Monday, March 31, 2014

I can't forget the good people at NBC News...


Awhile back...I mentioned one superstar correspondent at NBC News (no name) who wasn’t a “good joe” for his lack of ambition to get the real story about the riots in Chicago.

      Now let me tell you of some fine people I encountered or worked with at NBC News Chicago for a year and then 30 Rock for a few weeks and finally Saigon.

      My direct boss in NYC...Russ Tornabene.  Years earlier he  helped develop a new weekend show for NBC Radio...called “Monitor”.  What more can one say. 
 I may repeat myself several times but one couldn’t have a nicer boss. He was fair...and knew because of the close call with the enemy soldiers in Cambodia that I would not choose to return to Saigon. He almost begged me not to leave NBC News and offered me a job back in Chicago.  I declined...wanting to try other avenues and he understood.  Everyone who worked for or simply came in contact with this man was the better for it!
      In Chicago...Joe producer extraordinary soon to be promoted to Nightly News producer in NYC.
      In Saigon...a Bureau Chief named Jack Reynolds who left too soon to  China as BC in Beijing.
      Floyd Kalber in Chicago.  A superstar anchor local and network and despite that high position...a damn decent guy.
      Ted Elbert...Chicago and NYC. In the mold of Russ...easygoing yet a real pro in handling world wide assignments and fun to know. We had a softball team at NBC Chicago and he broke a thumb.  Not only did it really hurt...his physic was damaged.
      Kenley Jones....Saigon tv correspondent. Great guy and damn good newsman.
     Les Crystal...Executive Producer, Huntley-Brinkly Report.  Les invited me out for an after news drink and I was honored. Very pro but also down to earth for a man in his exalted position.  He went on the run PBS’s MacNeil-Lehrer Report for years.
      And two really big names for you...both good people:
 David Brinkley.  Spending some time chatting away with a guy who probably didn’t deserve the invite into his office.  But I was thrilled by it.
      Edwin Newman.  What can I say...about an NBC News legend who hosted Saturday Night Live TWICE!  He and Russ were close friends and had lunch each day in the small coffee shop on the ground floor of 30 Rock. 
 When Russ grabbed me with the offer to buy lunch I had no idea Ed would join us.  This happened more than once and I cherish it.
       In Chicago John “Bud” Dancy and Jim Ruddle.  Their main assignment was doing top of the hour radio newscasts on the network which originated in Chicago about every third or fourth hour all day.
      Jim also anchored the local early evening tv news.  Jim had a photographic memory.  I remember one time I had to take him a full page story I had just written and hand it to him in the tv anchor seat during a commercial break.  He took a short look at the cue that he was back on the air and without looking at the script again...quoted it verbatim!
      He didn’t think much of my writing but he never voiced it to me.  On the top of the hour casts I wrote for him there were a bunch of edits.  That’s how I knew.
       I may have left a few folks out...but this, I think, gives you an idea that not all news persons are bad and biased.
       One other investigative reporter and news anchor in Chicago named Ted this mold.
      After I left NBC News...Ted was enjoying Lake Michigan in a boat and fell overboard and drowned.  There were some conspiracy rumors as Ted had been investigating typical Chicago political stuff.
 Ted was a good guy in every sense of the phrase. 
       I was sad....and attended his funeral...meeting up for the last time with Russ Tornabene there.
      Time marches on they say...but for six solid months(1969-70) from Vietnam radio listeners heard this close more times each day seven days a week than any other correspondent in radio history:

         “Stan Major...NBC News...Saigon”

 I was so proud that my parents could listen and hear that!

Ed Newman, George Esper AP & Kate again!

some things one doesn’t forget......

