Memories of the Bob Brandy Show

Whenever you meet a “baby boomer” from the Chattanooga area, a few questions always come up.  “Where did you go to school?” “Remember all that air pollution?” And, this one: “Were you ever on the Bob Brandy Show?”

Back in the 1960s, we all loved singing cowboys.  In the grand tradition of Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, our local singing cowboy had legions of fans.  Bob Brandy (shortened from Brandenburg) was one of WTVC Channel 9’s first hires.  When the station was preparing for its first broadcast from Signal Mountain, the owners knew they would be competing with the already-established WDEF Channel 12 (CBS) and WRGP Channel 3 (NBC).  It was February 1958, and the Channel 9 area license had been transferred from Rome, Georgia to Chattanooga.  The owners knew Chattanooga would provide more viewers (and thus, more ad dollars) than Rome.  WTVC was affiliating with the third-place ABC network, so this new station would need someone to get the city’s attention.

Bob and Ingrid in the early days of their Chattanooga show

Bob and Ingrid in the early days of their Chattanooga show

Enter Bob Brandy.  He had started a kids show in Columbus, Georgia a year earlier, and had developed a strong following.  Along with his wife Ingrid, his horse Rebel, and a steady diet of cartoons, Bob welcomed scout troops, school groups and Sunday School classes.  Sponsors furnished prizes to give away, and Bob provided the fun and games.  In the early days of live TV, Bob Brandy faced the camera for an hour each afternoon as the kids got home from school.

Bob’s show soon found an eager audience.  The other channels had also offered kids shows (Channel 12’s “Mr. Chickaroonie” and Channel 3’s “Alex and Elmer” are well-remembered), but they had faded by the early 1960s.  Sponsors like Chattanooga Bakery (Moon Pie) and McKee Bakery (Little Debbie snacks) quickly saw the benefits of Bob giving away their goodies to kids who sat on Rebel and threw a ball into a barrel.  When Bob needed a break, he’d toss it to a Three Stooges comedy or a Popeye cartoon.  Once or twice a day, the Bob Brandy Trio (usually consisting of Tonny Allen, Rome Benedict and Charlie Chambers) would perform a cowboy song.

Ingrid, Rebel and Bob

Ingrid, Rebel and Bob

Wife Ingrid, of the thick German accent, the tightly-coiffed blond hair, and the shapely figure, would help Bob interview the kids.  One widely quoted story, which was apparently seen by everyone in the Tennessee Valley, recalls a day in which some mischievous 10-year-old boys were laughing uncontrollably while Bob was trying to talk.  He wanted to find out what was going on, so he asked them what was so funny.  One kid looked Bob right in the eyes and said, “Charlie farted!”  You can’t beat live television.

Prior to WTVC’s move to downtown in 1966, Bob’s show aired from Signal Mountain.  Keep in mind that on snow days, the kids couldn’t make it to the studio.  He had to do an hour of live TV, with no audience.  It didn’t faze him a bit.  That’s the sign of a true pro.

My friend Gary Wordlaw got his first job as a teenager at WTVC, working on the studio crew.  He told me that Bob’s show ended five minutes before the local news came on, from the same studio.  He remembers scooping and mopping some of Rebel’s droppings, under the hot lights, just moments before anchorman Gil Norwood started reading the news.  Gary stayed in the TV business for forty years, but thanks to Rebel, his first job made a really -strong- impression.

Those of us who never got to be on Bob’s show were often fortunate enough to see him in our hometown.  On Saturdays, Bob took his show on the road, complete with Rebel, the musicians and the prizes.  I remember when they visited Bryant (Alabama) Jr. High School.  That was the biggest show to hit Bryant, well…ever.  What do I remember the most about it?  I did mention Ingrid was shapely, right? Even more so, in person.

Bob Johnson, Dalton Roberts, Bob Brandy and Darrell Patterson

Bob Johnson, Dalton Roberts, Bob Brandy and Darrell Patterson

Bob’s show began slipping around 1970, so WTVC moved it off the weekday schedule.  It bounced around on weekends for a couple of years, from late Saturday morning, to early Saturday morning, and even on Sundays for a few weeks until Bob decided to sing “Happy Trails” once and for all.

brandy-saturday

Bob continued his day job, selling commercials for WTVC, eventually becoming the station’s sales manager.  It turns out Bob was a top TV ad salesman through the show’s entire run, no doubt using his fame to his advantage.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to buy some time on the “Bob Brandy Show?”  For the next thirty years, until his death in 2003 (he was 72), Bob stayed loyal to WTVC.  Even after retirement, he was a consultant for the station.

I got to know Bob a little bit late in his life.   He was not in good health, but he always smiled when someone told him they grew up with him.  It brought back memories of a more innocent time.  These days, the mere mention of his name brings a smile to those who tuned in each afternoon.  I think he’d like that.

