There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Eddie Gallaher is the last gentleman of that lost world called Radioland. Whether pitching the expertise of a chimney sweep or introducing a saloon song by Sinatra, he conjures a parallel universe ruled by Rosemary Clooney, where lyrics tell a story and sweet rolls are called “golden hot popovers.” Born in D.C., he grew up in Oklahoma and entered broadcasting covering football games back when the college gridiron sensation was future Redskins great Sammy Baugh. Gallaher returned to D.C. for good in 1946, and at 84, he still holds down the morning slot with co-host Bob Duckman at WWDC (1260 AM).
You’ve witnessed six decades of music history in Washington. What was the most memorable event to cover?
The most exciting music event I enjoyed was at Lorton Reformatory years ago: It was Frank Sinatra with Count Basie and his Orchestra and Ella Fitzgerald. We covered it for TV, and Sinatra went over very, very big. It was a helluva showand free.
In the postwar years, D.C. was a real musical hotbed.
In the ’50s, one of the big places was the Casino Royal downtown. I used to go see Les Paul and Mary Ford, Nat “King” Cole, all the greats. Of course, the Shoreham, in its heyday, did pretty wellJimmy Durante, Marlene Dietrich, and tons of other people. It seems that era of entertainment has passed us byeven finding a place to dance is hard.
Where did you get your signature sign-off, “It’s nice to know so many nice people”?
I dreamed it up years ago when I was on WTOP doing the Moon Dial show at night. I decided to do it because people were nice to me. When I came here, I didn’t have a pot to you-know-what in, and everybody was nice to methe studio and particularly the listeners.
Do you ever listen to Howard Stern or the Greaseman?
No, I’m not into trash. See, I have a very simple credo: I listen to radio to be entertained. I go throughand you do, tooall this crap all day long. I don’t want to hear about people’s problems or sending people to court or how horrible things are. Eddie Dean