Welcome to Radio Free Flint Podcast
April 26, 2022

Michael J Thorp: Michigan Trivia & People We Should Know

Michael J Thorp: Michigan Trivia & People We Should Know
Apple Podcasts podcast player badge
Spotify podcast player badge
Google Podcasts podcast player badge
RSS Feed podcast player badge

Michael J. Thorp Has Stories to Tell about His Life in Mid-Michigan Television and Radio. Michael  Shares Curious Tales from His Latest Book

Former WJRT TV-12 morning anchor Michael J. Thorp has been a familiar voice to the people of Mid-Michigan for nearly 50 years. He shares the story of his life and career along with his work in radio and television. 

Michael is also a published author of 6 books about Michigan. Did I forget to say, a juror in a murder trial of the century in Genesee County? 

Michael shares his fascinating stories about broadcasting and the characters he worked with in the golden age of Flint area radio.


Purchase a copy of Michael's latest book Michiganians You Should Know, at the author's website

Subscribe to the Radio Free Flint Podcast mailing list free of charge. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin.

Visit our website at www.radiofreeflint.media to subscribe to our free newsletter to receive our latest episodes.


Transcript of an Interview with Michael J. Thorp

00:00:20 Arthur Busch

This is Arthur Bush.

00:00:21 Arthur Busch

You're listening to radio free Flint, and the microphone is turned around.

00:00:22 Speaker 2

Still waiting in line.

00:00:25 Arthur Busch

This is Michael J Thorpe from Flint, MI.

00:00:29 Arthur Busch

Arthur Busch from the sun close to Florida and it is an honor and a pleasure to have you.

00:00:34 Arthur Busch

You on that radio free.

00:00:35 Arthur Busch

Flint Michael welcome.

00:00:37 Michael J. Thorp

Hi thanks hearts, nice to Nice to be with you.

00:00:39 Michael J. Thorp

This is a a new thing here.

00:00:40 Michael J. Thorp

I spent you know I was thinking about the other day of like 50 years working on radio and TV since I was a child obviously and it's not often that somebody, I've stuck a microphone in their faces turn around and put.

00:00:50 Michael J. Thorp

One in mine I kind of like it.

00:00:53 Arthur Busch

Well, it's a little different thing although.

00:00:55 Arthur Busch

You did master the art of the Long Form interview.

00:00:58 Arthur Busch

Along the way, I think you even had an interview program.

00:01:02 Michael J. Thorp

I did like you know when I was working for ABC at channel 12.

I you know I did the news maker program.

For almost a decade, and of course I've done a whole bunch of other projects over the years working with I Michigan productions.

I write, you know, I produce stuff, but often they like to stick me in front of a camera because I'm not afraid of a camera and a microphone and I can talk.

Forever, as you'll find.

00:01:26 Arthur Busch

You have a lot of energy because I remember waking up or watching you when they first launched this idea that they'd show news at six 6:00 o'clock or something.

00:01:34 Michael J. Thorp

5:00 o'clock

00:01:35 Arthur Busch

5:00 o'clock, yes.

00:01:36 Michael J. Thorp

I was going out there at 5:00 o'clock in the morning for years.

That's in TV.

00:01:40 Michael J. Thorp

You must look good. Radio is one thing, but TV.

Well, yeah.

00:01:43 Michael J. Thorp

You know what's interesting is for many years radio you did the drive times, right?

00:01:48 Michael J. Thorp

The number one time slot in radio is the morning number.

00:01:51 Michael J. Thorp

Two guy is drive time going home in the afternoon and then for TV.

00:01:55 Michael J. Thorp

It used to be prime time which would be anywhere from 7 or 8 till 10:00 o'clock at night.

00:02:00 Michael J. Thorp

Well, they discovered that.

00:02:01 Michael J. Thorp

People actually get up early and instead of turning on the radio, they were turning on TV so it turned into.

00:02:07 Michael J. Thorp

And if you watch, they're expanding.

00:02:09 Michael J. Thorp

Good Morning America.

00:02:10 Michael J. Thorp

the Today show they're realizing that people are actually tuning in in the.

00:02:14 Michael J. Thorp

So it's kind of a whole new world out there, and that's kind of what happened.

00:02:18 Michael J. Thorp

So yeah, people got up that time in the morning.

00:02:20 Michael J. Thorp

It was miserable, but they knew people were watching and what they were saying was how can they look like that this time in the.

00:02:25 Arthur Busch

I didn't understand how you had so much energy.

00:02:29 Arthur Busch

What have you been up to lately?

00:02:31 Michael J. Thorp

Well, I keep busy as you can imagine, but I just released my latest book, it's called Michiganians.

00:02:38 Michael J. Thorp

You should know and some you do and don't know why.

00:02:41 Michael J. Thorp

I've that's my 6th book and they're all about Michigan, so that's that's one of the things that I that I do.

00:02:46 Michael J. Thorp

I've also still continued to do, you know?

00:02:49 Michael J. Thorp

Broadcasting I've do a podcast my.

00:02:52 Michael J. Thorp

Self, it's called capital memories.

00:02:54 Michael J. Thorp

It's about Flint capitol theatre.

00:02:56 Michael J. Thorp

It's at Capitol theater Flint com and we did about, I think 40 episodes.

00:03:01 Michael J. Thorp

It's about a 10 minute program.

00:03:03 Michael J. Thorp

Do a little history about Flint or the theater and then I talked to somebody about their memories of when they went to the Capitol theater.

00:03:10 Michael J. Thorp

How about you are?

00:03:11 Michael J. Thorp

When was the first time you?

00:03:12 Michael J. Thorp

Remember going to the capital?

00:03:13 Arthur Busch

I I just remember their popcorn.

00:03:16 Arthur Busch

Let me answer that question.

00:03:18 Arthur Busch

Yeah, I remember going there when the UAW at Christmas time would give out Christmas stocking with children and my mom and dad would take us there and somehow or another we ended up with a sack of fruit and candy and I don't remember even with if there was any program that must have been programming.

00:03:37 Arthur Busch

But I don't remember.

00:03:37 Arthur Busch

I remember saying.

00:03:38 Arthur Busch

Santa Claus was there.

00:03:40 Michael J. Thorp

Like many people.

00:03:41 Michael J. Thorp

My first time was to go see a movie.

00:03:43 Michael J. Thorp

It was Mary Poppins and it was the first time I ever went to see a movie in a movie theater and my mom took all my brothers and sisters and what I like to tell the story is I got in there and I was so fascinated with this beautiful, beautiful theater and I looked up.

00:03:58 Michael J. Thorp

And if you remember in the ceiling.

00:04:00 Michael J. Thorp

There were star yes look.

00:04:01 Michael J. Thorp

The little lights up there that looked like.

00:04:04 Michael J. Thorp

And and I remember looking up there.

00:04:05 Michael J. Thorp

And saying mom.

00:04:06 Michael J. Thorp

Look and she smiled at me, says yes stars.

00:04:09 Michael J. Thorp

That was kind.

00:04:10 Michael J. Thorp

Of my first memory of the Capitol Theater, almost 100 years older.

00:04:14 Michael J. Thorp

It's almost 100 years old and it's completely restored with like a $30 million restoration. It is more beautiful today than when it was first built. It was built to be a vaudeville house.

00:04:24 Michael J. Thorp

It was built for silent movies in 1928, so you know what happened 1929.

00:04:30 Arthur Busch

Yeah, crash.

00:04:31 Michael J. Thorp

The jazz singer

00:04:32 Michael J. Thorp

So, so all of a sudden they build a broad Ville house and a silent movie theater.

00:04:38 Michael J. Thorp

And in 1929, the silent movies are almost dead because of the jazz Singers released. And vaudeville is a dying ember, right?

00:04:44 Michael J. Thorp

Then it was it was old that day and open.

00:04:48 Michael J. Thorp

It's a.

00:04:48 Michael J. Thorp

It's a fascinating story.

00:04:49 Michael J. Thorp

So anyway, I I looked at that.

00:04:51 Michael J. Thorp

Story about the guy that built it, and that's just one of the things that we did.

00:04:55 Michael J. Thorp

One the Yancho family story.

00:04:58 Michael J. Thorp

Which one in me?

00:04:59 Michael J. Thorp

I've got an Emmy for that and we talked to he was a veteran of World War Two and he was he built a cemetery in.

00:05:07 Michael J. Thorp

Belgium for the American cemetery and then he came home and he started a construction company here in Michigan and Flint and grew up in in Goodrich and we didn't get a chance to talk to any past just before we were going to shoot the show.

00:05:20 Michael J. Thorp

But we talked.

00:05:20 Michael J. Thorp

To his family.

00:05:21 Michael J. Thorp

About about what he remembered.

00:05:23 Michael J. Thorp

So I'm a storyteller from way back art that's that's kind of what I do and continue to.

00:05:27 Arthur Busch

Well, how did you get into writing books and?

00:05:29 Michael J. Thorp

I I've spent my whole life since I was 1718 years old, working on radio or TV and you read names and you, you hear these stories and and I think is that true.

00:05:40 Michael J. Thorp

Is that true?

00:05:41 Michael J. Thorp

Can that be true?

00:05:41 Michael J. Thorp

And I so I started.

00:05:42 Michael J. Thorp

Looking these things up and my the latest.

