A Tribute to Les Waas!
Broadcast Pioneers board member Les Waas, well known Philadelphia Entrepreneur, passed away on Tuesday morning, April 19th, 2016. He was 94 years old.
The funeral will be on Thursday, April 21st at 1 pm. The location is Goldsteins Funeral Home, 310 Second Street Pike, Southampton, Pa 18966. Goldsteins' phone number is 215-927-5800.
Les Waas had been an active member of Broadcast Pioneers for five decades. He served as our President and then as our Chairman of the Board. He had been on our Board of Directors for over four decades, longer than any other member. On Friday evening, November 18, 2005, Les Waas was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia's "Hall of Fame."
Les had been President of Waas, Inc., an advertising agency for more than a half century and is owner of New Sounds, a creative service specializing in jingles and humorous commercials, and winner of most major creative awards. He had performed voices in hundreds of commercials for radio and television.
Les had written and produced 973 jingles for such advertisers as "Mr. Softee" (heard on thousands of ice cream trucks), Holiday Inn, U.S. Coast Guard, Kiddie City, Acme Markets, Genuardi Super Markets, Breyer's, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Department of Virginia Tourism and the longest-continuously-running jingle in advertising, the Melrose Diner. He had also written 22 published/recorded songs and two of them became the official themes of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team.
As an artist, he had created ad layouts and cartoons, and had designed logos for such firms as Colonial Village Meat Markets., The Simco Co., Diet III, Super Value Beverage Stores, Action Duplication, plus many restaurants, auto dealers, etc. He designed the current logo of Broadcast Pioneers. As a writer, he had produced articles for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Bulletin and Daily News, and for several national publications.
Waas had appeared on scores of national and local TV programs including Prime Time Live, David Letterman, The Today Show, To Tell the Truth, Mike Douglas, Maury Povich and Tom Snyder (just to name a few). Les was also on many network news shows and had appeared on many radio talk shows worldwide. Waas had been featured as "Mother's Whistler," the notorious "Congressman Schwerbitz," and other characters and had been in four major films and served as guest lecturer on broadcast advertising at Temple University.
Joseph Cox, Unidentified person with Les Waas
Les Waas had served as president of the regional chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Independence Toastmasters, the Procrastinators Club of America and the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. He had performed as the entertainment for eleven Broadcast Pioneers Person-of-the-Year awards banquets (we threw rocks at him at most of the events).
He was a member of American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, the Air Force Association., the National Academy of Arts & Sciences, the Philadelphia Ad Club and other organizations. He was candidate for the Pennsylvania State Legislature and was the creator of the "number system" for announcing school closings on radio & TV. He was considered to be a leading authority on "Phillyspeak" and was a World War II B-17 pilot. He lives in Huntingdon Valley, PA and had been married to Sylvia for 50 years. They have two children and three grandchildren.
Mike Jawer, a visitor to our website, is the son of Broadcast Pioneers member Bob Jawer. Mike e-mailed:
Broadcast Pioneers member Tom Moran said: "May God have mercy on Les Waas. God rest his soul. Les was the most creative person I have known."
Broadcast Pioneers member Roger Hendler referred to Les as a legend. Member Mar Brooks said: " Going to miss him a great deal, (I) went back a great many years with him."
Broadcast Pioneers member Akan Tripp said:
Broadcast Pioneers member Mel Klawansky said:
Broadcast Pioneers member Donald Rosenblit said:
As part of our ongoing project, Broadcast Pioneers recorded an "oral history" interview, "Pioneers of Philadelphia Broadcasting," with Les Waas on August 5, 2014. Speaking with him is member Mike Strug.
Broadcast Pioneers member Les Waas
If you attended our January 2011 luncheon, you would have seen Les Waas doing bird calls as Mother's Whistler. Well, back in May of 1984, Eyewitness News (Channel 3) ran an interview with Les (we mean Mother's Whistler). Here it is for your viewing pleasure, if you can call it that. In our opinion, the Real Video version is of higher quality.
Broadcast Pioneers member Mike Strug (who donated this video to our video archive) said:
Broadcast Pioneers member Irv Grodsky, who shot this piece, sent us this e-mail:
And speaking of Les, Broadcast Pioneers member Les Waas said several years ago:
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
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