David Nohling – in memory

  • Years at WGBH: 1958 – 1960
  • Position(s): Boston University Student Intern
  • ‘GBH Scholar, Class of ’58.

From Dave Nohling — 2000

At WHA Madison in 1958, I worked crew for Bob Squier who had come out to Madison Wisconsin to direct a Lip Reading Education Series. He told me about the ‘GBH Fellowship and I applied.

In the Summer of ’58, Fred Barzyk, Tom McGrath, and I bought a car and left Milwaukee for Boston. We arrived to hear the BSO play Water Music on the Swan Boats. Lived in Rat Alley and then moved around the Corner to 31 Mass Ave with Brooks and Paul Noble.

Worked Time to Dance, Laughter is a Funny Business, Remotes from the MFA with Brian O’Doherty, MIT Weather with Bibba Kelly, and of Course Ruth Ann’s Camp and Great Decisions.

I worked as the summer Film Manager when Norman Feather went to Europe. We went to the Cape in Brooks’ beetle, and also some great parties on Singing Beach, as well as a lot of pre-broadway tryouts. I remember when we got the first Tape Recorder for A time to Dance.

Memories that came out of letters home:

  • Don Hallock doing a whole Pianoforte show on one camera
  • The Images flip cards getting out of order
  • Eleanor Roosevelt in Decades of Decisions at Brandise.
  • Bob Valtz with the scarf around his neck, and the Havaard accent in the headsets.
  • Going downstairs for a Chocolate Egg Frappe and a Tuna Fish on Toast.
  • Walking across the Charles in old Army Surplus overcoats.
  • The big TV we had with the FM tuner in the Bay window, and Henry Morganthau III drop kicking the beer cans out the window into rat alley.
  • Going to Newport for the Jazz Festival on Father O’Connor’s tickets, and getting tear gassed in the wet rainy riot.
  • The beautiful grey chiffon that I brought home from the Dance set, and my Grandmother made 5 dresses out of the 60 yards.
  • The plastic rocks that came from a set into the apartment and “Our John” picture of the Pope on the door.
  • The 1958 crew Christmas show that was taped after signoff and finished at 5:30 the next morning.
  • Doing Radio shows with Larry White and John Sunier over at BU and doing voice overs for some Chicken Commercials and Vespacades, a radio spot project for the Mass Dept of Tourism.
  • In may 1960 a French project came in with Franco Romagnoli, I think that was shot on film and transferred to tape.
  • Nine live shows a night with camera 2 having to break and get into the next studio for the opening shot after the station break.
  • Packing all the equipment over to Symphony hall, or connecting the cables in the MFA after hours.
  • And flying family plan with Sue Dietrich to Chicago as Mr. and Mrs. Nohling.

I got caught in the upheaval when most of the faculty left, and Murry Yaeger and Dave Steel and Gerald Noxon were the only people left at BU. When my thesis idea was killed, I decided to switch to Film and got and Assistantship at BU so I could stay and finish my degree. I married Fran in January 1960 and we moved to Beacon street.

After graduation, I took a job at Michigan State and we moved to Lansing, Michigan and I got called up 6 months later for the draft. I beat them and joined the Air Force, and was stationed in Greece with Armed Forces Radio for 18 months. Went to Officer School, and then to Japan and Hawaii. Got out in December 1967 and went to WQED Pittsburgh through the help of Gene Nichols at EEN. Worked there from PD to School Services Director, and then into management with Jay Rayvid.

I got to play the Purple Panda with Fred Rogers for about 10 years off and on as well as doing fundraising and other Pledge Chores. Picked up my Ph.D from Pitt at nights, and did part time college teaching as well.

We came to the Midwest in 1981 when I was Facility Manager for Arthur Andersen’s Corporate Training Center and spent 10 years doing instructional videos and teaching. After a cutback, I worked for the United Way in fundraising and continued to teach Instructional TV, Speech, Business Communications, and Instructional Design. This year I started teaching at Elderhostels, as well as part time Speech at Chicago area schools.

Fran and I have two kids, and 6 grandchildren living around us west of Chicago in St. Charles. I still sail a bit, but got out of the TV business when it went to digital and corporate media went to computers….

Great memories, too much to mention, but what a great start and thanks to all those who gave us the time and opportunities.

Keep in touch. Dave and Fran Nohling.


  1. Martha Raffae on May 6, 2021 at 1:02 am

    While briefly meeting David and Fran Nohling, I was enthralled by their humor and dedication to using it to help others.

    If I remember correctly, they volunteered to teach stand up comedy at retirement homes. David asked me what kind of humor I liked and I said I like stories that reveal humor of human nature. He challenged me to tell one from my own experiences.

    I still remember David and Fran fondly — from just a short few hours together — more than twenty years later. I still regret that’s all there was.

    Charming and enchanting and just plain fun.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.