It’s no secret that Daddy doesn’t play small-ball. No matter what, he swings for the fences. Case in point: he owns this dysfunctional TV station in a wayward, backwater region carved out of the industrial wasteland of our American past, hidden from the rigors and realities of modern-day commerce. But you’d never know the pissant nature of this station by looking at its sales brochure. Daddy managed to score the 4,500-seat Graphite County Opera House as part of the deal. This means that Morris and his enterprising assistant, Verona Kendermants, office in a sprawling Art-Deco landmark with a lobby that never ends. They close off the auditorium to save on heating and maintain rodent control, but there are times that Morris sneaks up to the balcony and leans back in a sumptuous padded seat and imagines the greats that have graced the oiled planks below. Even for Daddy, this is extravagant brilliance.   

The World-class Wonders of the Graphite County Opera House

Officing in the Splendor of a Major Attraction

Before moving on to the important business at hand, here’s a word about where we office. For such a small, insignificant station, WVBB has a substantial presence in the community. The TV station owns the former civic opera house that seats more than 4,500 spectators, plus all the trappings of a former world-class Deco-themed theatrical venue.

Most of the building is closed down to save on heating costs and to facilitate pest control. On special occasions, for instance when we have traveling dignitaries coming through town, we open it up for a tour. I find some of the loge seats rather comfortable in stretching out for a mid-afternoon nap. I try not to freak out when packs of mice attach themselves to the cuffs of my pinstripe suit pants.

Owning this Hulking Place is So Typical of Daddy

The building itself has quite a history. All the greats have passed through, from vaudeville to jazz, offering a treasure trove of memorable performances. We office just above street level. The reason our corporate bathrooms are so imposing is because they were built for large crowds getting in and out during intermissions. Daddy couldn’t pass up the opportunity to own the building when it hit the market. The city could no longer hold onto it and Daddy got it for a steal. He has used it to his advantage, dressing the joint up and taking all kinds of photographs. Of all Daddy’s TV stations, this is the most unique physical plant. It’s just like Daddy…doing things big–and differently.

Sometimes when I’m all alone I imagine hearing voices and loud noises from the stage, hearkening back to previous blockbuster performances. I sometimes drop what I’m doing and patrol the environs like I’m a stage manager checking up on a production. Thankfully, no one has yet to talk back to me–though I will be ready for that one night should it become an eventuality.

A Lobby that Doesn’t Stop

Daddy is such a tough nut to crack: on the one hand, he’s always out to cut costs, but on the other hand he goes gaga over properties like the civic opera house.  So long as it doesn’t take additional funds to run, he’s fine with that. There is even talk in the future of fixing the place up and leasing it out for a slate of current events including plays and concerts. There is a fully functioning commercial kitchen, where Verona Kendermants does all of her cooking for her fancy scented soaps and candles.

This is clearly the biggest asset the station owns, bigger even than its broadcast facility atop Skagit Peak in the Appalachian range. People at Daddy’s huge stations in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are all impressed whenever they see a photo of the opera house and think that somehow the station is reflective of its physical plant.

They don’t know how wrong they are, but I’m not about to dispel the myth. For a station as small, insignificant and dysfunctional as WVBB, it may have the most extravagant lobby and historic theatrical majesty in all of America.