...sitting in that ground level coffee shop for 30 Rock (NYC)...chatting with THE Edwin Newman of NBC NEWS.  Ed, the only news guy to ever host Saturday Night Live (twice!). Watching the Saturday Night Live cast members and staffers running in and out with their burgers and such with the teen girls chasing after them.  
Had that informal lunch a couple of times in the week I was at NBC News New York before flying off to the war in Vietnam.  I still get chills thinking about that atmosphere today.  Ed was such a nice fellow. Spoke pretty good English too!  Strictly speaking.
The old correspondents are fading away.  George Esper of AP for a long, long time...died at 79 last year. He stayed in Saigon...when everyone else fled.  He interviewed the two Viet Cong solders who entered the AP office to take over! Some great things were written about him by his cohorts and he deserved them all.  George married a gorgeous Saigon girl...a real beauty....I was jealous.      Makes me wonder again about the goddess in Phnom Penh, Cambodia I left behind.  Damn Lon Nol and God Damn the Khmer Rouge!  I hope and pray she got away. (see earlier post: “the girl or the coup”...most read of the 300 I’ve posted)
I’ve sent a copy of my last post on Kate Middleton to the Daily Mail newspaper in London.  It would be fun if they printed it or at least quoted from it.  We’ll see.  It would be even more of a gas if Kate could read it!
Spring training wrapup (boast)
The “lowly” Miami Marlins WON the National League honors for spring training...but you probably won't hear those idiots at MLB mention it!
 Final tally: 
  Marlins 18 wins 12 lost
Phils won just 9 ...Braves won 12
Now we’ll see!  It starts for real today...finally.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

KATE is the most beautiful woman in the world!

Kate and a couple of guys

ok...I’m proclaiming it here tonight:

KATE MIDDLETON (DUCHESS OF WHATEVER)is the most beautiful woman in the world!
Kate and Wills...I went to my library today to get the dvd of their wedding.  
For some reason I didn’t watch it...or much of it.  That’s strange for me cause as a boy I listened to Liz becoming Queen on the radio and followed that by buying a copy of the recorded ceremony on 78 rpm records no less.  Remember those hard things that always busted especially in the hands a a kid? 
Then I almost ran into that “man who left the throne” the Duke of Windsor at the Kentucky Derby!  Seeing him so close ( I nearly bumped into him) after all the pics and film was some thrill.  And I knew who it was instantly!  This was before tv too.
Only the British can do this ceremonial stuff...and only the BBC can do the coverage so well.  No place else in the world can anyone do it up like this...for ceremonies...England is it!  It’s enough to want them to keep the damn old fashioned Monarchy just for times like these.

I have also been watching the only movie available about William and Kate (or is it Cate?)  So yes...I’m getting a bit obsessed about her ( yes I know you’ve read about my encounter with her twin in my supermarket parking lot?) but it will pass.  I’ll be back to Jordana soon!
The girl playing Kate in the flick (Camilla Luddington) was good but not as close in looks as one would like.  
The fact that it was a Lifetime Movie which meant available on tv for the kiddies and had them doing a lot of “hanky panky” when they were college was a surprise.  I assume the film company didn’t get cooperation from the Palace.   That part rather shocked me...if you can believe.  I guess that’s because I’m in this stupid crush thing about Middleton and like I say...I’ll get over it.
Anyway...take a gander at her pic taken very recently and available right now from the ‘Daily Mail” in England and tell me she isn’t THE most beautiful woman in the world.  She makes Will’s mom (Princess Diana) look like a guy! 
But forgive me...I was never a big Diana fan.  Besides...she was a blond.  I’ll take brunettes anytime!

Here's the link to see that pic of Kate and guys which is really big! When you get on the Daily Mail page....Just keep going down you'll find it.

MEG...the Margate, Fl cop!

the real Meg

Meg Ryan the cop?  (see new note)
  In a burb here...Margate,  there was (or still is) a cute blond cop...who could pass as Meg Ryan’s twin.
       I saw her in a nice blue dress in a supermarket parking lot...putting groceries in the trunk of her squad car (correct) and I couldn’t help but joke about the outfit!  She got a bit flustered and mumbled something I didn’t catch...but would you like to be stopped by a Meg Ryan look alike!  
       That was a couple of years ago and I take a close look at each Margate squad car I see but no “Meg”.  I even asked a couple of male Margate cops about the “Meg Ryan”  look alike officer but they just shook their heads like I don’t know what I’m talking about. Anyway I’ll keep looking!

