Northwest Music and Dance Venues

The Coke Show
Bun Drive-in
Anchorage, Alaska
"The Coke Show" at the Bun Drive-in was created in 1959 by Ron Moore who first became known in Anchorage in the late 1950s as "The Royal Coachman."  Ron was a teenage DJ who would broadcast his radio show from the top of the Bun Drive-In on Northern Lights Boulevard. The following information is an excerpt from an article published by the Anchorage Daily News on April 27, 1986, featuring Ron and The Coke Show:

BACK IN THE DAYS OF THE BUN AND THE COKE SHOW
Author:    KIM RICH Daily News reporter Staff
Date: April 27, 1986
Publication: Anchorage Daily News (AK) Page: A1


On Christmas Eve 1959, hundreds of local teenagers, braving minus four degree weather, climbed into their cars and drove through the snow to a tiny parking lot on Northern Lights Boulevard. Although the lot belonged to the Bun Drive-In, the teens weren't there just for the hamburgers. They flocked to the Bun, snarling traffic for blocks around, to hear what was happening in a 5-foot-by-5-foot booth tacked onto the drive-in's roof.

At 6 pm, the man in the booth put The Coke Show, Anchorage's only rock 'n' roll radio show, on the air. The show, which had been playing from a studio for the previous year, went -- in broadcasters' jargon -- live and remote.  The man in the booth was The Royal Coachman.

"I was scared to death with that (first live) show. If people didn't show up you'd feel like it was a flop," said The Royal Coachman, who off the air answered to the name Ron Moore.

The booth's small electric heater failed to keep its windows free of ice. To see out, Moore had to scrape furiously whenever he had the time. Worse yet, the cold caused the turntable to spin reeeeal slooow. Between 45s, Moore picked up the chilled turntable and held it over the heater. For an hour, Moore scraped and thawed and played a string of rock heavies -- Elvis Presley, Bobby Darin, Buddy Holly. In the cars below -- and all over town -- teen-agers snapped their fingers to the beat from their radios.

The Coke Show had become a spot on the map, not just a spot on the radio dial. In the cars, in the parking lot, it was teen heaven. For a generation of Anchorage kids, The Coke Show was THE event, and the Bun THE place, until both disappeared in the summer of 1970. There were other hangouts, but the Bun had The Coke Show.

Moore ended every Coke Show with The Penguins' love lament “Earth Angel.” As the song's last refrain slowly faded, dozens of teen-age girls sighed, wishing the song was meant for them. The Royal Coachman was their dreamboat.

Moore developed The Royal Coachman theme not long after he came to Anchorage to work in radio. "In the '50s and up until the English Invasion, a lot of disc jockeys were what I called 'true personalities,"' he said recently… "The music of The Royal Coachman took you were you wanted to go," he said. "I didn't want to be limited. That's the way you did things back then."

Moore hit Anchorage with a fashion style that took local teens by storm. He wore gold-lame jackets and ruffled satin shirts with "RC" embroidered on the front. He always drove the showiest car in town. One of his first cars was a black 1958 Cadillac with painted gold hubcaps and musical notes on the seat covers. On the driver's-side door was "RC" in tall, gold letters. Later he owned a red 1967 Cougar with "Here comes Ron Moore" spelled backwards across the hood so it could be read in rear view mirrors.

Blushing teen-age girls, dressed in tight pink cashmere sweaters and strapless gowns, crowded around Moore during sock hops at their schools or local teen clubs. In their hands, the girls clutched their "Ron Moore Fan Club" cards.

In the broadcast booth, Moore was a rebel. He insisted on playing rock 'n' roll music despite the objections of station managers who didn't believe that rock music could attract advertising dollars.

"In those days you didn't play rock 'n roll on the radio. I was the renegade," Moore said. "I was the first disc jockey (in Anchorage) to play Elvis. The first to play the Beatles."

The Coke Show was born when Moore got Coca Cola, which sponsored many of the teen dances in town, to sponsor a radio program for teenagers. Despite the radio executives' misgivings, the seven-day-a-week show drew the largest radio audience in Anchorage for more than a decade.
 

Suzie Cook Taylor, and Ron Moore, October 2011


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Last Update:  2 February 2015
Credits: Suzie Cook Taylor, and Ron Moore, Anchorage Daily News, Charles H Van Der Hyde