00:05:45 Michael J. Thorp

Book called Michiganians you should know.

00:05:47 Michael J. Thorp

I I started specifically when I was.

00:05:49 Michael J. Thorp

Sitting at the anchor desk next to Karen Gatlin.

00:05:52 Michael J. Thorp

Yeah I got to work with classy people, Karen, Normal Hall and I'm sitting there and we're reading about the sentencing of Kwame Kilpatrick at the Frank Murphy Hall of.

00:06:04 Michael J. Thorp

Justice and I remember the cameras off me and poster Karen.

00:06:07 Michael J. Thorp

I leaned back in.

00:06:08 Michael J. Thorp

The chair and thinking.

00:06:09 Michael J. Thorp

Who the hell is Frank Murphy?

00:06:10 Michael J. Thorp

And why is he?

00:06:11 Michael J. Thorp

Always associated with these low lights.

00:06:13 Michael J. Thorp

And I didn't mean that necessarily to attack him, but you know, every time you read a story about the Hall of Justice down in Detroit, it's about crooks.

00:06:21 Michael J. Thorp

It's about people who are getting sentenced for horrible crimes.

00:06:24 Michael J. Thorp

I didn't know who he was.

00:06:26 Michael J. Thorp

I bet most people did.

00:06:27 Michael J. Thorp

Do you know who he was?

00:06:29 Arthur Busch

Yeah, of course we studied him in college.

00:06:30 Arthur Busch

He was the Governor of Michigan and he was perhaps the man most singlehandedly responsible for not seeing the UAW wiped out during the.

00:06:39 Arthur Busch

Sit down strike.

00:06:40 Arthur Busch

He called in the National Guard to my neighborhood to stand between of all things, the Flint police, the Black Legion, General Motors, Goon squad.

00:06:48 Arthur Busch


00:06:49 Michael J. Thorp

He forced them to negotiate.

00:06:51 Arthur Busch

That's exactly correct.

00:06:52 Michael J. Thorp

Basically, that's the beginning of the way W.

00:06:54 Michael J. Thorp

But wait, there's so much more with this guy, you.

00:06:57 Michael J. Thorp

Gotta let me.


Let me do.

00:06:58 Michael J. Thorp

It really quick for it because this when I started.

00:07:00 Michael J. Thorp

Looking at him, I realized he's from Harbor Beach.

00:07:02 Michael J. Thorp

You know, in the thumb of Michigan, which one of my books is called Michigan Thumb Drive and I had already written a little bit about him up there.

00:07:08 Michael J. Thorp

He went on to Detroit mayor of Detroit.

00:07:10 Michael J. Thorp

He was a prosecutor.

00:07:12 Michael J. Thorp

He was a.

00:07:12 Michael J. Thorp

Defense attorney became our Governor of Michigan, but he was also the last Governor General of the Philippines.

00:07:18 Michael J. Thorp

He had to be taken out of there because of the Japanese attack.

00:07:22 Michael J. Thorp

The first was William Howard Taft.

00:07:25 Michael J. Thorp

That gives you an idea of just the level that.

00:07:28 Michael J. Thorp

He was then our.

00:07:29 Michael J. Thorp

FDR calls him to become the Attorney General of the United States.

00:07:33 Michael J. Thorp

Frank Murphy was the attorney general and then he becomes an associate justice of the United States Supreme.

00:07:39 Michael J. Thorp

But we don't know you know, and I sat there at the anchor desk, a college degree in history and I didn't know.

00:07:44 Michael J. Thorp

Who Frank runs which?

00:07:46 Michael J. Thorp

Is where the?

00:07:46 Michael J. Thorp

Book came from let me let me read this.

00:07:48 Michael J. Thorp

I got this from my little bookmark here.

00:07:50 Michael J. Thorp

It says you can live in Marquette, MI Drive a Cadillac you bought on Woodward Ave.

00:07:55 Michael J. Thorp

Float down the cache river and long for the good old days at Michigan and Trumbull and not know who Marquette Cadillac Woodward cast Trumbull off.

00:08:04 Michael J. Thorp

But you can if you read my they're all fascinating, fascinating, and another one.

00:08:07 Michael J. Thorp

Michigan and Trumbull.

00:08:09 Michael J. Thorp

Maybe Michigan, Michigan.

00:08:09 Speaker 2

Yeah, the corner.

00:08:11 Michael J. Thorp

Most vendors.

00:08:12 Michael J. Thorp

Yeah, the corner baseball corner for over 100 years where Tiger Stadium was. Of course we know you know where Michigan came from. Who was Trumbull? Why did Trumbull get that? Get that name there.

00:08:24 Michael J. Thorp

It took me a long time to find out.

00:08:25 Michael J. Thorp

It's a fascinating story.

00:08:27 Michael J. Thorp

Trumbull out actually, when it was was first named.

00:08:30 Michael J. Thorp

Trouble it was at uh, Haymarket Tiger Stadium at that time was just a corner where they had a Haymarket selling hay for horses.

00:08:37 Michael J. Thorp

He was from Connecticut.

00:08:39 Michael J. Thorp

He went to Yale University.

00:08:40 Michael J. Thorp

He was he got in when he was 13 years old.

00:08:43 Michael J. Thorp

John Trumbull is his name.

00:08:45 Michael J. Thorp

His first cousin was an artist named John Trumbull, who did all the Revolutionary War of paintings.

00:08:51 Michael J. Thorp

You've heard of, well, John, troubled the cousin ended up being an attorney, and he was called one of the group called the Connecticut Wits, and he was a long time jurist in Connecticut.

00:09:02 Michael J. Thorp

This is, you know, John trouble.

00:09:05 Michael J. Thorp

So how how does he?

00:09:06 Michael J. Thorp

Get he gets married and he has our children.

00:09:09 Michael J. Thorp

His daughter marries a guy named William Woodfield who becomes the mayor of Detroit and was able to give his father in law.

00:09:18 Michael J. Thorp

This wonderful gift of naming a street.

00:09:21 Michael J. Thorp

Which will later become the second governor of Michigan.

00:09:25 Michael J. Thorp

So it's one of those.

00:09:27 Michael J. Thorp

It's one of those strange little stories that nobody would ever know unless you start really looking.

00:09:31 Arthur Busch

Now Michael, I first met you.

00:09:33 Arthur Busch

Way back in the 19 early 80s.

00:09:37 Arthur Busch

At the radio station.

00:09:39 Michael J. Thorp

WTRX at the time.

00:09:40 Michael J. Thorp

ISIS Basque.

00:09:41 Arthur Busch

That's correct, a station that throughout the history of this podcast is weed its way in and out of the podcasts in one way or another.

00:09:48 Arthur Busch

You were at that time.

00:09:50 Arthur Busch

I can't remember if you were doing talk or you were playing music.

00:09:54 Michael J. Thorp

Well, I worked there two different times.

00:09:58 Michael J. Thorp

I played music for the first time exclusively.

00:10:00 Michael J. Thorp

There was this disc jockey, but then the second time there I did for a while and then one day, Johnny Broken Larry Gats said starting next week you're going to do a talk show.

00:10:12 Michael J. Thorp

What and in live?

00:10:13 Michael J. Thorp

That's how it started.

00:10:14 Michael J. Thorp

I I OK and this was back when radio talk shows were fairly new.

00:10:20 Michael J. Thorp

It was it was, you know I.



00:10:21 Michael J. Thorp

I say, barely know they've.

00:10:22 Michael J. Thorp

Been around for decades in some ways, but not in a local.

00:10:25 Michael J. Thorp

Level, and so I went in there that I never forget when.

00:10:28 Michael J. Thorp

That damn thing, what in God?

00:10:29 Michael J. Thorp

's name I talk about 3.

00:10:31 Michael J. Thorp

Hour and I did it and I got off the air and and I.

00:10:34 Michael J. Thorp

Was like and.

00:10:36 Michael J. Thorp

I say come on this, I need to talk.

00:10:37 Michael J. Thorp

About this and I said.

00:10:38 Michael J. Thorp

John, you're just gonna have to wait I.

00:10:40 Michael J. Thorp

Need to sit down for a few minutes and think.

00:10:42 Michael J. Thorp

But that's how it started.

00:10:44 Arthur Busch

But back in those days they.

00:10:46 Arthur Busch

Had a guy named John Smith.

00:10:48 Michael J. Thorp

Yes, well actually John came after me, but yes he was there.

00:10:48 Arthur Busch

And Mark Smith.

00:10:51 Michael J. Thorp

I was there at the same time.

00:10:52 Arthur Busch

He was your replacement and then there was a time and I can't remember if you were involved in this frolic, but there was a show called desperate and dateless.

00:11:02 Arthur Busch

Somehow they got this idea that they'd have a date night show.

00:11:06 Arthur Busch

On WTRX, do you remember that?

00:11:08 Michael J. Thorp

Oh, I did.

00:11:09 Michael J. Thorp

I hosted it a couple of times.

00:11:11 Michael J. Thorp

It would you know when you work, you know I was in at 8:00 o'clock in the morning, so those were all at 7:00 o'clock at night and later a long day.

00:11:17 Michael J. Thorp

Yes, we did it and it was a new idea and and it was actually pretty popular for a long time.

00:11:23 Michael J. Thorp

We did, you know gay, desperate and dateless.

