Earlier that year Vic Shell had just gotten into that horrible accident with Les and the saw. One morning around that time Vic came onto set dozily stumbling around and banging into things like an October bumblebee. On-air that day he vowed to kick the booze and you could tell he meant it.
That year, I remember Christmas Eve very well. Milwaukee’s football team, the Green Bay Packers, would be playoff bound with a win over their arch enemy Minnesota Vikings that Friday afternoon (they usually play Sundays but they played this one on a Friday because of Christmas).
Allen said we needed to broadcast live during the pre-game. I’m not a sports fan, so we knew it had to be Vic. The predicament with Vic was that unfortunate camera seduction he had while he was working at WJMM in Minneapolis. As a result, he wasn’t allowed back in the state.
Allen Kew arranged for the Milwaukee Talk truck to go to the Wisconsin-Minnesota border outside Hudson, Wisconsin and do hits 22 miles from the stadium with Vic.
The temperature that day was unbelievably cold and like most days at that time of the year, the snow was flying.
“Mary, I am standing some 22 miles from the TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis where the big game is going to be played later on today. If you stood here at the edge of Wisconsin and closed your eyes, I swear you could hear the crowd and the cheers in anticipation of the big tilt.”
Any other reporter couldn’t have made it work. But when you think about what Vic was going through and his vow to give up the drink, it somehow all made perfect sense. There he was standing in a dairy field with a bitter cold induced frozen tear in his eye as far from the euphoria and frenzy of that stadium as you could probably be. He was alone in the wilderness living the life of a recovering drunk and he wasn’t invited to the party anymore.
It wasn’t until Monday’s show when we played a taped segment that I learned Vic and his cameraman stopped in Eau Claire on the way home and bought a bag of toys and a Santa outfit. They had went to an orphanage and gave the children gifts. I had never been more proud to have worked on any show.
– Mary Margaret, co-host of Milwaukee Talk
COMING THIS MONDAY: Episode 19: Married Margaret!