Recently, I got an email from Clay Buhl whose wife Ivy (Berman), as we knew her at WSFA TV, had passed away last month.
Clay asked if I would send along any remembrances of Ivy when we worked together at Channel 12. He was putting together a remembrance for family members and friends — sort of an "I remember Ivy" booklet. I started writing and, before I knew it, had written a column — or conversation, as we call our time together — for The Villager.
So here are fond memories about Ivy and two of her cohorts from way back in the mid-70s.
One of the stories I remember from the good ole days at Channel 12 had to do with the 12 O'clock Report. Ivy was the news anchor, Linda Scott was the weather anchor and Loretta Bacon hosted the interview segment with live guests each day. It was heralded far and wide as the only all-female news team in the country.
Their ratings were sky high. They had a great lead in network program, "The Gong Show" (the hottest daytime show of the day) with host Chuck Barris — the guy who also created "The Dating Game" and "The Newlywed Game." But let's face it, the ladies held their own ratings every weekday at noon.
Not only did Ivy write and anchor what we called the "cut-ins" in The Today Show each morning, she was the first female news anchor at our station and, I believe, the first in the state.
Ivy was always pretty, prim and proper when she was on the air. About the only time I ever saw her break a sweat was one summer when she and I anchored an episode of our weekly half-hour news magazine show "Composite" live from the Alabama riverfront. It was part of the city's Jubilee celebration. Throughout the entire show Ivy was unflappable, never letting it on that we were both about to melt in the sauna-like conditions. She kept her cool.
Linda Scott was the noon weather anchor (we dared not call her the weather "girl") most days. She had long since excised that word from our vocabularies.
It's a little known fact that Linda did the weather on my first newscast at WSFA. A funny thing about that noon newscast — I forgot to "toss" to Linda when it was time for the weather segment. I just went on to the next news story leaving her standing at the weather map. She never let me forget that mistake.
I remember Linda, a statuesque blonde from Dothan, having one of the best broadcast voices I'd ever heard. She had an authoritative delivery that held your attention. She later left Montgomery and went on to work in several larger markets carrying that superb voice with her everywhere she went.
I met the third member of the all-woman newscast, Loretta Bacon, before I started in Montgomery at Channel 12. We wound up on a trip sponsored by the oil and gas producers in the state.
The highlight of the trip was a helicopter ride out to an off-shore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, south of New Orleans. When we had a few minutes of free time on the rig; I struck up a conversation with a member of the crew that cooked for the rest of the guys. Being a fisherman, I asked if anyone ever went down on the lower walkway of the rig to fish. The crew member invited me to try my luck using some of the rods and reels he kept on standby.
Loretta overheard the conversation and asked if she could join our makeshift fishing trip. To keep this fish tale short, we caught a bunch of big blue fish.
I told the cook to take mine, but Loretta wanted to keep hers. The guys on the rig hurriedly dressed the fish and put them in a large plastic bad for Loretta. She was bound and determined to get those fish back to Montgomery. She even found a store in the French Quarter that sold Styrofoam ice boxes for the flight home. I lost track of the fish about that time, but never lost any confidence that Loretta would somehow get her catch back to Montgomery. She was a very determined sort.
And she was only one third of the unique, all female news team who some believe was the best midday crew ever to have worked at WSFA-TV.