Archive for August, 2009

Heart transplant plus 14-years

August 31, 2009



Former WSB-Television News Director Ray Moore and I joined Dan Casey Sunday to celebrate Dan’s  66th birthday.   Dan is a 14-year survivor of a heart transplant.  It was almost 2-years ago that Dan retired.  He was a photo-journalist with


CIMG2324Dan messaged me that he was having the party for family and friends because this might be the last time he’d have a chance to be with everyone.   The average life of a heart-transplant patient is 15 years.

Dan and Meg Casey

Dan and Meg Casey

But Dan and his wife, Meg, are optimistic that Dan will go on for many more years.  Whatever comes, Dan says he’s at peace and ready to go when God calls him.  It’s that kind of faith I observed in Dan during the years we worked side by side…sometimes covering as many as 6 stories a day.

Mary Casey

Mary Casey

Dan’s mother, Mary, is 83…giving Dan reason to believe he can outlive the average heart-transplant patient.

The baby and the balloon

August 30, 2009

CIMG2211This almost one-year-old among the spectators Saturday at the New Bethany Church’s 5K.  We’re near Buford, Georgia just northeast of Atlanta.  No blimp in the sky for television coverage, but


CIMG2292overhead was this beautiful multi-colored balloon.  I’ve been up in those hot-air balloons several times.  It’s a wonderful way to spend the day.  We expect to post the video musical-slide show of the New Bethany  5K before Monday.   You should be able to see it by going to    Click on photos.   Click on the outline of the map of Georgia.   Click on the show.

Here Lie The Bones of….

August 29, 2009

CIMG2200This is a drawing that is inspired by an earlier posting and comment.  You may recall that when we wrote about 83-year-old Bill Watson, we ask him to write his epitaph.  Bill was stumped so we asked you, the readers of this blog,  what your epitaph should be.   Nurse and exercise addict Bailey Pendergrast responded with an epitaph her husband, Scott, had written for her.  My wife turned it into the drawing you see above.   It reads, “Here lie the bones of Dear Old Bailey.   Please exercise them daily.”  Like Bailey, I believe daily exercise is a good addiction.

Announcer or Journalist

August 28, 2009

In my first year at WSB-Television as an announcer-reporter-sports director, I might be reading a commercial one minute and reporting a story the next, not unlike many radio personalities of today.  In 1961, WSB News Director Ray Moore with other management support decided the perception..if not the reality of bias demanded that reporters no longer do commercials.  How could we be pitching a company’s commercial and later without favoritism report a story that might negatively affect that company.  So Ray asked those of us who had been doing both to make a decision.  Did we want to be journalists or commercial announcers?  Journalism was an easy choice for me.

The major purchase

August 27, 2009

CIMG2194This Bolex 16 millimeter film camera cost me and my wife about 3 months of my salary in 1961, almost as much as a new car.   I found the camera advertised in The Atlanta Constitution. 


CIMG2196A local dentist had bought the turrett 3-lens silent camera new with all its fancy attachments for almost 2-thousand dollars. The dentist  told me its ability to do in-camera lap dissolves and other then advanced techniques was too much for him to learn.    With my wife’s OK, I bought it for 12-hundred dollars.    I have never regretted the investment.  In 1961, it served me well covering local sports, particularly the high school scenes.   We weren’t spanning the globe, but we did bring a new dimension to coverage of metro-Atlanta sports.  In combination with the station’s auricon sound cameras, we used the Bolex to produce WSB-Television”s first prime-time sports documentary.   It was t0 celebrate the opening of the Atlanta International Raceway(AIR)…now known as the Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS).  In recognition of metro Atlanta’s growing population, we titled the documentary, “Racing for a Million”.


I carried this spring-driven, hand-wound beauty and an audio tape recorder with me to Vietnam.   It’s been on the streets during some of the not so non-violent civil rights demonstrations.   The  film camera was a tool I used to cover sports, then news for almost 20-years until our complete conversion to video tape.CIMG2197

 Almost half-a-century later, the Bolex still works.  About the  only time these days my trusted companion gets a workout is as a prop for speeches.  Ray Moore, my boss during the 60s, recently voiced some  kind and generous memories about my use of the Bolex.

The slot man

August 26, 2009

The “slot man” in our newscasts at WSB-Television in the early years did it all.   He made up the rundown of what would be in the newscast.   He wrote most of the stories, sometimes helped with editing the film, and read the news on the air.  It’s my recollection that the term “anchorman” didn’t come into vogue until the mid or late 60s.

