Kathleen Fearn-Banks

Kathleen Fearn-Banks is a professor in the Department of Communication, University of Washington. In addition to being an author and speaker, she counsels companies and organizations in the preparation aspect of crisis communications.


Kathleen Fearn-Banks, a tenured associate professor, joined the faculty of the School of Communications, University of Washington (Seattle) in 1990 after more than 25 years in the communications profession. In addition to being a feature writer at the “Los Angeles Times” and a news-writer, producer, and reporter for a Los Angeles network affiliated television station, she also headed, for more than 20 years, nationwide publicity campaigns for NBC Television Network series, specials, and movies. She was also vice-president of development and public relations for the Neighbors of Watts, an entertainment industry non-profit which raised funds for daycare centers in underprivileged areas of Los Angeles.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

FLIP WILSON:What You See Is What You Get

This biography of the late great comedian Flip Wilson is a work in progress. Wilson was the first African-American entertainer to host a successful television variety series when he headed NBC’s “The Flip Wilson Show” from 1970-1974. Actually, he was the also the last African-American entertainer to host a hit variety series since the variety genre has not been successful in recent years.

Today, much talk centers on his portrayal of the female character, Geraldine, but she was only one of the many characters he played and she evolved for television only because in his comedy stories on albums and in night clubs, he used a falsetto voice when imitating a woman and producers thought that since television is a visual medium, the series might actually show this female character. Wilson was insistent that Geraldine be well-dressed, well-coiffed, and a person of principles.

“The Flip Wilson Show,” not only won its time slot in its premiere year, 1970-1971, but was the number two series for all of television, topped only by another ground-breaking series “All In The Family.” It (and Flip) won numerous Emmy Awards in the four years that it aired.In writing the life story of this history-making entertainer, who was also my close friend for 28 years before his death in 1998, I would like to hear from people who knew him in any time of his life. Feel free to post your Flip Wilson encounters on my blog.

If you have information and you would like me to communicate directly and privately with you, please e-mail me at info@kathleenfearn-banks.com. Leave your phone number if you would like me to call you.