps, but still... She was also the proud recipient of a Bonus Box for her sales work. Well, congratulations, Penny...
Damani, Ano. If we had a Hall of Fame (which we don't), Amo would have a place of honor. A 3-year veteran of BOC, Ano is one good reason why this company was so successful this year. As our Vice-President of Sales, he presided over the first company to completely sell-out all the commercial time available. A truly outstanding performer, Ano frequently walked of f with the show, turning up with embarrassing frequency in our year-end review of highlights. He was a reporter in an operating room, a purchaser of hamburgers, a television preacher, a sportscaster, a deodorant company representative, and much more, We'll miss old Ano. We even miss old Bob Morton. If only one could do post-graduate work in Beyond Our Control..,
Guidi, Kim. The next time a cigar-smoking Italian football player applies to this company we won't hesitate an instant. Kim came to us as a sophomore 3 years ago and has truly earned a Place of Honor in our Hall of Fame (We just decided we needed one.) The year's top salesman - selling well over $1200 in commercials - Kim was one good reason why the company enjoyed a record-breaking profit this year. As our Production Manager he ruled with the fabled iron fist in the velvet glove...or was it the other way around? He was a frequent writer, one of the first to move into 16mm film production and he turned in a number of unforgettable performances - particularly as "Rick" in our story of a rock group. There's more...but space is limited Suffice it to say that when BOCers of the future gather about the fire, one name will never be forgotten.
Hill, Robin. Robin also came to us as a sophomore, though neither smoking cigars nor playing football. Robin forged thru roles as a cheerleader, nurse and chorus girl, enjoying an affinity with company members which was rare indeed.
Johnson, Janet, Janet was our faithful boom lady bravely wrestling with the 15-foot mike boom each week. She also looked absolutely smashing in a babushka, which goes to show how talent can shine through despite our costume department.
Katz, Marty. Remember Stanley Mishkin? Remember Dr. Wizard's chum Bobby? Remember Bobby Schlockman? Remember the strobelight? Then....you remember Marty.
Keays, Tom Our Madman-in-Residence, was a 2-yearBOC veteran. Which probably accounts for his madness. Actually, he was as sane as the next man (which is not saying much in this outfit), and he acted as co-Art Director, member of the writers committee, and a frequent performer, He was our combination guru/pusher, a relatively unreasonable facsimile of James Dean, and--in a memorable one-line performances-- kitty torturer in our deodorant commercial,
Kimbriel, Kathi As our Assistant Production Manager, Kathi took on weighty responsibilities for her first year in BOC, and could frequently be found herding performers into the attic and/or protecting the RP screen. As Mary "Straight Talk" Evans, she gave us the scoop on drugs. As the School Nurse, she gave us the word on breakfast. And as Asst. Prod. Mgr., she gave us Discipline.
Kocy, Joe Arriving on the scene a bit late than most, Joe was the third BOCer to bear the name "Kocy." (See also: KOCY, Mary.) Preacher or pusher, Army sergeant or murderer, Joe was always a talent to reckon with. We reckon.
Kocy, Mary (His sister,) The distaff half of the team turned in some great performances this season. As Clara Mae Doily in our lady's show, her eyepetch will never be forgotten. We also found her dodging cooking acid, being dismembered on the rack, leading the cheers for Eisenhower High, and leading our international chorus of stars in our Coke commercial. C'mon back, Mary...
Mc Queen, Mark Runner-up in our impromptu Bobby Sherman look-alike contest, Mark was more frequently behind the camera than in front; and, since he was a regular WNDU employee, he came in quite handy. When the Norelcos pointed at him, he was a good Dick Clark and a dandy Dr. Wizard. He also seemed to show up behind bars with depressing regularity...
Morse, Jan Based on her performance in "Beat the Stars," Jan earned the dubious distinction of the only member to fall on top of a 5-foot mouse, Jan could also be found teasing hair and applying make-up (to the actors) in her duties as Asst. Prop Mgr.
O'Brien, Kevin Were it not for 0'B, there'd be no goobers, rubes or Willard Biscuits. He wound up as the richest bonus point recipient-a well-deserved pay-off resulting from incalculable hours spent writing, art directing, filming and patiently animating stale pancakes. Although he claims to be unable to act, he certainly got enough choice roles, especially Little Meyer. Would we say that he was this year's most promising member? Yes.
Ratkiewicz, Julie Our two-year veterans, it is written, are our strength and joy, and Julie was both. Who else would enter a scene in a flying bed, or twaddle her phalanges in bat guano, or announce her pregnancy on TV? Julie did...and then topped off a memorable year by alighting on a poorly-balanced chair, toppling backwards off the risers and landing flat on her dignity. (To the credit of all who were present there was no spontaneous burst of applause.) For that...and for her art as Mistress of the Props...we love her...and hope she'll return.
Roth, Geoff Starting out as a writer and a pusher of the videotape button, Geoff managed to wiggle his way into some choice roles by mid-season. We will probably best remember him as Manny (no relation to Rudy) Mazuma, ace agent for our rock group Bloody Pie.
Skwarcan, James Our third 3-year meter this year, Jim did us proud as President of WJA-TV Unfailingly impressive in a thoroughly professional manner, Jim was a fine actor and announcer on occasions literally too numerous to mention. He has also been JA Banquet Speaker for 2 years in a row, rubbing elbows with the likes of (Coach) Ara Parseghian and (Coach) Digger Phelps, not to mention Hansel Smits. When not hob-nobbing with the athletic set, Jim was winning the Free Enterprise Award. He has already gone into a broadcasting career and we're certain of his success...but we'll simply choose to remember him best as soloist in "MAC ARTHUR PARK" a few years back. And he'll be missed.
Thompson, Carl Ahh, the wonders of a pompadour. Who'd have thought that old long-haired Carl could be converted to a redneck troubadour (Porter Mulehole, for our country music show? Well, our Art Director did, and our make-up/humiliation department accomplished the task to the degree that Carl was totally unrecognizable. Which was probably OK with Carl. He was also our star used car peddler Rudy (no relation to Manny) Mazuma in the "Cretin Feature."
Werts, Diane For a first-year member, Diane made a respectable name for herself this season, racking up enough bonus points to wind up on next season's membership committee. (And that's Status, boys and girls!) Diane was typed as a juvenile early in the season, so her acting career was somewhat limited. However, she was brilliant in the control room as "Assistant to the Director" and smashing at the JA Center in her portrayal of "Personnel Director." She also burns kitchens.
Wright, Kevin Our Man of a Thousand Voices was another two-year veteran. Unfortunately, our limited scripts rarely called for a thousand voices, much less Peter Lorre imitations. Kevin also distinguished himself in sales this season.
Xaver, Rick Another promising first-year member, Rick spent the entire year goodnaturedly enduring the reputation of a wimp (At least, be didn't strike back physically). He got up on the old sales chart early in the game, and had a number of genuinely choice roles... as a Grecian wimp in our "Hercules and the Hard Job", as an athletic wimp in our health club commercial...and a wimp-in-search-of-soothing-unction in our Big Sister Commercial.
AND, OUR BELOVED ADVISORS.......
Joe Dundon and Dave Williams were our beloved advisers this year, and Mark Heller was our beloved director. It may be conservatively said that they were "good, beneficial, valuable, of value, excellent, superior (sse Superiority), useful, of use, advantageous, profitable, edifying, salutary, healthful, genuine, first-class, first-rate, capital, prime, unobnoxious, innocent, inoffensive, tiptop, topnotch, top-drawer, A-l, grand, great and swell." At least, that's what everyone in the company said.