What do Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers have in common with Morton Downey Jr. and Stuttering John Melendez? The answer is deceptively simple: R-K-O. The iconic call letters of the iconic studio--letters that are practically synonomous with art deco sets of cruise ships, Irving Berlin music and Hermes Pan dances--are the same call letters of the company that acquired WWOR, channel 9 in Secacus, New Jersey, in the 1980s. Upon its acquisition, RKO (which once upon a time stood for "Radio Keith-Orpheum"--a merging of the short-lived Radio Pictures with the one-time vaudeville theater chain Keith-Orpheum, which allowed Radio Pictures to have their own theater chain to show their movies, a very lucrative business model which was aborted in a 1948 anti-trust lawsuit which decimated the Hollywood Studio Machine and essentially led to movies and moviemaking being in the disastrous state they are today--STOP ME!!!!) ---anyway, what was left of RKO purchased a floundering independent TV station which became an early semi-workshop for outrageous, public-access inspired television. Thus Morton Downey Jr.s show (see previous post) and Howard Stern's cheesy early 90's TV show, prior to his becoming a billionaire. Here is a clip from Stern's WWOR show in which Morton Downey Jr. physically assaults Stern lackey Stuttering John Melendez.
Now do you see what Astaire and Rogers and Stern and Downey and the rest of them share? Three letters. That's all, brother. Three fucking letters.