00:11:26 Michael J. Thorp

Nights and this.

00:11:27 Michael J. Thorp

Is 25 years ago and that wasn't something we did every week. It was just once in a while. Obviously we're in show business so we were trying to make headlines.

00:11:35 Arthur Busch

And and you had a co-star, there was your co-star.

00:11:39 Arthur Busch

I don't think.

00:11:39 Arthur Busch

John Smith did that, desperate and dateless I could.

00:11:42 Michael J. Thorp

No I can't I.

00:11:42 Arthur Busch

Be wrong for that.

00:11:42 Michael J. Thorp

Can't it'll be kind of funny thinking?

00:11:44 Michael J. Thorp

About him doing it.

00:11:46 Arthur Busch

Somebody I interviewed called him.

00:11:48 Arthur Busch

Oh, I know who it was.

00:11:49 Arthur Busch

Don Don Juan from WDZ, Don Wiggins.

00:11:54 Arthur Busch

He calls him Mr Goodbar.

00:11:57 Michael J. Thorp

Yes, that's where I heard.

00:11:58 Arthur Busch

That was his nickname was Mr.

00:12:00 Arthur Busch

Goodbar, but anyway they had his co-star named Wicked Wanda, who was a client.

00:12:05 Michael J. Thorp

Oh yeah.

00:12:07 Arthur Busch

Kind of mine and a good friend and she did.

00:12:11 Arthur Busch

She did this the stand up I can't remember was.

00:12:13 Michael J. Thorp

You know Steve Clawson hosted it on occasion, usually absolutely.

00:12:17 Arthur Busch

Perry Perry, right.

00:12:18 Arthur Busch

That was his.

00:12:19 Michael J. Thorp

Right did and.

00:12:20 Michael J. Thorp

You talk about Sharon Cobble, who was also our staff by the entire station secretary.

00:12:25 Michael J. Thorp

She worked there full time, it was just.

00:12:26 Arthur Busch

She hilarious, hilarious.

00:12:27 Michael J. Thorp

She was saying she'd say anything.

00:12:30 Michael J. Thorp

That was part of the fun of of regular.

00:12:33 Michael J. Thorp

People have asked me before, you know what's the best job you ever had and I think to a person all of us that worked at WTRX in the 80s would say that was it.

00:12:41 Michael J. Thorp

We had a ball.

00:12:42 Michael J. Thorp

We we we were part of the Community and we got to do everything and we got to go everywhere and we got to do what we want.

00:12:49 Michael J. Thorp

We it was a.

00:12:50 Michael J. Thorp

It was a great place to work.

00:12:52 Michael J. Thorp

I work with, you know, with Perry, Johnny Burke, Ricky Archambo.

00:12:56 Michael J. Thorp

There are bunches of people there that and we all we.

00:12:59 Michael J. Thorp

We all say the same thing that was, that was the best time.

00:13:02 Arthur Busch

Well, they had a legal talk show called Ask the lawyer Way back way back in the day and when I first started practicing law with Ken Siegel, former.

00:13:12 Arthur Busch

Judge now deceased.

00:13:13 Arthur Busch

He he liked the idea doing the show, but he didn't like the idea of having to go there.

00:13:19 Arthur Busch

So he he would send me, and after a while I started liking it.

00:13:24 Arthur Busch

It was fun and then I realized that.

00:13:26 Michael J. Thorp

Helped you with your job, didn't.

00:13:27 Arthur Busch

It helped me because I had just started my law practice.

00:13:30 Arthur Busch

So now people from all over to me.

00:13:33 Michael J. Thorp

Right and of course, people sticking questions in a microphone in your face and asking you questions.

00:13:37 Michael J. Thorp

You have to dance quickly, especially as an attorney trying to get clients.

00:13:42 Michael J. Thorp

So yeah, it it gave you great practice.

00:13:44 Arthur Busch

It it gave you training in the.

00:13:46 Arthur Busch

Art of the sound bite.

00:13:49 Michael J. Thorp

Yes, and important in importance are training.

00:13:52 Arthur Busch

Alright, let's go back to your book.

00:13:53 Arthur Busch

So if we want to buy one of these books, how do we buy one of these books?

00:13:57 Michael J. Thorp

Well, the easiest and quickest way is Michael J. Thorpe.com that they're right there. I do, you know the other ones are the trivia books I've got at the great Great Lakes Trivia test and then the even greater Great Lakes trivia test.

00:14:10 Michael J. Thorp

So let me.

00:14:11 Michael J. Thorp

Let me ask you a trivia question here.

00:14:13 Michael J. Thorp

Just to give you an idea, the kind of questions here.

00:14:15 Michael J. Thorp

Michigan is a land.

00:14:17 Michael J. Thorp

Of peninsulas

00:14:19 Michael J. Thorp

You know, our peninsula is just a bit of land surrounded by water on three sides.

00:14:23 Michael J. Thorp

How many peninsulas are there in Michigan?

00:14:25 Michael J. Thorp

Are there a 2B5 or see at least seven? At least there are more than seven actions, so you start counting them down. Let me run through upper and lower, obviously the thumb.

00:14:39 Michael J. Thorp

Is a peninsula the Garden Peninsula?

00:14:41 Michael J. Thorp

The Leland offense lead the Mission Peninsula, the Keweenaw Peninsula?

00:14:45 Michael J. Thorp

There's just.

00:14:46 Michael J. Thorp

A few of them right there, so let's see.

00:14:50 Michael J. Thorp

If I got to.

00:14:51 Michael J. Thorp

There's one you might like.

00:14:52 Michael J. Thorp

You were a county commissioner for for some amount of time, right?

00:14:55 Arthur Busch

Three terms to be exact.

00:14:57 Michael J. Thorp

Here, OK, there seems to be a license for everything.

00:15:00 Michael J. Thorp

You need a license to.

00:15:01 Michael J. Thorp

Drive a car to fly.

00:15:03 Michael J. Thorp

A plane to teach school and to be.

00:15:05 Michael J. Thorp

A doctor or pharmacist.

00:15:06 Michael J. Thorp

Builder which of the following occupations needs a license?

00:15:10 Michael J. Thorp

A abutter greater be a minnow dealer or see a garbage feeder?

00:15:17 Arthur Busch

Amedo dealer.

00:15:18 Michael J. Thorp

Believe it or not, in the state of Michigan, you needed a license to sell minnows to grade butter and to be a garbage feeder.

00:15:25 Michael J. Thorp

We had to have licenses at one time for all of those.

00:15:28 Michael J. Thorp

By the way, a garbage feeder is somebody who feeds pigs the garbage of a community.

00:15:32 Michael J. Thorp

You know, in the olden days that's what they used to do.

00:15:34 Michael J. Thorp

They have pigs out of the hog farm and and and they take the garbage in the city.

00:15:39 Michael J. Thorp

And they would take it out and the hogs would.

00:15:40 Michael J. Thorp

Eat it and then.

00:15:41 Michael J. Thorp

They need to sell the hogs and that's how they made money.

00:15:43 Michael J. Thorp

It does it.

00:15:43 Arthur Busch

OK, so Michael.

00:15:45 Arthur Busch

You've written books about trivia.

00:15:47 Arthur Busch

You've written books about Michigan history and what else did you.

00:15:50 Arthur Busch

Write book about.

00:15:51 Michael J. Thorp

I'm at Michigan's thumb. Michigan Thumb Drive is there and I did one also. It's called the legend of the Abominable Huckleberry or the practically true story of how the Huckle Gray Railroad got its name and and and and, and it's a it's a children story, obviously, with a little bit of history.

00:16:10 Michael J. Thorp

In it about.

00:16:11 Michael J. Thorp

Pair Marquette Railroad, which is what the Huckleberry Railroad was.

00:16:15 Michael J. Thorp

The Huckleberry Railroad at Crossroads Village in Flint, was actually an actual factual railroad that ran up into.

00:16:21 Michael J. Thorp

The thumb of.

00:16:21 Michael J. Thorp

Michigan to bring lumber down to governor. Crapo's lumber mills, which was right on the Flint River at the site of the old IMA auditorium, which is now the.

00:16:31 Michael J. Thorp

The white, the white building downtown.


Pretty pretty wild, huh?

00:16:35 Arthur Busch

Sure, now next time you write a book about the Genesee Belt, give me a ring up.

00:16:38 Arthur Busch

I have a lot of history.

00:16:40 Arthur Busch

The net.

00:16:40 Michael J. Thorp

I mentioned my yeah, yeah, there's a one of my favorite stories is about my friend Neil Woodward.

00:16:45 Michael J. Thorp

I did a radio show, a live radio variety show like a Prairie Home Companion, and Neil was part of it and he wrote a song about the sinking of the Genesee Bell and those of us who are old enough.

00:16:56 Michael J. Thorp

Remember that it actually did sink.

00:16:58 Michael J. Thorp

There was a flaw in the design and it actually.

00:17:01 Michael J. Thorp

Did sink not the?

00:17:02 Michael J. Thorp

Correct boat, but the for the 1st.

00:17:04 Michael J. Thorp

One, but they won't let.

00:17:05 Michael J. Thorp

Him sing it out there.

00:17:06 Speaker 1

Ha ha ha.

00:17:07 Arthur Busch

Well, let me let me correct you on one thing.

00:17:10 Arthur Busch

There was no flawed design.

