Sunday, 22 November 2015 10:50

Coming Home with Ron Stevens On KSHE 1974

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The movie brought back memories of when I first drove a car across the Mississippi River. The delicate steel monument was impossible to miss during the drive across across Poplar Street Bridge. While sandwiched between a shuffle of cars and trucks, my hands gripped the steering wheel a little tighter. Yet chaos didn’t keep me from stealing a glance at the monument as I had since it was first built. Years later, while riding in a child seat, my nephew Ryan looked in wonder at the gleaming monument and thought of fast food. “Big Fries,” was his take on the scene. Larger than life and celebrating 50 years, The Arch is still at it.

The movie was found in a batch of 8mm home movies that I purchased at an estate sale a block away from my house.  The three-minute films were left in a basement amongst assorted books, Christmas decorations. On the Kodak boxes were marked with ink a few of the events of their lives.  One of the films was marked “St. Louis.” When I got home and loaded the film on an old Revere projector I found that sometime in the early 1970s, the family came from Northern Illinois and started filming at their first glimpse of The Arch. Once on Poplar Street Bridge the camera swung to the right and recorded the big draw. Like a giant magnet, The Arch became the focal point for less than a minute before the footage ended at the “Welcome to St. Louis” sign. Yet it didn’t stop there. From a western vantage point high above ground at the Holiday Inn, the film continued with a view of The Arch, before slowly panning across to Union Station. In coming across this film taken in the early 1970s, I felt that it needed a little help. Few people had home movie cameras with sound in those years and so the majority of movies forever froze the moment in time without any audio.

I spent years searching for audio of KSHE from the early years of the station’s history. Those clips of sound would create the idea for a book. The goal for the coffee table book was to find a recorded radio clip, a story, a photograph or historic artifact and weave them together on a page.  Now I felt another way of telling a story from that old audio had emerged.

Months ago, the search began for the right sound clip to synch with the film through the hundreds of hours of KSHE broadcasts I collected for the last fifteen years. The phrase that stuck out from the 1970s was one Ron Stevens used during the years he worked during the afternoon drive. “You’re coming home with Ron Stevens,” he stated throughout the 90-minute recording. One of the songs that followed Steven’s phrase meshed perfectly with the rest of the movie.  The beautiful song was about a guy asking “Jenny” to take him back to his home after his life has gone astray, only to find everything had changed.  

The trouble was, I had no idea who the band was. I searched the lyrics on Google and came up empty.  I wrote Ron if he had any idea who did it. Ron did not. He gave it to John Sebben and the answer came up on Facebook within a couple of days. Sweet Thursday was a short-lived band with Nicky Hopkins at the keyboards. The song, recorded in 1969 was titled “Jenny.” Enjoy!


Coming Home with Ron Stevens on KSHE Prelinger Archives, Ron Stevens, Sweet Tuesday