The women of early TV in Buffalo

By Steve Cichon

This week we’re looking at the women who were the first to make their presence felt in what has traditionally been the male-dominated broadcasting industry.

Today– the women who were the first to grace Buffalo television screens.

Television came to Buffalo with Channel 4 in 1948, and the only women prominently featured in the ceremonial sign on of the station were the chorus girls from the Town Casino.

The Town Casino chorus girls were the only women featured on Channel 4’s sign-on in 1948.

Some of the pioneering women in Buffalo TV were the same women who pioneered in Buffalo radio.

Sally Work was called “the dean of women commentators” by the Buffalo Evening News. She’d already been on the radio for 15 years by the time she took her act to the new medium of TV. When Channel 2 signed on, Helen Neville took her radio act to TV as well.

Sally Work, left, and Mildred Miller, right, judge a doll contest in 1954.

Of course, there were those who made their first mark in TV as well.

Starting in 1952, a beloved and strong woman made her debut on Channel 4.

Viewers watched Mildred Miller and her husband Bill cook and interview celebrities for 20 years on “Meet the Millers.

Mildred and Bill Miller.

Doris Jones was first seen as a commercial model on Channel 4 when she was still in high school. She’d eventually host a women’s show on Channel 7, and become Buffalo’s first female staff announcer and weathercaster on Channel 2.

Paula Drew was the spokesperson for Niagara Frontier’s dairy farmers, and as Buffalo’s milk maid, she did weather forecasts wrapped around milk commercials. She was later the voice of Tops Friendly Markets.

While Paula Drew was at Tops, it was Joey at Super Duper in the 70s and 80s.

Super Duper’s Joey Heinz.

Buffalo in the ’70s: Love that Joey, Love that Super Duper

By Steve Cichon

Joey Bean Heinz was already a veteran Western New York stage actress when she was tapped by Super Duper to appear in TV commercials with the supermarket’s weekly specials starting in 1975.

Buffalo News archives

Western New York quickly embraced the woman who spent at least a half hour a week on local TV—albeit in 30-second increments.

“People in supermarkets say you look so different on TV,” she told News reporter Anthony Cardinale in 1977. “Polish people think I look Polish, Italian people think I look Italian. I’ve become sort of a friend.”

Buffalo News archives

She was also the singer on several of Super Duper’s radio jingles—“Love that Super Duper!”

Joey was the spokesperson for the grocery chain from 1975-80, and then again from 1989-91—when most Buffalo-area Super Duper stores became Jubilee Markets.

Buffalo Stories archives

As a new Super Duper opened in the Central Park Plaza in 1979, shoppers were promised a chance to win a color television, free orange drink, and the chance to meet Joey. Below, during the blizzard of 1977, Joey tells us because of the storm—we’ll have to look for in-store specials instead of her usual circling of the lowest price. (at the 14:49 mark)