Left: 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.