American entertainer Fran Allison was best known as the companion of puppets Kukla and Ollie on the television show Kukla, Fran, and Ollie (1947–57). Kukla (Russian for “doll”) was a boy with a round nose, and Ollie was a dragon with one tooth; the cast also featured such puppets as Buelah Witch, Fletcher Rabbit, and Madame Ophelia Ooglepuss.
Allison was born on November 20, 1907, in La Porte City, Iowa. She graduated from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1928 and spent the next four years teaching. Allison then began working at a radio station in Waterloo, Iowa, as a singer, but she also did a variety of other jobs connected with the running of the radio station. While there she came up with a gossipy old lady character named Aunt Fanny when she was unexpectedly pulled onto a radio show. After a few years, Allison moved to Chicago, Illinois, where she appeared on radio. In 1937 she was a part of Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club program, where she became an expert at ad libbing lines in the character of Aunt Fanny. She would continue that work for some 30 years.
Meanwhile, Allison was on a war bond tour during World War II when she met puppeteer Burr Tillstrom. He eventually called her when his Kuklapolitans, a whimsical puppet ensemble, needed a human with whom to interact on a new television series. The show, Kukla, Fran, and Ollie (original name Junior Jamboree), debuted in 1947. The puppets were controlled by Tillstrom, and Allison would stand in front of their stage and talk and sing with them. The weekday half-hour show was always performed live and unscripted and became a hit with both children and adults. It was picked up by national television in 1949 and remained popular until it was discontinued in 1957. Throughout its longevity it won many honors, including Peabody and Emmy® awards.
In the late 1950s Allison hosted the panel-discussion show the Fran Allison Show. She also continued to appear in television movies, including Pinocchio (1957) and Damn Yankees! (1967). From 1967 to 1977 Kukla, Fran, and Ollie hosted the CBS Children’s Film Festival series. In the 1980s Allison hosted a radio program with topics of interest aimed toward senior citizens. Allison died on June 13, 1989, in Sherman Oaks, California.
Clifford H. Braun was born in Pittsburgh, PA on October 31, 1925. He served with the U.S. Marines in the Pacific during WWII. After the war he worked for 42 years as a Studio Technician, Television Director, Program Manager, and Studio Manager in the Chicago Television Broadcast Industry.
He received many awards in recognition for his work within the industry. After his retirement in 1989 he and his wife Nancy moved from the Chicago suburb of Northbrook to Melbourne, FL. He passed away Sunday, June 19, 2011.
Joel Daly was a longtime anchor for ABC 7 Chicago and he worked at the station for 38 years. Daly came to Chicago in 1967. Back then, newscasts were just 15 minutes long.
A year later, Daly and Fahey Flynn were paired together. They quickly became one of the most memorable and successful news teams in the country. "I was on the street every day, and I think to have an anchorman that was involved in doing the news and not just reading it gave it some credibility," Daly once said.
Daly and Flynn changed the way television news was delivered, adding conversation to their daily updates. It was a concept that caught on and continues to this day.
"My most treasured award is the Emmy I got for writing. Not performing, not reporting but writing. I did commentaries for 10 years and I submitted it to the academy and I have an Emmy sitting on my shelf and it says for writing," Daly said.
Beyond a news anchor, Daly was a published author and a lawyer.
After leaving ABC 7 Chicago, he went on to serve as a legal analyst and consultant.
He was a daring pilot who even built his own stunt plane.
And -- believe it or not -- an accomplished country singer and yodeler.
Joel Daly was a beloved father, grandfather, colleague and friend whose memory will live on at ABC 7 and in Chicago -- a city he loved.
"What an incredible gift to do what you dream to do, obtain the trust and respect, and, yes I wasn't going to cry, even love from one's colleagues and viewers," he said. Joel passed away on October 22, 2020.
Television newsman Burleigh Hines specialized in human-interest stories, and he had the kind of warm screen presence that left viewers thinking he was their friend.
"Everywhere we went, people felt like they knew him," said Edie Kasten, his producer for some 20 years at WBBM-TV Channel 2. "People would come up and hug him."
He had moved to California a couple of years after retiring from television in 2001.
Mr. Hines had been a reporter at newspapers in Nashville and Chicago before he joined the staff at WBBM-AM radio in 1968, as the station turned to an all-news format.
He shifted to television six years later, first as an editorial director and then as a reporter. While he did his share of hard-news reporting through the years, features were his forte. He anchored a long-running series called "Side Streets" that focused on unusual and interesting people and places.
With Van Gordon Sauter, a Chicago newsman who went on to become president of CBS News, he wrote the book "Nightmare in Detroit: A Rebellion and its Victims," about the racial riots in that city. Burleigh died on November 8, 2009.
Carol Marin was named a correspondent for CBS News in October 2000. In this role, Marin primarily serves as a contributor to 60 Minutes and 60 Minutes II.
Marin had worked as a contributing correspondent for 60 Minutes II since the broadcast’s debut in January 1999. She also served as the solo anchor for the 10 PM News at WBBM-TV, the CBS-owned station in Chicago (2000).
Marin joined CBS News in July 1997 as a reporter for WBBM-TV and a contributor to several CBS News broadcasts. In addition to 60 Minutes and 60 Minutes II, she has reported for the CBS Evening News With Dan Rather, 48 Hours and Public Eye With Bryant Gumbel (October 1997-May 1998).