00:17:12 Arthur Busch

In the Genesee Bell.

00:17:14 Arthur Busch

But there was a use design.

00:17:17 Arthur Busch

There was a failure of vision about what this this bug was capable of, because it was formally the Asobo River Queen and the Genesee Bell, which was purchased while I was on a county border Commission around the County Parks Commission.

00:17:32 Arthur Busch

Which I served for a number.

00:17:33 Arthur Busch

For years, the director Jim Bass at the time.

00:17:36 Arthur Busch

Came to me and.

00:17:36 Arthur Busch

Said well, we can buy this boat and we think it would really be a nice asset for Mountlake.

00:17:41 Arthur Busch

So he came along, you know they had what they called the they called it a special name.

00:17:46 Arthur Busch

When they inspect the boat, a boat survey, inspection, but any event it all checked out once the boat got out.

00:17:52 Arthur Busch

I'm not late on its maiden voyage.

00:17:54 Arthur Busch

It it sinks well.

00:17:55 Arthur Busch

The reason it sunk was because it was put on a lake and and on the river they don't have the kind of waves and wind action with the water that overcame that ransom in the back of the boat which made.

00:18:08 Arthur Busch

Go Kart plank.

00:18:09 Arthur Busch

That's the story of the sinking of the Genesee Bell.

00:18:13 Michael J. Thorp

That's a great fun song and Neil.


Neil did about it.

00:18:16 Arthur Busch

Alright, let's come back to the Capitol theater one of, obviously, it's your passion at this moment.

00:18:22 Arthur Busch

Tell us who it was that that built this building.

00:18:25 Michael J. Thorp

A guy named Eberson ER.

00:18:28 Michael J. Thorp


00:18:29 Michael J. Thorp

And he was a guy he was from Belgium and he was a a designer. He designed over 200 of these theaters.

00:18:37 Michael J. Thorp

They were made to look like you were at.

00:18:39 Michael J. Thorp

A particular place.

00:18:41 Michael J. Thorp

So you might like like a Roman villa, which is actually what the the Capitol theatre was made to look like, or other places.

00:18:48 Michael J. Thorp

And and he built these things all over, and he did that.

00:18:52 Michael J. Thorp

He was a fascinating businessman.

00:18:53 Michael J. Thorp

He came up with all these great designs which were.

00:18:57 Michael J. Thorp

Already intricate, but then he started mass producing them in more of a plaster as opposed to the kind of stuff that you have to put up on a wall.

00:19:05 Michael J. Thorp

So they'd send the pieces to all these different theaters and they'd stick them up on the wall so it cost him less.

00:19:10 Michael J. Thorp

The other thing he did, which was I found.

00:19:12 Michael J. Thorp

Fascinating was he.

00:19:13 Michael J. Thorp

Had he created his own colors, his own color design, which by the way he owned, and he was the only one that could make these colors.

00:19:21 Michael J. Thorp

So he'd make the grand curtains, the upholstery, and the carpeting.

00:19:25 Michael J. Thorp

The colors that he made, so that when they had to replace them, guess who they had to go to.

00:19:30 Michael J. Thorp

They had to go back to Mr.

00:19:32 Michael J. Thorp

And his, his wife and daughter, who actually ran that part of the business.

00:19:35 Michael J. Thorp

It really is a fascinating.

00:19:36 Arthur Busch

Do they have regular programs there at the Capitol Theatre for Life?

00:19:40 Michael J. Thorp

Yes yes, yes they do every Friday unless they do a concert or something.

00:19:43 Michael J. Thorp

They they run movies and which the the show the capital memories is like the old like the.

00:19:50 Michael J. Thorp

Old cartoons, not a cartoon now.

00:19:52 Michael J. Thorp

It roll it.

00:19:53 Michael J. Thorp

Through before the movies.

00:19:55 Michael J. Thorp

So yeah, they.

00:19:55 Michael J. Thorp

Do a lot of concerts, they're still.

00:19:56 Arthur Busch

Doing a lot of stuff, uh Mike, are you from Flint?

00:20:00 Michael J. Thorp

I was born and raised in Flint, went to Civic Park in Emerson and then we moved out to Davison where I graduated from high school.

00:20:06 Michael J. Thorp

I live in Flint.

00:20:07 Michael J. Thorp

Now once again.

00:20:08 Arthur Busch

So does that make you a flintstone?

00:20:10 Michael J. Thorp

I would think so.

00:20:11 Arthur Busch

What's a flintstone?

00:20:12 Michael J. Thorp

Flintstones somebody from Flint grew up here and has.

00:20:15 Michael J. Thorp

That kind of Flint.

00:20:16 Michael J. Thorp

Flavor to them you know the Coney dogs and and buying your Buicks?

00:20:21 Arthur Busch

Now you're a Flint.

00:20:22 Michael J. Thorp

Booster yes, my Flint at a Michigan booster.

00:20:25 Michael J. Thorp

Of course I remember like you when you could literally go downtown and sit in the middle of Saginaw St and not worry about it because there was nothing there.

00:20:33 Michael J. Thorp

All the buildings were boarded up.

00:20:35 Michael J. Thorp

People we're not there.

00:20:37 Michael J. Thorp

They did everything they could to avoid there because there was no there.

00:20:40 Michael J. Thorp

There there was nothing to do.

00:20:41 Michael J. Thorp

Well, if you go down there now, I'm telling you it's it's, it's really cooking.

00:20:45 Michael J. Thorp

I know people talk about what we need to get to the neighborhoods I'm I'm one that thinks you start at the core and you build out and they are, you know.

00:20:55 Michael J. Thorp

They've done a wonderful job to restaurants to go to downtown.

00:20:58 Michael J. Thorp

There are.

00:20:59 Michael J. Thorp

Stores it's not quite like it was when when I was little and went downtown with my mom and my grandma, but there's there's a there there and I'm excited about.

00:21:08 Michael J. Thorp

It is kind of scary.

00:21:09 Michael J. Thorp

Some of the political issues that we have going on.

00:21:11 Michael J. Thorp

I served 18 years as a school board member and you don't get anything done unless you configure in Goodrich.

00:21:16 Arthur Busch

What school board?

00:21:18 Michael J. Thorp

I was I.

00:21:18 Michael J. Thorp

Was president the board?

00:21:19 Michael J. Thorp

How many?

00:21:20 Michael J. Thorp

Years you got to work together.

00:21:21 Michael J. Thorp

You worked as a county Commissioner completely different than a school board.

00:21:25 Michael J. Thorp

Nevertheless, you have to have some kind of agreement.

00:21:29 Michael J. Thorp

You have to find a way to come together and work together.

00:21:32 Michael J. Thorp

I think we forgot about that.

00:21:33 Michael J. Thorp

People are now.

00:21:34 Michael J. Thorp

Screaming about their point of view, whether they.

00:21:36 Michael J. Thorp

Can get there.

00:21:37 Michael J. Thorp

Or not, the point of view isn't as important is what?

00:21:40 Michael J. Thorp

You can get done, that's important.

00:21:41 Arthur Busch

That's exactly right at the county Board of Commissioners, we called it the game of five.

00:21:45 Arthur Busch

Yes, yeah.

00:21:47 Arthur Busch

And we always got the floor pretty clean, but after that we had to get to the game of five.

00:21:51 Arthur Busch

The other person picked off that compromises and always so good here, right?

00:21:56 Michael J. Thorp

It's what the whole country is built on.

00:21:58 Michael J. Thorp

That's how it was founded.

00:21:58 Arthur Busch

Now, but.

00:21:59 Michael J. Thorp

That was the point.

00:22:00 Arthur Busch

Point you work with some interesting people over the years both in television world and radio world.

00:22:07 Arthur Busch

Tell us a little some storytelling about some of these characters.

00:22:12 Michael J. Thorp

Well, you know I grew up growing up in Flint, and my mom grew up in Flint so.

00:22:16 Michael J. Thorp

You know, I knew.

00:22:17 Michael J. Thorp

Who I'd heard of Ed Berryman, you know who is on the radio in the 50s and the 60s?

00:22:22 Michael J. Thorp

One of the first anchors in television news here in my and I knew Dan Hunter over WFDF for many, many years there morning guy, the the voice of Flint and also the voice of the Detroit Lions at Tiger.

00:22:25 Speaker 5

Oh God.

00:22:35 Michael J. Thorp

Stadium if you.

00:22:35 Michael J. Thorp

If you you knew that.

00:22:37 Michael J. Thorp

Bill Lamb, who my mom used to say.

00:22:40 Michael J. Thorp

You know when she was in high school he did dances that she went to the sleepyhead Ted Johnson.

00:22:45 Speaker 2

Well, what are they?

00:22:47 Michael J. Thorp

You know it was Ed.

00:22:48 Michael J. Thorp

I worked with him at WKMS at WTRX.

00:22:51 Michael J. Thorp

He was just a jovial good guy, always in front of people.

00:22:55 Michael J. Thorp

He could be Santa Claus.

00:22:57 Michael J. Thorp

He was a fine actor, just salted the.

00:22:59 Michael J. Thorp

Earth a good good guy.

00:23:01 Michael J. Thorp

I was gonna tell a quick story about Dan Hunter Dan Hunter.

00:23:03 Michael J. Thorp

I never got to work with him.

