A Guy Named 'Joe'
The Story of Joe Wiezycki
The late Joe Wiezycki was one of WTVT's most well-liked people. Working his way up from projectionist to floor man and then director and producer, Joe's gentle nature was appreciated by his co-workers during the 30 years he spent at Channel 13. But you might be surprised to learn that before Joe stepped foot into WTVT, he had not spent a single minute thinking about a career in television. Yet, television (and movies) became his life. Joe's son Larry helps us learn Joe's compelling story.
Born and raised in Chicago, Joe Wiezycki was one of four brothers and second-generation American stock. His grandparents had come to the United States from the Ukraine and passed through immigration at Ellis Island in 1900. They eventually settled in Chicago where Joe's father was born. Athletic and stocky, Joe was a right guard on his high school football team and a Golden Gloves boxer. Joe married his high school sweetheart Shirley and they started a family that included son Larry and daughter Pam. Larry Wiezycki remembers him as an ideal father: "Joe was a great Dad. He was very active in Boy Scouts with me; he actually went on hikes and things and always did everything he was supposed to do. He never let me down."
To support his family, Joe took a job as a bellhop at Chicago's Congress Hotel. Dealing with the public on such a close, daily basis helped the friendly-faced Joe hone his people skills, which would put him on good footing when interacting with the many creative people he would later work with at WTVT.