Updated: 02/18/2014 9:26 AM
Created: 11/22/2013 5:55 PM KSTP.com
By: Barry ZeVan
In the late 1960s and 1970, Bob Newhart was an occasional guest on a morning TV talk show I hosted on Channel 13 (then KSHO-TV), the ABC affiliate in Las Vegas.
He frequently told his Desert Inn main showroom audiences they should watch my weathercasts because I was "very funny."
One morning in July, 1970, while driving him back to the Desert Inn, he told me I belonged in a larger market and suggested I look at a new Broadcasting Magazine to see if there were any larger market weather jobs out there. I thanked him for the suggestion, saw an ad in the following week's Broadcasting which read, "Upper Midwest television station seeks personality weathercaster. Please send tape and resume to Box (xxx)."
I was terrified to send the tape and resume, for fear of rejection, but sent the whackiest tape I had.
A week later, I got a call from Ralph Dolan at Channel 5 saying they were in Minneapolis-St. Paul and wanted to talk to me, saying I had been chosen by a focus group as the one to be hired.
I told Bob (Newhart) and he said, verbatim, "Oh, the Twin Cities is a wonderful market. You'll do well there and it could lead to even bigger markets eventually. Go for it."
In later years, he and I met either backstage somewhere or on the set of NEWHART, since Tom Poston, his sidekick on NEWHART (and who later married Suzanne Pleshette, who played Bob Newhart's wife on THE BOB NEWHART SHOW), was a great longtime friend to me and my wife, and that was that, except the first time we re-connected I told him I was still in the Twin Cities and he said, again, verbatim, "I hope you're not mad at me for suggesting you move there". I told him absolutely not. (I'll say hello to him backstage after his show at the State Theater in Minneapolis tomorrow night, and thank him again.)
Barry ZeVan is a columnist for KSTP.com.