In Search of Paul Berlin

Paul Berlin: King of Houston DeeJays, 1950-2003

Paul Berlin was our man over the airways when America made the biggest move in musical taste it has ever made. He came to Houston in 1950, taking over as a radio disk jockey at KNUZ-AM in time to transition our town from the sweet popular music sounds of the post-World War II Hit Parade music era through the change to those driving, pounding beats of rock and roll. And he did it with style and a taste for history. Paul didn’t kill the old; he simply helped us absorb the new as part of the kind of growth that makes American taste in music and the arts universally eclectic and strong.

Oh yeah, Paul Berlin was one of us young voices when he hit town. He was only 19 and raring to go. He hailed from Memphis and his first job at WHHM-AM. Paul described Memphis as “the only town in America built on a bluff and run on one too.” He thrived in Houston, a town built on level ground and an enormous appetite for growth and new ideas. Once he got here, there would be no further city-hopping for Paul Berlin. He was zeroed-in on his entertaining way to becoming a Houston icon of the airways.

After many years at AM’s KNUZ, Berlin moved into the growing FM market for significant time gigs at KQUE, KSEV, and KBME. At age 72, he finally retired in 2003 after 53 years on the air in Houston.

Some of us came of age listening to Paul Berlin. He wasn’t much older than our early to mid-1950s group and we identified tightly with his appreciation for a wide range of musical styles. Paul knew a little about everyone in music and he generously shared what he knew with the rest of us.

Now he needs to step up front and center, one more time, as master of ceremonies for the Jimmy Menutis August 6th bash in New Orleans.

Did we say “know people” somewhere back there? Paul Berlin earned a ton of honors for his work over the years, including recognition by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and induction into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. He became a close friend to Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Little Richard, The Platters, a fellow in Houston named Jimmie Menutis, and just about any other giant from early Rock and Roll that comes to mind.

The problem now is this simple: Jimmie and Ruth Ann Menutis would love to ask Paul Berlin to emcee Jimmie’s 87th birthday celebration in New Orleans this coming August 6th, if he’s up to it, but we can’t find him, so far. Paul doesn’t respond to his Texas Radio Hall of Fame e-mail address nor are we able to get any help, so far, from other Houston media people who have better contact info. The Houston phone number for Paul and Inez Berlin is also unlisted.

Yep, Paul Berlin has done a great job of building retirement privacy into his life, but I have to think it would break his heart if the Menutis party unfolded without him because he couldn’t be contacted. – We just have to find him.

If you know how to reach Paul Berlin, or if you have any leads on how we may do it, please get in touch with me here through this Pecan Park Eagle column – or by my e-mail at houston_buff@hotmail.com at your earliest convenience.

Look. We found Jimmie Menutis here without trying. We should be able to find Paul Berlin in Houston with just a little bit of trying.

Thanks for the help.

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21 Responses to “In Search of Paul Berlin”

  1. joe ford Says:

    I see Paul from time to time but I don’t have email address.However, Dan Lovett can find him. Write dannolove@aol.com

  2. Jane Szymczak Says:

    Paul Berlin has a remember-when type radio program on KSEV radio Station 700AM every Saturday evening with all those back stories about all the performers. You might try their email…KSEV.Com or call the radio station….He still sounds the same….jane szymczak

  3. Ronald Vaughan Says:

    Jogged my memory! I met PAUL BERLIN once….probably late 1972 or 1973. I was hawking my then-plans for an invention called “UltraHex”
    (a concept for putting 6-channel,3-dimensional sound onto 2 channels)
    and PAUL,as I remember,had a club called DOME SHADOWS back then.

    My childhood friends Earl and Mike Bass (who may or may not still be
    alive) had told me about him. I was a young adult adoptee who was actually trying to leave Houston (to get away from foster parents) and
    a business deal would have made that possible. Supposedly,my real
    mother was some kind of an entertainer,and I needed to find a city
    which would support a showbusiness career.

