Sept. 16 event will honor him for remarkable career that has spanned five decades
Media icon, Otis Twelve, to be next Face on Barroom Floor
By Tom O’Connor, Communications Committee
Otis Twelve has done it all – from hosting a radio show to writing novels to being a stand-up comedian – and he’s always left us with a laugh in our belly or at the very least a smile on our face.
On Sept. 16, the laughs are sure to continue as the man whose iconic media career has spanned five decades will be honored as the Omaha Press Club’s next Face on the Barroom Floor.
Otis is probably best known for his radio career which started in 1978 on KQKQ-FM before moving to Z-92. He partnered with Diver Dan Doomey and Sandy Palmer to, as he put it, “keep the fine art of radio theater alive.”
The trio wrote, produced and performed such long running series as “Space Commander Whack,” “Lance Stallion: Radio Detective,” “Roseanne Grubbs” and “The Mean Farmer.”
A member of the Nebraska Radio Personalities Hall of Fame, Otis also worked in radio at KFAB-AM, CD-105, KKAR-AM, and for the past 16 years as morning host on listener-supported Classical 90.7 KVNO-FM.
On the TV side, Otis worked for a dozen years as a movie/entertainment critic for KETV (Ch. 7) and KPTM (Fox 42).
But, there’s much more to the man whose real name is Douglas Vincent Francis Wesselmann.
Otis was a founding member of the Ogden Edsl Wahalia Blues Ensemble Mondo Bizzario Band, a musical group that is best remembered for its “Dead Puppies” song that became the anthem for Dr. Demento back in the 1970s. The group has been enshrined in the Nebraska Music Hall of Fame.
As a writer, his fictional work has been recognized with such awards as the Templeton Prize, the Debut Dagger Award and the London Book Fair “Lit-Idol” Competition. His short story “Life Among the Bean Bugs,” was named runner-up for the 2005 Kurt Vonnegut Prize by Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo.
In 2017, his novel, “Tales of the Master: The Book of Stone” was published and dealt with what Otis calls “magical ruralism.” He currently writes the “Not Funny” column for Omaha Magazine.
His quirky story about faith, family and floodlights – “Footsteps on the Roof” – and his other odd takes on life have been performed by the Boston Pops, the Omaha Symphony, and orchestras in Dallas, Salt Lake City, Jacksonville and Kansas City
His amazing resume also includes a brief stint as a Benedictine monk-in-training, and he served as a bodyguard for Paul Newman one afternoon in 1968.
He is proud to say he “has been married to a very successful woman for 44 years and has three wonderful, very grateful children and six brilliant grandchildren, plus two small dogs – one grumpy and old and the other happy and young.”
Face on Barroom Floor – Otis Twelve
WHEN: Friday, Sept. 16 – reception, 5:30 p.m., dinner, 6:30 p.m., roast, 8 p.m.
COST: $75 for OPC members; $85 for non-members
RSVP: The event is open to the public. Call the OPC at 402-345-8008. Members can charge to their OPC account. Non-members need to provide their credit card information.