Colder than.......
November 16, 2012 10:04 AM   Subscribe

Sonny Eliot celebrated 50 years in television back in 1997. Sonny, a B52 bomber pilot who was shot down and spent months in a POW camp in Germany, returned to Detroit after the war and began accepting any position/role he could in local TV.

Over the years he forecast the weather, wrote an episode of the Lone Ranger, was the voice of a TV puppet and became the most recognized TV personality in Michigan. After 63 years on TV and a million bad jokes ( "It's 52 degrees in Three Rivers; that's the highest temperature in the state. Three Rivers--that's where they started a new business, making the front ends of horses. Then they ship them to the Detroit council chambers for final assembly." ) Sonny signed off for the last time, at the age of 89.

Sonny passed away today at the age of 91, future generations of Michigan children will never know where the Keweenaw Peninsula is, or that it can be removed from the state at will.
posted by HuronBob (16 comments total)
posted by The World Famous at 10:14 AM on November 16, 2012

Did he pilot B-52s while he was a newscaster? Because otherwise I missed the Third World War.
posted by Palindromedary at 10:17 AM on November 16, 2012 [5 favorites]

Yeah, that would be B24, not B52
posted by grubby at 10:18 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

OK, that would have been "he piloted big airplanes".. sorry guys, thanks for catching the error.... evidently the neurons are not firing correctly today.
posted by HuronBob at 10:21 AM on November 16, 2012

Wow. I forgot all about him. I remember when the forecast would for like "windy & snow" he would come with some word like "snwindy". My Dad hated him, as a kid I thought he was pretty entertaining. I didn't know he was anything else except for a weatherman.
posted by marxchivist at 10:22 AM on November 16, 2012

posted by monster free city at 10:37 AM on November 16, 2012

Because otherwise I missed the Third World War.

Did you not get my evite?
posted by zippy at 11:38 AM on November 16, 2012

posted by getawaysticks at 12:24 PM on November 16, 2012

60 years in broadcasting is an amazing run. I can recall watching him fill in a couple of times on the weather on Channel 7 back in the late 80s or so.

posted by evilcolonel at 12:58 PM on November 16, 2012

I've only lived here 12 years, so I'm a relatively new Michigander. And I basically only ever encountered Sonny when I would be stuck in horrible traffic and would turn to WWJ radio to see if the cause was horrible enough for it to make their traffic report. But man was it great to hear him do some kinda goofy weather update while stuck in the middle of that garbage. Sad that I'll never have that experience again.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:12 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Have lived in Detroit area for approx. 30 yrs altogether. Never knew if I liked him or was a bit annoyed. Which means he was memorable either way.

posted by NorthernLite at 1:28 PM on November 16, 2012

posted by texorama at 5:21 PM on November 16, 2012

A few more Sonnyisms

• It's colder than a former wife's hello.

• It will be as pleasant as diaper rash.

• The storm is as suspicious as a dermatologist with acne.

• Driving will be as hazardous as tap dancing in a canoe.

• This is a storm so bad, it looks like a talent scout for a reform school.
posted by HuronBob at 5:34 PM on November 16, 2012

When the family visited my grandparents he would turn up on the television. I was about seven when he said something like "it's snowing and when it freezes it's going to get slippery... so yes, it's going to be snippery outside tonight". My sister and I laughed about that for a long time. ISTR he had an intriguing way of flipping his chalk or pointer as well. He seemed like a good guy, and bonus points for the way he irritated my dad.

posted by jet_silver at 7:40 PM on November 16, 2012

posted by Mojojojo at 1:25 AM on November 17, 2012

He certainly was a Detroit institution, although not in the same league as Ernie Harwell, but I never could stand him. I was a very serious kid, and his frivolity interfered with the serious business of the ski report.
posted by QIbHom at 12:44 PM on November 20, 2012

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