Posts Tagged ‘Jessica Savitch’

Thank God For Women (and a Few Good Men)

With the exception of my grandfather, John Henry Peoples, and President Jimmy Carter,

Autograph Carters

women have always seemed to inspire me more.

inspiration

This started with my dear mother, Dessie and Jessica Savitch of NBC News in the 1970s and 1980s, to Hillary Clinton!  I’m still with her!

Hillary AP

In the 1980s, I was obsessed and inspired by Madonna, Janet Jackson, Taylor Dayne, and Whitney Houston.

Reba Anthony 2005

In the 1990s, for me, it was Reba McEntire, Patty Loveless, Mariah Carey, LeAnn Rimes, Toni Braxton, Julia Roberts, Jodie Foster, and Gillian Anderson.

The 21st century highlighted a 1980s favorite, Kylie Minogue, and Britney Spears (who debuted on the pop scene in late 1998).  Both overcame what could have been career-ending obstacles (cancer and a breakdown) to show their strength, thus inspiring millions!

But today,  my blog is really dedicated to the first four female singers who made a big impact on my formative years — the 1970s.

While they all dominated the music world that decade, one charted her biggest hit in the 1980s and one of the others had massive hits in her genre into the mid-1990s!

Ironically, it wasn’t until the past five years or so that I finally got to see three of them in concert.  While radio only plays their classics now, they sounded amazing live well past their radio dominance!

In honor, I’ll start with the one that’s no longer with us.

Karen

Karen Carpenter’s voice was so angelic and the music of the Carpenters was inescapable starting with “(They Long To Be) Close to You” in 1970, which was their first Top 40 hit and it went on to top the chart.

“Merry Christmas Darling” is my second favorite Carpenters song and this one is my favorite.

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN

In September, Olivia Newton-John celebrated her 70th birthday.

As a kid, I absolutely fell in love with her when “Let Me Be There” hit the Billboard Country Top Ten in 1973.

Olivia has charted 27 Top 40 hits (pop and country).  Of those, 15 reached the Top Ten.

Five of those smashes reached #1:  “I Honestly Love You” (1974), “Have You Never Been Mellow” (1975), “You’re The One That I Want” (1978, with John Travolta), “Magic” (1980), and “Physical” (1981), which spent ten weeks at the top of the chart becoming her biggest hit.

I saw her in concert in Las Vegas in May 2014.

Olivia 2014

“Xanadu” is my favorite Olivia Newton-John song!  It reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980.

If you’d like to read a full blog I dedicated to Olivia, here’s the link and it’ll open in a new window when you click on it.

I’m Still Hopelessly Devoted To Olivia

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/im-still-hopelessly-devoted-to-olivia/

TANYA TUCKER

I’ve been a huge Tanya Tucker fan since she exploded onto the country music scene in 1972 with “Delta Dawn”.

While Tanya is just six years older than me (she just celebrated her 60th birthday), it was fun seeing a teenager dominating country music.

delta_dawn-1973-tanya_tucker

I finally got to see Tanya in concert in December 2017 in Las Vegas.  She looked and sounded amazing.

Tanya.jpg

I’ve written two blog about her.

One was about her book “Nickel Dreams”, which covered her music career and her crazy personal life.

I’m Glad Tanya Tucker Shared Her Nickel Dreams

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/im-glad-tanya-tucker-shared-her-nickel-dreams/

The other was a countdown of my 20 favorite Tanya hits before I saw her in concert!

My 20 Favorite Tanya Tucker Songs

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/11/01/my-20-favorite-tanya-tucker-songs/

Spoiler alert!

spoiler-alert

If you don’t click on that to see what my 20 favorite Tanya songs are, here’s my favorite!

“Lizzie and the Rainman” hit #1 on the Billboard Country chart in 1975.

But the star of today’s blog is Helen Reddy, who’s celebrating her 77th birthday (October 25, 2018)!

HelenReddy2

Charting 14 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 (three made it all the way to #1), she was referred to as the “Queen of 70s Pop”.

I was fortunate enough to catch her in concert outside of Chicago in March 2013.