    I think I still have the scrap of paper on which PAUL had written the name
    and address of Houston’s ACA Recording Studio….where he’d suggested I pitch my idea. ACA couldn’t do anything,nor could the Dale Mullins Demo Studio….but they were all fine people. (It would be several years until I found a financial backer…..but the feasibility study made by famed electronic engineer DAVID BASKIND (R.I.P.) revealed that my concept had been obsoleted by the then-new digital audio technology. I’d also filed for a patent (later abandoned) for a process to do special optical effects in 3D for live theater. That was “Real-o-Vision”. You may have actually heard of that,because an Elvira movie (in 3D) kind of “borrowed” that name.)

    My apologies to Emmitt Fisher Investment Group (if they’re still out there)
    because a patent application to Noel Associates went bust. Also,I’d sought
    out a patent-application company called “Alpha-Centroid” in Houston,in
    1970, that disappeared!

    By late 1973 I’d left Houston for California….and later did music reviews
    for minor publications (DISCOVERIES and ROCK CITY NEWS Magazines).
    I finally got in a movie…a speaking role in the RODNEY BINGENHEIMER
    (KROQ-FM,Los Angeles) movie,MAYOR OF THE SUNSET STRIP.

    These days,my only new invention is my concept for a “New” Hollywood…
    and my CD album and DVD,and a copyrighted idea for a Doberman-man movie comedy (“Poot-a-Rama”) But I’ll always remember the moment I met PAUL BERLIN! I take it,that the name of his club was because it was located near the Astrodome.

    BTW,if anybody knows how to reach H.W. Thompson,Jr. (my real father)
    let me know. I still can’t get my original adoption certificate because Texas still doesn’t have an adoption “Open Records” Act. It was many
    years before an Internet adoption-advocacy group informed me of
    a very few details.

    BTW2,if anybody had an interesting meeting in Houston with ex-Waco person Jennifer Love Hewitt (mentioned in the movie I’m in) please let me know.

  4. Don Texter Says:

    Recently Paul Berlin has been playing songs on KSEV in the evenings. KSEV should know to contact Paul.

  5. Ronald Vaughan Says:

    Hey,neat! PAUL BERLIN came to Houston the same year I was born there….1950.

  6. Neetsy Says:

    Me too, Ronald. We heard Paul Berlin last night on AM radio. My husband said that must be a canned performance from earlier years, because he sounded great. I did think it was in real time and found out here, that I was right. He was wonderful. The moment we tuned in he congratulated anyone with an anniversary today. He mentioned today marked Barbara Stanwick and Robert Taylors’ anniversary. We loved it. It were driving back from dinner at Gaido’s in Galveston, after celebrating our 35th Anniversary!

  7. Suzy fields Robertson Says:

    My dad Nick Fields won a talent show during the 1950 knuz shows and was the youngest dj for the Nick and Connie show. He just passed away at the Houston VA were he played for the veterans at the age of 10 if any of you out there remember him I would love to hear any comments.

  8. ronald33 Says:

    Bill—

    I still have those old HOUSTON CHRONICE clippings with MAXINE MESINGER talking about Steve and Eydie (from
    the Sixties and early Seventies.) If I had your snailmail addy I could send them (I’ve already scanned them).

  9. Bill McCurdy Says:

    Ronald,

    I’d love to have copies. My email address is:

    houston_buff@hotmail.com

    Thanks,

    Bill

  10. ronald33 Says:

    Actually,I meant SNAILmail. These clippings could be put in some kind of museum about Houston history. Although I will try to email samples when I can run them through Microsoft Picture Manager or something….to get rid of the yellowing.

    I note very little information about MAXINE MESINGER on Google. That saddens me.

    When I have time,I will put the 1973 cassette of her lunchtime show (audio only) onto YouTube. Thanks for reply!

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  14. John Says:

    Paul is on KSEV AM

  15. Ronnie Rothrock Says:

    Does Paul have a e-mail or G-mail? Sure would like to contact him. Thanks.

  16. Rob Says:

    Contact these folks, they may be able to help. http://ksevradio.com/paul-berlin/

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Thanks, Rob, but we solved this problem over six years ago. This column originated in February 2011. Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t make a prominent dating of published topics and I’m not big on adding the date to many timeless items.

  17. rob Says:

    You probably know this, but Mr. Berlin passed away last week. http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Radio-disc-jockey-Paul-Berlin-dies-at-age-86-11243111.php

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