Performed Live Singing Commercials on TV, 1949
I was hired regularly in 1949 to perform live singing commercials on TV. In college, my brother and I did anything we needed to do to make a living. When my father dropped us off in 1946 at Trailer Village on the University of Houston Campus. By the way, they were army surplus house trailers, it was right after World War II and there were no bathrooms, the bathroom was a block and half away, but anyway I will never forget what he said when he dropped us off. He said boys here is $50.00 each and whenever you boys need anything. Whatever you need just call me up on the phone when you have something that you need, and I will explain how you can get by without it.
He believed in self-reliance, so he purposely meant to drop us in Houston, Texas and let us scuttle for ourselves which we did.
We got jobs doing everything you could imagine including performing, singing commercials on TV. There was only one TV channel in Houston at the time and there was no network, there was Channel 2. It was called KLEE at the time, no network, everything was live because videotapes had not been invented. So every commercial was live, every program was live. So, there was a program called, it was about, it was a sports program. And then we didn’t have the Astros at the time we had the Houston Buffalos which was a farm team for St. Louis.
So, during this program, the 30-minute program Jack and I would perform 3 singing commercials. And it was for a men’s store in downtown Houston call Moss, Moss store for men. I remember one commercial was about nylon shirts. Nylon shirts had just been invented. So it was the first shirt that you didn’t have to iron, it was wash and wear. So, the commercial went something like this, you wash so easily, you dry in just like 1, 2, 3 it’s magic. That’s the only part of the commercial I remember.
But anyway we, the first time we did it we arrived about the time that show started. The studio was in a very unimpressive place on Pozo boulevard, except it wasn’t a boulevard. It was a black top road with open ditches. It was in a quainted hut that’s where the studio was and there were no dressing rooms. There was a men’s room and a ladies’ room, very small but at the other end of the quainted hut from the studio.
So, the next time we were to perform we arrived 20 minutes early. But there was another program going on at the time, it was called Fashions in Motion, it was sponsored by Batlestein department store in downtown Houston, Fashions in Motion and what it was, was a style show, it was a televised style show. Well we quickly noticed that when the models who were performing at the style show got off camera they would immediately strip down to their underwear and this was in the 1940’s, so you could imagine how risqué that was, so from that time on the Wilson brothers always arrived early for the program, in fact, we arrived an hour early so we could watch all of these beautiful models strip off their clothes in the studio.