Helen Reddy Sign.jpg

Helen Reddy 1

I almost got to meet her, but there was a mix-up at the theater.  😦  However, my friend Jim, who works for Helen, arranged for this gorgeous consolation gift!Helen Reddy Autograph

In honor of her birthday, I’m counting down my 10 favorite Helen Reddy songs!

#10  “YOU AND ME AGAINST THE WORLD”

#9     “AIN’T NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY”

#8    “EMOTION

#7   “PEACEFUL”

#6  “I DON’T KNOW HOW TO LOVE HIM”

5

“LEAVE ME ALONE (RUBY RED DRESS)”

Interestingly enough, Helen now condemns the song “Leave Me Alone” as repetitive and points out that you hear the title of the song 43 times in the single.  I bet you’ll go back and listen to it now and count along.  🙂

When I saw her in concert in 2013, she didn’t perform it.

She once told an audience that it is “one song I will never ever sing again” and “that sort of songwriting doesn’t do much for me, but it was a hit. However, I don’t have to sing it anymore if I don’t want to, and I don’t want to.”

4

“ANGIE BABY”

#3 CD

“DELTA DAWN”

#2 CD

“KEEP ON SINGING”

This was featured in the medley for #5, but I’m posting the full version here.

Another number 1

“I AM WOMAN”

I’ve dedicated three blogs to Helen over the years and here are the links if you’d like to read them.  Again, each will open in a new window when you click on it!

Helen Reddy, Thank You For Making Me The Advocate I Am Now! (February 2012)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/helen-reddy-thank-you-for-making-me-the-advocate-i-am-now/

Helen, Here’s To Many More Happy Birthdays (October 2012)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/helen-heres-to-many-more-happy-birthdays/

Why Helen Reddy Will Always Remember Moline (September 2014)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/why-helen-reddy-will-always-remember-moline/

To each of these beautiful and wonderful ladies, thank you for music and the memories.  And, to all of the women (and Jimmy Carter and my grandfather), thank you for the inspiration!

Happy Birthday Helen and Happy Belated Birthday Olivia and Tanya!

Anthony

Meeting My Biggest Inspiration in Life

My first two idols in life were my my mother, Dessie, and my grandfather, John Henry Peoples.

Dessie Birthday 1989

John Henry

Sadly, their lives were cut short.  I had my mother for 26 years and my grandfather for only 13 years.  But, they still have a strong impact on my life decades later.

In life, we look up to others for guidance or inspiration.  It can be friends and family, politicians, entertainment stars, and so on.

JIMMY & ROSALYNN CARTER

This past weekend, I took advantage of living in Panama City, Florida, to fulfill a life-long dream of meeting the man and woman I’ve idolized the longest in my life.

Plains

Plains, Georgia, is about 180 miles away (3.5 hours).  I got up very early Sunday and drove to Marantha Baptist Church for a Sunday school lesson from President Jimmy Carter.

R JC AP

After his lesson and the Sunday service from Pastor Brandon Patterson, I got to meet the man and woman that I helped put in the White House in the 1976 presidential election.

As an 11-year-old boy, I got to go into the voting booth with my grandmother Helen back in Mayfield, Kentucky.  She let me choose her candidate and, of course, it was Jimmy Carter and his lovely wife, Rosalynn.

CarterPres

My vote four years later didn’t keep them in Washington D.C. and they headed back to Plains.

It’s incredible how much the couple has done in the 36 years since leaving the White House — building homes for Habitat for Humanity, ensuring fair elections across the world, bringing medication to poor countries and eradicating Guinea worm disease and river blindness, raising awareness to mental health, and the list goes on.

President Carter and Mrs. Carter, thank you for inspiring me for more than 40 years and Happy 71st Anniversary again!

I’ve written about President Carter many times, but this is my favorite.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/forget-marilyn-i-want-my-week-with-jimmy/

REBA McENTIRE

While Reba McEntire became a powerhouse superstar in the mid-1980s, I was all about dance and pop music in my 20s during her rise to super stardom.

Reba 45s

However, I discovered her at Sidetracks in Chicago on country night in 1990.  That voice singing “Rumor Has It” blew me away and I’ve been a huge fan ever since.

Regardless of what was happening in my life, good or bad, when Reba released a new album, there were songs that I feel she recorded just for me.

