Do you remember watching TV in 1954? It’s been 48 years since Engineer John first appeared on local television. The show was titled “Cartoon Express” and the year was 1954. It debuted on WKJG-TV, which started broadcasting on Nov. 21, 1953.
Radio was John Siemer’s (Engineer John’s) first calling. When he came to Fort Wayne in 1953 he worked at WKJG-Radio. He did news, weather, sports, and commercials. Siemer, whose home area was Mount Healthy, north of Cincinnati, had attended the Cincinnati College of Music to study the history and principals of radio broadcasting. He had a series of radio jobs in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana before coming to Fort Wayne. It was John’s idea that each child got equal attention. Each of the child’s drawings that were mailed to the station was shown and each child in the studio was put on camera. They treated the children equally and made them the stars of the show.
In 1963, Siemer left television for a short time to commute to a sales job in Dayton, Ohio. When he came back to WKJG they changed the afternoon “Cartoon Express” Show to “The Engineer John Show” airing weekday mornings.
Can you remember watching the old black and white TV, messing with the vertical or horizontal hold knobs and finally getting a clear enough picture to see Engineer John tilt his head, listen to the wail of a train whistle and then say “There goes the Berne Express.” John and his wife Anne live on Delcon Drive. He will be 80 years old on Jan 17th, 2003.
Engineer John, AKA, John Siemer, information provided by Anne Siemer.