00:23:04 Michael J. Thorp

He worked at FDF.

00:23:05 Michael J. Thorp

I was at T.

00:23:06 Michael J. Thorp

When he.

00:23:07 Michael J. Thorp

Was hired, it was a big day in Flint.

00:23:09 Michael J. Thorp

He'd been there forever, right?

00:23:11 Michael J. Thorp

I mean, this was this was the voice of Flint and I called it well, they I said, hey Dan, you know after your after you retire like come over and talk about radio on my on my show and he said, sure, when you want me to come I said, well when you want to come he said, well, I'll be off the air at 10 I could be there by 11.

00:23:27 Michael J. Thorp

And on the day he retired, he came over and did my show.

00:23:32 Arthur Busch

Wow well let me.

00:23:33 Arthur Busch

Give you a couple, uh, a little word contest here. 112 words, maybe a sentence less root.

00:23:39 Michael J. Thorp

He was one of the original Jones Boys at WTRX, which was a classic radio format.

00:23:44 Michael J. Thorp

What they did was they had names of shows, so if you were doing the morning show your name was John Paul Jones.

00:23:50 Michael J. Thorp

And if you're doing the midday show, you were Dow Jones in in the afternoon drive was Davy Jones and he was one of the original.

00:23:57 Michael J. Thorp

Jones boys he

00:23:59 Michael J. Thorp

Realized that Jones being a Jones boys wasn't gonna last forever.

00:24:02 Michael J. Thorp

He became a news man and was one of the he was really the last among the last of the Flint Radio News man and a member of the Michigan Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

00:24:11 Michael J. Thorp

A good guy I got to work with him when I did work.

00:24:13 Michael J. Thorp

At WFDF's some years later.

00:24:15 Arthur Busch

I called him the Dean at Michigan News.

00:24:17 Michael J. Thorp

One day we went and I worked at Denson Towers.

00:24:20 Michael J. Thorp

We were up towards the top of the building in the studios there now before it fell to the ground, I walked in there.

00:24:25 Michael J. Thorp

We got in and all the power went out.

00:24:27 Michael J. Thorp

It's like we're way up there and all.

00:24:29 Michael J. Thorp

The radio station you.

00:24:30 Michael J. Thorp

Can't do anything without power, so I remember there.

00:24:32 Michael J. Thorp

Was one emergency light in a corner?

00:24:34 Michael J. Thorp

Hallway and so less.

00:24:36 Michael J. Thorp

And I were sitting there on the floor and the hallway.

00:24:40 Michael J. Thorp

He was kind of making some notes of things he might talk about when he.

00:24:42 Michael J. Thorp

Got the news to?

00:24:43 Michael J. Thorp

Talk about the.

00:24:44 Michael J. Thorp

What the power outage I was saying?

00:24:46 Michael J. Thorp

Anything trying not to fall asleep because it was, you know, six 6:00 o'clock in the morning.

00:24:50 Michael J. Thorp

Anyway, I that's my story about less.

00:24:53 Arthur Busch

Did you know Peter C.

00:24:55 Michael J. Thorp

I never got to work with him, but I knew Pete for many years.

00:24:59 Michael J. Thorp

Yes, one of the most amazing radio people you ever want to meet.

00:25:03 Michael J. Thorp

He was one of the greatest idea man.

00:25:06 Michael J. Thorp

He created some formats in some ways.

00:25:08 Michael J. Thorp

First thing was at WTA.

00:25:10 Michael J. Thorp

See for many years.

00:25:11 Michael J. Thorp

And if you ever talked to Pete.

00:25:13 Michael J. Thorp

He was the emergency message center is all clear.

00:25:16 Michael J. Thorp

Used to use that amazing voice and if you grew up in Flint you remember hearing that and it was a bit they did on the radio for the emergency that they didn't really do much with it, right?

00:25:25 Michael J. Thorp

There's never really any emergency messages, but it was.

00:25:28 Michael J. Thorp

It sounded like there once, but he then he went over and created what?

00:25:32 Michael J. Thorp

They called at the time the bird of a different feather CK. 1:05 at the time and and created a new style of album oriented rock and went on to go off the air, which I think was a sad thing for him, but he wanted to.

00:25:45 Michael J. Thorp

Make some money, became a radio executive and was in this past year in this last year he was.

00:25:51 Michael J. Thorp

He was just fascinating.

00:25:53 Arthur Busch

And he was also one of the one of the creators, along with Don Sherwood of the events at Sherwood Sherwood Forest, which I call Michigan Woodstock back in the day.

00:25:58 Michael J. Thorp

Oh yes you would, Forrest.

00:26:04 Michael J. Thorp

Every every weekend, yes.

00:26:05 Arthur Busch

All right, a little closer to home listeners might not know these people, but maybe you can say why they were so important in your career in your life.

00:26:13 Arthur Busch

Tom Bryson.

00:26:14 Michael J. Thorp

Tom Bryson, Tom.

00:26:16 Michael J. Thorp

He's fascinating.

00:26:17 Michael J. Thorp

I I, you know, I loved man.

00:26:19 Michael J. Thorp

He he hired me at channel 12 and I've done TV before, but I had never been a television news anchor and I remember you called me in.

00:26:27 Michael J. Thorp

And when you hire, when you're hiring an anchor, one of the main anchors for the station.

00:26:31 Michael J. Thorp

I didn't know this at the time we had a radio guy.

00:26:33 Michael J. Thorp

He brought me in and he had a.

00:26:35 Michael J. Thorp

Big table and everybody was around the table and it was all the people I later would work with. You know there was like 6-7 people there and he was introducing me and he said, well I I had a mustache and my hair was darker.

00:26:46 Michael J. Thorp

I had hair thankfully I.

00:26:47 Michael J. Thorp

Still do when I had a mustache and he went and he said Mike we just wanted to.

00:26:52 Michael J. Thorp

Talk to you for a few minutes.

00:26:53 Michael J. Thorp

And talk about what you might want to do and he said we decided you just.

00:26:57 Michael J. Thorp

Can't have a mustache?

00:26:58 Michael J. Thorp

Oh, I'm thinking now I gotta shave my mustache and he said.

00:27:01 Michael J. Thorp

But as we continue to think about it, we thought maybe we would try this.

00:27:07 Michael J. Thorp

He said we we decided maybe we.

00:27:09 Michael J. Thorp

We'd make you.

00:27:10 Michael J. Thorp

Have your hair and your mustache red and we call you.

00:27:13 Michael J. Thorp

Red Throw Thorp on the air and I wanted this job.

00:27:17 Michael J. Thorp

And I'm sitting here thinking I wasn't going and of.

00:27:20 Michael J. Thorp

Course everybody loves being.

00:27:21 Michael J. Thorp

There's try, not try.

00:27:22 Michael J. Thorp

Not to laugh and I I didn't know what.

00:27:25 Michael J. Thorp

To do.

00:27:25 Michael J. Thorp

Thorpe, he's gonna paint my hair and my mustache red and then he started laughing.

00:27:30 Michael J. Thorp

Tom Bryson.

00:27:31 Michael J. Thorp

Good guy.

00:27:31 Michael J. Thorp

There's another story about him.

00:27:32 Michael J. Thorp

Did you know?

00:27:33 Michael J. Thorp

And it's kind of a sad story.

00:27:35 Michael J. Thorp

You know he was a broadcaster for many, many years.

00:27:37 Michael J. Thorp

He wasn't always an executive, he was a wire puller.

00:27:40 Michael J. Thorp

He would, you know, back in the olden days, in order to do a television set up, you.

00:27:44 Michael J. Thorp

Had all these huge cave.

00:27:45 Michael J. Thorp

Tools for power and for it.

00:27:47 Michael J. Thorp

Because we had to have a direct wire, we.

00:27:49 Michael J. Thorp

Didn't have cell.

00:27:50 Michael J. Thorp

Right at the funeral for John F.

00:27:54 Michael J. Thorp

He was across the street from John John John Kennedy junior as he was pulling the cords and stuff to the camera across there and he was there on that shooting.

00:28:04 Michael J. Thorp

That whole of it.

00:28:06 Michael J. Thorp

It's kind of a fascinating story.

00:28:07 Michael J. Thorp

Good goodnight, hold in high regard.

00:28:08 Arthur Busch

OK, OK, Tom Bryson, a general manager of Channel 12 for many years through many corporate iterations.


Yes, they kept they.

00:28:16 Michael J. Thorp

They they sell the station, but they keep.

00:28:18 Arthur Busch

OK, another name that the audience doesn't know, but who is one of the most important people in the last probably 30 years in Flint News and radio and television, is Mookie Wilson.

00:28:29 Michael J. Thorp

Mookie Wilson yeah yeah.

00:28:31 Michael J. Thorp

Like Kevin now.

00:28:32 Michael J. Thorp

But we, we all always called Mookie because he's a baseball fan.

00:28:36 Michael J. Thorp

And Mookie Wilson is a Hall of Fame baseball player.

00:28:38 Michael J. Thorp

He's one of those kind of guys.

00:28:40 Michael J. Thorp

It's just nice guy.

00:28:41 Michael J. Thorp

He can talk to anybody people like talking to him so he he would sit at the desk at at channel 12 as a lead.

00:28:48 Michael J. Thorp

Loser and he's the guy that you called with a tip, a news tip or wanting to tell his story and he would decide whether he would assign a reporter to them or not.

