Friday, January 04, 2019

Doug Johnson of KPRC has died

Beloved former KPRC 2 weatherman Doug Johnson had passed away at the age of 79


It's with sad news I pass on the news that one of Houston's most popular weathermen, KPRC's Doug Johnson, 79, has died, his former station is reporting.

I can still remember sitting in my grandmother's living room watching her TV friends Ron Stone and Doug Johnson on the "Scene at 5" just having a friendly conversation on the channel 2 newscast. Years later, I watched a clip of those two again and it was amazing how effortless they made it look compared to today's more scripted fare.

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Video: KPRC 2 remembers Doug Johnson

I would guess that was the appeal of Johnson, he really was like someone you knew in real life. He also helped pioneer television news while covering some dangerous Houston weather.

Johnson was also a fixture on 950 KPRC AM when the Hobby family owned both the television and radio stations, probably only making him more popular with Houstonians.

According to the Liberty County Vindicator newspaper, Johnson was born in the Houston Heights and was a fifth generation Texan. He attended Reagan High School, TCU, Alaska Baptist University and Alaska University.

His first radio job was at KBYR Anchorage, Alaska. He joined KPRC in 1962 and remained on the NBC affiliate until 1994.

Johnson returned to Houston morning TV after KPRC on what was at the time KNWS 51.

In KPRC's excellent story on Johnson's life, the station featured the infamous clip of Wilma the Weather Chicken. Yes, there was a chicken before Radar the Weather Dog.

Johnson told Ernie Manouse on A Conversation on Houston Classic TV on Houston Public Media TV 8 KUHT in 2012 all about the clip which I have transcribed below.

"Ron Stone thought of millions of things over the years that would make my life miserable. And he always thought I needed help with the weather and Wilma the Weather Chicken was one of his inventions," "He presented it to me on the five o'clock show. And he told me to open up the lid, take the chicken out, and it would peck food from the bowl indicating the weather for the next day. We had a bowl called 'partly cloudy,' one called 'cloudy,' and one called 'clear.' So I reach in to grab the chicken, and I've seen chickens before, I had spent some time on the farm up in Franklin, TX, but I had never seen a chicken like this one before. It looked more like the cross between a buzzard and a dove. And it bit me as I was taking it out. And I enjoy sympathy so I wore a big bandage to work the next day. Anyway I set the chicken down and it took off. It didn't peck from any of the bowls, but flew up into the rafters after it landed on Bill Worrell's desk and defecated. But it stayed into the rafters for probably a week until they hired a wrangler to come out and get it."




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