August of 1975 sizzled with events across the U.S. At the radio station, Greg, the sports director had just returned from New Orleans. There was a huge party all about the brand new Louisiana Superdome’s grand opening. Greg was upset that there wasn’t a sports event to righteously open the new venue. He did say that the city was mighty steamy in more ways than one.
The kidnapping of Samuel Bronfman the Second in New York State was the personality news event of the month. Bronfman was the son of the president of Seagram’s Liquor.
The space program’s fans were gearing up for the launch of the Viking 1 probe that was to scout the planet Mars.
At the radio station, conditions remained hot. Daily high temperatures averaging into the upper 90s and relative humidity readings of at least 50% contributed to some hostile emotional outbursts by the boss and his underlings. The air conditioning remained broken so we were allowed to wear neat shorts and light weight short sleeved shirts on the job, as a concession to our mandatory suffering.
Morning-Mouth Dirk and I lived in a decrepit trailer next to the radio station. The station mascot, a kitten named Kitch, assumed the role of princess of the mobile home. She presided over my roommate and me.
Kitch was the runt of the litter but she was also more photogenic than her siblings. Her availability had been advertised in July during the want ads program on my show. The staff was thrilled to have a little mascot underfoot and the boss liked to brag that Kitch was a listener-provided asset for the company. Kitch luxuriated in all the love pouring out to her. Her fame was assured with the publication of her photo in the local weekly newspaper.
The Wayne County Fair was in full swing. All the area businesses insisted upon a booth or display to attract loyal customers to their stores or dealerships. Anyplace business clusters, you’ll find advertising concerns close by. This was a boon to the radio station.
The boss announced that it was high time that our four legged, furry celebrity begin to earn her keep. He decided that Kitch was to attend the county fair. The mascot’s presence was intended as the perfect accessory to soften up the advertisers. Theoretically, fair goers couldn’t resist the charms of such a cute, cuddly kitten, either. Us announcers should play up Kitch’s fair appearances during our shows.
The kitten promotion was launched. She was to accompany the boss later in the afternoon. Our mascot was billed as “Kitch the Kommercial Kat”. All systems were “go”.
In spite of Dirk’s and my inauspicious intuitive feelings, the campaign of “Kitch the Kommercial Kat” scored some early successes.
The owner of the downtown steakhouse fell under Kitch’s spell. The station had signed a new contract that doubled the amount of their commercial traffic. The local coffee shop signed a deal to feature a photographic likeness of Kitch on their in store menu-board and she was to say “meow” at the end of their commercial messages. So far, the boss’ scheme was a smashing success.
The time had come to share Kitch with her adoring public. We had taken care to provide Kitch’s favorite pillow, her litter box, dishes and special food and treats. She had a special place at the radio station booth.
The smells, the sounds, the activity and the children all came together to form a perfect environment of cat anxiety. The boss was on the air, interviewing the owner of the lumberyard when it happened.
Kitch extended her claws into the boss’s arm and leaped into the crowd. She collided with a teenaged boy then fell to the ground and scurried away.
A search party of announcers and volunteers ran onto the fairgrounds to bring Kitch back. We looked high and low and into every area. Kitch was gone.
The radio station aired a plea for the return of Kitch with the promise of a cash reward to the finder of our mascot. Nobody collected the reward. There was no further sign of our kitten, ever.
Dirk and I faced the prospect of going home empty handed. Our reigning princess had abdicated her trailer.
The Blue Jay of Happiness recalls that Kitch was never replaced, either.