Letterman Was A Bonnie Lou Fan Too

Dec 22, 2015

David Letterman
Credit CBS Television

Not only did David Letterman love Cincinnati’s “Paul Dixon Show,” he was a huge fan of Dixon’s sidekicks Colleen Sharp Murray and Bonnie Lou.

And I have the proof.

Going through my Letterman files recently, I found a note Dave sent me in 1998 referencing Bonnie Lou, the vocalist from WLWT-TV’s “Dixon” and “Midwestern Hayride” who died earlier this month at age 91. Lee Hay will air a one-hour tribute to Bonnie Lou at 11 p.m. Saturday in place of the weekly “Blues” show.

Paul Dixon with Bonnie Lou (left) and Colleen Sharp Murray.
Credit WLWT-TV

When I visited Letterman in his “Late Show” office in 1997, he told me that Dixon was his inspiration. After graduating from Ball State in 1969, he started watching “Dixon” on WLWT-TV’s sister station in Indianapolis and said, “That’s what I want to do.” He also told me about going to Reds games with his dad by train to Union Terminal.

In the early 1970s, when the "Dixon" show would do a broadcast remote from Indianapolis, Letterman requested that Colleen Sharp Murray come to his morning radio show for an interview. She has told me several times that Letterman knew the "Dixon" show inside out from watching the weekday morning telecast when he got home from doing his morning-drive radio show. 

So when WLWT-T sold VHS copies of Dixon’s famous “rubber chicken wedding” episode, I sent Letterman the tape along with the Enquirer’s Reds Opening Day section. He sent me this note:

Credit John Kiesewetter

WVXU-FM’s Bonnie Lou tribute at 11 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 26, includes a 2007 interview that Randy McNutt, a local music historian and former Enquirer reporter, did with Bonne Lou about her King Records hits and working at WLWT-TV with Ruth Lyons and Paul Dixon. Host Lee Hay will play many of her songs, and a few comments from me about my interviews with Bonnie Lou.