by Michael R Dougherty
Norma Goodman, the First Lady of Anchorage TV
Norma Goodman Hostess House Set
Norma doing a live commercial
Norma with a live cooking demonstration
Norma made a face on live TV and said -
Before I tell you what she said, let's start at the beginning.
Starting with a show called “Hostess House” on KTVA channel 11, and later renamed “The Norma Goodman Show”, Norma remained on the air for more than 50 years.
I had the pleasure of directing Norma's show for a lot of those years, beginning in 1968. Norma was a professional and a real pleasure to work with. Over the years, she told me stories about some of her on-air adventures.
Here are two that Norma loved to tell -
Everyone watching KTVA channel 11 in Anchorage, Alaska on that night heard her say it, and what happened next will surprise you.
As an entertainment industry professional with over 30 years in television and motion picture production, I began my career at KTVA in Anchorage, working on “The Varsity Show”, a live teen dance program.
As you might imagine, live TV is always challenging because as the old saying goes “anything can go wrong.” The crew behind the camera can and do make mistakes, and the stars of the show – the people in front of the cameras can make mistakes too.
And in live TV, when things go wrong, you can't just “do it over.” Every technical error and every mistake made by a performer is out there for the audience to see and hear.
In Anchorage, long before the arrival of videotape, commercials were often done live in the studio. And sometimes, even professionals with lots of live TV experience would find themselves in an embarrassing situation in front of the TV audience.
Anyone who lived in Alaska in the 1950s, 60s, 70, or 80s, remembers KTVA's Norma Goodman.
Growing up in Alaska I had watched Norma on TV for years. She interviewed countless guests on her live talk show called “Hostess House”. That show title was later changed to, “The Norma Goodman Show”, a change I later suggested when I was the station's Program Director because everyone in Anchorage already referred to her show as the “Norma Goodman Show.”
When I started working at KTVA right out of high school, I was thrilled and a little star struck when I got to be a camera operator on Norma's show. Norma was a very talented professional who loved what she did, and she was great to work with.
One day after her show, Norma told me about the live commercials she used to do for a product called “Quilk” which was a synthetic milk product that came in a large can.
Quilk was a seemingly perfect product for Alaska, especially for those who lived in remote areas of the state who either had to use powdered milk, or do without.
As Norma told me the story, I remembered seeing her live Quilk commercials.
After a successful run of live Quilk commercials, the product's representatives thought it would be a great idea if Norma would actually pour herself a glass of Quilk at the end of the live commercial. She would then take a drink and say something like “Quilk, it tastes delicious.” Norma agreed.
That evening when the camera went live, Norma did her commercial and ended it by pouring herself a glass of Quilk, taking a big drink and saying “Quilk, it tastes delicious.”
Then it happened -
The director in the control room faded to black. But he forgot to turn off Norma's microphone. And instead of going to the next film, the director made the mistake of going back to the live studio camera that was still on Norma.
And there she was. Norma Goodman, the first lady of Anchorage TV, making a horrible face and saying “this stuff tastes terrible.”
When Norma discovered she was live on camera, she was horrified and sure the sponsor would never advertise on KTVA again.
The next day, a funny thing happened -
All the Anchorage grocery stores reported that they had sold out of Quilk.
It appeared that everyone who was watching Norma do her live Quilk commercial had actually thought that Norma was just playing around and really liked the taste of Quilk.
After that, Norma continued doing live Quilk commercials, but no longer agreed to drink the product on camera.
The Faultless Starch Commercial
Another product that used Norma Goodman as a live spokesperson was “Faultless Starch”, a spray on ironing product.
Norma laughed a lot when she told me about this live commercial disaster.
One evening at the end of a live commercial for Faultless Starch, Norma reminded all of Anchorage to “remember, that's F_ _ tless Starch.”
Only Norma didn't say “Faultless”, instead, she used a word that rhymes with “dart” but begins with an “F” and has to do with the release of gas.
And yes, Norma Goodman said it on live television in Anchorage.
For those who remember watching “Hostess House”, or “The Norma Goodman Show”, or were her studio guests, Norma was like a friend we visited every weekday.
For me, I'm glad I got to know Norma, and work with her for so many years at KTVA. She was an Alaska treasure.
Norma Goodman's grown children give you a behind-the-scenes look in this very fascinating story.
Take a look at The Norma Goodman Story