Reba Anthony 2005

I’ve now seen Reba in concert thirteen (13) times and I got to meet her in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 2005.

Starting with the November election and, especially, this year, I’ve gone through many changes and not for the better.

So, of course, Reba comes through for me with her 2017 release, “Sing it Now: Songs of Faith & Hope”.

HILLARY CLINTON

I’ve admired Hillary Clinton since she became the First Lady of the United States in January 1993.

There is no politician that hasn’t been raked over the coals in their career.  And, now with 24-hour news channels and less objectivity in their reporting for higher ratings, it’s easy to vilify people, especially if it’s a strong woman.

If you supported another candidate in the last election, you know what I’m talking about. They were beat up in that divisive, long campaign, too.

Hillary AP

I went to hear Hillary speak on a cold winter’s day in Davenport, Iowa, in January 2016.

When she finished, I politely edged my way through the crowd toward the roped off area in front of the stage.  I lucked out and we talked a little –we exchanged hellos and I wished her success.

You know how much I love Christmas and I was so looking forward to visiting the beautifully decorated Clinton White House this holiday season…

MADONNA

MadonnaCone

My fourth idol is the only one that I haven’t met, and after seeing her in concert four times, that meeting may be elusive.

I’ve been a huge Madonna fan since before her first album came out in the summer of 1983, as her club hit, “Everybody” was racing up the dance charts before Top 40 radio discovered her with “Holiday”.

Madonna 1983 Album

I admire her fight to succeed, her fight for equality, her love of the LGBT community, and for not being afraid to stand her ground on issues that go against the grain.

Sadly, I have two more idols that are no longer with us.

JESSICA SAVITCH

The first is Jessica Savitch, the “Golden Girl” of NBC News.  She inspired me to go into television news.

Jessica-Savitch

I wrote about her in an October 2012 blog on the anniversary of her drowning death.  (The link below will open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/remembering-the-woman-that-inspired-me-to-go-into-television/

HARVEY MILK

The other idol that I’ll never meet is Harvey Milk.

His strength and determination gives me the drive to fight for equality — for my LGBT community and for everyone that’s not getting a fair shake in life.

Milk1

Here’s my blog about him. (It, too, will open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/11-3-1977-harvey-milk/

As you can see, my all-time idol and inspiration, President Jimmy Carter and Harvey Milk met.

Harvey Milk meets Jimmy Carter, May 1976

President Carter and Ms. Rosalynn, Reba, Hillary, and Madonna, thank you for the inspiration.

Mom, Granddaddy, Jessica, and Harvey, I hope you’re having a great time up there looking down on us as we try to inspire others.

Anthony

 

 

 

Random Friday Thoughts — July 7, 2017

I hope you had a nice Fourth of July with some good food, great friends, and celebrating the country’s birthday.

I worked, so it was just another day for me.

Thank you for checking out my Random Friday Thoughts and enjoy your weekend!

FACE LIFTS & DECENCY

I’ve been very good at saying little about the state of nation since January 20th.

I expressed my feelings of how my life has shattered since the night of November 8th and not being able to deal with the anger in “It Starts With Me”:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/04/07/it-all-starts-with-me/

And, the “Change” it’s brought to my life:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/04/15/change/

So, I’ll still stick to saying very little about #45.

However, I’m going to comment on the disgusting Twitter tirade of Donald Trump toward Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”.

 

Psycho 1

I don’t watch their show, so I’m have no loyalty for them in that sense.

However, there are so many things going on in this country and the world that needs the undivided attention of a leader and this isn’t one of them.

Neither is Twitter.  I know it’s the electronic age and Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or whatever social media you use gives you access to express your feelings with immediacy. But, maybe some just need to think before they speak.

The bottom line is that there isn’t a politician in this country EVER that hasn’t been criticized by the news media.

Jimmy Carter

Look at all that was said about Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan in the 1970s and 1980s.  Did you see them personally attack news anchors or reporters with such vile?

RonaldReagan

No, they were gentlemen.

This is a disgrace!

#Resistance

FOURTH OF JULYS

I worked until noon this Fourth of July and chilled out the rest of the day in the Florida heat and humidity.