00:28:57 Michael J. Thorp

But he became one of the and the whole state.

00:28:59 Michael J. Thorp

One of the people were, he's the one that could get you on, and he was just he.

00:29:04 Michael J. Thorp

And he still is.

00:29:05 Michael J. Thorp

He's I hate to sound like he's a past.

00:29:06 Michael J. Thorp

Tense Kevin is doing just fine.

00:29:09 Arthur Busch

You got that right.

00:29:10 Arthur Busch

If you want to be on television, you need to know monkey.

00:29:13 Michael J. Thorp

Yes, and he wanted to know you too.

00:29:15 Michael J. Thorp

That's what it felt like.

00:29:16 Arthur Busch

Jim Kirzner

00:29:18 Michael J. Thorp

All Kerchner worked with him a couple.

00:29:20 Michael J. Thorp

Of times over the years, you know that.

00:29:22 Michael J. Thorp

At 12 at.

00:29:23 Michael J. Thorp

Five, I was actually the voice of TV.

00:29:25 Michael J. Thorp

5 for several years.

00:29:27 Michael J. Thorp

A long time ago, he's.

00:29:28 Michael J. Thorp

Not afraid to do anything, Jim will stick a camera or microphone literally anywhere and not be held back.

00:29:35 Michael J. Thorp

I there are things that I won't do and I can't do.

00:29:38 Michael J. Thorp

I should say it that way I can't do.

00:29:39 Michael J. Thorp

I can't bring my gym can do it.

00:29:41 Michael J. Thorp

He's a great reporter.

00:29:42 Michael J. Thorp

His on air presence is going to be missed.

00:29:44 Michael J. Thorp

In Detroit after his retirement.

00:29:46 Arthur Busch

He used to have a say.

00:29:47 Arthur Busch

Thing is, the beast needs to be fed, which meant that every day there had to be some kind of news that was going to get shown because they don't just allow television news to show blanks.

00:29:56 Michael J. Thorp

I work with school board members around the state about dealing with the media, and I remind them, you know, if you got a newspaper and I've got a newspaper that's got 20 pages and it might have a few ads in it.

00:30:07 Michael J. Thorp

But the important thing, but but I have to fill those 20 pages.

00:30:10 Michael J. Thorp

And if you do something wrong on a day when I don't have a lot of news, you're going to get in there.

00:30:14 Michael J. Thorp

And if you do something wrong that on a date.

00:30:16 Michael J. Thorp

When I have a lot of news you might, it might be passed by, you know it's it's a yes, you gotta.

00:30:22 Michael J. Thorp

The beast.

00:30:23 Arthur Busch

OK, so that's Kirzner now.

00:30:25 Arthur Busch

Another infamous man who still got it all going is the infamous Johnny Burke.

00:30:30 Michael J. Thorp

Ah, one of my best friends.

00:30:31 Arthur Busch

1/1 of a kind.

00:30:33 Michael J. Thorp

He's one of a kind, a great broadcaster, and I worked with him for many years at T.

00:30:37 Michael J. Thorp

Rex and he hired.

00:30:38 Michael J. Thorp

I'll tell you the story of I haven't told the story very many times, but the truth is, I worked down the street at WKMF and we called him Sluggo Jim.

00:30:49 Michael J. Thorp

Oh my God, I can't see it my the general manager at the time I I've known him for.

00:30:54 Michael J. Thorp

You know some months and we used to meet with a bunch of people and and party.

00:30:58 Michael J. Thorp

Well, he asked Johnny as a personal favor interviewed me for this job that they had opening in middays.

00:31:03 Michael J. Thorp

Well, Johnny being Johnny yeah, he didn't want to do what, anybody?

00:31:06 Michael J. Thorp

Told him it's still true.

00:31:09 Michael J. Thorp

He so, but he's alright alright I will so he called me in and we got.

00:31:14 Michael J. Thorp

To talking and and.

00:31:16 Michael J. Thorp

He said alright.

00:31:17 Michael J. Thorp

Well, thanks and then he.

00:31:17 Michael J. Thorp

Called me back, he said, well, let's meet and.

00:31:19 Michael J. Thorp

We met at a place I didn't didn't know about it called the treasure chest.

00:31:24 Michael J. Thorp

It is what you think it was.

00:31:26 Michael J. Thorp

Around on highway and.

00:31:27 Michael J. Thorp

I wasn't truly aware I walked in.

00:31:29 Michael J. Thorp

There with Johnny.

00:31:30 Michael J. Thorp

And we're sitting at this table.

00:31:31 Michael J. Thorp

And of course we're talking business.

00:31:34 Michael J. Thorp

He's offering me this job and talking money and all.

00:31:36 Michael J. Thorp

That and I'm.

00:31:38 Michael J. Thorp

Looking all over the place, that's how I got the job was a job offer at the treasure chest and I've worked with him off and on ever since.

00:31:46 Arthur Busch

And what amazes me about him as he's grown older, he's become Mr Frankenmuth.

00:31:52 Michael J. Thorp

Yeah, well, the other thing.

00:31:53 Michael J. Thorp

Is about about Johnny and he can be rather acerbic and and people can be a little afraid of him.

00:32:01 Michael J. Thorp

I think, but Johnny is truly a caring, caring guy.

00:32:04 Michael J. Thorp

He cares and he works hard to help you.

00:32:07 Michael J. Thorp

And under all that gruff BS that's that's there sometimes it really is.

00:32:12 Michael J. Thorp

Just a good.

00:32:12 Arthur Busch

Didn't he one time sit on top of a semi?

00:32:15 Arthur Busch

Truck in the.

00:32:15 Arthur Busch

Parking lot at Genesee Valley Center and try to get.

00:32:17 Michael J. Thorp

Oh yeah, yeah, it's part of that radio.

00:32:19 Michael J. Thorp

Way well, one time he.

00:32:20 Michael J. Thorp

Played this curly shuffle for.

00:32:22 Michael J. Thorp

Two days, I don't know if you remember we were at WTR actually started playing the curly shuffle and and claiming they locked himself into the into the studio and he did that.

00:32:31 Michael J. Thorp

On top of the truck.

00:32:33 Michael J. Thorp

Yeah, I you know I with my friend Dale Myers.

00:32:37 Michael J. Thorp

We we did uh when I was the first time I was at WTRX we did a marathon where we went on the air.

00:32:42 Michael J. Thorp

Monday morning at 9:00 AM.

00:32:44 Michael J. Thorp

To see how long we could last.

00:32:45 Michael J. Thorp

And we went up around the air for what was it. 101 hours and 12 minutes or something like that.

00:32:52 Michael J. Thorp

We we went off the air on.

00:32:53 Michael J. Thorp

Friday, so you.

00:32:54 Michael J. Thorp

Know you do it, you do a lot of it's.

00:32:55 Michael J. Thorp

We did it from what was called the SM Mall.

00:32:58 Michael J. Thorp

You know, that's, uh, Dort mall down under highway we we little, the two of us were on the air all week long.

00:33:04 Michael J. Thorp

Downstairs they had this.

00:33:05 Michael J. Thorp

Beauty salon and some of these women came up and they said you guys look tired.

00:33:10 Michael J. Thorp

You know if we.

00:33:10 Michael J. Thorp

Did your hair, you'd feel better.

00:33:12 Michael J. Thorp

So we.

00:33:12 Michael J. Thorp

Own they they washed her hair and and covered it all up.

00:33:15 Michael J. Thorp

And so we looked good even if we were miserable.

00:33:17 Michael J. Thorp

Feeling it was.

00:33:18 Michael J. Thorp

I gotta tell.

00:33:19 Michael J. Thorp

You why you never want to stay up for $100. It it really. It really can hurt you.

00:33:23 Arthur Busch

Now you were a news man for a long time.

00:33:25 Michael J. Thorp

Radio and television yeah.

00:33:26 Arthur Busch

What do you think the?

00:33:27 Arthur Busch

Five biggest stories were during your career.

00:33:30 Michael J. Thorp

911 Kwame Kilpatrick. That's a hard, hard question. I hadn't, I I had, you know, I've got to think about it all those years, all that.

00:33:38 Michael J. Thorp

Time it'll come to you soon.

00:33:40 Arthur Busch

What about the closing of Buick City?

00:33:42 Michael J. Thorp

Well, yeah.

00:33:44 Michael J. Thorp

That you know what the whole closing, almost of Flint at that time.

00:33:48 Michael J. Thorp

It wasn't so much, just Buick, it was everything.

00:33:51 Michael J. Thorp

AC Buick the Chevy.

00:33:54 Michael J. Thorp

It wasn't just one it was GM withdrawing.

00:33:56 Michael J. Thorp

Yes, that that was.

00:33:59 Michael J. Thorp

That was huge.

00:34:00 Michael J. Thorp

I haven't been growing up in Flint and seeing it when I was a little kid.

00:34:03 Michael J. Thorp

You know.

00:34:03 Michael J. Thorp

And and seeing what happened to it.

00:34:05 Michael J. Thorp

You know it looks like I don't know the last time you went down Hamilton Ave, but if you drive down there it I always think it must look like what?

00:34:11 Michael J. Thorp

The Hamilton farm.

