Back when we first reported that Lord Gary England – the man who the New York Times so cleverly and originally called "The Weather God of Oklahoma" – was stepping down as Chief Meteorologist at News 9, the date of his final broadcast was reportedly going to be Friday, August 30th.
The timing seemed odd (Friday night of a holiday weekend), but fitting. If Gary was going to go out, it might as well be on a "Friday Night in the Big Town" when Oklahomans of all ages could stay up late and watch the legend give his signature catchphrase one last time.
Well, leave it to News 9 to screw that up. Since OKC's "news leader" seems to care more about ratings than a perfect ride into a partly cloudy sunset, they've bumped up Gary's farewell to tonight. From the stupid Channel 9 website, where dreams go to die:
After more than 40 years as Oklahoma's top-rated television meteorologist, Gary England is moving into a new role at News 9; so we're celebrating this meteorological legend and weather pioneer.
Gary will make his last daily forecast during the 10 p.m. newscast Wednesday; then he'll move to his new role as Vice President of Corporate Relations and Weather Development. In November, he'll be inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.
Once again, this sucks. I kind of feel like how I did the night of my high school graduation, only replace the bittersweet reward of getting a diploma with the screaming sounds of David Payne. Seriously, it really is like that. We're not just saying good-bye to a weatherman tonight, but to an entire era. For many Oklahomans in their 20s, 3os to 40s, Gary England the weather deity is perhaps the only part of our childhood that's still active today. Think about it. Music has changed and TV shows have come and gone, but Gary England has always been on your TV to give you the weather report and protect you from storms. It's like the last living piece of childhood nostalgia is being ripped from our hearts and put in a museum.
Wow, that was some seriously deep shit! Sorry about that. I guess that's why I've avoided writing about the topic. It's just too depressing and a buzzkill. I'd rather watch Amanda Taylor drown a kid in a fountain than think about Gary's final weather report. It makes me want to cry like Aaron Tuttle. Hell, it's got me so upset that we didn't even mention the New York Times ripping-off our Lord England schtick and profiling his holiness. Granted, that's also because they failed to reference the The Lost Ogle in a 10,000 word essay about how Gary England has become a pop culture icon and developed a cult following in this state, but we're accustomed to not getting any respect or credit.
Anyway, I would suggest that you watch the Channel 9 news tonight to see some Oklahoma TV history, but if you made it this far, I know you're going to do that. Instead, here's some music to get you in the proper mood for the broadcast: