So, what's with the "3" anyway?"

One of the most frequent questions people ask me (even today), is why I spelled my name with a “3”. Here's the full story.

It was during the time immediately after Andy Moore left the “Movies 'Til Dawn”, and before I started working solo. We had stopped working as “Race Street and Bascom Avenue”, and a lady named Ronnie Richards had taken over hosting duties for the show. Apparently, there had been a disagreement between Ms. Richards and management at MMM Carpets about how frequently she was mentioning the sponsor's name. Vic Molinaro, one of the owners of MMM Carpets, felt that she was treating the show as “The Ronnie Richards Show”, rather than “Movies 'Til Dawn”, sponsored by MMM Carpets. The disagreement was serious enough so that Ms. Richards was relieved of hosting duties one Friday.

I came in to work on the following Monday, having just returned from a vacation in Hawaii. I was in Vic's office, catching up on what had happened while I was away. As we were wrapping up our conversation, Vic pointed his index finger in the air, signaling that he'd just remembered something.

“Oh, Gary, by the way... there was a bit of a flap about Ronnie's hosting the All Night Movies. I think you're supposed to take over.”

“What?! When did this happen. Never mind that, when do I start?” I'd enjoyed being in front of the camera, and didn't object.

“Ummmm....I think it's today.”

“Today?! As in...TODAY?!”

Vic nodded, as if he'd just delivered some perfectly mundane news, like the weather. I excused myself from Vic's office, and called our contact at the TV station. I spoke with Jerry, who was the producer of the show.

“Jerry, it's Gary from MMM Carpets. I just heard that I'm supposed to be filming for the All Night Movies today. Is that right?”

“Ah, yep.”

“Well, when, for crying out loud? It's 10:00 now.”

I could hear Jerry shuffling papers over the phone.

“Looks like you're scheduled to start at 2:00. Oh, and we're getting the bumper ready. (A bumper is a card that displays the logo and title of the show to separate the show from the commercials.) How many R's in your name?”

Now, I just assumed (I have no idea why), that the bumper was going to read “The All Night Movies with Gary Ferry”, using both my first and last names.

“Three.” And with that, my fate was sealed.

“You're hilarious, Gary. See you at 2:00” said Jerry, and he clicked off.

After lunch, I headed over to the studio. I had prepared absolutely nothing. I didn't know what movie was showing, what the set would look like, what I would say, nothing. This could either be a lot of fun (like the Old Sourdough & Wachikanoka had been), or it could be pretty uncomfortable. I met Jerry in the production room as the previous show was wrapping up. He greeted me warmly, and, once the show being taped was finished, we moved to the All Night Movies set, where he showed me the bumper he'd had prepared. It read: “The All Night Movies with Ga3ry”. Beautiful. I think he was testing me to see if I'd waffle and insist on a proper spelling of my name. But I wasn't about to blink.

“Looks great, Jerry. What movie are we running?” Most of the smile melted from his face. I'd called his bluff. We went over a few details for the show, and I sat down to start taping.”

“Hi, and welcome to the All Night Movies. I'm Gary, spelled G-A-3-R-Y, the 3 is, of course, silent...”

As it turned out, the irregular spelling of my name piqued the interest of folks, and I got lots of letters about my silent numeral. Theories abounded – I had chosen the number to confound the computers that prepared bills, it stood for the number of kids I have (it does, but that wasn't why we used it), or the 3 stood for some secret, illicit quality, never elaborated upon. Whatever. The best use I ever found for the odd name was this: if I were ever sitting in a local tavern enjoying a beer and watching the game, someone would inevitably recognize me, buy me a drink and ask me about my 3. Now, I'm not one to turn down a beer, and I like talking to folks who recognize me, so it was a win-win situation for me!


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