00:34:12 Michael J. Thorp

110 years ago, under 20 years ago that's they bought Mr Hamilton.

00:34:16 Michael J. Thorp

Farm, and that's where they started building the the world largest automotive attic manufacturing facility.

00:34:22 Michael J. Thorp

It's it's sad.

00:34:22 Arthur Busch

Well, as far as I look at that place and it has as one of my podcast guests described, a ghostly look to it.

00:34:30 Michael J. Thorp

Yes, it it does.

00:34:31 Michael J. Thorp

It's kind of dusty and of course you know it's.

00:34:34 Michael J. Thorp

Poisoned or terribly?

00:34:34 Arthur Busch

Yeah, one of the big stories for Michael J.

00:34:38 Arthur Busch

Thorpe in my realm was that one day Michael Thorpe got called to jury duty.

00:34:44 Michael J. Thorp

Who expected that?

00:34:46 Arthur Busch

Well, happens to all of us.

00:34:48 Arthur Busch

I got called several times myself.

00:34:50 Michael J. Thorp

Yeah, well you weren't the.

00:34:51 Michael J. Thorp

Morning anchor at ABC 12 and and actually in the number.

00:34:55 Michael J. Thorp

One news show had.

00:34:56 Michael J. Thorp

Been there for seven years.

00:34:57 Michael J. Thorp

Yeah, you know I get this call.

00:34:59 Michael J. Thorp

I had never actually gotten called for jury duty before, but I.


Alright, let's let's.

00:35:03 Arthur Busch

Put this in a time and place.

00:35:05 Michael J. Thorp

Well, I'm well, but Genesee County I don't know what you mean by time.

00:35:09 Michael J. Thorp

And place what year was.

00:35:10 Michael J. Thorp

That yeah, that's it.

00:35:10 Arthur Busch

What year was?

00:35:12 Michael J. Thorp

Yeah, I don't know.

00:35:12 Arthur Busch

Hella final, I don't remember.

00:35:14 Michael J. Thorp

Why it was this real Miller case?

00:35:16 Michael J. Thorp

Is what it ended up being.

00:35:17 Michael J. Thorp

Which was that the Internet murder case?

00:35:20 Arthur Busch

It was 20 years ago, so it was like 2002 or.

00:35:20 Michael J. Thorp

And yeah, it was yes.

00:35:24 Arthur Busch

Something like that.

00:35:25 Arthur Busch

Or three.

00:35:25 Michael J. Thorp

Would that be yeah oh oh oh, oh nine maybe anyway I go in there and.

00:35:31 Arthur Busch

No 90903.

00:35:33 Michael J. Thorp

Oh thrill, now you make me feel older.

00:35:35 Michael J. Thorp

OK, thanks.

00:35:36 Arthur Busch

No, that's when the murder happened and.

00:35:37 Michael J. Thorp

Yes, like so.

00:35:37 Arthur Busch

It was so late.

00:35:38 Michael J. Thorp

It was somewhere in that era.

00:35:39 Michael J. Thorp

Anyway, I I go in there and all these P.

00:35:42 Michael J. Thorp

People and of course what you would do when you're on TV every day you're very familiar.

00:35:47 Michael J. Thorp

You know that you can't help that, and I'm used to that I I've dealt with it with just fine.

00:35:52 Michael J. Thorp

I don't have.

00:35:52 Michael J. Thorp

A problem people.

00:35:53 Michael J. Thorp

Saying, but it was kind of weird.

00:35:55 Michael J. Thorp

I'm in this room with all.

00:35:56 Michael J. Thorp

These people were.

00:35:57 Michael J. Thorp

Staring at me doing a story that kind of.

00:35:59 Michael J. Thorp

Thing and I.

00:35:59 Michael J. Thorp

Remember there was like 3 people all day long.

00:36:02 Michael J. Thorp

I'm in there.

00:36:02 Michael J. Thorp

And there's three people left, and this is where I remember, and there are a couple of older ladies in me and we go into the courtroom and I'm sitting there.

00:36:11 Michael J. Thorp

Where was I was in the corner talking to Judge Fullerton and she said, Mr Thorpe do you know anybody in this courtroom?

00:36:18 Michael J. Thorp

I looked around.

00:36:19 Michael J. Thorp

Because, you know, I'm a Flint.

00:36:20 Michael J. Thorp

Kid, I do know a lot of.

00:36:21 Michael J. Thorp

People, and it was kind of a strange thing.

00:36:24 Michael J. Thorp

I said only you, your Honor you were.

00:36:26 Michael J. Thorp

She was literally the only one.

00:36:28 Michael J. Thorp

The only person that I knew in that court OK, and they kept on asking me other questions.

00:36:34 Michael J. Thorp

So you know obviously that was they call that boy there.

00:36:37 Michael J. Thorp

They're trying to decide.

00:36:38 Arthur Busch

Wait there, yeah, sorry.

00:36:39 Michael J. Thorp

Yeah, so they picked me.

00:36:41 Michael J. Thorp

I read.

00:36:42 Michael J. Thorp

The book I I read the book Paul and Paula Jones whiskey book Fatal error.

00:36:48 Michael J. Thorp

I know you've read it too and I know that in the book you told Marcie Mabry who is your your prosecutors, but I was too nice.

00:36:58 Michael J. Thorp

A guy.

00:36:58 Michael J. Thorp

Is that true?

00:36:59 Arthur Busch

Yeah I did.

00:37:01 Arthur Busch

I did tell him that and then I also told her that because of your position and public profile that the jury may be intimidated by the fact that you're sitting there.

00:37:12 Michael J. Thorp

I could see that.

00:37:14 Arthur Busch

And any of us who have had any modicum of public exposure for many decades, like you and I both had.

00:37:23 Arthur Busch

There is a certain.

00:37:24 Arthur Busch

Factor that comes with that.

00:37:26 Arthur Busch

So what we like to get on juries are people that just blend in like the wallpaper and they become one we don't want anybody you know peddling their thing now.

00:37:38 Arthur Busch

The other thing was that I didn't know Michael J Tharp.

00:37:42 Arthur Busch

To be part of the right wing intelligentsia.

00:37:47 Arthur Busch

And Michigan journalism, and so be being a prosecutor.

00:37:49 Michael J. Thorp

Why not?

00:37:51 Arthur Busch

My local knowledge is Marcie.

00:37:53 Arthur Busch

I don't know that Marcie even knew you.

00:37:55 Michael J. Thorp

No, now is the time.

00:37:55 Arthur Busch

At that.

00:37:56 Arthur Busch

My here's my only concern, did I think Michael J.

00:37:59 Arthur Busch

Thorpe could could be fair and impartial, absolutely, without any doubt in my mind do I think Michael J.

00:38:06 Arthur Busch

Thorpe would get in that room.

00:38:07 Arthur Busch

As he does and begin to lead conversations absolutely and I told her when she came back and said he's on the jury.

00:38:17 Arthur Busch

I said he will be the floor for that.

00:38:19 Michael J. Thorp

Oh, I lost.

00:38:20 Arthur Busch

Didn't give us that.

00:38:21 Arthur Busch

Didn't get in them.

00:38:23 Arthur Busch

So that's how that went.

00:38:24 Arthur Busch

That's my side.

00:38:24 Arthur Busch

But look, this is my.

00:38:25 Arthur Busch

Interview of you dude.

00:38:27 Michael J. Thorp

Here's here's a you know.

00:38:28 Michael J. Thorp

I thought I I was the jury form for the serial Miller murder trial, and I understand why you'd say that, but I always thought it was because one day we were shown this video, which we were told in a sort of.

00:38:42 Michael J. Thorp

Way that was pornographic, sort of, but what it was was that they brought this camera television in front of us.

00:38:50 Michael J. Thorp

And we see Sheree in this nightgown night right.

00:38:53 Michael J. Thorp

Whatever it was she had and she walks over and she gets on a bed and then it goes black and all we hear is a music in the background and after we got done, you.

00:39:03 Michael J. Thorp

Know or it's?

00:39:04 Michael J. Thorp

What the hell was that?

00:39:05 Michael J. Thorp

And I started to ask.

00:39:07 Michael J. Thorp

There's a young man at the time who was leading us around.

00:39:09 Michael J. Thorp

I don't know what they call that guy.

00:39:10 Arthur Busch

He was a clerk.

00:39:12 Michael J. Thorp

OK, I mean he was doing is wrong and I said I I I said I got a question, he's why I can't answer any questions I said well I'm going to ask you anyway I said we just saw something we were told was pornographic.

00:39:12 Arthur Busch

He judges clerk.

00:39:23 Michael J. Thorp

I didn't see anything that was pornographic.

00:39:25 Michael J. Thorp

I didn't see anything.

00:39:26 Michael J. Thorp

Are we supposed to accept that this was pornographic and he looked at me?

00:39:30 Michael J. Thorp

And he said, I'll ask.

00:39:32 Michael J. Thorp

And and I.

00:39:33 Michael J. Thorp

And that was the moment that I figured that they decided that because you know, I was afraid I didn't do anything wrong.

00:39:39 Michael J. Thorp

I, I thought it was a fair and reasonable question, and it was obviously because they came back.

00:39:44 Michael J. Thorp

And started talking.

00:39:44 Michael J. Thorp

A little bit more about.

00:39:45 Michael J. Thorp

Not that I wanted to see the video.

