"ADDIE BOBKINS" – THE BOB ADKINS STORY

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  • #7032
    Craig_Adams
    Participant

    Today February 22, 1932 Robert Harold “Bob” Adkins was born in Los Angeles, California to Dorothy Charlotte Rich and John Harold “Bud” Adkins. Bob had five siblings but they all succumbed to “RH Incompatibility.” Bob’s father Bud worked as an electrician.

    In 1941 the Adkins family moved to Portland, living at 5308 N.E. 60th Ave. Bob began attending Beaumont Grade School. His mother Dorothy wrote: “Addie was a small boy… Teased and bullied to no end. A very wise teacher suggested he play the drums, and it changed his life! Suddenly he was empowered. On top of the World behind his drums!” In 1946 Bob was already a professional drummer.

    By March 1948 Adkins had become a drummer in the “Young Oregonians” band. On June 6, 1950 Bob graduated from Grant High School and shortly after joined the Oregon Air National Guard. On January 1, 1950 Robert H. Adkins began active duty with U.S. Armed Forces, serving in Portland and at “McChord Air Force Base” near Tacoma. On April 13, 1952 Robert H. Adkins was Honorably Discharged.

    On November 1, 1952 Bob Adkins began as a “Radio Click” disc jockey on KLIQ, the first Portland station to drop block programming for music and the first station in Portland to switch to Popular music. Bob was on KLIQ from 4:00pm to local sunset, 7 days a week and sold air time, all for $29.45 a week, against a 10% commission. On March 4, 1953 Bob opened on stage as part of the cast in the drama “Death of A Salesman” at Civic Theater.

    On August 11, 1953 Summer ratings were announced, showing KLIQ from out of nowhere with BIG numbers. All of the “Radio Click” deejays asked for raises or they would walk! On August 22, 1953 Robert Harold Adkins, 21, married 18 year old Meta “Joanne” Stout. They rented an apartment at 60th & N.E. Glisan St. On October 21, 1953 the “Radio Click” deejays all walked off the job from KLIQ.

    On October 23, 1953 it was announced Bob Adkins was on KWJJ mornings 6:00 to 9:00am, in addition to sales. On November 4, 1953 Bob was in the cast opening “7th Heaven” at Civic Theater. On November 10, 1953 it was announced Bob Adkins was leaving KWJJ to become KBKW Sales Manager in Aberdeen, Washington but the Adkins soon returned to Portland, living at: 6060 N.E. Flanders St.

    On May 20, 1954 Bob & Joanne welcomed their daughter Deborah Jo “Debbie” Adkins. By October 1954 the Adkins family had moved to: 5711 N.E. Prescott St. In March 1955 Bob Adkins began as a Sunday deejay on the KXL program “Musically Yours” 10:00am to 2:00pm and did weekday fill-ins and some newscasts, all awhile attending “Lewis & Clark College” majoring in Theology. By November 1955 Bob had become “Addie Bobkins” on KXL. The name given by a friend. The Adkins were living at: 01944 S.W. Palatine Hill Rd.

    On January 30, 1956 Bob joined the KEX “Big 5” disc jockey team, using his real name on “The Bob Adkins Show” 7:00pm to 9:30pm weeknights. On February 13, 1956 Bob was given more time on KEX with “Bob’s Danceland” 10:15pm to 11:45pm weeknights. On April 22, 1956 it was announced Bob Adkins was elected “Lewis & Clark College” student body President for the 1956 school year.

    On December 16, 1956 “Bob’s Danceland” aired for the last time. In March 1957 with Bob balancing college during days and KEX nights he was heard less and less. On April 8, 1957 Bob did his last KEX show to devote more time to college. On May 7, 1957 it was announced Robert Adkins received the “Lewis & Clark College” Gold Key award for outstanding leadership, scholarship and service to the college. During Summer 1957 Bob rejoined KXL.

