From the S&S archives: AFN contest winner meets Hall and Oates
March 22, 1984
How many Olympic medals did Cathy Rigby win?
Deborah Bland knew the answer — and won an evening with the rock and soul duo, Daryl Hall and John Oates.
Deborah, wife of Lt. Mike Bland, B Co, 32nd Signal Bn, McNair Kaserne, in Hoechst, was the grand prize winner of AFN's Trivia Contest.
"I wanted to win real bad," said Deborah, 21, of Wichita Falls, Texas. "This might sound bad, but I knew from a commercial that Cathy Rigby — she does gymnastics on a commercial — hadn't won any medals. If she had, they would have said something."
In the contest, sponsored by AFN and the Frankfurt USO, listeners answered different trivia questions asked on the air several times every day. Callers with correct answers won preliminary prizes, ranging from T-shirts to albums and concert tickets.
Winners were recorded and, in a drawing on March 15, a grand prize winner was selected.
"I called every day and every time, whether I knew the answer or not," said Deborah. "I just had a feeling that I would win."
DEBORAH WAS ECSTATIC when AFN disc jockey Sgt. Robert Swisher called to tell her that she was the lucky winner.
"When the phone rang and I heard, 'Hello, this is Robert Swisher,' I knew I'd won. I kept mouthing to my husband, 'I won! I won!'
"I have been jumping around ever since. This is just wonderful."
Deborah was able to choose between two prizes: an evening with Hall and Oates in Frankfurt, or an all-expense paid trip to Amsterdam to meet the British band Whitesnake.
She chose Hall and Oates because "I've been a fan of theirs ever since their album 'Private Eyes' came out, so I really wanted to meet them," she said. "All I know about Whitesnake is that they're heavy metal, and I don't really like heavy metal."
Because her husband "doesn't like rock 'n' roll," Deborah chose a friend, Lisa Large of Mobile, Ala., wife of Lt. Sterling Large, A Co, 17th Signal Bn, McNair Kaserne, to accompany her.
"We're going to have so much fun," said Deborah.
But soon the butterflies set in. "What should I ask Hall and Oates?" Deborah asked. "They're world-famous, and me, I'm just a little worm. What do you ask these kinds of people?"
By the time the big evening, Saturday, March 17, had arrived, Deborah had calmed down.
"We tried to come up with all kinds of questions," she said, "but we'll just play it by ear."
Swisher picked up the two women at home and they arrived at the Frankfurt Festhalle shortly after 7 p.m. Sitting in the press section, they "thoroughly enjoyed" the Hall and Oates' show, as well as that of the Australian warm-up band, INXS.
Following the performance, Deborah and Lisa went backstage where they met the famous duo.
DURING THE 15-MINUTE CONVERSATION, Deborah asked one question she had decided she most wanted to ask: "What inspired the song, 'Sara Smile'?"
"Sara did," Hall replied, "and she happens to be sitting in the next room." (Sara Allen is Hall's longtime girlfriend and co-writer of such hits as "Adult Education," "Maneater," "Private Eyes" and "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do).")
When the evening ended, Deborah relaxed again. "I'm glad it's over," she said. "For several days I've been waiting for this, so for that long I've had all this energy and anticipation going. That's a long time.
"But," she added, "this is something I'll remember forever. As short as it was, it was great."