Saturday, May 10, 2008

News At 10 (60 Years with Stan Chambers)

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.


Lisa said...

Oh my god! I am so thrilled to hear that you were there to salute this amazing man, who was as you said one of the kindest, most decent, gentlemen we ever had the pleasure to work with! And a book -- coming to ME? I can't believe it -- I'm absolutely floored! You know I would have been there right beside you applauding for this remarkable man! Thank you for being there to share our admiration of him! And how nice to see that he drew a good crowd! He is the very essence of the words "integrity in journalism". Thanks, Jane. Makes me proud to have worked at KTLA when we did...truly it was a great place then.

Jane said...

It was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon, and now I have his cool book to read. And as soon as I can get over to the post office, so will you. Sometimes I wonder if I made the right decision going into the TV-Media business. It has been such a rocky road. But then a day like this comes along, and I'm once again proud to have been (even a small) part of it all.

Scott said...

Very cool, Jane! He's part of a dying breed. Remember when local TV news was IT! Ombudsman, informer, bridge builder. Harry and I were such fans of TV news in the 60s & 70s that we joined it in the 80s, just in time for its demise. Now I feel like I just aid and abet the crime that is local TV news.