Larry recalls that Joe wanted to get the family out of
Chicago, and it wasn't just because of the cold weather. "My Dad said he
didn't want his family to grow up in a rough place, like Chicago was in the
'50's. For example,
I had a guy who would beat me up if I didn't take him home with me for
lunch. This was worse than if he'd
just taken my lunch money. He sat there at my family's dinner table while Mom made
us sandwiches. He was like 'Eddie
Haskell' from 'Leave It To Beaver,' a perfect gentleman. But he told me I'd get beat up if I said anything."
Joe's older brother Bob was serving as an officer with
the Tampa Police Department. In the
fall of 1959, Joe moved the family to sunny Tampa where they camped out in his
Tampa in the late 1950's
"Joe put on a suit and went to an employment agency for a couple of days," recalls Larry. "He got a part-time job as a mover, but he still wore the suit. One of the first guys he moved was a fellow who worked at Channel 13, Ken Smith. Contacted at his home in Orlando, Smith recalls that meeting as if it was yesterday: "The minute Joe hit my door he attempted to do it all by himself," says the former WTVT production manager. "His work ethic really impressed me and I also had a good feeling about him right from the start."
Larry picks up the story from there:
"I guess my Dad impressed Mr.
Smith by showing up in a suit saying he'd do any kind of work.
Mr. Smith offered my Dad a job, but he didn't take the offer seriously.
He kind of passed it off."
Joe's next position was with the Continental Can Company on
the outskirts of Tampa. He worked
the graveyard shift loading an endless supply of orange juice cans onto the
railroad cars. Another chance
meeting with Ken Smith convinced Joe that the job offer was real, and he decided
to take the plunge into television. "I
remember one night Dad loading us into the car and parking outside Channel
13," says Larry. "And I
wanted to know if he was going to be on TV. "
Joe Wiezycki's new home...WTVT!