For those of you that have followed me for years, you may already know this.

My favorite Independence Day was 1976 when America celebrated its 200th birthday, our bicentennial.

This is what I wrote on July 4, 2012:  “As a kid, I was mesmerized with the sight of hundreds of boats from the U.S. and other countries filling New York Harbor and with the sound of “Fernando” by ABBA blasting on the radio.  (It’s hard to believe that just one month later, ABBA would release “Dancing Queen”!)”

Meanwhile, July 4, 2007, will go down as the worst Fourth of July ever for me (hopefully).

I was working the morning show and I went in at 1:45 a.m.  Rain was coming down in buckets.  As I was running toward the door, my keys went flying out of my hand and were submerged underwater.  By the time I found my spare keys in my bag, I was soaked from head to toe.

I told the producer that I had to go home and get another suit.  On the three-minute drive to my house, the torrential rains continued to fall and all of a sudden, a wall of water flooded into the intersection.

In a matter of seconds (real-time seconds), my car stalled and the motor died as water quickly came up to the door.  At the same time, three other cars met the same fate that mine did!

FloodingBSticker3flat

I quickly thought about the power locks in the car and if it shorted out, I’d be locked inside with no way out.  I’d drown getting trapped in my car on a busy street in town!

I had a Jessica Savitch flashback moment.  For those of you that don’t know who her, she is/was one of my idols.  She was a news anchor, the “Golden Girl” of  NBC news, back in the late 1970s.  She drowned in an overturned car in a flooded ravine back in 1983!

Jessica-Savitch

As I took off my shoes and socks and opened the door, I stepped out into the raging waters as three intoxicated teenagers came running over and helped me push my car into an alley.

At this time, I was soaked and water had already risen into the intersection up to my knees.  I went back and helped the kids push the other three cars to safety.

I walked the fifteen blocks to my house dressed in a suit, soaking wet, and bare-footed.

The car’s engine was hydro-locked and had to be replaced!

That was ten years ago and I hope that goes down as the worst Fourth of July in my lifetime!

“MASTER OF NONE”

While a little “Netflix and chill” soundS good, it’s just “Netflix” for me this summer. 🙂

I finished season five of “House of Cards” and just started watching “Master of None”.

The Emmy Award-winning show features comedian Aziz Ansari in the lead role.

He plays a 30-year-old actor working toward his big break while navigating single life in New York City.

My favorite episodes of season one:  “Indians on TV”, “Old People”, and “Hot Ticket” .

While Ansari is funny and I love the conversations he has with his three best friends, my favorite character on the show is his lesbian friend Denise.

Her dry, dead-pan delivery just cracks me up.  Denise is played by out Chicago-born actress Lena Waithe.

Denise Lena

FELL IN LOVE WITH FATHER JOHN MISTY

After seeing the “Hot Ticket” episode of “Master of None”, which partly took place at a private Father John Misty show, I fell in love with the song “Chateau Lobby #5 (in C for Two Virgins)” from his “I Love You, Honeybear” album (and he’s cute, too).

The scene gets rather raunchy so I’ll share this BBC Two performance.

By the way, Father John Misty is 36-year-old Josh Tillman, the drummer for the rock folk band, Fleet Foxes.

His new solo album is “Pure Comedy”.

“I LOVE DICK”

Okay, I bet that got your attention! 🙂  It’s a bold statement that probably comes only as a surprise to you that I typed it.

Now, get your mind out of the gutter!  If you have Amazon Prime, you might not have gasped out loud seeing that headline.

It’s a new series co-created by Jill Soloway (“Transparent”).  I haven’t seen it and I’m only writing about it to share a line of the funny review by “Entertainment Weekly” (June 23, 2017): “She becomes obsessed with Kevin Bacon’s Dick, a fine artist whose withering judgement and sex-cowboy cool threatens to unravel her.”

Seriously, I read the first seven words and smiled, laughed, and saw “blah blah blah” after that.

Creative writing is so much better than angry, immature, and insensitive tweets in the middle of the night!

#Resistance

MISSING “HOUSE OF CARDS”?

Are you like me and you’ve already binge-watched the fifth season of “House of Cards” and you already miss the iciness of Claire Underwood (Robin Wright)?

