The history and return of Snowbird
How an old friend found its way into Middle Tennessee homes to announce school closings.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Everyone’s favorite penguin is making its way back home to WSMV4.
After a few years away, Snowbird is returning to the station to announce school closings for students and parents in Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky.
Snowbird originated as a cardboard cutout on the weather set at WSMV4. During snow days, a popular jingle would play over the television sets, signaling to kids and parents that Snowbird would soon appear and tell them school was out for the day.
Greg Page, Dave Privett, and Steve Pennington saw the potential in the cardboard cutout and brought it to life in 1983. As part of an idea for a promotion tactic, the three turned Snowbird into a puppet and brought it down to the station.
The idea took off, and Snowbird became a WSMV 4 icon.
As Snowbird’s popularity increased, merchandise was created and soon also became very popular with viewers. Fans of Snowbird would call in daily for a chance to win items such as slippers, blankets, and lunch boxes.
The puppet became such a hit, Snowbird took the form of a life-size mascot in 1986. This allowed Snowbird to be more mobile and attend more events.
Snowbird has a sidekick, Myron the Weather Rat, who would often join him on-air with members of the WSMV 4 weather team.
Meteorologists Dan Thomas and Lisa Spencer filmed several commercials with the duo, and Dan even had a Star Wars-like battle with Myron, who adorned a Darth Vader costume.
In areas just north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line, snow is a big deal and often leads the newscast. Page said they would often fly in members of the weather team from different states to film with the Snowbird characters.
“Everyone thinks that Snowbird lives in their hometown, but really he’s from Nashville,” Page said.
Members of the WSMV4 team share their memories and pictures of Snowbird
Videos of Snowbird and the WSMV4 team
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