On Episode 10 of the WV Podcast, our famous West Virginian is Herb Morrison, and we tracked down those involved in a heartwarming story our niece Tiffanee Rice posted on Facebook, involving a hotel in Vienna, WV, a boy named Conner, and two monkeys.
Welcome to the WV Podcast, West Virginia’s Podcast. This show features the great state of West Virginia and stories of the amazing people who make it such a wonderful place to live. Your hosts are Jeff & Dee Holbrook. Let’s tear down the negative hillbilly stereotype that has been assigned to us by the national media. Let’s tell our own story.
Maker Of The Rain, our theme music, was composed and performed by Tonya Kouns Holbrook, a lifelong West Virginia resident.
We first talk about a DUI wreck in front of our house. Here is a link to the blog post I wrote on the subject:
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Todays Famous West Virginian is Herb Morrison
Herb Morrison (1906-1989), was an American radio reporter for Chicago station WLS, and is best known for his dramatic report of the Hindenburg disaster, a catastrophic fire that destroyed the LZ 129 Hindenburg zeppelin on May 6, 1937, killing 36 people.
Chicago radio station WLS had sent reporter Herb Morrison and sound engineer Charles Nehlsen to record the landing which was being celebrated as the first anniversary of the inauguration of transatlantic passenger service.
Morrison described the scene at Lakehurst, N.J., as the Hindenburg, a German airship, burst into flames and was destroyed in a matter of seconds. The podcast includes an excerpt of the recording.
In the famous recording, Morrison said,
“It’s crashing! It’s crashing terrible! Oh, my get out of the way, please. It’s bursting into flames! And it’s falling on the mooring mast. All the folks agree this is terrible, one of the worst catastrophes on the world. Oh, the flames, four or five hundred feet in the sky! It’s a terrific crash ladies and gentlemen! The smoke and the flames now, and the frame is crashing to the ground, not quite to the mooring mast. Oh, the humanity, and all the passengers!”
Morrison and Nehlsen continued their work, reporting at length on the rescue efforts and interviewing survivors, with several pauses while Morrison composes himself.
Thirty-five people died in addition to one fatality on the ground. The 16-inch green lacquer disk recordings were rushed back to Chicago by airplane and broadcast in full later that night. Portions were rebroadcast nationally by the NBC Radio network the next day. It was the first time recordings of a news event were ever broadcast, and also the first coast-to-coast radio broadcast. Morrison’s quick professional response and accurate description combined with his own emotional reaction have made the recordings a classic of audio history.
Morrison was born in Pennsylvania. He began his broadcasting career at WMMN in Fairmont,WV and is said to have worked in radio also in Clarksburg. After moving to Morgantown, West Virginia – his wife’s hometown – in 1970, he was often called upon to remember his famous broadcast for news outlets, especially on significant anniversaries of the event. He also involved himself with West Virginia University where he lectured and helped develop a radio and television program for the University Relations department at WVU. Charles Cremer, a journalism professor at West Virginia University invited Morrison into his classroom many times is the 1970s. Cremer said, “I would play the recording of the Hindenburg radio program for my class and then he would embellish it. He was modest and humble. He understood it could have been anyone behind that microphone and thought he owed it to the world to make his story known whenever he was asked. He never seemed to tire of telling his story.”
Morrison lived near Cheat Lake outside Morgantown after his retirement. He died on January 11, 1989, of pneumonia in Sundale Nursing Home in Morgantown where he spent his last years. He lived to be 83 years old, certainly enough time to reflect on his extraordinary life.
The video can be viewed on Archive.org. The link will be included in the show notes for episode 10 of the WV Podcast.
Monkey Time or Conner, Monk, and Wyndham (Listen to the podcast for the full story!)
Ok everyone grab the tissues and make sure to write this hotel down. This is an update from last week when i said the hotel couldn’t find Conners monkey that was left behind. They sent him a package and we received it today. It was marked fragile all over the box and handle with care we opened it to find this. We read the letter and I cried , Conner cried and my mom cried ! Then we see these pictures … They seriously went throughout the entire hotel to take pictures of this new monkey enjoying his stay! My heart is overfilled with joy right now. Conner was so sad to lose his best friend but for them to show how much they cared will make me stop in to see them next time I’m down that way! This is by far one of the most amazing acts of kindness I’ve ever been a part of! Please please show this hotel some love visit them on Facebook visit them if you are ever in Vienna ,WV !
Photos and Facebook post by Lindsey Taylor
Thanks so much to Michael Gibson, General Manager, and Lindsay Norris, Assistant General Manager for giving so freely of their time to tell their side of the story. Their efforts were appreciated so much by Conner, his mother, grandmother, and of course, two happy monkeys!!
Wingate by Wyndham Hotel, Vienna, WV
This great hotel is a 12-minute walk from the banks of the Ohio River, 1.1 miles from the Grand Central Mall and 4.3 miles from the Wood County Courthouse.
The relaxed rooms have free WiFi, desks and TVs with premium cable channels, plus minifridges, microwaves and coffeemakers. Suites add whirlpool tubs and separate living areas with pull-out sofas. Kids 17 and under stay free with an adult.
Amenities include free hot breakfast and parking, as well as an indoor pool, a hot tub and a fitness center. There’s also a business center and meeting space.
Address: 1502 Grand Central Ave, Vienna, WV 26105
Our featured video today is from WVCommerce. It’s titled “West Virginia Welcome Video”. Check it out! The link is in the show notes for Episode 10. WVPodcast.com
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Let’s Tell Our Own Story.