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John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV

Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Keeping Marian Spelman's Memory Alive

About 50 of Marian Spelman's friends and family gathered at Arlington Memorial Gardens this afternoon to remember the wonderful WLW radio/TV singer. Rob Reider and Nancy James led the group in hymns, then folks shared their favorite memories of Spelman, a Ruth Lyons/Bob Braun "Fifty-Fifty Club" singer from 1952 to 1975. Around the chapel were her record albums, programs from the Cincinnati Symphony, Pops, and Dayton's Kenley Players, one of her landscape paintings (who knew?), and photos (including 3 with Steve Allen from her appearance on his show in 1951).

Folks like Nick and Nina Clooney, Ch 5 producer Dick Murgatroyd, announcer Bill Myers, bandsman Bill Walters, Wray Jean Braun (Bob's widow), Nancy James, Rob Reider, Ch. 5 engineers, former coworkers and others took solace in knowing Marian would always have a place in their hearts.

But we need more than that.

We need to preserve her wonderful soprano rendition of the 'Star-Spangled Banner." Does anyone have a copy of it? For years -- if not several decades -- Spelman sang the National Anthem at Opening Day at Crosley Field, and Riverfront Stadium. She was so terrific, that she was always first choice to sing the National Anthem for major events.
Recordings of her Ruth Lyons' show Christmas song still exist, thanks to the preservation efforts by old WVXU-FM years ago. But who has a recording of her singing the National Anthem? Anyone? It should be tracked down and preserved digitally by the Media Heritage preservation group at the Voice of America, or WMKV-FM, which plays historic broadcasts.

And CD copies should be sent to the audio engineers at Great American Ball Park so her voice could open a Reds game at least once a year... And also sent to US Bank Arena, the Shoemaker Center and Cintas Center to be used, if needed, for pregame ceremonies. Maybe even make it available to some high schools too. We need to keep her voice alive.

Anyone have a copy of her "Star-Spangled Banner?" Let me know.


at 2/02/2007 11:09 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would think you could check the archives of the Cincinnati Historical Society or Major League Baseball or...a long shot, the NBC archives.

Didn't WLWT donate a lot of film and 2" quad videotapes to the museum?

at 2/03/2007 9:04 AM Anonymous A Friend said...

Thank you John for keeping Marian memory alive. I really think she would have been surprised that so many "everyday" people remebered her.

at 2/03/2007 3:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sadly, it sounds like this is typical of many of the stations (radio and TV) in town. They are doing a lousy job of preserving their heritage and are more interested in cranking up fluff news pieces for sweeps. Kiese, my guess is you've already got Mark Magistrelli working this case. If anyone can find a recording, he will.

at 2/03/2007 8:10 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, I grew up in Cincinnati, but have lived in Nothern California for the past 29 years. I remember Marian Spelman very, very well. My mother was a big Ruth Lyons fan, and made me into a bg fan of Paul Baby.

I was sorry to learn that WLW has done so little to commemorate Marian. Please let me know if you ever find a digitized copy of her National Anthem.

Sonny Diehl

at 2/03/2007 10:44 PM Blogger Bengal43 said...

Has a "Best of Bob Braun Show" ever been done? I sure would like to get a copy.

at 2/04/2007 3:02 PM Blogger John Kiesewetter said...

Bengal 43:
Never known of a "Best of Braun" video or program ever made.

at 2/05/2007 6:50 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about starting a campaign to convince the Red's organization to play the recording of Marian singing the Star Spangled Banner for Opening Day this year (in her memory/honor)? cd

at 2/06/2007 10:10 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

There isn't a best of Braun video avaible, but Channel 5 DID do a tribute to Braun on video..last about 45 min without commercials. I think you could call channel 5 programming dept for a copy, whcih I think would be like 19.95.

at 2/08/2007 10:55 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

at 2/05/2007 6:50 PM Anonymous said...
How about starting a campaign to convince the Red's organization to play the recording of Marian singing the Star Spangled Banner for Opening Day this year (in her memory/honor)? cd

That would be a class act! John, do your magic. Mr. Castellini should do this. And have everyone who worbles and butchers the anthem should be required to watch how to sing the National Anthem. It's cut time and to the point.

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