Saturday, May 10, 2008
Today I had the honor of spending an hour with a former KTLA-TV colleague of mine, the amazing Mr. Stan Chambers. Stan has just had a terrific book published about his 60 years as a television news broadcaster in Los Angeles, and one of his first stops on the book signing tour was the Borders right here in Torrance, CA where yours truly lives. There was a very diverse crowd of about 75 people waiting for Stan today, and when he walked into the room everyone burst into applause. Young and old, thick and thin, and a United Nations cross section of every possible ethnicity had arrived at Borders to meet Stan the man. These LA folks clearly adore him and rightfully so. Stan Chambers, in addition to practically inventing television news, is also one of the finest, kindest gentlemen in the broadcast biz. The first thing he did at the book signing was walk down the row of seats as he shook the hand of every single person in attendance. Stan has always been a steadfast family man (he had 11 children!), and one of his grown daughters gave his introduction today. She told a few adorable anecdotes about what it was like to have a busy newsman as a father and her love for her Dad was abundantly apparent as she fought a few tears to get through her speech.
Stan spoke very eloquently at the book signing and the audience was enthralled. You don't have to be a broadcast history fanatic (like I am) to be fascinated by accounts of the early days of TV news in Los Angeles; from the story about little Kathy Fiscus who fell down a well in 1949 to the many floods, fires, riots and earthquakes that have riveted and rocked Los Angeles for 60 years. Stan also spoke reverently of Klaus Landsburg, the technical and creative genius who founded KTLA in 1947, as well as veteran Channel 5 news anchor Hal Fishman who just passed away last year.
All of these stories and more are in this wonderful book, so I urge everyone to seek out a copy. Everyone, that is, except for my fellow Nose founder and KTLA alumni Lisa. Because Mr. Chambers remembered Lisa, as the extraordinary Programming Director for KTLA back in the 80's. And he signed a book for her saying, "To Lisa: Here's a salute to those KTLA days we shared". It will soon be in the mail, speeding its way to her Canadian home.