Wednesday, August 11, 2010

KTLA's Stan Chambers -- Happy Birthday and Happy Retirement!

The news is out -- KTLA's long time -- longest time -- news reporter Stan Chambers announced today that he's officially retiring after a career lasting almost 63 years. This is a good news, bad news situation; it's also Stan's birthday today -- Happy 87th, Stan! -- and while there's nothing but good in celebrating a great man's birthday, there's also a distinct sense of a door closing slowly on an era in TV news. Once upon a time, local news (at least in L.A.) was something more than just gossip, lightweight features, and bubble-brained anchors. KTLA was always something quite different, with the late anchor Hal Fishman handily defying the lightweight anchor stereotype, and with guys like Stan Chambers nosing around the streets of Los Angeles to give the local stories some grativas.

The Flaming Nose has many great memories of Stan Chambers -- some of worked at KTLA in the ol' days -- and to know Stan is to love him. And to respect him, most of all.

Stan's announcement today received a lot of coverage in industry publications and local newspapers, and it's easy to understand why. In a town where scandals reign and the biggest mouth may get the glory, Stan Chambers has been the epitome of class and professionalism his entire career. Many of us may aspire to such a descriptions, but few attain it. Stan Chambers has.

We're happy to read that he might be back for occasional stories on KTLA, but we also think that retirement will suit Stan Chambers. A man with such a zest for the next story or the happening that might happen tomorrow will have no trouble keeping involved with the city that loves him.

To read more about Stan's momentous announcement and to get a sense of the high esteem in which he's held by fellow journalists, read today's article by Cynthia Littleton in Variety ("Stan Chambers signs off from KTLA"), the L.A. Times story by Greg Braxton entitled "KTLA's Stan Chambers to announce retirement", the coverage on Business Wire (from a KTLA press release), and a nice interview and story on the Southern California Public Radio site by KPCC's Steve Julian and Mike Roe. Also check out the L.A. Observed site's article from yesterday by Kevin Roderick -- "Standing Ovation: Stan Chambers to retire". (On an almost related note, I found a great essay by Nathan Callahan about Stan Chamber's role in KTLA's coverage of a little-remembered 1951 murder in Southern California; read it here.)

Stan Chambers compleatists will want to watch the excellent four-hour interview with Stan at the Archive of American Television, from 1998, in which he discusses his career and his place in the world of Los Angeles newsgathering. We also hope that you've devoured his excellent autobiography from a couple of years ago "KTLA's News at Ten 60 Years with Stan Chambers"; Jane wrote about it here when it came out, and loved it!

Best of all is that KTLA is producing a one-hour special "Stan Chambers -- NEWSMAN" which will air on Monday, August 23rd at 8pm, with an encore on Sunday, September 5th at 11pm. This will be must-watch TV for all of us at The Flaming Nose, and we hope you'll tune in, too. Visit KTLA's site for more great info and photo features on Stan Chambers!

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