Then you have to check out “Miss Sloane” with two-time Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Jesssica Chastain!

She’s incredible as always!

GRADE:  A

DONUT DELIGHT!

Once I moved to Panama City, Florida, two months ago, I got to shop at Piggly Wiggly again.  If you’re from the South (or you’ve seen “Steel Magnolias”), you know it’s a staple here.

One my first visit, I found a bag of “Peach Cobbler” limited edition mini donuts from Tastykake.  They were so good.

I then tried the “Key Lime”, which were just okay.

But, I just found my new favorite (so far) — Birthday Kake!

Birthday Kake

I can’t wait to see what seasonal flavors arrive this fall and winter!

However, a quick Google search shows they’ve sold Pumpkin Spice, Karrot Kake, Caramel Apple, Gingerbread, Salted Caramel, and Red Velvet in the past! 🙂

‘Tis the season!

“MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS”

I’ve only been to the theater once this year to see “Beauty and the Beast”. I’m still thinking of going to see “Wonder Woman”.

Otherwise, there’s only three other movies that I want to see this year:  “The Beguiled” with my girl crush Nicole Kidman, “The Snowman” with my boy crush Michael Fassbender (no official trailer yet — in theaters October 20th), and this interesting remake of the Agatha Christie classic, “Murder on the Orient Express”.

It opens November 10th.

FLASHBACK TO KICK OFF WEEKEND

As crazy as it may seem, Ylvis’ “The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?)” was my #3 song of 2013.

Since its release, the video has been viewed almost 680 million times on YouTube!

So, here’s to the weekend.  Enjoy. 🙂

By the way, the song hit #1 in the duo’s native Norway.

It also hit the Top Ten here in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100, along with Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, South Korea, Scotland, and Sweden!

 THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony

When I Get To Heaven

Heaven.

It’s something we think about and many of us almost instinctively think of hell.  Well, to hell with that, I want to talk about heaven today.

There’s Bryan Adams’ “Heaven” (which was re-made by DJ Sammy), “Heaven Is A Place On Earth”, “Heaven’s Just A Sin Away”, “Stairway To Heaven”, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, “One Night In Heaven”, “Tears In Heaven” and many more songs with “heaven” in the title.

Yes, I’m getting older, but I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about mortality.  My parents died early — my mother was 47 and my father was 55.  I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t cross my mind.  However, my latest physical showed that I was healthy and I feel good for my age.

Heaven

But, I know one day I’ll come to those pearly gates and I’ll be welcomed in with open arms.  Since we really don’t know what heaven is like, how we see it is subjective.

When the time comes, I’ll miss those that I leave behind here on Earth.  However, I already know what I’ll do when I get there.

Animals Heaven

It brings me such joy almost four years after my beloved golden retriever, ABBA, left us on Earth to know she’ll be there smiling and happily greeting me.

ABBAFashionShowJan2012

October 2011

October 2011

04012011 ABBA Anthony
If she’s napping when I make my entrance, I wonder what her thumping tail on the clouds will sound like when she knows I’ve entered heaven.  I hope it still sounds like her tail thumping on the hardwood floors in life.  That brought me such joy to come home and hear that welcoming sound.  Upon hearing that, any problems I had that day just melted away.

Since heaven is peaceful, I know that Miss ABBA and my chow chow, Keshia, (1986-1998), are friends.

Keshia 001 Keshia 002

Their demeanor was very different.  ABBA loved everyone (she was a golden) and Keshia was very much a one-person dog.  She showered me with love, but was slow to warm to others.

And, it would be great to see our family dog, Cricket, again.  We had her through much of my childhood in the 1970s.  She died in 1982, my senior year in high school.

After I shower Miss ABBA with love and reacquaint myself with Keshia and Cricket, I can’t wait to see my mother and let all the years, tears, and sadness since November 1990 just fade away.

Dessie Birthday 1989

I won’t have to give her all of the details of my successes and failures and the ups and downs in my life.  She already knows all of that because she’s been looking over me and my sister, Tammy, now for 25 years.

Dessie 1990

It’ll be so nice to see my grandparents, John Henry and Helen Peoples, again.

