Aug 28, 2006

To Dennis Staples

Bob Kelly and Dennis Staples saying goodbyeLeft: WRQN's Bob Kelly and Dennis Staples saying goodbye; photo by Allan Dietrich of the Toledo Blade

(Toledo, OH) It was with sadness that I learned ten days ago that the longtime Toledo radio duo Kelly and Staples would be ending their partnership of almost 20 years due to health issues experienced by Dennis Staples.

I had not realized I have been listening to the pair for so long.

I will not engage in hyperbole here, as the retirement of a morning host in a mid-sized radio market is not news of great import. I certainly felt a greater sense of loss when JP McCarthy, the heart and soul of Detroit's WJR-760, died in 1995.

The magic of Kelly and Staples, however, certainly deserves more than the brief local tributes afforded the pair. Few radio teams can achieve the sort of chemistry that these two radio veterans created.

The pair simultaneously spoofed and embraced radio clichés, while avoiding cheap gimmicks such as characters. Dennis Staples, though, was quite a character himself, and could subtly switch from loveable buffoon to a sort of professorial savant in the same segment.

Staples is an extremely intelligent man; it is unlikely that one could hear references to, say, Herman Melville on any other morning radio station in Toledo (or, for that matter, in the country). At the same time he could play the clueless straight man better than anyone I have ever heard.

The pair collaborated on a daily feature that used the Mary Worth cartoon as a vehicle to recycle old jokes. Neither the comic strip nor the accompanying jokes were worth remembering, but my day did not seem the same without my 8:40 dose of "Mary Worth," as presented by Kelly and Staples.

I will also miss the duo spontaneously breaking out in song, especially their satirical (but heartfelt) rendition of "The Kelly & Staples, the Kelly & Staples, the Kelly & Staples SHOOOOOOOOW."

OK, it is much better rendered live, but those who listened will know what I mean.

Dennis: I hope that your health improves, and that Toledo radio listeners might occasionally hear you on the air in cameo appearances. You will be sorely missed.


Anonymous said...

Mornings won't be the same without Kelly and Staples.

Calico Jack said...

Personally, I didn't care for the Kelly and Staples show, and so didn't listen unless I was forced to do so - at a local breakfast diner, for instance.

Sorry to learn about Staples poor health, though.

Michael said...

Though I'm more of a flipper on the drive to work, one of my regular stops was 93.5.

I'm a long-time fan of Norman Plumber (sp?), eh, I mean Bob Kelly. He and Dennis Staples were great together. As a team, they will be missed. I wish only the best for Mr. Staples.

The Blade, the morning or so after the last show, had a very nice piece on its site -- an audio clip and photos from the last show. (Think the Blade should do more non-traditional media stuff!)

Good luck the the Kelly & Becky Show.

Hooda Thunkit said...

I used to listen to these lovable boobs years ago, haven't listened recently, but still remember their uncanny chemistry.

I never realized there was as much going on when I read Mary Worth myself ;-)

Dennis will be missed by all who have ever heard him, of this I am sure, he's that kind of rare talent.

Live Well Dennis!

fjl said...

This is good, Mike, I identify with you here. It's extraordinary how some talented characters can become a part of our lives and creep up on us, especially if they identify an interest, and we listen to them often.

love this blog, btw, and I've come out of the lurking shadows.

historymike said...

Thanks for the comments and kudos, especially those for Dennis Staples.

jnomina said...

It's been a year and a half since the last comment, and so to update this page...

I just heard tonight that Dennis Staples died 10(?)days ago, due to complications of tainted heparin (anti-bloodclotting agent) after dialysis.

I never listened to their morning show, but I did see the pair in various local TV commercials. Together, they were a local icon.

My condolences to his family.

Anonymous said...

This is a great article-- Dennis Staples is my father and I miss the person and the humor everyday! STUPID HEPARIN!
thanks lexi