Dick Kay and the Demise of the Wabash Cannonball

April, 1971

Curator's note: The "Wabash Cannonball" piece is Dick Kay's favorite. He confided to me not long ago that when he shot the piece, Norfolk and Western brass were riding in the snack car, ready to provide Dick and his cameraman Randy Birch whatever they needed to make the piece "work". Among other things, they provided a chase car so Dick could get the rolling shots of the train he needed. There was much unscheduled starting and stopping of the Cannonball that day. One can only wonder how late it arrived at its destination. This piece is a must for railfans.

The "Wabash Cannonball"
Above: The Wabash Cannonball in April, 1971, during the course of one of its last runs between Detroit and Saint Louis (and vice-versa).

When Amtrak (originally known as "RAILPAX") took over the nation's rail passenger service on May 1st of 1971, it dropped the Cannonball's route.

But thanks to Dick Kay, along with his camerman Randy Birch and his editor John Martin (king of the languid dissolve), we can all ride the Cannonball one more time at the click of a mouse.

Click here to view streaming video of Dick Kay's Wabash Cannonball piece. [You will need RealPlayer to view this video]. Dick Kay aboard the "Wabash Cannonball"

Introduction and main index to this site
WMAQ radio history | "Amos 'n' Andy" | "Fibber McGee and Mollie" | "The Breakfast Club"
Dick Kay | Television at the Merchandise Mart | 1970 television facilities tour | Channel 5 turns 20
The "Chicago School" of television | "Kukla, Fran and Ollie" | Dave Garroway | Mary Hartline
"Lights Out" | Sound effects | 1930 studio tour | WLS | "Empire Builders" | Barry Bernson
Floyd Kalber | The Queen of Love and Beauty | "Today's Children" | Staff announcers | Carol Marin
Ron Magers | Studs Terkel l "Chicago Tonight" | Channel 5 News scrapbooks |Roger Miller recalls
Zoo Parade | Clifton and Frayne Utley | Val Press | Len O'Connor | Johnny Erp | Bill Ray | Daddy-O
Experimental Television: 1930-1933 | Bob Deservi | Kermit Slobb | Ding Dong School | Quiz Kids
Bob Lemon | The Korshak Chronicles | KYW: The Chicago Years | WENR | O.B. Hanson | Renzo
Jack Eigen | Ed Grennan | The World's Best Cup of Coffee | Glenn Webster | Mr. Piano | Hawkins Falls
Chicago Television for Kids |
Radio Hall of Fame |The NBC News Night Report: 23 February, 1967
Audio and video downloads
About the Curator

Comments or suggestions? click here to send them to Rich Samuels

Created by Rich Samuels (e-mail to rich@richsamuels.com)