In Memory of Ted Quillin: Your Grandpa Talked About The Good Ole Days, My Grandpa Lived Them

Early this morning, my family and I lost my grandfather, Theodore Ross Quillin.

He was an exceptional human being. This exceptionalism is what brought him the hippest of scenes back in the day, radio. His rich and deep voice coupled with his fun and jovial disposition led him to popularity and success in the tough business. Which brings me to my point and the title of this entry, “Your Grandpa Talked About The Good Ole Days, My Grandpa Lived Them.”

While your grandfather, sweet as he may be, talks about seeing Elvis on The Sullivan Show and the craze that was rock’n’roll, my grandfather was literally spending days at Graceland with him and living rock’n’roll. So, when I say that your grandpa talked about the good ole days while mine lived them, I mean to say that Grandpa Ted was there, right in the thick of it amidst the greatest musical revolution of all time!

Grandpa Ted was the first disc jockey(DJ) to play Ritchie Valens on the radio and undoubtedly always had a wonderful and fantastic story about himself and just about any celebrities of the time. I remember just quizzing him at times about the who’s who he met. He even said Johnny Cash called into his show! WHAT?! How many kids get to say, “Yeah, my grandpa hung with Elvis and had Johnny Cash called into his radio show. No big.”? I remember seeing the biopic “Ray” when it came out and asking grandpa about it. I was curious to see if the late great Ray Charles really could play, let alone record on heroin. Grandpa even told me about how he got to watch a recording session of Ray’s and that he had a golf ball size protrusion at his elbow where he injected himself that you could see through his shirt. Regardless, he said that Ray Charles was brilliant during the session and that was part of his majesty as an artist.

I will always remember his voice. You KNEW when grandpa was calling for you or was on the other end of that phone. He had this radio voice that seemed to boom and go on forever. Even in his old age he maintained this coolness about him. Sure, the family chided him at times for his comfy yellow croc-like shoes, which I might add he wore well before the fad (Grandpa Ted +1 for trend setting), but we loved his little eccentricities. All in all, he just had this confidence to him. It is that same energy that my father and uncle talk about to this day, him in his prime. He would command a room, attention, respect, the whole nine yards. It was this same energy and confidence that made him so much fun to be around as a kid. He was unafraid to be goofy or have a laugh. Whether it be a funny Betty Boop accessory or a funny one-liner, he seemed to never be in a poor mood.

Best of all were grandpa’s sayings, his most famous being his radio sign-off, “Blue Skies and Green Lights for You and Yours…”

My Grandpa was a Hall of Famer, a cool cat, a story book, a legend, and many more. But, most of all, he was my grandpa.

Blue Skies and Green Lights For You and Yours Grandpa.  I love you.

9 Responses to “In Memory of Ted Quillin: Your Grandpa Talked About The Good Ole Days, My Grandpa Lived Them”
  1. SpringerPop says:

    Grew up listening to Ted Quillin on KFWB. When I was with Armed Forces Radio in the Philippines in 1968, I cut a promo for his upcoming recorded show series and used the term “TQ”. No one else knew what to make of that, and I was asked to correct it. before it aired. Of course, Ted used the term immediately on his initial show, and I ended up re-cutting the promo, this time my way. A great voice is now sadly silent. Godspeed, TQ, you ROCKED!! ( And for a long, long time! ) -Pop-

    • Thank you so much for your kind and touching words. I’m the third TQ in our lineage and it will be carried on. He will always be the original TQ though. Thanks again for your comment. I will share it with the family.

  2. mike quillin says:

    Dear Tyler, I loved your article. I have nothing but fond memories of my dear uncle Ted. We moved to Las Vegas for a short while in 1982. I’m Ray”s Son,Ted’s younger brother. Tim Is my cousin. He was so gracious in taking us around town when I was 13 My name is Mike. I remember seeing a picture of Uncle Ted with his Silver Cloud Rolls. Also Joan Collins and Wayne Newton. He would send me some great blues tapes and Christmas tapes. I use to talk with him and Eve online. I had planned on coming out there sometime soon. I named my first son Tyler in 1994. I have a beautiful son named Hunter Quillin who just turned 10. I talked to him all the time about Uncle Ted and showed him La Bamba and played his radio broadcasts. God Bless you all and I hope you can meet yor East Coast Quillin Clan someday soon. Love Cousin mike. Tell Tim and Jan and Eve I said Hi. Keep in touch

  3. Dirk Raahorst says:


    I knew your grand dad when I was just a boy living in Garden Grove, CA. T.Q. was the PM drive jock at KEZY with studios in the Disneyland Hotel, Anaheim. I would stand outside the window of the studio watching him work for hours. He was a huge influence on my life. He taught me about the importance of maintaining a positive outlook on life. Ted used to say ” the best place to look for a helping hand is at the end of your arm”. As a young aspiring DJ, T.Q. took me under his wing and showed me the ropes. I rode shotgun in the Rolls with him many a time. I watched him do his AFRS show and took some photos for him at KFI in L.A. Ted even let me borrow his Mustang for a date!
    I will never forget him. Your writing shows the affection you had for your grand dad. I will tell you that of all the people I have gotten to know in the biz, Ted was a true original. He was the real deal. My condolences to you and your family.

  4. Robert D. Harrison says:


    I was saddened to hear of the passing of your grand-dad, who just happened to be one of the best Rock N’ Roll DJ’s of all time. I’m a little bugged about the Wikipedia entry on Ted that suggested that Rick Dees’ role in the Ritchie Valens biopic LA BAMBA was based on The Quiverin’ One. I know that one of Mr. Dees’ stock-of-trade schticks on-air was the impoverished caller to the station who was living in his (or her) car…usually a Rolls Royce.

    Having only listened to Ted via airchecks, it would have been cooler to have had him or an actor familiar with his personality play Ted. He’s the only announcer I’ve ever heard that has made me physically HUNGRY. After expousing the virtues of Nestle chocolate bars one minute (during a 1963 KRLA sound check I love listenin’ to), he went on to describe the glory of pork chops washed down with cold buttermilk!

    It takes special person to get you to dig somebody’s music on a daily basis, but to make you wanna eat?! That borders on GODHEAD status to me. He was somethin’ else Tyler, but you already knew that. Remember always that Ted has and always will have his fans then, now and (thanks to airchecks) in the future. Quality and pork chops will never go out of style.

  5. Lauri Kopish says:

    Hi Tyler, do you know if your grandfather was a FreeMason or a member of a Mason’s Lodge?

  6. Lauri Kopish says:

    -It was amongst Eve’s things that were being discarded after she died.

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