The Pop Culture Information Society...

These are the messages that have been posted on inthe00s over the past few years.

Check out the messageboard archive index for a complete list of topic areas.

This archive is periodically refreshed with the latest messages from the current messageboard.

Check for new replies or respond here...

Subject: Harry Volkman, Chicago weatherman, dies at 89

Written By: ChrisBodilyTM on 08/21/15 at 6:21 pm

"Legendary" Chicago meteorologist Harry Volkman has died, 89 years young.

In 1952 he was the first weatherman to issue a “tornado alert” during a live broadcast, prompting a change of government policy and saving many lives.

In the field of broadcast meteorology, Harry was a force of nature,” said Tom Skilling, chief meteorologist at Tribune Media WGN-Channel 9. “He took such joy in seeing young people coming into our profession and launching their own careers, and he was there to nurture their efforts. He took genuine pride in their success. You had the sense their success brought him joy — and this wasn’t an act — it really did.”

Generations of viewers recognized Volkman’s trademark boutonniere, usually received after one of his countless appearances at local schools. He also was famous for punctuating his forecasts with vocal sound effects (“whooosh”) and an uncanny recall of historical minutiae.

After a decade on the air in Oklahoma, Volkman came to Chicago in 1959 to join WMAQ-Channel 5. Despite a sometimes rocky relationship with anchorman Floyd Kalber, the two dominated the 10 p.m. news ratings at the NBC-owned station for years. Volkman later worked for WGN, CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 (where he spent 18 years) and Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32. He reluctantly retired in 2004 after the Fox station dropped him from weekends.

He studied math and physics at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, and meteorology at Tulsa University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, before joining KOTV-TV in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in January 1950.

Just weeks after moving to WKY-TV in Oklahoma City in 1952, he tapped into weather data from nearby Tinker Air Force Base and became aware of an impending tornado.

“Up to this time the alerts were only to be used for military bases, as the civilian authorities did not believe that enough was known about tornado forecasting to make it trustworthy and feasible,” Volkman would later recall. “There was much official concern about causing panic among the civilian population.

“As I was the new young weatherman on the scene, I was told that it was my duty to go on the air and announce, for the first time, a tornado risk area in central Oklahoma. I quickly informed my boss, P.A. ‘Buddy’ Sugg, that this might be illegal and we could be arrested. His immediate response was that they could arrest him, but not me, as I would only be obeying his orders.

“The rumors that I did this on my own as a rebellious act are totally untrue and this is the matter that I would like to clarify. I’ll readily admit that I have done many strange things on the air in my 55-year career, but this first tornado forecast was definitely not one of them.”

Wow. A very interesting life lived.

Subject: Re: Harry Volkman, Chicago weatherman, dies at 89

Written By: LyricBoy on 08/21/15 at 6:49 pm

I remember watching Harry do the weather back when I lived in Chi-Town.  Sad to hear that respiratory failure cut his life short.

RIP, Mr. Volkman.  The three-day forecast calls for pain.  :\'(

Subject: Re: Harry Volkman, Chicago weatherman, dies at 89

Written By: AmericanGirl on 08/27/15 at 9:37 pm

I grew up with Harry Volkman.  Sad to say goodbye  :\'(  :\'(  :\'(

R.I.P. Harry Volkman

Check for new replies or respond here...