top of page

The Legacy of an Artist: Tom Hatten KTLA, Channel 5

I was doing some research on Tom Hatten, the host of the locally aired Family Film Festival and Popeye morning show on KTLA/Los Angeles, Channel 5--which is now The WB--and I discovered he was only paid $100 a week as the television host. This is mind-boggling considering the generational endearment Angelenos hold for his broadcasts.

Sundays were the glue to my entire week, as a kid. I started off the morning watching Mr. Hatten create live sketches of the Popeye characters in between shorts... entranced. During the afternoon, watching the Family Film Festival, I fell face-forward in admiration for my musical hero archetype Doris Day in film classics such as Pillow Talk, That Touch of Mink, and Calamity Jane--and Judy Garland in the animated classic Gay Puree. I got my first introduction to vocal swing delivery watching those films, as well as learning to riff off of the theme song from Mad Monster Party. The storytelling content of both shows was immeasurable, and yet Mr. Hatten only earned $100 a week as host, with the audience reaping the profit over the years to come. Crazy.

In the end, as an artist, you aspire to of course be paid your true value, but you can only hope that your creative contribution will have that level of impact and influence--that the content will appreciate and multiply in value in the minds and memories of so many decade after decade. That's what so many of us in Los Angeles and worldwide are looking to create--in a word, legacy.

58 views0 comments
bottom of page