As a boy, Winston Conrad Martindale dreamed of becoming a radio announcer. Little did he know that his wish would come true and then some — becoming a deejay at 17, making friends with Elvis Presley and hosting 20 TV game shows, including “Tic Tac Dough,” “Gambit,” “High Rollers” and “Debt.”
As a result of his longevity, “there have been a lot of bombs between the hits,” admitted the colorful Martindale, who got the nickname Winkie because a childhood friend couldn't pronounce Winston. (“Winkie” was later shortened to a simple “Wink.”)
At 17, Martindale got his start as a disc jockey on a radio station in his hometown of Jackson, Tenn. Two years later, he got the morning gig at a Memphis radio station, where he met Elvis Presley. The two formed a friendship that lasted until the King's death in 1977.
Martindale became a mainstay on Los Angeles radio — on KHJ, KRLA, KFWB and KMPC — after moving to Southern California in 1959.
Although he started doing TV in Memphis in 1955, it wasn’t until 1964 that his game show career began, when he hosted a program modeled after “Name That Tune” called “What’s This Song?”