Note:  Maybe she isn't a cop.  Maybe she just borrowed her husband's squad car to shop? 


the “voice” talks back....                                        

       The librarian that I call “the voice” over at North Lauderdale library here said I spelled her name wrong on the earlier post about the library system’s nice people.
       So it isn’t “Helen”...I guess it’s either “Heleen” or “Hellene” or something else...but my sentiments were good and correct about her and her co-workers...the nicest folks down here in south against many others not so nice. 
       The “voice”  surprised me yesterday...I saw her out,and about... away from the checkout counter in full view...not bad.  A form to match the sumptuous “voice”?

Hoffa’s grave(s)

       Rumor has it...Jimmy Hoffa’s body was placed in one or two locations in south Florida:

1.  the foundation of a new bowling alley in Ft. Lauderdale


2. the foundation of a new house the was being built on the Jacaranda Golf course in Plantation at the time of his death.

 this isn’t complicated...all the FBI has to do is check both locations and see if the foundation laying date fits his death.  
 You think they can handle that?

 then...go dig him out.

Friday, March 28, 2014

"Elvis has left the bedroom!"

the ghost of Richard Nixon came again.

and as last time (with JFK and a warning to Hilly)...he wasn’t alone.

"Mr. Elvis!" WAS “E” right in my bedroom.

“ah...I wanted  to thank you for the fine job of reporting the facts from the Vietnam war” he said. “ and it was a pleasure to have you as our guest at the Hilton in Las Vegas in 1970.”.

 “It was a thrilling show, Elvis.  My favorite was that long version of “Suspicious Minds”!  That couldn’t be topped!”

 “Thank ya sir...thank you very much.”

“and you tell everyone..I’m ok...ahh..I’m doing just fine.”

 and with in the past...he slipped away. Elvis fans...rejoice.  The King is fine!

Then the President intoned:  "ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BEDROOM!"

ghost of Nixon (2)

jfk-nixon debate

the ghost of Nixon returns...with a friend!

        The ghost of Nixon came back again...last night as I was sleeping.
 He brought a friend!

        “Mr. Major...I have a friend for you.  Mr. Kennedy meet Mr Major.”
        “ahh glad to know you”

        “Mr. Major, I just dropped in to ask a favor.”

        “What’s that Mr. Kennedy?”

        “Will you convey a message to Hillary Clinton for me?”
        “Sure...what is it?”

        “Tell her to “cut the cord.”
        “If she wants to be President...she’ll have to divorce Bill.   He’s just too much!”

       “OK Mr. Kennedy...I got it.  Anything else?”

        JFK thought for a moment the replied..."did they ever find out who really shot me?”

       “Nope....not really.”

 ...and with that both ghosts disappeared.

 I went back to sleep.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

ghost of Nixon

All the President's Men

the ghost of Nixon visited me last night....(repost)

        He had a big smile on his face.

        He asked what was happening to the newspapers...and laughed.

        I took it he had been informed somehow of the problems the newspapers were having because of the internet etc.  His least favorite...the Washington Post has lost it mojo. The New York Times has trouble too.

        “Well Mr President” I replied “the old saying is still true...what goes around...comes around. " 
        “After having the power to replace a President back in  74...the internet has taken the wind out of their sails.” I continued.
       “More people now read Matt Drudge daily...and Drudge is free.  The Papers are so desperate they've taken to the very thing that is destroying them...the internet...and they are trying to charge folks to read their paper.  That’s not going well!”
       “Well, well” replied the ghost of Nixon.  Papers without power!"
       “Hey...that’s the slogan for my next run.”
       “Thank you Mr. Major.”
 “By the way that interview you did was marvelous.  I just wanted to thank you.”

