A look back on five decades of Dave Brown

A look back on five decades of Dave Brown

The year was 1962. Ray Charles' "I can't stop loving you" was topping the charts when a high school sophomore named Dave Brown, of Trenton, Tennessee, landed his first job in broadcasting.

Disc Jockey Tony Reeves needed a host for the Saturday afternoon Record Hop at WKBJ in Milan, TN.

"Dave and I went to school together," Reeves said. "Dave came by one day and he said, 'Man, you're playing records and all this great music and getting paid for it. I'd like to do that."

Dave's original script from June 30, 1962, when he hit the airwaves as Dee Brown, remains intact.

"Dave has not changed one bit from the first time I met him," said Ken Galey, who fondly remembers the days Dave spent on the radio.

But, there were big changes in store for Dave Brown.

In 1967, he did make a pretty woman his wife. Margaret Brown was, and still is, his beautiful bride.

Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke" was the number one hit on May 23, 1977, when Dave first went to air on WMC Action News 5.

"When this opportunity came up to talk about Dave, I thought, 'What could I say that would embarrass him?' OK, and we worked together all those years surely, and I thought, 'Nothing really. Because he's so straight and he's so sincere. And he's so professional with what he does,'" said former WMC Action News 5 anchor Nancy Hart. "That's who he is. He is the weatherman and it meant so much to him to be a good weatherman. That's what's really important."

Mid-South viewers quickly felt Dave's comforting presence during his daily forecasts.

But, outside of the WMC Storm Tracking Center, Dave was the face of Lewis Ford. Who could resist '77 Thunderbird? Or a CB radio and Dave Brown in a brown leisure suit?

It didn't stop with Lewis Ford. Dave helped viewers remodel their kitchens, told them where to stash their cash, and he took them to the horse races... and of course, into the wrestling ring.

Dave Brown and Lance Russell hosted wrestling on Saturday mornings for 25 years, ringside with the best of the best from The Rock to Macho Man Randy Savage, and Memphis' own Jerry "The King" Lawler.

While Dave seems to be at ease anywhere, it is his calm during the storm that puts the rest of us at ease.

For his many decades of service, Memphis Magazine dubbed Dave a "port in every storm."

Dave has been honored by Memphis Grizzlies, Memphis Redbirds, and wrestling fans still line up for his autograph.

And year after year, Dave is awarded "best weatherman" accolades from Memphis Flyer and Commercial Appeal readers.

He is no doubt a true legend, but an urban legend has followed him for decades.

"I have probably heard 300 to 500 versions of what happened and none of them are true," Dave said.

It all started in 1975 when a stranger made his way into the building where Dave was working at another Memphis TV station.

"He comes up and all of a sudden, he mumbled something and I frankly to this day can't tell you what he said," Dave recalled. "He did take a swing at me, but he didn't punch me with his fist. He didn't punch me in the face or anything like that...

...It had nothing to do with me, it had nothing to do with wrestling. As far as we know, it didn't have anything to do with the news. Turns out he was a mentally disturbed person who had walked away from a treatment center in Waukegan, Illinois," Dave concluded.

Despite all the fanfare, the man with his own bobblehead never let success go to his head.

Organizations from West Memphis to Nashville honor Dave annually for saving lives with his forecasts and his commitment to family.

His work with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), in honor of his daughter, grand daughter, and unborn grandson, who were killed by a drunk driver, is something he will continue doing long after he leaves the storm tracking center.

An Emmy Award-winning meteorologist and member of National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle, Dave and his family have reaped the rewards of an incredible 53-year career in radio and television. Thirty-eight of those years were at WMC Action News 5.

"Some people would say that Dave is different than others," said his friend, Jerry "The King" Lawler. "But, I think that Dave's unique quality is that he wasn't different. That he was every man. That people that were watching at home felt like Dave was one of us."

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