HelenJohn Henry

I was lucky to have my grandmother Helen around until I turned 29, but my grandfather, John Henry, was taken away from us in early 1978, when I was only 13.

While I’ll never forget his last Christmas as he was dying from colon cancer, it was remarkable how he stayed in good spirits.

I’ll always cherish the weekends we spent together at Kentucky Lake camping out and fishing.  Also, all of the memories of just piddling around in the back yard and in his work garage will remain vividly clear in my mind.  He made me feel loved and appreciated.

I never really liked the taste of beer too much.  But, as a kid, it was so cool that he would let me lick the suds off his beer cans when he’d open them.  Maybe it’s because of the suds that I’ve now moved on to champagne, wine, and vodka as an adult. 🙂

I can’t wait to say “thank you” and let him know how much I idolized him.  I know, as a kid, I never told him.

There was talk that I was almost named after my father.  I’m grateful that I wasn’t.  However, it would have been an honor to have been a “John Henry”!

Dessie-Hollie-Anthony -- Fall 1964

Since heaven is a perfect place, it’ll be nice to be friends with my father, Hollie.  We weren’t friends in life.

I’d be able to forgive him for his hateful, homophobic, sexist, and racist attitudes, and his total disregard for anyone else’s feelings.  In heaven, we wouldn’t have to deal with his alcoholism and all of the times he aimed guns at me and my mother and sister forcing us to hide outside until he passed out.  All would be forgotten.

In life, I was not sad when he died.  I was only saddened because of my mother’s broken heart.  Whatever good she saw in him, maybe I’d be able to see in heaven.

The-Carpenters

Once I caught up with my cherished pets and my family, the first person I want to befriend in heaven is Karen Carpenter.

While chasing fame in life, Karen was obsessed with her weight and she starved herself to death.

In heaven, Karen would never have to hear the words anorexia nervosa and I wouldn’t know anything about bulimia, the eating disorder that I struggled with for nine years from 1986 through 1995.

In early 1995, I was down to 116 pounds and I thought I was fat.  While I’m not a practicing bulimic today, I’m still obsessed with weight gains and losses, eating too much, and fighting the urge to binge and purge.

On Earth, Karen had the voice of an angel.  In heaven, I would be blessed to have a front row seat to hear my new friend sing.

Until then, her music lives on.

And, since it’s Christmas time and that friendship and concert with Karen will have to wait, I can enjoy this classic.

John Lennon

I’d also like to meet John Lennon and just sit and listen to his wisdom of his words.  People on Earth would still be able to strive for the peace found in “Let It Be” and”Imagine”, my two favorite songs of all time.

I’d also want to hang out with Jessica Savitch and let her know that she inspired me go into television news.

Jessica

And, finally, in heaven, I’d be able to witness former President Ronald Reagan hanging out with the more than 650,000 Americans that have died of AIDS.  A majority of those have been gay men.

RonaldReagan

It took President Reagan almost six years after taking office to publicly mention AIDS for the first time.   In the spring of 1987, he called it “public enemy number one”.

From the summer of 1981 when “The New York Times” published an article about “gay cancer” to end of the year that Reagan first publicly mentioned AIDS, a reported 50-thousand-plus Americans were diagnosed with the disease and more than 40-thousand of them died!

I hated the man for decades for his ignorance in handling the AIDS crisis.

However, in heaven, all would be forgiven and I could see Ronald Reagan at a disco or a tea dance with all those that suffered during his presidency and all of those that succumbed to AIDS in the 25 years after he left office.

I can envision haters like Jesse Helms, Jerry Falwell, Anita Bryant (if she goes before me), and their close-minded friends on Earth partying with Harvey Milk, Matthew Shepard, Teena Brandon, and every other LGBT person that died at the hands of anti-gay violence brought on by bigotry and ignorance.

In heaven, we’re all God’s children like we should be on Earth.

In heaven, there’s only love.

I’m not ready to go to heaven just yet, but I sure would have so much fun catching up and living the life.

Anthony

Remembering The Woman That Inspired Me To Go Into Television News

While I credit my mother’s strengths, and weaknesses, to getting me to where I am today in life, she never saw me working at a commercial, network-affiliated television station.  She did see me on television as a weathercaster and music show host (“Music Visions”) on MSU TV-11, our campus television station in Murray, Kentucky, back in the 1980s.

