CALEDONIA — For decades, Fred Hermes has been giving tours of his old-time theater and 1920s-era pipe organ to guests at his Caledonia home.
On Friday, the “Basement Bijou,” as it is known, will be on full display for a national television audience in an “On the Road” segment during the “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley,” scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Channel 58.
“They were very surprised,” Hermes, 87, said of the crew that came by to film his 2,500-pipe Wurlitzer organ and mini movie palace, which can hold about 150 people.
The CBS crew visited Hermes’ home on July 1 where they taped a presentation held for a tour group from New Jersey.
The feature was arranged by Eileen Arnold, group tour manager at Real Racine, who helps arranges tours of Hermes’ home. She met “On the Road” host Steve Hartman earlier this year at the National Tour Association convention and trade show, for which he was master of ceremonies.
“I just knew that Fred would be a natural for ‘On the Road,’ ” Arnold said in a news release. “Steve Hartman was very interested right away.”
Hermes purchased the organ in 1955 and moved it to its current location the following year, building a home above it.
“It’s fun. It keeps me going,” Hermes said. “Working on it has taken me about 50 years because it’s not something that you do overnight.”
The organ gets a lot of publicity and attracts visitors from across the country, but Hermes said he was surprised to hear that CBS wanted to come out for the feature.
It won’t, however, be the first time Hermes will appear on national television. The last time, he said, was in 1955 on Art Linkletter’s “People Are Funny.”
The “On the Road” segment is expected to be about 5 to 6 minutes and hosted by Hartman. For those who don’t catch Friday’s broadcast, it is also expected to be included on “CBS Sunday Morning,” which starts at 8 a.m. Sunday on Channel 58.
How to Watch
WHAT: “On the Road” segment of the “CBS Evening News”
WHERE: CBS channel 58
WHEN: Show starts at 5:30 p.m. on Friday
ADDITIONAL AIR TIMES: The segment is also expected to air during “CBS Sunday Morning” which starts at 8 a.m. Sunday on Channel 58.
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