       And with that...the ghost of Nixon disappeared....smiling as before at the good tidings of the downfall of the press.  Or at least one aspect of it.
 And I went back to sleep...smiling too.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

the Jerry Williams stickup!

   Jerry Williams

Jerry Williams gets held up! Literally. 
And not for anything he said on the radio!

Jerry Williams hired me for Philadelphia’s FM talk station WWDB in 1980. 
Then...after a few months...Jerry left.  He had asked me how things were at WNWS Miami...and that’s where he ended up after I made a call telling them to hire him.  Jerry and I went way back....all the way to his home in Boston and WMEX in the early 60’s.
After he was there for a few months my phone rang and it was Jerry screaming at me down the phone line:
“What the hell have you gotten me into down here! This is the worst place in the world” he screamed.
Then without explanation hung up the phone.
What had happened and what I didn’t find out about for some time was Jerry had finished his show and opened the building’s front door to leave and was held up at gunpoint.  He could well have been killed...I think he was very lucky.
According to the Miami News report I have from their archives thanks to my friend John Baker who does the Neil Rogers stuff (& mine now) this happened September 23rd 1981.
     One of three men had a small pistol and they didn’t know they were at a radio station.  Jerry (after he gave them his watch and cash) told them Neil Rogers was in the studio doing his program...and they said they wanted to rob him too...but they WERE getting nervous now.
     In fact according to Jerry the guy with the gun said “let’s kill him” but his companions were nervous about that too...and Jerry even walked them into the building to show them Neil in the studio...
      Neil realized something was wrong and said on the air for someone to call the cops and tell them to get over to WNWS fast.  The robbers did not hear that or there might have been a bloodbath then.
They fled the building before a raft of squad cars arrived as a result of hundreds of 911 calls by listeners.  Listeners took Neil’s plea serious and the 911 lines in Miami were overloaded for a time as a result.
The robbers, despite the fast response, were never caught.
Jerry’s unexplained dramatic call to me came soon after the incident.  I had no idea about it...I guessed he was just displeased with the city or the station...but it was more than that!
One time in St. Louis while I was pontificating on the air at WIL one night...someone reported a man with a gun in the building who said he wanted to find me!  St. Louis police scoured the building and I remained on the air but apprehensive and nobody was found.
When I was in Milwaukee during the Father Groppi stuff I had him on as a studio guest and my life was threatened by the note left on my car window...written in red ink.  
“Next time, Major this will be written in your blood!”
And of course when Neil Rogers and I were proclaiming the Cuban boatlift was illegal and down right “wrong” our lives were threatened several times each day to the point that a Miami police squad car was sitting in the station’s parking lot whenever we were on the air!
Just the life and times of not only Jerry, Neil and I but a bunch of other radio and tv personalities simply saying what we felt...and using the first amendment to back it up!
I’m thankful Jerry was safe. He left Miami fairly quickly after that.

famke & demi


If you haven’t seen the flick “City Of Industry” should.  buy it...borrow it or steal it and see Harvey Keitel, Tim Hutton, Stephen Dorff and the absolutely fabulously hot Famke Janssen at their peak!  Famke is the only actress, I think, who can out do Julia Roberts....not only in performance but also looks.  This is her best part ever. You just want to grab this bird and take her home forever...immediatly!
I don’t like violent flicks...but I enjoy the stuff here because it isn’t just car crashes and gunshots to build sales...each piece of violence by director John Irvin is incorporated to further the excitement of the plot and it all comes together at the end in a rather unusual way even for  Hollywood.
Harvey wins...Famke really wins...and we all win watching this one.


Changing the pace....another flick I really get a kick out of about once a year is “Blame It On Rio”.  I bring this up since we are now getting multiple views from Brazil. 
Michael Caine looked like he enjoyed making this one and why not.  The scenes on the beach are some of the best you’ll ever see if you are a “bird” watcher like me.  
It’s fun to see Demi a bit embarrassed by her costar Michelle Johnson when they both had to go topless...and one wonders now seeing her topless in the past few years in “Striptease” just how the “boost” came about.  
Oh well...don’t worry about it...just enjoy it.  Right Demi?  She is something else. 
The whole flick is a gas! Everyone is great!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

sarah vs fight!

some bits and pieces......

