This was The Chat Pack at their finest of hours.
“It always makes my job easier when one of the show’s stars acquiesces for the other,” Allen Kew concedes. “I remember this moment well. It was a Friday… August 7…11:20 in the a.m…. Margaret was sitting directly across from Shell…. She just revealed the big news…the conversation quickly diverted to the topic of how many medical studies there were noting how bad second-hand cigarette smoke was not only for the expecting mothers, but to their child.”
“And…that there are also dangers to the smokers themselves,” a still-shocked Shell told The American Log.
MILWAUKEE, August 10 – Longtime TV blather man Vic Shell noted on this morning’s edition of Milwaukee Talk that he will no longer be smoking cigarettes while on the air.
“Allen, Mary and I had a long heart-to-heart-to-heart talk at our 11:01 meeting yesterday and I have decided…with a little help from my friends…to butt out during the show,” Vic admitted to his Milwaukee audience.
“I thank you and the baby thanks you even more,” four month pregnant co-host Mary Margaret chimed in.
“Now that I won’t be sparking those darts during the show or at our 11:01 meetings I guess that makes me a three cigarette-a-day man,” Shell continued. “I’ll have one first thing in the morning with my coffee, another right before dinner and then another one after… ahem.”
Allen Kew quipped there hasn’t been a smoker on daytime television other than Shell “for years and years. Nick Davis on All My Children… Richard Dawson on Match Game… you would have been in good company if this were 1978.”
While Shell’s on-air smoking is technically illegal, Milwaukee Talk responded to FCC filed complaints by claiming the show isn’t a news program and Vic Shell is more “persona” than person. In other words he is, in television parlance, an actor.
According to inside sources, Kew and Margaret convinced Shell to “give up the sticks” as they explained that smoking on TV is usually reserved for unsympathetic and disreputable characters nowadays, of which Shell is neither.
“Shell took one last puff, thought about it, accidently exhaled in Mary’s face and then said let’s do it,” according to an insider at the meeting.
For once during our video segments, we’re going to show you one of those rare moments on Milwaukee Talk when things didn’t go according to plan.
“When you work with wildcards like Margaret and Shell, you have to have the show so finely planned out and vacuum packed tightly so you finish that show at precisely 10:59:50 every morning, ” executive producer Allen Kew explained.
Here’s a clip that started out innocently enough…Shell and Margaret answering viewer mail from a segment that they used to call “Milwaukee Mailbag”…