When Bill Hess needed a very small amount of money to get into a check pool I was able to be helpful without thinking of making any career move. It was just a natural thing to do. Many times opportunities are not obvious until after they have occured.

Road To Stardom

I took a dollar out of my billfold and handed it to Bill Hess. He thanked me and entered the check pool. He won, of course, or there would be no story. The checks were given out in the morning and Bill had the best poker hand. Bill insisted on buying me lunch that day since I had loaned him a buck. We went to the Sahara Hotel and had a nice buffet. He told me he had just been hired by KENO Radio in Las Vegas to do the all night shift. That meant he was a deejay and he would be on the number one rock and roll station in Las Vegas. He had previously been a radio announcer and engineer in Alaska. I said a few funny things during the lunch. Bill asked me if I would write some comedy lines for him to use on his show. I was glad to have a creative outlet. I became an unpaid radio writer. That was the beginning for me. All of my Hollywood acting career happened because of that. Your show business career might seem like something unimportant until a few months have passed.

Getting Started In Radio

On February 26th of 1962 Bill asked me to come to the station with him. He had laryngitis. He said he would operate the board and I would do the talking. It was great! I made every mistake possible but I was on the radio and I was learning. Bill's voice didn't come back for three days.

So how do I remember it was Feb. 26th, 1962? Well, we went into the station about 11:30PM to get ready for the midnight show and one of the news items that came over the UPI teletype machine at the stroke of midnight was this day (now Feb, 27th, 1962) was Elizabeth Taylor's 30th birthday. Can she really be that old?

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Bill Hess told me about the FCC requirements for board operators in 1962. There was a need for a Radiotelephone Operator's License in those days for anyone seeking to operate radio equipment. I quickly studied and took the tests and became a qualified radio operator. I went to work for KVEG Radio soon after that and then a whole string of stations over the next thirty years.

I had a record company in the mid 1950s called Freeway Records. I had never released any recordings until 1962. I had a business license and the business gave me an opportunity in those days to spend money for tape recorders and pianos and write it off as a business expense. That is harder to do today. I began getting radio play in 1966 with my recording of "Mona Lisa." It was a rockabilly version of the old song with me on piano and a group of country musicians. It sounded OK and the recording was re-released in the 1990s on a compilation album (CD) in Holland. I used the name Herman Schmerdley on the recording and on the radio. I have released records and CDs since the 1960s and I still record. My tutorial sites are all based on my show business experiences.

I also began doing many live performances in the 1960s. (CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE)

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