After more than an hour waiting in line in the hot sun Tuesday to see an episode of the "Sally Jessy Raphael" show being taped at Sea World, Angie Giacalone was growing impatient.
"I like the lady, but this is ridiculous," she said.
Hundreds of fans stood in line, while inside the park another segment was being taped. Sea World was taking advantage of the heat wave's last day to sell visors to fans waiting to see Raphael, whose brash style, rounded glasses and conservative outfits have become something of a trademark.
Though many in line said they were there simply for something out of the ordinary to do, many were openly enthusiastic about Raphael, whose syndicated show airs locally at 9 a.m. weekdays on KNSD-TV (Channel 39). Viewers who wrote the station were given free tickets to the shows at Sea World.
"We hate all the other" talk shows, Giacalone said.
Sally may not have Oprah's diet, Phil's clout or Geraldo's mustache. Heck, she doesn't even have Arsenio's ratings. But the fans who ditched work and hired baby sitters to gather at Sea World didn't care.
"She's a step above Geraldo," Kim Ford said as she waited near the front of the line. "She's improved. At first she was pretty sappy."
Next to her, Charlo Zauss, who arranged for a baby sitter so she could see the show, sat knitting in a lawn chair.
"I've never seen anything like this, not an actual production," she said.
Emily Latza, an elderly woman, was there hoping to see some big stars. Lori Johnson and her friends, all in their 20s, showed up because it was free and they had the day off.
Barbara Oesterling, who had stood in line at 7 a.m. Monday, was back for more Tuesday, her voice still hoarse.
"I like seeing the show in person," said Oesterling, who found it easy to leave her job for the day, since she works out of her house. "My impression is that she's real audience oriented."
Location tapings are a time-honored tradition in television. Not only do they give the show exotic locales, it's a chance for them to wine and dine the local affiliate carrying the show, in this case Channel 39. The shows taped this week began airing Tuesday and will continue through Monday.
"We think Channel 39 is the best," executive producer/warm-up act Burt Dubrow shouted at the audience seated in the Sea World amphitheater. "We want you to watch their news and all their programs."
That it happens to be a sweeps-rating period also makes it an ideal time to do a show on bikinis.
"We're going to start with skimpy and stay there," Dubrow told the crowd.
Members of 39's sales staff and editorial board were also on hand. The crowd, estimated at 3,000, was composed primarily of women, making quite a bit of noise (spurred on by Dubrow) about the prospect of men and women walking around in bathing suits.
"My mom gave me free tickets and it looks like I picked the right day," said an attentive Rich Hall, one of few men under 40 unaccompanied by a woman.
Raphael's shows are "OK," he said. "I like her better than Geraldo. Geraldo gets out of hand sometimes."
Dubrow worked the crowd, having them practice cheering before the show actually began. Mention of Nordstrom's drew a round of applause from the shopping conscious group. But they soon grew impatient, sitting in the hot sun.
"Sally! Sally!" they chanted.
They maintained their enthusiasm after Raphael appeared, with Dubrow waving his arms to make sure they knew when to applaud.
Sally Vogel, who was playing hooky from work at an answering service to attend the show, was impressed with the size of the crowd.
"I don't know whether it's Sally or because it's free, but they're here," she said.