Prior to joining WBBM-TV, Marin was an anchor and reporter for WMAQ-TV, the NBC-owned station in Chicago, for 19 years. She served as co-anchor of the 10:00 PM newscast for 12 years (1985-97) and as co-anchor of the 6:00 PM news for nine years (1988-97). Before that, Marin worked as a nightly news anchor and reporter for WSM-TV in Nashville (1976-78). She began her broadcasting career in 1972 with WBIR-TV in Knoxville, Tenn. (1972-76).
Since joining WBBM-TV and CBS News, she has earned two Peabody Awards --one for personal recognition of her accomplishments and integrity in broadcasting (1998) – two national Emmy® Awards (1999 and 1989) and two Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Awards (1999 and 1986). Marin also received 15 regional Emmy® Awards and is a member of the Chicago Hall of Fame, among other credits.
Marin was born October 10, 1948. She was graduated from the University of Illinois in 1970 with a B.A. in English.
Jeannie Morris was a pioneering Chicago sports journalist..
Ms. Morris’ wide-ranging knowledge, graceful writing and unflappable perseverance made her a star of print and TV, covering sports during a long career at WMAQ-TV and WBBM-TV in Chicago.
In 1975, she was the first woman to report live from Super Bowl IX.
“Well, they had me talk to the wives,” she said later.
Still, she said, “It was nice to break the ice and have other women have the opportunities that they certainly earned.”
She won multiple Emmy® Awards and in 2014 became the first woman to receive the Ring Lardner award for excellence in sports journalism.
She showed her mettle early on when confronted by Texas Rangers manager Ted Williams, the Baseball Hall of Fame former Boston Red Sox outfielder. When she arrived at the dugout at Comiskey Park that day, Williams made his displeasure clear. Decades later, she recalled his comments this way in an interview with the Chicago Bears Network:
“ ‘This is my dugout, get outta here, no women in my dugout.’ I said, ‘This isn’t your dugout. This dugout belongs to the Chicago White Sox, and they said I can be here, OK?’ ”
The Splendid Splinter backed down. “He just goes, ‘OK,’ ” she said.
“She wasn’t afraid of any of them,” said Joy Piccolo O’Connell, widow of Bears running back Brian Piccolo. “They all respected her.”
“There’s so many women now doing what Jeannie did, and she was the first,” said Peggy Kusinski, a longtime WMAQ-TV sportscaster. “All it takes is one for one little girl to know it’s possible.”
“There isn’t a woman who followed her who does not owe Jeannie Morris both great gratitude and immense respect for blazing the trail for them,” said Carol Marin, a former WMAQ-TV political editor and WTTW-TV “Chicago Tonight” correspondent who’s co-director of the DePaul Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence. “She had brains, grace and tenacity.”
After leaving WBBM around 1990, Ms. Morris worked on specials and documentaries. She helped produce the PBS series “Adventure Divas” with her daughter Holly Morris, worked on “Expedition Inspiration” about breast cancer survivor-mountaineers and a climb of Argentina’s Mount Aconcagua and wrote “Behind the Smile” about Illinois Democrat Carol Moseley Braun’s successful 1992 campaign for the U.S. Senate.
She also produced “Science Held Hostage: RU 486 and the Politics of Abortion,” which included the emotional story of her own back-alley abortion in Mexico. “I felt like I had to,” she told the Sun-Times when the documentary debuted in 1992. “I have many, many friends who had pre-Roe abortions and some who had post-. Everybody has someone close to them who’s been through it.”
Ms. Morris also produced “The Science of Sports” for Kurtis Productions.
Jeannie passed away on December 14, 2020,
Born and raised in Chicago, Val Press attended Horace Mann Grade School, South Shore High School and graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. An Urban Fellow at the University of Chicago, Val authored a report entitled Hyde Park-Kenwood: A Case Study in Urban Renewal, a document that is still used by researchers and scholars today.
In 2001, Val observed her 50th anniversary at NBC and in television news. As a field producer for the Huntley-Brinkley Report and for WMAQ-TV in Chicago, she worked side-by-side with some of the most legendary journalists television has ever produced: John Chancellor, Fred Briggs, John Palmer, Floyd Kalber and Len O’Connor.
From the Civil Rights movement in the deep South to the West side riots in Chicago, from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy to the slaying of Dr. Martin Luther King, Val has covered the seminal events of our times.
She was tear-gassed on South Michigan Avenue when police and protestors clashed at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. She was in the courtroom for the trials of Clay Shaw, the Chicago Seven and Richard Speck. When an American airliner crashed at O’Hare in 1979, she worked the story and when jets slammed into the Twin Towers on September 11th, she was still working the story. When it came time for Val to unpack her suitcase and come home from the road, she settled down on the Assignment Desk at Channel 5. For almost three decades, she ran crews, chased reporters and stared down producers from behind her bank of phones, radios and mics. For the past several years, she has also produced City Desk with Dick Kay.
An astute political observer, Val was on the job the day Richard J. Daley was elected mayor and the day he died in office. During her watch, a Bilandic, a Byrne, a Washington, a Sawyer and another Daley would occupy the fifth floor of City Hall.
Val and television news came of age together. Back before the digital newsroom, there was film. Editors used glue and cameras were bigger than today’s portable satellite packs. Wire machines and typewriters clattered. The newsroom hummed with urgency – rushing tape to the airport, racing to City Hall, running to another story. There were deadlines. There was a sense of importance. And there was Val, as irrepressible as the NBC peacock, often inscrutable, sometimes skeptical, always curious – her impeccable nose for news sniffing out stories, improbable plots and political intrigues for the last half century. Val passed away on September 11, 2002.