APweather1985

She was always proud of my straight As in high school, for which I thank  my favorite science teacher, Roxanne Ferguson, and my favorite math teacher, Vasteene Rives.  They inspired to me to follow my dreams of being a scientist.

As a teenager, I confirmed that I wanted to be a television meteorologist.  For that, I have current “Good Morning America” weatherman Sam Champion, who was working at WPSD in Paducah, Kentucky, back then, along with WPSD meteorologist Paul Boucherau to thank.  Also, there’s former “Good Morning America” meteorologist John Coleman, who started the “The Weather Channel”.

However, the person that inspired me the most to get into the television news “rat race” was a woman who tragically died on this day back in 1983.

While some Americans first learned of Jessica Savitch on the radio in New Jersey and New York in the 1960s as the “honeybee”, while she attended Ithaca College in New York, her first television job was at KHOU in Houston, Texas in 1971.

She worked her way up from being a reporter to becoming the first woman news anchor in the South three months after starting there.  It didn’t take long for the big markets to seek her out.  In 1972, she was hired at KYW in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the fourth largest television market in the country, for the weekend newscasts.  She then became that station’s main anchor.

From there, NBC News came calling in 1977 and offered her a position as the Washington correspondent.  Although it was tough on her because many thought she was given the position for her beauty, she fought to prove herself and become the weekend news anchor.

Savitch1983

On air, Jessica was magical.  The camera loved her.  America loved her.  And, I  loved her.  As much as I wanted to be a television weatherman, I remember as a teenager sitting on my bed reading the newspaper to the wall pretending it was a camera and wanting to be just like Jessica Savitch.

It’s often said that fame and success comes with a price.  And, that’s true.  For Jessica, the price she paid for success was rumored to be drugs.   I won’t say that it’s true or it wasn’t because I wasn’t there.

Nevertheless, her private life was a mess.  It started with her abusive boyfriend back in Houston, who was a reporter at a competing station and continued with her two failed marriages in 1980 and 1981.  Her second husband, Dr. Donald Payne, committed suicide in the basement of their Washington DC townhouse  with her husky, Chewy’s, leash knowing that Jessica would find him.

It had to be rough on all women, including Jessica, working their way up in the male chauvinistic world of television in the 1970s.  For women, it meant you had to work twice as hard as men to accomplish less and it also meant that you made enemies.  Enemies that would make  recorded tantrums public.

Being a television personality, I’ll defend Jessica here.  I have been burned several times by the production crew, directors, and producers with timing issues.  You are the person on the air that is cut off, rushed, or made to look bad.  You are the face that people at home see when things go wrong.

As the rumors swirled about Jessica’s possible drug use and erratic behavior, it all reached a climax with this NBC News Digest from 1983.

Jessica blamed it on a faulty teleprompter (the magic words of the scripts on the camera that an anchor reads), yet her publicist said it was adverse reaction to prescription medication and a glass of wine at dinner.  Nevertheless, it added fuel to the fire about Jessica.

Jessica began dating Martin Fischbein, the Vice President of the “New York Post”, and seemed happy.  On the evening of October 23, 1983, they drove to New Hope, Pennsylvania, to have dinner at Odette’s Restaurant.

When Jessica and Martin left the restaurant in heavy rain, she got in the backseat with Chewy.  In the inclement weather, Martin apparently missed the posted warning signs and the car dropped fifteen feet and sank in the mud to the bottom of the old Pennsylvania Canal’s Delaware Division, which is on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River.

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Jessica, Martin, and Chewy were trapped inside and they all died.

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The official cause of death was asphyxiation by drowning.  No drugs or alcohol played any part in the crash, according to the coroner’s report.

In the fall of 1983, I gave a speech about Jessica Savitch and her death in my “Introduction to Radio-Television” class at Murray State and I made a “B” for my presentation.

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Jessica, I still think of you 29 years after your death and I thank you for inspiring me and so many young women that followed in your footsteps.  You set the standard for television news that is still being mimicked today.

Anthony