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On the Mark, Episode 5: The Rise and Fall of Ted Henry

May 7, 2009

Hi everybody!

This just in to our news desk. Ted Henry from Channel Five is hanging up his microphone and is retiring from broadcasting later this month. Details to follow on this story as they develop . . .

Now for those folks who get these emails and don't live in the Cleveland area, this blog still applies. You see, all local TV news stations have a Ted Henry. Mainly because all local news anchormen are clones of each other, with slight variations brushed on after they come from the local TV anchor factory.

They just change their names and swap out the hair color and name. You have Ted, Tim, Bob, Dave, etc. They also all have one or two syllable last names. Henry, White, Taylor, etc. They are never named Ichopardus Haaskulkgoreskiiiii. Or Exclrimortimar Wongwei.

So for purposes of enjoying this blog, just substitute the words "Ted Henry" with your Bob, or Tim or whomever is your talking head on your local news station.

So it is sad to see Ted Henry finally hanging it up. My family always had Channel Five News on when we were growing up as kids. There was Ted of course, and also Dave Patterson, Don Webster with the weather, Gib Shanley on sports, and the venerable Dorothy Fulheim doing commentary. (I found some great old Channel 5 clips, but I'll save them for another week. They are priceless.)

But back to you, Ted . . .

Ted was so revered in my household, if my family were hip we would have called him Ted Freakin' Henry. What he said goes. His word was his bond. He could say or do no wrong. He put the "cool" in "cooler." I've run out of clichés, but you get the picture . . .

But then the bloom started to come off the Ted Freakin' Henry rose. One day when I was working at a factory job one summer break during my college years (probably around 1987-ish), one of the ladies I worked with started making fun of Ted Freakin' Henry's hair. She laughed about how fake his wig looked.

Them were fighting words for me . . . how dare she make fun of Ted's doo! He absolutely did NOT have a wig!

But then the doubt started to creep in. What if Ted Freakin' Henry DID have fake hair?! If he's fake about one thing, then surely can we believe him about anything else he said?

So the next time I watched him on the news, I stared at his hair to see if I could tell if it was real or not. Then I'd compare notes weeks and months later to see if I noticed any differences. I studied video with greater detail than the Warren Commission studied the Zupruder film of the Kennedy assassination. This was something I ABSOLUTELY MUST KNOW!

Then with each passing year, when he was on the air, I had a hard time listening to what he was saying. No, I was still studying his hair. Shouldn't it be a bit more gray now? A little thinner maybe? Hmmm. Hard to say. What was that about the end of the world? Oh, I missed that. Too busy trying to figure out if Ted's hair is real or not.

A couple of years later, I was up in Cleveland Heights and saw him shopping in Woolworth's. I was tempted to follow him, to see if he made his way to the hair aisle or not. Or better yet, to see if he was buying panty hose or something else that would just blow my image of this legendary newsman.

Then, about five years ago, I was listening to the radio one morning. They had Ted on the air for some reason, talking about something by phone (can't remember what about). But somewhere along the line, Ted made it known that he had just gotten out of the shower before the phone call, and that he was doing the interview in the nude!

Now that is what I call TMI! (For those less hip, that means Too Much Information.)

So now whenever I watch Ted Freakin' Henry, I'm having this awful picture of . . . You know.

Now that he's going off the air, in some way I'm going to miss Ted "Wigged, Naked" Henry. It's the end of a Northeast Ohio institution. And now I need to study some other totally useless subject matter.

Although, for having watched him for almost 40 years, what do we really know about him? What makes the guy tick? What does he enjoy doing in his spare time? Does he have a family? Dunno.

I guess our relationship with him was kind of superficial. Just like the image and stereotype of the local anchorman. Maybe his little naked shower quip was to let us know that he really is a human being under that suit. And that even handsome news anchors lose their hair (the jury is still out on that one).

Maybe now that Ted is leaving, the station will go back to an early style of television news journalism. After all, "retro" is very much in these days. Here's what Channel Five looked like prior to Ted Freakin' Henry entering the picture. It's a must see, and it would be really cool to have these kind of commercials for local news programs again:

(Warning, content may cause you to have an epileptic seizure, or trigger a flashback from that little paper thingy you took at that Grateful Dead concert)


Here are two humorous TV spots from the 1970s with Ted Henry. Each only about 30 seconds long.

Robot anchorman:


Ted Henry and Dave Patterson are a perfect match . . . or maybe not:


I'm Mark Mosgrove, signing off. Have a GOOD night, everybody . . . .





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