Needing Pardo

“Hello Frank? This is Don Pardo calling.”

I was thrilled but confused. The man with the famous voice said he was returning my call. We soon figured out that a pink phone-message slip intended for Bill Wendell had been placed in Pardo’s mailbox by mistake. Rather than throw it away, Pardo called WAVA and asked for me.

A day or two earlier I had called the NBC announcing department trying to reach Bill Wendell, who worked on Late Night with David Letterman. Wendell and my father were friends in the ’70s. Pardo gave the message slip to Wendell, who then called me.

A few years later when I was working at KROQ in Los Angeles, we had the opportunity to have Don Pardo record some lines for the morning show. Back in the days before MP3s and email, I faxed the script to The Source network in New York. On the day of the recording session, producer Dia Stein put me on the speakerphone in the control room to listen in and answer any questions Pardo might have about what type of inflection I wanted or how certain names should be pronounced.

It seems so archaic now to think that Dia would then mail me a reel-to-reel tape with Pardo’s voice on it. We used Pardo’s lines in promos and sweepers when we broadcast from New York to cover the MTV Video Music Awards.

The legendary Don Pardo died Monday at the age of 96.

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