Former 10/11 personality now viral star
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - 10/11 viewers will no doubt remember this name: Leta Powell Drake. She served as program director at KOLN-TV for 28 years, and hosted and produced the 10/11 morning show for 25 years. She also had a children’s show called “Cartoon Corral” where she was known as Kalamity Kate. Drake has now become an internet sensation, and has corralled more than 8.4 million viewers from around the world.
Drake is in the Nebraska Broadcasters Hall of Fame. But for all of her awards, it’s a compilation of Drake’s 40-year-old interviews that’s getting her world-wide recognition. Drake was blunt and real when she interviewed TV and movie stars from the mid 1970s to early 1980s on a press junket for 10/11, a CBS affiliate.
“Those of us who would work for CBS affiliates would go to New York, Chicago, L.A. and so forth and interview the current stars of the time,” Drake said. “The interviews were on 3/4 inch tape. After I finished my stint at 10/11, I had those tapes in my closet. I thought what am I going to do with them? Well, I decided to take them to the Nebraska History Museum and donate them. Those interviews were digitized, and so that was put on YouTube. Some guy got a hold of it, and it went viral. I mean all over the world. It had been edited down, and he picked out the kind of little strange things I might have questioned the stars about.”
For example, Drake asked actor Elliot Gould whether he had any regrets about not doing the series MASH, and said the stars of that show had made a fortune.
“Today it’s easy to find out information about actors,” Drake said. “What I did at the time, was do my research. I came prepared, and I probably asked questions that other people didn’t.”
Some of her favorite interviews include Tom Selleck. “Tom Selleck is cute and tall,” Drake said.
“Telly (Savalas) liked to kiss people. He kissed me, I kissed him back.”
And she loved James Earl Jones. “We talked and it was a wonderful interview,” Drake said.
These memories are a treasure for Nebraskans and for the 8.4 million viewers of this viral video.
“I’m exhausted, but delighted,” Drake said. “If you want to go to the history museum right here in Lincoln, Nebraska, all of the videos are there and you can see it.”
Drake is still working in television. She currently hosts a program for seniors called “Live and Learn” on 5 City TV.
She also shared a picture of the former 10/11 morning show. That show featured Sara Murdock at the piano and organ, John Ludwig, Joe Kenney, Drake, Lloyd Oliver and Sharon Porchaska. Great memories for many viewers.
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