    In Fall 1957 the Adkins family moved to Springfield, living at: 745 N. 5th Street, where Bob had a job as a deejay at KEED Radio and continuing his college studies at the University of Oregon. On April 12, 1958 Bob & Joanne welcomed their son Matthew James Adkins in Springfield.

    Then on June 15, 1959 Bob became Addie Bobkins again when “The Addie Bobkins Show” kids program debuted on KVAL channel 13 Eugene 4:00pm to 5:00pm. His TV show was seen simultaneously on KPIC channel 4 Roseburg. On July 31, 1959 KVAL’s Addie Bobkins was Grand Marshal of the 7th annual Emerald Empire “Roundup Junior Parade” in Eugene.

    On December 5, 1959 KVAL’s Addie Bobkins participated in the annual “Springfield Christmas Parade” where some 15,000 mom’s, dad’s and youngsters lined Main Street cheering Addie IN PERSON! On October 1, 1960 “The Addie Bobkins Show” was now seen on KCBY channel 11 in Coos Bay, as well as KVAL & KPIC. By this time the Adkins family was living at: 91 Cal Young Road in Eugene.

    Debbie Adkins-Fischer remembers 1961: “We flew in a little prop plane from Eugene to Seattle to make some TV commercials for Fiznik. We were to make about $3,600 a piece (even though I was only six!). The company went bankrupt so we never got a dime.” In April 1961 Bob Adkins won the Radio-TV “Mirror” award for Best Children’s Program In 11 Western States. This award got KPTV’s attention, so the Adkins family moved back to Portland.

    On August 21, 1961 “The Addie Bobkins Show” debuted on KPTV weekday afternoons at 4:30pm to 5:00pm, with Addie came puppet “Ellwood” dog from KVAL. Ad: “The Addie Bobkins Show is different…refreshingly new in content, and delightful to watch. It sparkles.” The Adkins family were now living at: 12601 N.E. Flanders St. On September 25, 1961 Addie began hosting the new “Popeye Theater” 5:30 to 6:00pm weekday afternoons. On October 13, 1961 Bob starred in “Picnic” at Civic Theater. Many other stage productions would follow.

    On January 18, 1962 “The Addie Bobkins Show” at 4:30pm became “Casper Cartoons” hosted by Addie until the last broadcast June 22, 1962. On August 27, 1962 “The Addie Bobkins Show” began weekday mornings at 8:00am, for 30 minutes. On September 3, 1962 Addie began hosting the new “Lippy Lion” weeknights at 6:00pm, for 30 minutes.

    On January 21, 1963 Addie Bobkins became a “KISN Good Guy”, on the air 10:00 to Noon weekdays on “Kisn 91” and continuing his KPTV kids show. On January 26, 1963 Addie judged the big “Duncan Yo-Yo” contest at Albertson’s, 124th & Division, 1:00 to 3:00pm. On February 1, 1963 “The Addie Bobkins Show” ended. Addie continued hosting “Popeye Cartoons” & “Lippy Lion” afternoons. On April 1, 1963 “Lippy Lion” became “Cartoon Castle” with Addie hosting, at 6:00pm for 30 minutes with the wise-cracking beatnik hand puppet named “Weird Beard.”

    On February 11, 1963 Bob Adkins appeared as a desk clerk on the ABC/Warner Bros. TV series “The Dakotas” episode “Crisis At High Banjo” (Color). Adkins was on camera 30 seconds and said nine words. Bob estimated it cost them $1,200 to fly him down for the part. On March 2, 1963 Addie was Grand Marshal for the annual Gay Nineties parade. Ad: “Boys and Girls! Meet Addie Bobkins and his dog Feather, of KPTV-12, IN PERSON…WITH HIS PUPPETS. M&F-Lloyd’s Friday Apr 19th 7-9pm. M&F-Downtown Saturday Apr 20th 2-4pm. Addie will autograph his pictures.” November 17, 1963 Ad: “See Addie Bobkins & Feather at Lampus 2 to 4pm.” By 1964 Addie was making $30,000 a year with his KPTV show and appearances.

