Marty Bass has been a WJZ-TV weatherman and morning television fixture since the mid-1970s.
Something about Bass’ personality seems to evoke a response. People either love him or hate him.
In 1996, City Paper named Bass the “Best Reason Not to Watch WJZ-TV News”:
No one else on local TV, or perhaps on the planet, is so unabashedly pleased with himself, and for no good reason. His loud and rambling weather reports serve only as vehicles to hog airtime, and afterward you don’t have a clue whether to take the umbrella or leave it home. Plus his hyper, “Look at me! Look at me!” performances on WJZ’s morning programs are a daily embarrassment (or oughta be) to the station and to Bass’ coanchor, the sedate Don Scott.
Bass’ peak of notoriety was reached on December 4, 1985, when he was arrested for allegedly soliciting a “lewd act” from an undercover police officer posing as a prostitute near Patterson Park.
Bass lamely claimed that he merely wanted to get a hooker’s thoughts for a story about prostitution – he wanted to get into her head. Despite his enterprising journalistic intentions, Bass was suspended without pay until his acquittal on January 6, 1986.
For his first decade on the air, Bass wore a helmet of hair that was groomed into a world-class mullet. Most of it turned out to be fake.
When he returned to the air, something was different. On April 23, 1986, Bass decided to go au naturel, sans toupee, proudly chrome-domed.
In this cringeworthy five-minute promo, Bass documents his transition to letting his scalp go commando, beginning with the initial suggestion of his hairdresser, Phyllis. Words of encouragement are offered by WJZ colleagues Bob Turk and Jerry Turner.
“I have been in this business for 117 years, and I tell you, honesty is always the best policy,” the beloved Turner says. “Marty, get rid of the hair, get rid of the hair, get rid of the hair…”
Next we’re creepily transported Bass’ bedroom, where he apparently sleeps naked with his wig on a little head o a bedside table. Little heads appear in his dreams, arguing over the fate of his scalp.
Bass walks around his bathroom, showing far more flesh than is necessary, while he wrestles with how he’ll reveal his baldness to television audience.
The solution somehow involves putting the little head on an airplane and flying the wig to Ft Lauderdale.
I couldn’t watch the video after this point, afraid that Bass and his little head might get naked again and engage in mile-high shenanigans.