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TEX ANTOINE - What Happened?!?

Tex Antoine was the weatherman on WABC's "Eyewitness News" in the early '70s. I believe it was in 1974, when after a story on a rape attack in NYC, Tex "jokingly" said something to the effect of "When rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it", and was promptly fired (I recall watching this on tv during dinner, and my mother's shock at the remark). I believe he made an attempted comeback a short time before his death, but his poor judgment in that one instance essentially ruined the career of what was otherwise a witty and talented newscaster.

- Seth Jerchower

When Tex Antoine moved from WNBC 4 to WABC Ch. 7 circa 1967. He apparently was not allowed to officially plug his new home on his last Channel 4 broadcast. So, with Uncle Wethbee Magic Marker in hand, he cleverly said and wrote something to the effect of: "Remember 4 plus 3 equals 7, and that's as easy as ABC".

- Steve Wasserman

Had it not been for old Tex, I would not have pursued a degree in Meteorology. People seem to remember his being fired immediately after that comment that cost him his career, but I seem to remember simply that his contract wasn't renewed when it came up. Not sure how it really ended. The first time I saw him was c. 1955, when he did a thing for the NY City Sanitation Department on those Wednesday auditorium days we used to have in grammar school.

I do know I did enjoy those Uncle Wethbee almanacs he put out every year, supported by Con Edison. He passed away at age 59 sometime in the early 80s, I believe (not sure on exact time), and they said he didn't go out of his house (Park Avenue, I think) for the last seven years of his life. A real sad ending to what should have been a greater career. But he stands as the first nationally known weather personality in any case.

- Vince Biancomano

Born in 1946 and living my life on Long Island, I was a TV junky. The only weatherman who counted was Tex Antoine with Uncle Wethbee. I remember returning from the Army to the New York area in the early '70s and tuning in to the greatest newscast ever made.

A great story that made my wife and I choke on our dinners with laughter was when he was asked how cold it was going to be one night. He replied, "You'd better bring the brass monkey off the front lawn." A real milk through the nose story.

- Parker Sims

I saw some Tex Antoine anecdotes on your site, and perhaps this one is somewhere, too - but in case it isn't, I will tell you only that it circulated through the industry in the 70s, and I cannot vouch for its authenticity, but it has the ring.

Tex, either when he joined ABC's New York outlet or later, was told that in line with the new Eyewitness News concept, he would be wearing a jacket - a blazer like the other members of the news team. Tex allegedly protested that he had always done the weather and drawn Uncle Wethbee wearing an artist's smock, and how it just wouldn't be the same, etc, etc. unless he contiuned to wear the smock that viewers were used to seeing.

The producer, who had invented the Eyewitness News format, reporteldy silenced him with, "Tex, either we all wear jackets or we all wear smocks."

- Jim Young

The thing I remember the most about watching Tex Antoine do the weather was that on the 6pm newcast he was always very smooth, jovial, and the consumate professional. However there were quite a number of times by the time the 11pm broadcast came around it was quite evident that Tex had tipped a few and this was when most of his memorable comments occurred. The "rape" comment was the one most remembered and most outrageous, but there were a number of other off the cuff remarks made by Tex that had the station manager cringing while everyone at home watched with "train wreck" fascination.

- Tom Larkin

Having been the audio man on "Eyewitness News" in NYC for 17+ years, I can confirm and debunk some of the recollections about Tex Antoine.

He was told, just as one of you said he was, "Either we all wear smocks or we all wear blazers," by Al Primo. It was a sad day. I have the next-to-last "Uncle Wethebee" drawing he did on the air, framed and hanging in my den.

He did not make his comment about rape ("If rape is inevitable, lay back and enjoy it.") on channel 5. It was on channel 7. I know; I was the engineer. You should have seen co-anchorman Roger Grimsby's reaction. During the weather forecast, Roger kept his face buried in his hands. He knew it was the end of a great career. However, Tex remained at channel 7 for some weeks .

He did apologize on the air the next time for his remark. He did not realize that the story that preceeded him dealt with a five year old girl's rape. It makes only a little, if no difference, but he did think it was about an adult, having just caught the tail end of the story while making last-minute notes about his weather map.

Tex was a brilliant man and had a great sense of humor. Everyone liked him and felt terrible when he made that remark and when he was fired. (He was always making Confuscius-type statements that tied in with his weather reports.) In that moment, he was too quick to come up with one of his sayings.

A second incident involved the audience not being able to see his 25th anniversary birthday cake, because a fellow reporter on the show was blocking it from the camera. Tex said, "...if you'd get out of the f... away, they can see the cake!"

He was missed by everyone.

- Richard Sloan



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