    The devotion of his young audience became apparent when he met a small child who was dying of Leukemia. Addie remembers: “His name was Tommy Taft” Addie said softly. “I’ll never forget him. His brother called me.” His dying wish was to meet Addie Bobkins. For six months, every Tuesday it was “Tommy’s Day.” Debbie remembers: He would spend an hour singing and talking to him… holding his hand… while Feather laid next to him. When Tommy died, daddy simply dedicated his show to him. He sang “Puff the Magic Dragon” softly at the end of the program. Mom told me that experience helped him realize that he had a bigger calling… he was more than a television personality… much more! It truly humbled him…. It changed all of us!”

    On January 17, 1964 “Popeye Cartoons” became “Popeye’s Pier 12” with “Addie Bobkins, Feather, Popeye & the entire Mickey Mouse Club. 5PM.” On January 25, 1964 “The Addie Bobkins Show” returned for the last time on Portland TV, Saturday mornings at 9:00am for 30 minutes but the show didn’t last long, ending on February 29, 1964.

    On Saturday April 25, 1964 “Danceland U.S.A.” debuted at 4:00pm for 30 minutes. Addie Bobkins & Conny Yost hosted a teenage dance party featuring Hillsboro High School, Lake Oswego High School, “The Statics” Seattle’s gold Record combo on the first program. The show was short-lived with its last party on May 2, 1964. In June 1964 Addie performed his last broadcasts on KISN Radio. Adkins took a gamble and accepted another television offer bringing him and his family to Hollywood, Calif.

    In September 1964 Addie Bobkins left for KCOP (TV) in Los Angeles to continue his kids show on KPTV’s sister station. On the KCOP roof they had placed a life size portrait of Addie and his collie Feather. The Adkins family was now living at: 15701 Vose St. in Van Nuys. Adkins was doing a radio show in the morning, a TV kids show afternoons and stage productions at night.

    Addie remembers what KCOP told him: “We are going to make you bigger than Captain Kangaroo! BUT… you can’t interview kids, no budget for puppets, you can’t have that stupid name ‘Addie Bobkins’ and you can’t wear that dumb striped jacket (my trademark!)” This is L.A…. surely they know better than I? So I did what they said, and died a slow agonizing death.” On October 7, 1965 Bob’s father John Harold “Bud” Adkins passed away, from brain tumors at age 56.

    1966, Bob remembers: “After my world fell apart in L.A., we moved to Amarillo [Texas] to try to pick up the pieces of my wounded soul, and make a go of selling insurance with my Uncle Jack. There weren’t a lot of acting opportunities, but I did get involved in Amarillo Little Theater.” In early 1967 the Adkins family moved back in Los Angeles, living on Cedros Ave. in Van Nuys. Bob remembers: “My agent said, “You will never make it here. You look too much like newcomer Leslie Nielsen.” In May 1967 Adkins joined “Equity Funding Corp. of America” a life insurance agency.

    On July 23, 1967 the Adkins family returned to Portland. Ever the gentleman, he refused to consider displacing Rod Anders when KPTV proposed it. The Adkins family settled in at: 20 N.E. 125th Place. On November 15, 1967 Bob opened a Portland branch office of “Equity Funding Corp. of America” where Bob Adkins became Division Manager at: 610 S.W. Broadway. On December 20, 1969 it was announced Bob Adkins of “First Northwest Corp.” was named Multnomah County Chairman for the 1970 March of Dimes.

    On April 12, 1970 Bob, formerly of First Northwest Corp., joined Homeland, Inc. (Oregon real estate investment management, development Co.). On April 16, 1971 Bob played “Professor” Harold Hill in “The Music Man” at Civic Theater. On stage, Bob wore the same stripped jacket Addie Bobkins once adorned. In July 1971 Bob became a counselor at Aztec Empire Investment Counselors. On April 20, 1972 Adkins began as a realtor for Stan Wiley Realtors.

