He was born and raised in Pittsburgh, but his broadcasting days began at a radio station in Chambersburgh, Pennsylvania after serving four years in the Air Force.
From there, it was on to radio stations in Wheeling, West Virginia and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Eventually, a TV station soon offered him job doing weekend weather and "Dialing for Dollars."
"I walked out there one day with sport coat and tie on and became Mr. Fortune," Nelson said.
Listen to Don Nelson's return to the airwaves on KRBE:
Actually Mr. Fortunate, because Marvin Zindler saw him on TV while visiting New Mexico and told him to apply at Channel 13 in Houston. Don sent a tape of himself doing the weather in costume. He sent one tape of him in a bunny suit and a second of him dressed as Frankenstein.
Channel 13 hired him anyway.
"I got hired here dialing for dollars and of course the 7-7:30 news required you to do traffic," said Nelson.
His talent and humor were an instant hit. His hairstyles are still in question.
Here's for Don Nelson's hair styles over the years:
Over the years, he went from the Beatle cut to Pompadour to curly. He even went bald after he famously said he would shave his head if the Rockets won it all.
"One of my favorite Don Nelson moments (was him) shaving head when the Rockets won the NBA championship," said ABC-13 anchor Gina Gaston.
Don eventually joined Doug brown, Gina Gaston and Tom Koch when the morning show was expanded to an hour, then two, then two and half hours. Besides news, weather and traffic, the offbeat morning show featured flick flubs, mug shots and crazy antics inspired by Don.
"We're sort of adrenaline junkies," said Nelson. "We go live and, and despite whatever planning or suggestions, no two days are alike. Some days work, some days don't."
But mostly it worked, and Don helped make the ABC-13 morning show one of the highest rated morning shows in the country through him numerous on-air pranks.
"Doug brown walked around one day with a black cardboard cut out of a ground hog tied to his shoe, and we kept cutting away (Saying) what is that," said Nelson. "If you didn't get it, you didn't get it."
The viewers loved him and so did his two co-hosts on his other popular, long running show, "Good Morning Houston."
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