The Golden Era Returns to WZZM

7:16 AM, May 8, 2012   |    comments
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Video: Sam Hooks anchors the sports report

Video: WZZM Anchors from 1985

Video: Craig James delivers the 13 On Target Forecast

Sam Hooks, Barry Shanley, Lee Van Ameyde and Craig James.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) - They're back! The Fabulous Four from the Golden Era, Barry Shanley, Sam Hooks, Craig James, all joining Lee Van Ameyde for two nights in honor of WZZM 13's 50th Anniversary.

Shanley anchored the evening newscasts on WZZM from January 1976 until March of 1986. Then he moved on to WWMT in Kalamazoo for another 10 years before hanging up his anchor jacket for good. "The truth is I just didn't want to anchor the news any more," said Shanley. 

During that time a childhood disease caught up with him that caused him to lose all of his hair. "It used to be everywhere I went I was mistaken for Robert Redford or Brad Pitt. Now I'm mistaken for Yoda. So it's a bit of a come down, but it's okay because I'm alright. Everyone who sees me now thinks I'm a lot sicker than I really am. I have a really unusual health issue."

As a baby, Shanley was allergic to everything so his doctors decided to give him large doses of steroids for nearly 15 years to keep his reactions under control, but nearly 30 years later, it had an adverse affect on his immune system. "So cells are running around thinking my hair is a disease so it chops it off," says Shanley. 

Other than that Barry is completely healthy and as a result he's spent the past ten years on the golf course. "Since that time I've just been doing what I love more than anything in the world and that's been coaching golf. And creating summer golf tournaments and tours."

But he still remembers anchoring the news at WZZM as one of the best times of his life.  "I used to like to really kid without mercy Craig James on air that he was a lot older than me when he was really only about 6 months older."

And Sam Hooks? "You know what I remember is how happy he always was," says Shanley.

But you could definitely call Shanley the practical jokester of the bunch, often setting up Lee Van Ameyde in hopes of getting him to lose it on live television. Of course Shanely remembers it quite differently. "What I do remember is that in general Lee always lost it and I had to be the professional one and pick up his mess all the time, {laughs}" says Shanley. 

It's that chemistry and friendship that still puts a smile on Barry's face nearly 25 years later. "I just remember that we always had such a good time working together and I think that's why we were so successful because they could feel that. Because I think we were all in it for the right reasons and I think that came across."

And now he's ready to make a comeback together again with team from the Golden Era.

Barry Shanely is currently coaching the South Haven girls high school golf team and is launching a nationally-ranked summer junior golf tour called the Lakeshore Junior Golf Association.

And if you miss hearing Barry's opinion, you can read his opinion column in the Kalamazoo Gazette.  

By Valerie Lego

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