Episode 19: Married Margaret!

Milwaukee Talk fans outside St. Augustine's Church
Hordes of Milwaukee fans gather outside Saint Augustine’s Church

This was the epic event in the history of The Chat Pack.  Never before and never since has a city joined hands together to celebrate such a wonderful occasion.

The American Log was there and caught it all…..



Renowned photographer Sandy Tam captures Milwaukee's golden couple
Renowned photographer Sandy Tam captures Milwaukee’s golden couple

MILWAUKEE, Saturday, October 31 – In what can only be described as Milwaukee’s biggest wedding since octogenarian sausage king Elmer Van Vleif married 20 year-old Milwaukee basketball cheerleader Sasha Joy Hagon, local TV celebutante Mary Margaret tied the knot with musician Rob Thomas amidst all the fanfare this city of 600,000 can supply.

Widely regarded as the most engaging and entertaining local TV icon in the U.S. midwest, Mary Margaret’s wedding didn’t fail to live up to its expectations.

Vic Shell, longtime faceman for WLKE-TV and Milwaukee Talk co-host with Mary Margaret, fronted a pre-wedding red carpet show from outside Saint Augustine’s Church.  The congregation arrived nestled between temporary fences holding back Margaret’s many uninvited fans as Shell reported live on the pomp and unfolding circumstances.  Among the attendees were Mayor Tommy Wells, Milwaukee baseball stars Roger Belmont and Freddie Parks, and spoken word and self-proclaimed per4mance artist AAR0N lUNdqUiSt. When the wedding convened inside, the overflow fans and devotees were entertained outside by local comedic silent actor troupe, “Play It, Don’t Say It” who re-enacted the wedding on the church steps.

The packed cathedral was treated to a memorable ceremony.  Flanked by her wedding party; hair and makeup arist Kristy Lynn Taylor, Margaret’s right-hand chase producer Jeannie Reesman and her massage artist Shea, Mary Margaret walked the aisle at precisely 10AM to an organ rendition of the Milwaukee Talk theme song (tying in nicely with the live Milwaukee Talk simulcast).   The ring bearer and flower girl were station owner Honus Knox III’s grandchildren, Esther and Seymour.

The ceremony was presided over by the host of the WLKE-TV faith and inspiration program Pray TV, Father Timothy McCartney.  Hash Urb, lead guitarist of the local thrash metal revival band, Still Tickin’, provided a moving rendition of “Ave Maria” on his guitar with a violin bow.

The vow exchange was flawless.  Margaret’s delivery was clear and concise, much like her occasional anchoring of the noon newscasts.  This was probably mostly due to the teleprompter that was discreetly stationed sanctuary left.

Lars Hoglund, videographer and Talk’o’Waukee TV award winner for Best News Videography, took still pictures of the newly wedded couple in the church and then in Kosciuszko Park.

The evening reception was held at the venerable yet elegant Stafford Place.  Local hits were interspersed throughout the 5 and 6 o’clock newscasts from the banquet room.  In addition to the news hits, Vic Shell did double duty by M.C.’ing the reception proceedings from a mockup Milwaukee Talk set.   It was a hard choice for the guests; either feast on the duck confit and filet mignon or eat up Shell’s witty repartee and observations.

In the spirit of Halloween, the evening morphed into a masquerade party.  Baseball stars Roger Belmont and Freddie Parks dressed as Mary Margaret and Vic Shell, re-enacting an old embarrassing interview Shell booted years earlier.  Mayor Barrett dressed as a Viking complete with a kyrtill (an over tunic) while per4mance artist AAR0N lUNdqUiSt dressed as unbridled euphoria.

The evening ended on a sentimental note.  With loosened tie and sweat on his brow from a frenetic day, Shell raised a glass to toast the couple. “We work in the craziest, most neurotic, wonderful industry in the world.  Happiness sometimes comes in the form of hitting a 5-second extro with 7 items or correctly pronouncing former Mayor Stittswiggles’s name at a jam-packed presser. Our professional days are full.  I have two cockatiels at home and I can tell you our personal lives are kinetic too. But today, in my co-host Mary, I’m seeing the nicest host in all the cities I’ve worked in finding the time to celebrate this joyous milestone.  I wish her all of the happiness and all of the best.  It’s so refreshing to see her enjoying herself outside the parameters of her TV job. And now I call on Mary to say a few words and to tell us what’s on the show on Monday.”


It had been a long time since Vic Shell held the reigns alone on Milwaukee Talk. But once Mary tied the knot, she had booked a five week honyemoon.  In the meantime, to ensure the show’s ratings held their ground, Allen Kew also launched a bold advertising campaign during that period.

“We decided there was so much noise and yelling on TV in those days, we went the exact opposite and took the lowest key advertising approach we could think of.   We got a lot of negative phone calls but there’s no such thing as bad publicity when it comes to Shell”, executive producer Allen Kew recalls.

Here’s that very simple yet effective promo from the era when Kew played up Shell as a single, eligible bachelor knocking on Milwaukee’s female viewers’ doors every morning….

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