Whether a Timex watch was frozen in an ice cube tray, taped to a lobster claw or tossed over the Grand Coulee Dam, Wichitan John Cameron Swayze could be counted on to say: "It takes a licking and keeps on ticking."
During the 1950s and '60s, Swayze's "Torture Test" commercials became such cultural icons that 1 out of every 3 watches sold in the United States was a Timex.
Swayze was born in 1906 in Wichita and grew up in Atchison. He attended the University of Kansas but left before graduation with aspirations of becoming an actor.
His break came in 1930 in Kansas City, where he worked at the Kansas City Journal-Post as a city hall reporter. The local radio station, KMBC, would frequently air news bulletins from the newspaper's newsroom, and Swayze was the one broadcasting them. In 1940, he left the newspaper to join the station full-time as a newscaster.
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After four years, NBC hired him as a reporter, then made him a game show host. Swayze's radio program, "Who Said That," featured a panel that guessed the identity of people behind a famous quote.
During the 1948 Republican and Democratic national conventions, Swayze moderated NBC's televised coverage. In 1949, he became the anchor for the "Camel News Caravan," which broadcast nightly for 15 minutes. He read newscasts with an ashtray in front of him.
On Oct. 29, 1956, Swayze was replaced by Chet Huntley and David Brinkley.
When he left his NBC post, Swayze continued his career by doing commercials for H&R Block income tax services, Timex watches and Orkin exterminators.
He also made appearances in movies. He played himself in the 1957 movie "A Face in the Crowd." In the 1968 film "The Boston Strangler," he played a TV commentator.
Question: When he did newscasts at NBC, Swayze would sign off each evening by saying what phrase?
Answer to Thursday’s question: Julianne McLean, an internationally recognized concert pianist, has lived in Rome and New York, yet chooses Wichita as her home.
Check back at Kansas.com on Saturday for the answer to today’s question.