The only exception that I recall to the do-it-all label was News Director Ray Moore.   Ray was so busy with administrative duties that others would organize the noon and early evening newscasts.  Ray would go over the scripts and try to preview the  film about half an hour before air time.  Often, it wasn’t possible to preview the film because we would be editing it right up until Ray went on the air.

My main assignment was with the 11 o’clock edition where George Page and later John Palmer were the do-it-all slotmen.  It was there that my first opportunity came as the Sports Director.  I posted scores by sticking plastic numbers and letters into black menu boards.  There were still pics from the major wire services and an occasional film that came to us from NBC.    Except for UGA and Georgia Tech games, we rarely used our precious film cameras to cover sports.     That led me to a major personal purchase that would change the direction of my career.

What was not on the QCR

August 25, 2009

I came to work the day following what I thought was a disaster during my first on-camera commercial.   I fully expected to be fired.  After clocking in, I went directly to the announce booth to relieve the announcer on duty.   That announcer said nothing about my night-before goof.   Neither did anyone else.  The director had not written it up on the QCR (Quality Control Report).    If the sponsor complained, no one told me.    If my boss, Mark Toalson, had been watching, he chose to ignore my goof or the director’s quick-cut had covered it up.    I think Mr. Toalson was being kind and patient with the rookie.    So were my colleagues.  

I don’t remember when they let me do another commercial.    However, they did give me opportunities to read stories on-camera as brief inserts during the 11 o’clock news.  I would usually rewrite the material in my own words so it was easier to read on the air.    Often, my stories would be about sports.   I felt particularly comfortable with this assignment because of my previous play-by-play experience in radio.   Our 11 o’clock slot-man, George Page, only tolerated sports, so he was glad to have someone else do them.   By default, I became the WSB-Television Sports Director.

Pound Out Polio and Flat Get It

August 24, 2009

CIMG150415-year-old Heather Lashley pacing me to the finish of the “Pound Out Polio” 5K.  It was the first of my 2 races Saturday.  Polio still exists in 5 countries, including India.   The money from this run helps the Rotary clubs to raise millions to eradicate polio around the world.

The “Pound Out Polio” run was in Buford, Georgia.    “The Flat Get It”  evening 5K was at the “Flat Get It”  horse farm near Douglasvillle, Georgia.  You can see complete video stories of both races by going to “”.   Click on photos.  Click on the map of Georgia.  The Buford race already is up.   Expect to have the Douglasville event posted before Tuesday.

Here’s Misty again!

August 23, 2009

CIMG1509Here’s Misty in a container often used as a foot bath.   It’s barely long enough for my size 11 foot….barely long enough for the feline that my wife calls



CIMG1508“the cutest kitty on the planet.”    Some of you folks may have other candidates for that title.





CIMG1510If you’d like to nominate your favorite pet, please send me a pic for my blog.   Next week, I’ll return to my early days at WSB-Television.

The survival tests

August 22, 2009

During those first few months at WSB-Television, I often wondered if I was going to make it.    Everyone around me was a TV veteran.   I came from small-town radio.    The voice-over copy we booth announcers read was live.   The few brief seconds we had did not allow for flubs.   If you messed up, the inexorable network programming was often on top of you before you could correct yourself.   I didn’t goof often, but when I did, I would go home that night worried that my boss would call me into his office the next day and tell me goodbye.

There came a time when my boss offered me a chance to do my first on-camera commercial.   It wasn’t ad-lib as had been my successful audition.  It was scripted copy carefully prepared by a writer and approved by the sponsor.   We didn’t have teleprompters as we know them today.    In those early years, there were “idiot” cards with the words written in big letters on several different cards.   There were neanderthal teleprompters where the director would tediously type the letters into a roll-down sheet.    I chose neither of these, but thought to rely on my acting roots.  I would memorize the relatively short one-minute script.   I did and had it cold.  But something happened when the red-light came on.   I was about half-way through my spiel for “Gordy Tire” when my mind went blank.  I went into an ad-lib mode talking more about tires than anyone would ever want to hear.  I didn’t know when to quit.   Finally, the director cut me off at the end of a sentence and went to a slide for the beginning of the 11 o’clock news.  I was dreading what would come the next day.