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    Today December 10, 1911 Chester Robert “Chet” Huntley was born in Cardwell, Montana to Blanche Wadine Tatham & Percy Adams Huntley. Chet had three younger sisters: Celia Wadine, Marian Alice & Margaret Jane. His father was a telegraph operator for the Northern Pacific Railway, and young Chet was born in Cardwell depot’s living quarters. Owing to the railroad’s seniority system, wherein employees with longer tenure could “bump” newer employees, the family moved often, living, Saco, Willow Creek, Logan, Big Timber, Norris and Three Forks when Chet was a child.

    In 1926 the Huntley family settled in Whitehall, Montana. In 1929 he graduated from Whitehall High School in Whitehall, and attended Montana State College in Bozeman to 1932, where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. He attended Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle before graduating in 1934 from the University of Washington, with a degree in speech and drama. Huntley began his radio career at KIRO Seattle, then in 1935 moving to KHQ Spokane. On February 23, 1936 Chester Robert Huntley, 24, married 21 year old Ingrid Elnora Rolin in Seattle.

    On August 23, 1936 Chet joined “The Oregonian” stations KEX-KGW. Huntley debuted on KEX with Rollie Truitt, sports announcer and Huntley doing sports commentary for a Portland Beavers baseball game. In September 1936 Chet joined the cast of the popular KEX program “Covered Wagon Days” playing the part of Randolph Jordan, formerly played by Larry Keating, who had left, later becoming a well known radio network & television actor. On November 27, 1936 Huntley helped with coverage of “The Fairy Tale Parade.”

    On January 11, 1937 Chet Huntley & Bob Tomlinson presented the schedule of activities of the opening of the 39th session of the Oregon Legislature. Chet join the cast of the new comedy serial “The Hemlock Tree” on KGW April 4, 1937, also heard over KOMO Seattle. Huntley played the boyfriend of one of the Hemlock daughters. On June 10, 1937 Chet Huntley and Jack Little reported on Rose Festival doings at Multnomah Stadium on the KEX broadcast of “The Rose Festival Band Concert” at 7:30pm. The following day Chet Huntley, Phil Irwin & Rollie Truitt were remote announcers at the corner of Broadway & Alder, during the Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade over KEX.

    On June 30, 1937 it was announced Chet Huntley would be leaving KEX-KGW in a few days for KFI Los Angeles to become one of the stations staff announcers. In 1939 Chet moved to CBS Radio. In 1951 he began work at ABC Radio. Then in 1955, he joined NBC Radio, switching to Television in 1956 and teaming with David Brinkley on NBC’s “Huntley-Brinkley Report” daily news program. On July 12, 1965 Huntley returned to Portland to be the principal speaker at the “KGW Broadcast Center” dedication. Chet’s address was simulcast over KGW Radio & Television at 10:00pm. Huntley remembered his year in Portland very fondly. “It’s good to be home” he said. “I have roots here.”

    On July 31 1970 Chet broadcast his last Huntley-Brinkley Report. He returned to Montana, where he conceived and built Big Sky, a ski resort south of Bozeman, which opened in December 1973. On March 20, 1974 Chet Huntley passed away at age 62, of lung cancer at his home in Big Sky, Montana.

    References: The Oregonian, Wikipedia.


    The Huntley & Brinkley report. Only network news my folks ever watched. Channel 8, of course. Walter, who? Smiley face!

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