00:39:47 Michael J. Thorp

But what was the?

00:39:47 Michael J. Thorp

Point, I guess at that time.

00:39:49 Arthur Busch

Yeah, now you got on the jury and the case was presented by some very capable lawyers.

00:39:55 Arthur Busch

Marcie Merrick Mayberry, who was, uh, Marcie man who is a very competent trial and she was selected recent which she gets along with the judge.

00:40:06 Arthur Busch

And David nikkola

00:40:08 Michael J. Thorp

David Nicolaj listen.

00:40:09 Arthur Busch

A young aggressive defense attorney.

00:40:12 Michael J. Thorp

He was.

00:40:14 Michael J. Thorp

Fierce, I've said before.

00:40:16 Michael J. Thorp

If I were going to, if I want if I'm in trouble, he's the kind of defense attorney I want because he jumped on everything just as hard as he could.

00:40:24 Arthur Busch

So you listened to this.

00:40:25 Arthur Busch

How was it like to sit there not asking me that's a long time that trial went on for several days.

00:40:30 Michael J. Thorp

It was kind of weird for me, you know.

00:40:33 Michael J. Thorp

I mean, that's what I do for a living.

00:40:34 Michael J. Thorp

I ask questions in there and and you know, as I just explained the story, I.

00:40:39 Michael J. Thorp

I did when I had to.

00:40:40 Michael J. Thorp

Ask a question, did.

00:40:42 Michael J. Thorp

It was odd, I I learned a lot I I learned a lot.

00:40:45 Michael J. Thorp

Well, you know about being on a jury.

00:40:48 Michael J. Thorp

I think the most important thing I learned was how difficult it is to get 12.

00:40:52 Michael J. Thorp

People to agree on.

00:40:53 Michael J. Thorp

Anything, literally anything from from lunch to guilt, you know, and.


And we.

00:41:00 Michael J. Thorp

Were in there all these different personalities.

00:41:02 Michael J. Thorp

No, we had nothing in common.

00:41:03 Michael J. Thorp

We were brought from all parts of the community and we're walking it through.

00:41:07 Michael J. Thorp

And you're, you're right, I did kind of.

00:41:09 Michael J. Thorp

Well I was.

00:41:09 Michael J. Thorp

A foreman, but I was kind of leading the discussion.

00:41:12 Michael J. Thorp

Pretty start you walk in there.

00:41:13 Michael J. Thorp

There really aren't any instructions right for a jury.

00:41:16 Michael J. Thorp

You you walk in there, go ahead and sign up there, guilty or innocent.

00:41:19 Michael J. Thorp

First thing you do is.

00:41:21 Michael J. Thorp

Geez, so we we start talking?

00:41:23 Michael J. Thorp

At that it through and.

00:41:25 Michael J. Thorp

In this particular case, we had this outline almost like a book of all of the Internet messages that went back and forth between Jerry Cassidy and Sheree L.

00:41:38 Michael J. Thorp

Miller back and forth, and back and forth.

00:41:40 Michael J. Thorp

And so we kept on going back and forth.

00:41:43 Michael J. Thorp

The first thing I.

00:41:44 Michael J. Thorp

I noticed was that African American men didn't believe anything.

00:41:47 Michael J. Thorp

The police said period.

00:41:49 Michael J. Thorp

They doubted everything.

00:41:50 Michael J. Thorp

We got out of there.

00:41:51 Michael J. Thorp

The women pretty much thought she was guilty as sin.

00:41:54 Michael J. Thorp

I was pretty convinced I couldn't think of any reason.

00:41:57 Michael J. Thorp

I kept on saying why would she do these?

00:41:59 Michael J. Thorp

Things yeah I I don't I didn't.

00:42:01 Michael J. Thorp

I never it.

00:42:01 Michael J. Thorp

Didn't make any sense all the way through.

00:42:04 Michael J. Thorp

So we kept.

00:42:04 Michael J. Thorp

We got down.

00:42:05 Michael J. Thorp

There was one gentleman.

00:42:07 Michael J. Thorp

It was polite.

00:42:07 Michael J. Thorp

Good guy was always nice to everybody but he was not going to budget.

00:42:11 Michael J. Thorp

Was 11 to one and this.

00:42:12 Michael J. Thorp

Was this is several days in right we.

00:42:14 Michael J. Thorp

We we've been there for.

00:42:16 Michael J. Thorp

Hours so that last night I remember I said OK, when we come in here tomorrow we're going to spend the first hour reading the now and then.

00:42:23 Michael J. Thorp

After that, we're going to make we'll decide.

00:42:25 Michael J. Thorp

What we're going?

00:42:25 Michael J. Thorp

To do you know, we we'll have to.

00:42:27 Michael J. Thorp

Make a choice.

00:42:28 Michael J. Thorp

So we read it one more time.

00:42:30 Michael J. Thorp

Everybody started talking about the different questions that they had and and I looked over at this one guy and I said.

00:42:36 Michael J. Thorp

I vote, do you want to do something?

00:42:38 Michael J. Thorp

He said I'm not.

00:42:38 Michael J. Thorp

Voting for first degree.

00:42:40 Michael J. Thorp

All right, let's vote on 2nd degree murder.

00:42:43 Michael J. Thorp

And that's what we did first degree.

00:42:46 Michael J. Thorp

Conspiracy was another charge God I can't believe I remember this stuff and he voted for that.

00:42:52 Michael J. Thorp

I'm not sure that he realized that conspiracy in the first degree is basically the same thing as murder in in some ways in how you get treated by the court.

00:43:01 Michael J. Thorp

Nevertheless, that's how it happened and all this to a person when we went back into.

00:43:06 Michael J. Thorp

More room to read and confirm our.

00:43:08 Michael J. Thorp

Quote we were all holding our breath.

00:43:11 Michael J. Thorp

When when he spoke up 'cause we weren't sure.

00:43:13 Michael J. Thorp

He would stick.

00:43:13 Speaker 5

With it he did.

00:43:15 Arthur Busch

But when this story was all said and done, what was your impression of the jury system itself?

00:43:20 Arthur Busch

The way the jury works, the the concept of it?

00:43:24 Arthur Busch

What did you come away with to their schedule first?

00:43:25 Michael J. Thorp

Well, I always said one thing, how difficult it is to get.

00:43:28 Michael J. Thorp

Anyone to ram one thing?

00:43:30 Michael J. Thorp

It's an ancient system I guess, where where you're supposed to convince 12 disparate people of somebody guilt, and sometimes it's easier than others.

00:43:41 Arthur Busch

Did did you see any wisdom come from that conversation collectively?

00:43:46 Arthur Busch

The collective decision was wise.

00:43:48 Michael J. Thorp

Yeah, in some ways, yes, you know she probably you know The thing is, I I she was guilty of first degree murder premeditated.

00:43:56 Michael J. Thorp

She did it.

00:43:57 Michael J. Thorp

I believe that with all my heart and soul and she actually later admitted it, so was but first degree, second degree I.

00:44:04 Michael J. Thorp

I guess I didn't.

00:44:06 Michael J. Thorp

You know, I didn't learn anything, I guess.

00:44:08 Michael J. Thorp

In in that particular way, except for how difficult it is to get people to agree on things, and I guess maybe the other thing is how different people and different groups of people.

00:44:18 Michael J. Thorp

Look at the same issue that maybe the thing that as a prosecutor you had to deal with as well a lot because you know my background is completely different than some of these African American men that were on that.

00:44:30 Michael J. Thorp

Or I may have.

00:44:31 Michael J. Thorp

Gone to school with them.

00:44:32 Michael J. Thorp

You know all the way through, but it's still different.

00:44:34 Michael J. Thorp

I look different.

00:44:35 Arthur Busch

So Michael, tell me something positive that you planning to do and industry here.

00:44:40 Arthur Busch

What are you up to from here forward?

00:44:42 Michael J. Thorp

Well, I obviously I'm still going to tell my stories.

00:44:45 Michael J. Thorp

I I love telling stories about Michigan.

00:44:47 Michael J. Thorp

I like to travel and.

00:44:48 Michael J. Thorp

And and I have a lot of great.

00:44:50 Michael J. Thorp

Stories, as you can imagine about people in Michigan.

00:44:53 Michael J. Thorp

So I'll be.

00:44:54 Michael J. Thorp

I'll continue to do that.

00:44:55 Michael J. Thorp

I have, you know, two beautiful little granddaughters and I love being a grandpa.

00:45:00 Michael J. Thorp

And so I I deal with them.

00:45:01 Michael J. Thorp

I got lots of nieces and nephews and that's kind of what I'm doing and I'm still continue obviously to do.

00:45:06 Michael J. Thorp

I'm I'm doing some some production with with I Michigan.

00:45:08 Arthur Busch

What a joy to see you.

00:45:09 Michael J. Thorp

Production set.

00:45:12 Arthur Busch

Again, and if you want to get that book and if you want to.

00:45:12 Speaker 5

Second, Michael J. Thorpe.com.

00:45:15 Arthur Busch

Buy it you go to.

00:45:18 Arthur Busch

Thank you for joining me, Mike.

00:45:20 Michael J. Thorp

Hey Sean, it's good to talk to you.

00:45:22 Arthur Busch

Thank you everybody.

00:45:23 Arthur Busch

We'll see you next time.