If Jules Herbuveaux
is credited for creating the Chicago School of television, then Bob Lemon must
be remembered for the renaissance of WMAQ-TV. In 1954 the last of the major network
shows moved to New York. By the mid ‘60s local programming was pared down to 30
minutes of news at 5:30 and a 15 minute newscast at 10:00. The TONIGHT SHOW started
at 10:15 (Central Time). This early start was an option for affiliates. Being
an O&O (owned and operated) station, we were required to air it. Lemon replaced
Lloyd Yoder as general manager in 1965, and within two years our local programming
started at 5:30 a.m. and ended with the MIDNIGHT NEWS. Many of these programs
have been outlined earlier in this document.
Rich Samuels, on
his Internet page, headlines Lemon as "The WMAQ-TV General Manager Everybody Loved."
This perception was generally held. Those of us who worked with Bob remember him
as kind, thoughtful, supportive, open and concerned with employees and their problems.
Lemon used his office to provide help, financial and emotional, to troubled staff.
To a person, we consider him the best of all general managers.
was another side of Bob Lemon. For those of us who suffered at his displeasure,
we found a much different man behind the closed doors in his 20th floor office.
Lemon could be hard nosed, vindictive and even cruel - the quintessential NBC
Vice President. He gave up his job in a scenario familiar to veteran NBC employees.
A new job was created for Bob. (Even in a day when life was more formal, almost
no one called him Mr. Lemon.) He was promoted UP and OUT. The small conference
room was set up as an office for Bob. Mr. Lemon showed up for a while, and then
he was gone.
Part of the Lemon
renaissance must be credited to a man wearing a different suit of clothes.
Father John Banahan