staff announcer John Conrad in 1956. Conrad, a native of Blue
Island, came to the NBC-Chicago studios in the late 1930's as
one of the spiffily-clad NBC pages. He subsequently became a staff
announcer at KTSM, the NBC affiliate in El Paso, Texas.
Following service in the Navy during World War II, Conrad returned
to Chicago and became a staff announcer at WMAQ radio (and later
WNBQ television), where his colleagues from the mid-1940's to
the early 1950's included Hugh Downs and Dave Garroway.
Chicagoans of a certain age best remember Conrad as the straight
man paired with a papier-mache elephant (manipulated by stagehand
Kenny Hermann) on WNBQ's "Elmer the Elephant" show which
aired on Channel Five in Chicago from 1951 to 1956, generally
from 4:30 to 5pm.
The curator recalls Conrad in the mid-1960's as the host of a
WMAQ radio disk-jockey show titled "John Conrad and Max",
where "Max" was an imaginary turntable operator who
gave Conrad the same kind of grief on radio as Elmer had, a decade
earlier, on television.
Conrad made a graceful exit from broadcasting in 1968 when he
moved to southern California and began a career as an entrepreneur
(one of his ventures was a Dollar Rent-A-Car franchise in Hollywood).
Conrad died on February 7th, 2006 of heart and kidney failure
in Westlake Village, California.