Here’s a YouTube video from WTVC’s 50th anniversary special in 2008, featuring Dr. Shock, Miss Marcia, Don Welch, and a brief clip of “The Bob Brandy Show.”

I’m proud that Bob’s show is featured on the cover of my book “Chattanooga Radio and Television.” Order the book by clicking here:

Book-Cover

Please share your memories of The Bob Brandy Show in the comments section below.

About David Carroll

David Carroll is a longtime Chattanooga radio and TV broadcaster, and has anchored the evening news on WRCB-TV since 1987. He is the author of "Chattanooga Radio & Television" published by Arcadia.

32 thoughts on “Memories of the Bob Brandy Show

  1. Lana Elliott Freeland

    I was on the show in the 4th grade. It was something I will always remember. I was suprised by how different the studio looked from the way it looked on the tv. It was so much fun. As a child from Davis Elementary in Dade County it was a thrill.

    Reply
  2. Vanessa Kinsey

    He came to my high school Davis High school on Sand Mt, I got to sit on Rebel and throw the ball at the barrel, I got it in and won a silver dollar! I still have the silver dollar! Wonderful memories!

    Reply
  3. Darlene Gaston

    I was young and new to the Chattanooga area but Bob Brandy was an all star for me and my family. My husband a native of the area actually at one tome had a photo with Bob and his horse.

    Reply
  4. Glenda

    RC Cola and moon pies. My older brothers class was on the Bob Brandy Show, and one of the kids pulled Bob’s Toupee off.

    Reply
  5. Colleen Carboni

    Bob Brandy lived up a big hill from where I grew up. He was known to give away Little Debbies for Halloween, a valued treat in the days of penny candy. My parents allowed my brother to make the trek up the hill to get the Oatmeal Creme Cakes he was giving out, while I, because I was a girl was denied the privlege. I am still upset about that.

    Reply
    1. Becky Millican Norris

      I also lived near Bob Brandy on Forrest Highland Drive 1965 – 1970. And was on his show.

      Reply
  6. melisha crowell

    I use to watch bob and dr. shock love to set up at night and watch the old black and white scary shows then when I got older I met bob when I worked at east gate at Woolworth so excited about it

    Reply
  7. Lisa Jackson Blankenship

    I was on the show with my 3rd grade class around 1970 or 1971. I wonder if the WTVC has recordings of these shows. I would give anything to see our show again. If they have the recordings, wouldn’t it be great if they marketed and sold copies of “your show”

    Reply
    1. Deedra Thurman

      Me too! I was in third grade at Englewoof Elementary. I got to sit on Rebel and throw the ball. I won $27!!!!

      Reply
  8. Christine Haven

    Bonny Oaks School children’s home. I was on the Bob Brandy Show and boy did I stretch my neck toward that on-stage barn door trying to see Rebel, his horse. I loved the Bob Brandy Show, we always got free Moon Pies. When watching on television sometimes the kids got a Krystal hamburger, ooooohhhhh, how I wanted a Krystal 🙂

    Reply
  9. Diane Welch

    My brother and I were on his show after we saw him with Rebel at an Oster picnic up in Dayton, TN. Bob, Ingrid, and their daughter also came over to our house to hear my dad play the piano and I remember being out in the yard and watching their daughter play with a hula hoop.

    Reply
  10. Vanessa Walden

    I grew up in Rome, GA in the late 60’s & 70’s. I watched Bob Brandy on channel 9 and one year he was going to be at our local Sear’s store for an appearance. I was probably around 6 or 7 (1970-71) and had the flu or some type of virus. I wasn’t able to go see him but my daddy said he would buy me a toy instead. I got the Barbie Winnebago in exchange for being too sick to meet Bob Brandy!!

    Reply
  11. Catherine Wade

    I am a teacher at a middle school now. We were playing Trasketball and I was hit with the memory of being on the Bob Brandy show. I grew up on Signal Mountain (right above Chattanooga) and was 7 years old at the time. I even got chosen to sit on Rebel and try to get the ball in the barrel. I missed….just like my sixth graders! I pulled up this website to show them Bob Brandy. Wonderful memories!

    Reply
  12. Allen Lynch

    Bob was awesome fun and exciting entertainment!
    I was on his show for Halloween
    Everyone wore their costumes on the show,I was Casper the ghost,can’t remember the year or my age.
    My stepfather Roy Bradford was a DJ at the radio station in the station Bob was on.
    I remember when going on the set when no shows were airing live and I would get to go in the room where they kept the Little Debbie snacks and help myself to some…lol..It was a real thrill to hang out after hours on the huge set floor where the shows aired back then.
    There was a hall that had framed publicity pictures of Elizabeth Montgomery and I think some other comedy shows that was on back on the late 60’s
    Seems I remember sitting on Rebel and missing the barrel 🙁
    Those were great times back then
    I loved the Bob Brandy show and Ingrid was smokin’ hot..lol

    Reply
  13. Allen Lynch

    OMG!!!
    I almost forgot!!!
    I once drove around on the cart after hours..
    You know,the cart that we grabbed free cakes from!
    Yes that one.!
    Little Debbie snacks!!!

