Ken Ober, Adam Sandler and me

Connie, Carla and me standing behind Ken Ober in 1989.

As editor of a college newspaper, you work hard, learn a lot about the industry (as it was at the time) and discover what it’s like to be accountable to your reading public.

You also get to have a little fun.

I was editor of the Northwest Missourian at Northwest Missouri State University for two consecutive years. During those two years the college brought in several celebrities – speakers, bands, comedians – and in many cases I was the one who would show them around campus. I met the likes of Brit Hume (ABC White House correspondent at the time) and members of the Hooters and Ramones.

None was quite as memorable, though, as the day the crew from MTV’s “Remote Control” came to campus.

It was 1989 and Ken Ober, Colin Quinn and a still relatively unknown Adam Sandler brought their game show – kind of a laid back and funny version of “Jeopardy” in which contestants sat in recliners and controlled the board with a remote – to campus. There was an autograph session after the show and my roommates Connie and Carla and I got our picture taken with Ken Ober.

After the autographs my chief photographer Joann and I got to take the three guys out and introduce them to Maryville. Ken found a group of guys he wanted to play pool with and Colin was the life of the party darned near everywhere we went.

Adam, Joann and I sat down to have a drink and Joann and I started talking about our living arrangements: she was a 40-something mother of three daughters, wife of the ROTC instructor who went back to college. Their oldest daughter was in college and they had a room/suite to rent, so they offered it to me and I took it for my last semester.

Adam asked to see it so we got into Joann’s car and drove to the house. Joann’s husband Jerry was there and we all poured a drink then showed Adam around the house.

When we all got to my suite, he looked inside, yelled, “Waterbed!” and ran and started jumping on the bed.

It’s a story I continue to tell 20 years later, and one that became more relevant this week. Ken Ober, the host of the game show who would go on to become a comedic writer for various television shows, died at the age of 52 last weekend. His death hit the social media sites and was initially thought to be a hoax until family members confirmed it.

Godspeed, Ken. Thanks for being part of a great story in my life.

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