Sarah tells Hillary to go for it.
Now if we could just get Palin to run... what a cat fight, huh!  
To get enough of the Obama blacks to get elected...Palin would have to find a moderate black MALE to run with her.  Also...he’d have to be a lot smarter politically than Obama...who isn’t.  And he should be real good looking so the liberal media could start rumors about them! Votes for sure then.
Make notes Sarah.

Pity poor McDonalds...the profits are down.  I noticed the past few weeks since that news broke I’ve been getting triple pickles on my burgers.  I guess that’s how they plan to get the profits up?  How about more meat instead?  But the price of beef is the dollar for two deals on Sundays and Wednesdays may go by the wayside.


Those idiots that sit at the MLB desk pontificating how bad the Miami Marlins are going to be again might want to keep bad mouthing them.  The more they do that...the more games the Marlins win.  While the so called “experts” keep plugging the usual teams as “winners” the real facts are simple:
Phils:    8-15
MIAMI MARLINS: 16-10...leading the National League! Opps...make it 17-10!!!
Stanton 5 homers...none of them cheap.
.....but it’s only spring training...right!

librarians...gotta love em!


Broward County librarians.  They are so great they must be from another planet!

      They run against the grain...contrary to most people here in South Florida who are a bunch of creeps just looking out for themselves and could care less for anyone else existing unless they want something from them.  
      These include the too-slow drivers in the left lanes and and the punks who drive too fast everywhere and badly need good mufflers on their old automobiles...and probably car insurance!
      These are some of the folks who work at my favorite libraries... in particular Phillip (the cheesecake guy from an earlier post) at the Tamarac the rest of the great staff there....Charles... (I call him Charlie) at the big, really huge, North Regional Library at Broward the staffers there also...on both floors and last but certainly not least in my book are the nicest ladies you’ll ever encounter the North Lauderdale Library.  That would include Kati and my favorite...Heleen (the Voice).  I called once and she answered the phone and I could not believe that voice...she should be on every answering machine in the country!  I’d like to be her agent!
      I don’t know where they get these wonderful people.  I have a feeling most of them were from someplace other than this area originally because they have manners...are helpful to an extreme and smile while doing it.  And did I forget efficient?  They are the very best.
      And let me mention some other libraries around that have equally nice folks...Northwest Regional in Coral Springs...West Regional in Plantation...Weston and of course the Main Library in downtown Ft. Lauderdale.  That place will boggle your mind and they are as helpful there as the others I mentioned.
      Sometime ago (maybe it’s still running) the library system had a “who made your day” thing or something like that...meaning which librarian did something to please you.
      I say...all of them...they are just a terrific bunch of people and a welcome respite of what you get once you leave their company and hit the road again.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Tribute:Richard Hayes/WWDB(FM) Philly

Richard Hayes......84......gone

I’ve never worked with a nicer guy.  His kind are hard to find the in broadcasting business.
I was Operations Manager at WWDB(FM) Philadelphia in the early 80’s and Richard was hired to do our all night talk-a-thon five nights each week...and he was perfect.  No this-vs-that crap...just nice pleasant conversation thru the wee hours.
Richard commuted from Long Island each evening...and then back to NYC hitting am drive at 6AM (ugh!)....and on the Long Island.
Despite this horrible commute he never faltered and made it in for his shift several times when Philly weather was not it’s best!
He was smooth...congenial....and easy to work with which is saying alot in the radio business.
Please note that in this blog I had selected him as one of the top personalities in radio...and he deserved it!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

killing Jean Seberg...

How our Federal government killed actress Jean Seberg!

