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Where you can find the 'other brother Darryl'

By Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn writes television and radio commentary for The Charlotte Observer.

Few people recognize John Volstad in his latest role, assisting visitors at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Even those who do aren’t certain at first.

“They’re not too sure – they don’t think about it because my hair is combed back now,” says Volstad, who played the “other brother Darryl” in the 1982-90 CBS comedy “Newhart.”

Volstad, 62, recently moved to Rock Hill with his son and landed a part-time job on the visitor services staff of the Hall of Fame through a longtime acquaintance, the hall’s historian, Buz McKim.

Volstad says he chose to come to the Charlotte area because he hopes to find work on some of the shows being produced in the region, like Showtime’s “Homeland.” Plus, he likes NASCAR. He once met Darrell Waltrip, and they talked about the name they have in common.

On “Newhart,” Volstad played one of three brothers who did odd jobs and ran a diner around the Vermont town where the series was set. William Sanderson would introduce the trio, rounded out by Tony Papenfuss, as, “I’m Larry. This is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl.”

Neither Darryl would speak. They did reactions – what Volstad calls “elegant shrugs” – to whatever was being discussed, until the final episode. They had married garrulous women from Long Island. Fed up with their new spouses, they shouted their only line in eight seasons: “Quiet!”

Volstad came to the United States at 10 months old from his native Norway, where his mother had been active in the resistance during World War II. He grew up in Brooklyn, Minnesota, Texas, and eventually pursued acting in California.

His first movie was “Switchblade Sisters,” in which he was beaten up by a girl gang. He had roles in “Stripes” with Bill Murray and the 1982 Civil War miniseries on CBS, “The Blue and the Gray,” in which Warren Oates killed him.

After “Newhart,” he did comedy tours with his TV brothers and landed at a country radio station in Albertville, Ala. “Nothing in Alabama was feeding the artist in me,” says Volstad.

He hopes Charlotte will cure that. Hall of Fame activities give him small stages, like getting visitors excited about the Pit Crew Challenge and other attractions.

Media Movers

Budget cuts at WFNZ-AM (“Fan” 610) mean the end to Brett Jensen’s popular late morning show, “On the Beat.” He got the word after the Oct. 18 program. “It was a surprise,” says Jensen, who took over the slot in 2010. “For someone who had never done radio, the last three years were probably the best of my professional career. I loved coming to work every day and hated taking a day off.” He’s looking for his next opportunity. “Bustin’ Loose” with Frank Garcia is filling his old spot now. ...

Trip Savery, vice president of WBT-AM (1110) and WLNK-FM (“Link” 107.9), will leave the Greater Media stations next month after three years to become the No. 2 executive at Raleigh-based Curtis Media, which operates 25 radio stations and other enterprises. Savery was a vice president for Curtis before coming to Charlotte in 2010. ... Tim Morrissey, president and general manager of WCNC-TV (Channel 36), says he will leave the station after it is purchased by Gannett Co. in a sale expected to close in December or January. “I thought about it, and I think it’s maybe time for something else,” Morrissey says. “It wasn’t an easy decision. I love the station, and we have a great staff.” ...

One of Charlotte’s top reporters will be departing Nov. 9. WFAE-FM’s (90.7) Julie Rose has decided to return to her home town of Provo, Utah, to be closer to her family. “I’m leaving my dream job,” says Rose, who landed at WFAE in 2008 as the financial crisis was hitting and has been a leading voice in its news department ever since. Rose has also been detached for assignments with NPR. ...

Sammi Jo Francis expands her duties at WBTV (Channel 3) sports to include morning traffic reporting. She replaces Tonya Rivens, who moves to afternoon traffic. ... Casey Carter joins WKKT-FM (“Kat” 96.9) as music director and midday host. Carter comes from sister Clear Channel stations in Albany, Ga. ...

“Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins” will celebrate its 15th anniversary by recording a show featuring Charlotte author Kathy Reichs, whose crime novels are the basis for “Bones” on Fox, at 7 p.m. Nov. 6 at Spirit Square’s McGlohon Theater. ... Laurabree Monday, news director of Rock Hill’s CN2, and husband, Keith Monday, meteorologist at WSOC (Channel 9), will be emcees of the Red, White and Blues event for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America Nov. 9 at the Mint Museum.

Washburn: 704-358-5007
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