MOVIE STAR, ENTERTAINER, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, DEPUTY DIRECTOR GENERAL, NBC RADIO & MORE!
Today February 11, 1924 George Sanders was born some where in Michigan, town unknown. He had said, he was a child actor on radio and later a foreign correspondent during World War II. Later he said he worked for the NBC Radio program "The Richfield Reporter" and did work for Country station KFVD in Los Angeles by 1949.
Sanders was also a Movie Star at one point, although a lot of his early careers are vague. He moved to Portland in 1959, taking the job as KPTV's Program Director. On December 9, 1959 George debuted "Sports By-Line" a 15 minute live interview show Wednesday's at 7:45pm. On December 29, 1959 Sanders began his KPTV morning show "Eye Opener" weekdays at 7:30pm for 30 minutes.
On March 1, 1960 KPTV relaunched "News Central" at 6:00pm, after being canceled April 27, 1959. (KPTV lost NBC to KGW-TV. ABC had no evening newscast as a companion program for "News Central", leaving "Final Edition" as KPTV's only newscast).
On "News Central" John Salisbury did international news & commentary; Wallace Turner, local news; George Sanders, sports and John Lewis, weather. On April 12, 1960 John Salisbury left for the "East-West Summit Conference" in Paris for a week. In his place was George Sanders, national & international news, with Jimmy Jones filling in for Sanders, reporting on sports. This combination might have worked better, or there were other reasons, since Sanders was also Program Director.
On May 11, 1961 Sanders left for a months tour of Europe. Landing in London. Then traveling to Paris, Brussels and the Scandinavian countries and finally to Spain, where he had hoped to get an interview with Don Carlos, heir to the Spanish throne. On May 16, 1960 John Salisbury was taken off "News Central" but remained on KPTV's "Final Edition" at 11:00pm. At this point George left his "Sports By-Line" show and began doing five minute news segments for "The Better Half" show weekday mornings at 10:55am.
On June 23 1961 Sanders began his famous talk's to public groups. The first was at the Downtown Lions Club meeting at noon. George's topic "First Impressions of Famous People." George would talk about all the famous people he had met in his career. His famous talk's continued July 17, 1961 at the noon luncheon meeting of the Holladay Park Kiwanis Club.
In the August 23, 1961 "Behind The Mike" column, Sanders said he had an autograph collection: "It includes signatures of at least 85 Academy Award winners plus those of many business leaders and every person who has served in the U.S. Senate during the past 20 years. Nothing artificial about the collection, either -- Sanders has met them all, and interviewed most of them. But George says the autographs are not for sale. Proof: He once turned down an offer of $10,000 for the whole works."
On September 14, 1961 Sanders spoke to the Progressive Business Men's Club luncheon. His topic? "Impressions of Famous People." The next day September 15, 1961 "Eye Opener" ended it's run on KPTV. On December 4, 1961 "News Central" moved to 6:30pm with George Sanders, William Lambert & Jimmy Jones. On January 2, 1962 "The Better Half" ended it run on KPTV.
On March 31, 1962 George began as emcee for KPTV's revival of "Stump The D.J.'s" live quiz show, Saturday nights at 10:30pm. The DJ's were: Barney Keep (KEX), Sammy Taylor (KWJJ), Bob Blackburn (KPOJ) & Bill Davis (KGW). On April 7, 1962 Sanders resigned as KPTV Program Director but continued on "News Central" & "Stump The D.J.'s." Eventually Sanders got a new title, KPTV News Director. On May 19, 1962 "Stump The D.J.'s" aired it's last time on KPTV.
On March 4, 1963 George Sanders became "KISN Radio" Director of News Operations but continued as KPTV News Director and on "News Central." Then on May 1, 1963 Sanders resigned his position at KISN, switching to News Director at KWJJ with daily newscasts.
On August 1, 1963 George Sanders resigned from "News Central" and KPTV News Director, after sponsor Enco filling stations had pulled out of newscasts in favor of sporting events. On October 18, 1963 George Sanders began hosting "Late Date At The Movies" Friday nights at 11:30pm to 2:30am.
By February 1965 George Sanders was KWJJ Program Director & still News Director, on the air daily. By March 1966 Sanders was KWJJ General Manager but yet still News Director and on the air daily. Around KWJJ he liked to be known as "Big Daddy."
On March 1, 1973 KWJJ was sold for $2.5 Million cash. The papers had been signed on Sanders birthday Feb 11th. "Behind The Mike" column commented on March 2nd. "George Sanders who used to be photographed with every celebrity who visited Portland (and has been immortalized in the background of dozens of newspaper pictures) was replaced by John Petty (formerly with KPTV and KPOJ.)"
On July 31, 1974 it was announced George Sanders was appointed Asst. Director General of all broadcasting operations for the Corporation of Radio New Zealand, which included 40 radio stations. "Sanders and his family established permanent residency in Dunedin, New Zealand, in June 1973. As Deputy Director General, he will be responsible for the radio sales of the entire network as well as lend his expertise to the extensive news-gathering resources and programming of Radio New Zealand."
On August 31, 1977 it was reported George Sanders had resigned from Radio New Zealand and was flying back to the United States September 16th. His family was already in Southern California. After visiting his mother there, he would come to Portland September 30th to discuss some business matters with Portland advertising man Dick Seller. "The likelihood of his staying in the Pacific Northwest is slim," said Seller. "because he's a talented man and a number of things have opened up for him."
On December 26, 1982 Oregonian staff writer Jean Henniger did an article titled "Those Early Days Were Zany At KPTV" excerpt: One of KPTV's most colorful characters was George Sanders. "Sanders was inordinately fond of his friendships with prominent people -- movie stars, athletes and politicians.
He had a (KWJJ) "Sanders Meanders" show which relied heavily on his personal association with celebrities, and his office walls were plastered with photos of himself with these personalities, all autographed. Some noticed that the handwriting expressing these fond felicitations was remarkably similar on all the photos.
Not greatly beloved by his co-workers, Sanders was greeted on his last day by a picture of Jesus Christ, pasted up to appear as though he were arm in arm with Sanders. It was autographed, "Yours, J.C." Sanders, after a stint as a Radio Executive in New Zealand for several years, was last heard of raising chickens in North Carolina, according to KPTV sources."
References: Billboard magazine, Broadcasting magazine, The Oregonian.