Paul Dixon (entertainer)
Paul Dixon in 1970 publicity photo
October 27, 1918
|Died||December 28, 1974
|Occupation||Radio announcer and newscaster, disc jockey, television personality, daytime talk/variety show host|
Paul Dixon (1918–1974) was a daytime television personality and talk show host in Cincinnati, Ohio. He originally began his career with radio shows in New York City and Chicago before being enticed to come to then-radio station WCPO in Cincinnati as a news reporter and announcer around 1945. He was chosen best newscaster in Cincinnati in 1947 after conducting an interview with men trapped in a collapsed building in downtown Cincinnati.
Eventually abandoning radio news in favor of entertainment, he spent his first few years in television as host of Paul Dixon's Song Shop, a three-hour daily show he co-hosted with Dottie Mack and Wanda Lewis pantomiming to records of the day. By 1954 his show was so popular that Dumont Television enticed Dixon to come to New York to do the show nationally. After a year a homesick Dixon returned to Cincinnati, and hired on at WLWT to host a new daytime TV show geared to housewives.
The Paul Dixon Show, after having aired on the DuMont network from September 29, 1952 to April 8, 1955, premiered on Cincinnati's WLWT in 1955. The show began as a half-hour program, but later expanded to 90 minutes with co-hosts Bonnie Lou and Colleen Sharp. Avco Broadcasting Corporation, who owned WLWT, syndicated Dixon's show in other markets where they owned TV stations, including Columbus and Dayton, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. "Paul Baby", as he came to be known (the nickname was given him by a prop boy) had a breezy style and a sense of humor that appealed to housewives and others alike.
His show reached its peak on Tuesday, March 11, 1969, when he staged a wedding for two rubber chickens, that had become longtime props on the show (they were mainly used for in-house commercials for Kroger). Fellow Cincinnati TV personality Bob Braun appeared as Best Man, with Colleen Sharp and Bonnie Lou as Matrons of Honor. To this day The Chicken Wedding remains a significant piece of WLWT's (and Cincinnati's) television history. Late Night TV host David Letterman, who grew up in Indianapolis, cites Dixon's comedic talent as inspiration for his own antics.
Dixon wrote and published two books; the first in 1968 titled Paul Baby: Confessions of the Mayor of Kneesville. Two years later he published Letters to Paul Baby, a compilation of Dixon's favorite fan mail.
Dixon and his wife Marge had two children; Pamela and Greg.
Dixon suffered his first heart attack in 1970, shortly after his son Greg was killed in a car accident. On the heels of his son's death, a grieving Dixon had to be helped on stage to do his show one day.
Complications later led to a ruptured aneurysm, which claimed Dixon's life on December 28, 1974. Avco executives concluded that Dixon could not be replaced, so following a month of reruns, The Paul Dixon Show quietly ended its near-20 year run by the end of January 1975. Dixon is buried in Gate of Heaven Cemetery.
- Friedman, Jim (2007), Images Of America: Cincinnati Television, page 34, Arcadia Publishing, ISBN 978-0-7385-5169-2
- TVParty.com: Paul Dixon and other Cincinnati favorites
- WLWT.com page featuring classic clips from the Paul Dixon show. (Including one from the legendary Chicken Wedding.)
- Find-A-Grave profile for Paul Dixon