Hurricane Camille Telethon
Being in Mississippi, our television station WHTV-TV took a great interest in helping the victims of Hurricane Camille through our affiliate relationship with NBC. We were able to contact “Bob Hope” in Arkansas. He was there with Winthrop Rockefeller. The Governor loaned Bob Hope his jet to fly to Meridian, Mississippi met by my manager and the Mayor. Mr. Hope brought a huge watermelon growin in “Hope” Arkansas. We auctioned it off for $5,000, then all the seeds for $5 each. All and all our telethon raised $40,000 in cash and $60,000 in food and clothing for the homeless in the Mississippi coastal towns. Bob Hope was on our TV air for six hours. Mary Ann and I had a small dinner party at Brennan’s in Houston that night and I had a telephone by my chair and kept current with proceedings at our TV Station every five to ten minutes.
Bob Hope greeted at Meridian Airport as he alights from Governor Winthrop Rockefeller’s private jet for appearance on WHTV Hurricane Camille Telethon. Pictured (left to right): Don Speir, Mayor Al Key, Bob Hope, August 23, 1969.
Bob Hope shortly after arrival at Meridian Airport for his appearance on WHTV Hurricane Camille Telethon, August 23, 1969. Pictured (left to right) Mayor Al Key, Bob Hope, Don Speir.
Mayor Al Key welcomes Bob Hope to Meridian and presents him with a key to the city following Hope’s arrival for participation in the WHTV Hurricane Camille Telethon on Saturday, August 23, 1969.
Bob Hope makes it really personal by chatting with contributors who called. Most were bidding on the giant 117 pound watermelon, grown in Hope, Arkansas which Bob brought with him to donate and auction off during the WHTV Hurricane Camille Telethon on August 23, 1969. The melon brought $1K. Pictured (left to right): Bob Hope, Terry Keeter, Don Speir.
Bob Hope chats with one of Meridian’s residents who had bid only $975 for the 117 pound watermelon donated by Hope and auctioned off for WHTV Hurrican Camille Telethon contributions. Pictured (left to right): Bob Hope, Terry Keeter, and WMOX Manager, Eddie Smith.
Closeup of Bob Hope with featured watermelon in foreground.
Bob Hope and telephone operators during WHTV Hurricane Camille Telethon. Telephone operators were AT&T (or South Central Bell) who donated their time off with permission from local CWA Union Chief.
Bob Hope chats with youngsters who have come to put a cash donation in the giant bowl for Hurricane Camille victims during WHTV Telethon. Pictured (left to right): Earl AyCock, Bob Hope, Earl Black, Sam Keller (WMOX Radio Personality), Terry Keeter and Eddie Smith (WMOX Manager who co-hosted the telethon with Earl Aycock).
Country music recording star Hank Locklin and WHTV’s Earl Black during WHTV Hurricane Camille Telethon, Sunday, August 24, 1969 at 4:30 a.m.
Countty music star Hank Locklin in a duet with singer and former child star Eddie Hodges during the WHTV Hurrican Camille Telethon, Sunday, August 24, 1969 @ 5:00 a.m.
Hurricane Camille Telethon, 1969
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