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KARK Early Days: Mascot Attracts Fan Mail

Feline purrs her way into the hearts of station staffers and viewers.
LITTLE ROCK, AR (The Bee, Danville, Va., Feb. 28, 1955) - The most popular actress on television Channel 4 in Little Rock is a femme fatale who came to KARK-TV without invitation, application, experience, or a particular talent.

She has a thin figure, beady eyes, and hair that is best described as the color of dishwater. She has neither a sponsor nor a program of her own and she is paid no money.

But she rates high. She spends her idle moments away from the camera dozing in the boss' chair. She received more Christmas cards and gifts than anyone else at the station.

She is a cat, name of Hurricane, who accepted a photographer's invitation to come in out of the cold five months ago and has stuck around ever since. Her entry coincided with Hurricane Hazel. Hence, the name.

After about a week of loafing in station manager Doug Romine's* soft chair, the show business bug bit Hurricane and she wandered in front of the camera for the first time.

The fan mail started. It increases every time she looks over Bud Campbell's* shoulder during a late sports show, every time she scoots papers off the desk of newscaster Les Bolton*, and every time she strolls onto a set while the cameras grind.

The people at KARK-TV, who have fixed a box for Hurricane in the announcer's dressing room, claim she has a sixth sense about knowing when the camera is on her. When on the air, they say, she jumps frantically, eyes the camera pertly, battles ferociously with a wad of waste paper, or tussles with an actor who had a straight face until then.

* Douglas Romine was a vice president and station manager for KARK in the 1950s.
* Bud Campbell (1923 - 1974) was one of the first sportscasters at KARK. He later moved to KATV in Little Rock where he became the "Voice of the Razorbacks." Campbell died in a car accident in Little Rock in October 1974. 
* Les Bolton (1920 - 1988) was one of the first newscasters at KARK. He went on to work at KATV and was on the air into the 1980s.

Note: A check of the KARK Archives finds no mention of Hurricane or what became of her.

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