    Reply
  14. Timmy Brackett

    He was at the wink theater when I was 8or 9 my brother got to sit on his horse an trowe the ball in the barrelle

    Reply
  15. Jane

    In the early 60’s a kid told a joke that made my parents howl: “Why does the sea roar?” Answer: “I bet you would too if you had crabs on your bottom.” I was six years old. I didn’t get it.

    I loved Bob Brandy and was lucky enough to be on his show a couple of times because my sister was dating a camera man who worked the show.

    Reply
  16. Keith Reiffenstein

    The Bob Brandy show is a memory I will never forget. Much easier times back in the day. Thank-you David Carroll for putting this together, it brought a tear to my eye. Every Sat. night mom, dad and I watched Shock Theater, some names I remember are Black-Jack Blaylock and Red Bank Rena.

    Reply
  17. Debbie Derryberry

    One of my all time favorites…
    Never got to be on the show but I would saddle up my Great Grandmothers bed, put a waist basket about three feet away & toss my ball in just like I was on the horse! Still love horses to this day & I still have my Great Grandmothers bed! Perhaps I should go home & pratice!! Love!

    Reply
  18. Jane Pellam

    In the late 60’s, the show featured a time to phone in and win a prize. I won a transistor radio. Needless to say, this Richard Hardy elementary student was so excited…and it was one of the very few prizes I’ve won in my lifetime!

    Reply
  19. Jan Wilkey

    I was on the Bob Brandy show when I was 10 or 11 I think. It was 1961 or 1962. All the kids from Welche’s Chapel Methodist that were in VBS that year went as a group. Bob Brandy interviewed me on the show, and I played in a game with two other people, (one of which was Jim Hixson), and I won some kind of little Debbie’s. It was a fun time, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

    Reply
  20. Deborah Waters Graul

    Sometimes I think I dreamed that show. Not many people have a clue who Bob Brandy was. Loved seeing the pictures of him. Talk about nostalgia, God I wanted to sit on that horse..

    Reply
  21. Steve Haun

    I remember being at a Bob Brandy event at Claxton elementary school in Tn back in the early 70’s sat on Rebel but missed getting the ball in the barrel I loved watching his show in the late 60’s and early 70’s

    Reply
  22. Lori McClure

    Na na na na naaaaaaaaaa naaaaa..I got to drive the Little Debbie cart when I was on his show with my brownie troop!!! 🙂 Those were golden times!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  23. Debbie Haney

    In 1966 when I was in the 5th grade at Englewood Elementary School, our class sold the most Bob Brandy tickets when he came to the school, so our Teacher Ora Baker made sure we sold more tickets than anyone so we could ride the bus to Chattanooga, TN from Englewood, TN. and make it a field trip which we also went to the Confederama, Rock City, and road the Incline prior to being on the show at 5 pm. A most precious teacher which that was her last year to teach and a most precious trip I will never forget. My aunt Carrie got me an new orange pock a dot suit (jacket with a skirt) to wear that day and I wore lacy socks and black patent shoes.

    Reply
  24. Penny Lewis

    1966, I was in first grade at Ooltawah Elementary. My twin sister Pam and I were thrilled when our Brownie Troop got to be on the show. Bob came up to warm us up before the show. He told us that he would ask a question later on and the winner would be the person who came closest to the answer. He said “Let’s practice. How many stain glass windows are at Rock City?” He would hold the mic to various children who responded with answers like “a thousand, ten thousand,” etc; My family had just been to Rock City and I had admired those windows. So, when Bob asked me I said, “six.” Bob said, “Now boys and girls that is a much more reasonable guess.” He didn’t say I was right. So I thought maybe it was seven. During the show, we finally got to that segment and Bob asked the question again. Every single kid, including my sister said six. Except for me. I said seven. Every kid there won a bag of Colonial Bread Hot dog buns, except for me. I was traumatized and devastated and now in my middle age years I still remember that awful feeling. But it didn’t keep me from being a fan of the show. I adored Bob Brandy, Ingrid and Rebel.

    Reply
  25. Jenny Johnston Adcock

    I was on the show with my Brownie troop in probably 1962 or 1963. Pretty sure I have a picture somewhere.

    Reply
  26. Harry Charles Clinton Jr {PEANUT}

    I was on the show 3 times, I am also on the cover of your book. Yea I loved BOB who didn’t. I also sat on REBEL and drove the LITTLE DEBBIE cart.

    Reply
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