West: Remember Grandpa Moses' weather reports?

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Lets see ... just how warm did it get last week?

The high was nearly 70 degrees, which is pretty durn hot for the middle of January.

Especially when you consider Woodbury's record cold temperature was -28 degrees recorded on January 21, 1985. Big brrrrr!

No, I don't call it "global warming." What we are experiencing is a typical Tennessee Weather Yo-Yo.

Well, actually "yo-yo" is probably the wrong terminology because if a "yo-yo" is in capable hands it always goes up and down consistently.

The only thing consistent about Tennessee weather is ... well, actually it isn't consistent at all. It's more of a bing-bang, wham-slam sort of thing.

The late Boyce Hawkins, who was a weatherman for years on WSM Channel 4 in Nashville, always gave what he called "the Mexican weather report" of chili today, hot tamale. WSM was Nashville's first TV station, signing on the air in September 1950.

I'm not sure if Boyce was a meteorologist, but he always had a twinkle in his eye. Maybe that was due to his stint as a clown called "Grandpa Moses" who hosted a cartoon show on Channel 4? Dunno, but he did have a grasp of typical Middle Tennessee weather trends back in the day.

The late Bill Hall was another favorite. Bill got his start, basically, on the old Ralph Emery Show which was an early morning staple on Channel 4 for years.

Bill was a down-home Tennessean known for his gardening. His ready grin and his sense of humor helped anchor a prime spot in Nashville TV history in the days before early morning news

Sure, there were other weathermen on other Nashville channels like Bob Lobertini on Channel 5. He was a favorite more for his stint as Captain Bob on the Bobo the Clown Show. I got to meet him in person as a young Cub Scout guest at WLAC's TV studios in downtown Nashville. That was a great day!

We even got to eat at the nearby Krystal burger place next door to Harold Shyer Jewelers. "If you don't know diamonds, know your jeweler and if Harold says it's so, it's so." Mr. Shyer was a regular sponsor on Nick Gulas' wrestling show, so all us Cub Scouts knew him and was dazzled by the fact he was standing outside his store.

If my memory holds true I had three Krystals and a bowl of chili that day. One of our bigger Scouts ate an amazing five. At any rate, it was a day of thrills. We even got to ride the elevator up to WLAC's studios in the stately L&C Tower.

So what does all this have to do with the weather?

In those early days of Nashville TV, being a weatherman wasn't really a full-time job. To be successful, weathermen had to have sufficient personality to spread themselves across the screen in all the time slots. The great ones had a gimmick like George Goldtrap with his caulk. Another WSM(V) star, George would flip that chalk and it would slide right into his pocket. Zoom! He never missed.

Today's weather casters are, for the most part, meteorologists, who are scientists who study the atmosphere. They examine its effects on the environment, predict the weather, or investigate climate trends.

Nashville TV seems to be following the national trend when it comes to meteorologists ... pretty, young women with nice figures. Oops, did I say that?

Personally, my current favorite TV forecaster is Lelan Statom. He's a real meteorologist, but like his "ancestors" in the profession, he spreads his personality across the tube on a daily basis as co-host of Channel 5's Talk of the Town and by his many community roles.

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Mike West
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