“He was always ready,” A look back at those who helped shape NewsChannel 4

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Channel 4 is getting a new home!

We're days away from unveiling our new television station.

But, before we do, we want to look back on the men and women who made Channel 4 the nationally recognized station that it is.

If you grew up in Oklahoma City in the 1950's, chances are you remember 3-D Danny and his interstellar companion, Bazark.

Guess who was inside that homemade robot? A young station announcer named John Ferguson.

"Nobody told us how to do it because they'd never done it before," Ferguson said.

Episodes of 3-D Danny were broadcast live. It was one of the highest rated kids shows in the nation.

"Two years later, they come and say, 'Can you create a character for a late night horror show?'" Ferguson said.

That's when "Count Gregore" was born. A character Ferguson would play for 50 years.

Also sharing Studio B was a cowboy with a seemingly endless supply of Gold Horseshoes: Foreman Scotty and the Circle Four Ranch.

Lucky kids celebrating their birthday had a seat reserved on Woody, the birthday horse.

And the milestones continued.

The first coach's show in the nation aired in our studios.

OU Coach Bud Wilkinson patiently showed fans the inside secrets of his game plan. It was the first play-by-play analysis on television.

Severe weather coverage was born at Channel 4.

In 1952, Harry Volkman made history by broadcasting the first live tornado warning in the nation.

Channel 4 set the bar for weather coverage, backed by station owners who believed in technology.

"Ed Gaylord was, as far as I was concerned, the one who made this station become what it is today. He was always ready to open the pocket book to make sure you had the finest technology and equipment to do your job," said Former General Manager Lee Alan Smith.

Jim Williams spent 32 years in the Channel 4 weather department. He was always looking for new and innovative ways to broadcast severe weather information.

His first weather set was a "cube we used to write on. On that cube were four maps. They were Formica."

Jim had to find something that would write on the surface. And, in doing so, invented a primitive version of a Sharpie.

"It was a piece of felt we put in a bottle we made up with a little fluid in it, like an Elmer's Glue Bottle. And, we wrote with it," he said.

How did he memorize the dozens of temperatures he wrote on the board?

"Well, I'll tell you a secret," he laughs. "I had a red pen. And with that red pen, I could write on the Formica with all my little cues and you couldn't see it. I haven't told many people that."

​Most of Channel 4's history took place in the building we've called home for close to 70 years.

As we move to our new building, which is only a stone's throw away, we're reminded of the hundreds of men and women whose talent, creativity and ingenuity made Channel 4 a legacy station.

They provided the blueprint that will move with us into the future.

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