This NSA spy crap is not the first time your government spied on it’s citizens.
J. Edgar Hoover made a profession out of it.  It was called Controlpol and the FBI’s most famous victim was cute little actress Jean Seberg who had been  stalked and silenced by the feds...with what has been called a questionable “suicide” on the streets of Paris, France.
And just like far as I can ascertain...nobody went to jail for that.  And I AM still waiting for somebody or many somebodies to get the slammer for spying on me and you and everybody else on this so called freedom loving democracy!
Dont didn’t happen back in Jean Seberg’s case and won’t happen here now.
I’m beginning to wonder how the Nixon guys got tried and convicted and sent to jail  Compared to Hoover and today’s NSA that stuff was small potatoes...a bit like Clinton getting head from Monica in the Oval Office.
I mean killing Seberg was a serious crime and the NSA spying is an unbelieveable series of serious crimes (along with the IRS crap too...can’t forget that!)
Oh’s a great country right?

Here's more on Jean Seberg:

"The Lake House" revisited

The Lake

I like this movie primarily for two reasons...
Sandra Bullock and Chicago!’s just an interesting story...better than the usual Hollywood crap and the plot is not to be taken that seriously.  It’s just a movie...don’t try to analyze it...just enjoy it.
If you do care about the why’s and wherefore’s go to the IMDB message board and play the game of trying to figure out what the hell is going on here.     There is one person on the message board who claims to have all the answers....but I can’t confirm that as I’m not that interested.
I did want to see the later part again to see if Wyler’s “un-death” at Daley Plaza could cause a “paradox” but since neither Kate (Sandra) or Wyler have kids...nothing seems to have been earth shaking from the change in history.
Again...Sandra is so hot in this film without even trying and my letterbox version with my favorite scenes of the Windy make it worth my time.
I’ll leave the rest to you.
Oh...there is a scene set on a softball field in a park with the Chicago skyline VERY visible and beautiful.  I played a game there once...with the NBC guys from channel that certainly got my attention.  The whole flick is beautifully filmed...much better than car crashes and gun shots which are usually the main feature in any movie filmed in Chicago.

Next:  The Mothman Prophecies (talk about weird!)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

blacklisted...but BACK!

“Blacklisted”...but back bigger than  ever”

While at WJJD in Chicago in edition to my DJ duties and programing responsibilities once in awhile if there was an interesting guest dropping by for an interview I’d select myself to do it.  For instance...Ann Margret (hey it’s good to be in charge!)
So we had this half hour show which we passed off to the FCC as “public service” and it was pre-recorded each week and played back on Sunday morning.
My guest one week was Carl Foreman...directly from Hollywood and in town to promote Columbia’s new film “The Mouse That Roared” with Peter Sellers and a “hottie” at the time...the tragic  Jean Seaberg.
Carl was a great interview...and I was not aware that he was at the top of the Senator Joe McCarthy’s list to be blacklisted.
I began by saying the opening few seconds with the Columbia “Miss Liberty” holding the torch but pulling her skirt to run from a mouse was one the funniest things ever on film.
Carl laughed and was impressed by my comment.
“I’m glad you liked that” he said “I wrote it but had a heck of a time getting Columbia brass to accept it.”
(Note: TCM reviewer Leonard Maltin notes in his writeup about that movie which airs tonight (Sat 3/22/14) that that bit of film is a “MASTERPIECE”...and I agree.)

Foreman was also plugging his next film...and World War II flick to be called “The Guns Of Navarone”  which we all know now is probably the finest film of its kind ever!  
He said filming would begin in England shortly.  Off the air I joked with him about quitting my radio job and flying over if he’d cast me.  He didn’t offer much hope but I’d bet you anything that if I had showed up there he would have come through with something...he was that kind of guy.
       Here is just one note on Foreman’s work:
“As preparation for The Men (1950), Foreman(writer) and director Fred Zinnemann spent a month in a veteran's hospital researching, while star Marlon Brando lived, for a time, in its paraplegic unit.” 

Foreman also wrote great western...called “High Noon!” With Gary Cooper of course.

here’s more on Carl Foreman...