    On August 11, 1975 Bob Adkins was back on the radio with his first ever talk show on KKEY “People to People Radio 11-50” Sundays from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. Bob had a sidekick on his “Key Radio” show, Dallas McKennon, formerly Cincinnatus on the “Daniel Boone” TV show and the voice of many cartoons. Dal got his start in Portland with a children’s radio show. In 1976 Bob & Joanne divorced.

    By August 1977 Bob Adkins was Century 21 Real Estate Oregon Regional Training Director. On August 26, 1978 Robert Harold Adkins, 66, married 32 year old Julie A. Duffy in Reno, Nevada. On November 19, 1980 Bob & Julie welcomed their daughter Alicia Marie Adkins. On March 12, 1984 it was announced Bob Adkins had joined Dial One Northwest, Inc., as a Marketing Director.

    In 1986 Bob Adkins, 53, had a pituitary brain tumor removed after suffering headaches and double vision. By August 1987 Adkins was back co-hosting a Rogers Cable Systems TV show called “PrimeTimers” and was living in Aloha. On May 26, 1993 Bob’s mother Dorothy Charlotte Adkins died at age 80 in Portland. On August 31, 1997 Robert Harold Adkins married Rose Elliot (Smutz). In 1998 Adkins retired and was living at a retirement community in Woodburn.

    November 2004 Debbie remembers: He thought he had pulled a muscle at the chiropractor but the pain was not getting better. Then on December 2nd he went back to the doctor because his pain was getting worse. The doctor said, “Hmmmm… guess it wasn’t a pulled muscle after all. You have Melanoma that has spread to your bones… make your peace, you have about 6 months.” He was transferred to a Nursing Home and my mother [Joanne]… Julie and Rose were all there when he died, Three hours later…. only my father would be surrounded by all of his wives at the end… GO DAD!”

    On February 2, 2005 Robert Harold Adkins passed away at age 72 in Woodburn, just two months after the doctor gave him six months. On February 13, 2005 a memorial service was held at Woodburn United Methodist Church at 1:30pm. Burial was at Willamette National Cemetery.

    Debbie remembers: When dad found out he had cancer, I asked a few people to send love letters to him. He was BLOWN AWAY by the outpouring of love. He never really believed that people loved him… he had HOPED they did… but never knew…

    Special Thanks to Debbie Adkins-Fischer who helped make this biography more complete.

    References: Bob Adkins, Dorothy Adkins, Eugene Register-Guard, The Oregonian, TV Guide.

    #7046
    semoochie
    Participant

    Craig, you almost made me cry on this one. Didn’t he run for office?

    #7051
    MarkAndrews
    Participant

    Wow…I think I admire and love him now more than I did when I took him for granted as a kid and teen. Such a gentleman, warm and full of grace. Well done, Craig…and to Debbie, thank you SO much!

    #7071
    Craig_Adams
    Participant

    Semoochie: None of my bio’s include politics. In today’s world it aggravates readers on the other side and destroys good old feelings and remembrances, leaving a bad taste to some who can’t separate their feelings.

    #7072
    semoochie
    Participant

    I see. You could probably mention the office, without the party affiliation but it’s your call.

    #7113
    Craig_Adams
    Participant

    UPDATED PARAGRAPH. Late information just arrived:

    In September 1964 Addie Bobkins left for KCOP (TV) in Los Angeles to continue his kids show on KPTV’s sister station. On the KCOP roof they had placed a life size portrait of Addie and his collie Feather. The Adkins family was now living at: 15701 Vose St. in Van Nuys. Addie was doing a radio show in the morning on KFWB as Bob Adkins, a TV kids show at 6:00pm for 30 minutes weeknights, called “Bongo Bob.” A Sunday show was added for awhile. Then the title was changed to “Bob Adkins & Feather” and yet another title change to “Ruff & Ready with Bob Adkins & Feather” plus Bob did stage productions at night.

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