Remembering Dave Hull
If you grew up in Los Angeles during the 1960s … or even the 1970s, you are most likely familiar with Dave Hull — The Hullabalooer — heard on various stations throughout the city but best remembered on the original KRLA (now KRDC, 1110 AM) not once but four times!
Hull was a thorn in the side of KHJ programmer Ron Jacobs; he was the one KRLA DJ that Jacobs couldn’t beat … his wacky, friendly, fun style of radio was just too popular and he remained one of KRLA’s most highly rated and beloved DJs throughout his original tenure of 1963-1969. Sadly, Hull passed away October 15th at the age of 86.
The news spread fast on Facebook once it was announced. His daughter, Lisa, made the announcement official on her page when she wrote:
“On behalf of my mom and my brothers, it is with great sadness that I announce that our father, Dave Hull, passed away on October 15, 2020 at the age of 86.
“Our dad was larger than life and he had the stories to tell to anyone who would listen. We know that he is entertaining everyone in heaven. He was lucky to be cared for and loved by my mom for 56 years of marriage and she protected him until his last day.”
Born in Alhambra, Hull began his career on Armed Forces Radio, a job he picked up by walking past the service’s radio studio in North Africa and asking how one gets on the air. “You’re on tonight at 7” was the reply … and a career was born.
The script he was given to read was in German. Hull spoke no German, so he decided to fake it … making words up as he went along. His accidental comedy routine ended up being popular among listeners including high-ranking Generals in the audience. After his first show, he was hired permanently.
In 1955 he started his civilian radio career at KGFL/Roswell, New Mexico. 1957 brought him to WONE/Dayton, Ohio, followed by WQTE/Monroe-Detroit and WTVN/Columbus and WFLA/Tampa-St. Petersburg. Finally, in 1963, he arrived at KRLA to become one of the 11-10 Men.
A great story-teller, Hull was perfect for KRLA, which was battling KFWB (980 AM) in the Los Angeles ratings. His quick-wit and high intelligence made for a must-listen show, and along with other talented DJs and a close tie-in with a little-known band called The Beatles, he helped propel KRLA to the top. For a short while at least.
KHJ’s Boss Radio format came on in 1965 and quickly knocked both KRLA and KFWB down a few notches, but Hull’s show was the one that maintained its popularity throughout his tenure at the station. Hull even had a secret source for Beatles records, deep inside Capital Records, allowing KRLA to play Beatles singles before anyone else … until KHJ sued, at least.
So popular was Hull that he had his own song written and performed by fans, along with a flavor of Ice Cream at Baskin Robbins. The flavor was called Scuzzies, based upon a word used by Hull often on the air, as well as the name given by Hull to the band that performed his song “Dave Hull, The Hullabalooer.”
The song was popular enough to reach the top-10 at the local Wallach’s Music City; Scuzzy ice cream — a mixture of flavors — is said to have sold extremely well; and the Scuzzies band — South Bay kids Susie Cappetta and her brothers and cousins — performed in Southern California and Las Vegas into the 1990s after being picked up by the Everly Brothers road manager for a record contract.
Hull says in his book, however, that the ice cream tasted awful … in spite of selling well.
Through his career, Hull could be heard locally on KFI (640 AM), KGBS (now KTNQ, 1020 AM), KIQQ (now KKLQ, 100.3 FM); KMPC (now KSPN, 710 AM); KHJ (930 AM); KRTH (101.1 FM); and KIKF (now KEBN, 94.3 FM). His last on-air job was about 15 years at KWXY in Palm Springs, where he retired
His book, Hullabaloo! The Life and (Mis) adventures of LA Radio Legend Dave Hull tells the story of his radio life in a fun — though detailed (read: long) book released in 2013. Mike Stark and I did a career-spanning interview that runs a quick two-hours, which you can hear at https://tinyurl.com/rw0825.
David Schwartz worked with Hull at KRLA’s later tenures. He had this to say:
“The passing of Dave reminds me of the radio personalities who not only entertained us but of a time when they left a positive feeling … not like the negativity that so many broadcasters leave us with today. For those of us who listened to Dave growing up (and in my case later working with him), it was a very special time. I was very lucky to know him.”
Hull is survived by his wife of 56 years, Jeanette, five children: Mark, Mike, Clark, Lisa and Brian, and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews. Private family services with military honors are pending. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Dave Hull’s name.
Dave Hull at a KRLA remote broadcast, circa 1992. Photo Credit: David Schwartz, used by permission