I have an older sister, Leslie, who lives in a small town in Washington state called Wenatchee.
She teaches voice there and that town treats her as if she was the Beatles.
And that's a good thing.
One year she had a concert fundraiser for the Wenatchee Valley Symphony and she brought in some out of town muscle, my dad and me, to help out. My dad sings and he came to do just that. I was on CBS at the time and I came to be the emcee.
Leslie has sung with the Seattle Opera plus I was so proud to read about her in Time magazine singing Phillip Glass compositions at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music). She wasn't singing this night. She was just in a box in the balcony looking pretty.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that her singing took her to Moscow where in her spare time she taught Muscovites to say, "Cawffee, regular" in the biggest New York accent you've ever heard. Very funny.
Normally, when they have a fundraiser for the Symphony, a thousand bucks is a good haul.
That night we raised $14,000.
And something else happened that night I had never seen before or since.
When we were done and the amount that was raised was announced, the audience turned as one and applauded up to the box and my sister Leslie.
You know how you witness one of those special moments? This was one of them.
I still can see it as if it were yesterday.
One more story.
This one is about Willard Scott.
Willard is my guy.
When I first began at CBS there was no weatherman bigger. Turned out there was none nicer.
The first time I went to lunch with him was at the Rainbow Room at the top of Rockefeller Center. He was already there when I arrived. With a twinkle in his eye he said, "You know what I like about this place? If you eat all the rolls they bring you more!"
That's an ice breaker right there.
He was also the first person to play Ronald McDonald.
Before the Today show, Willard was part of a team on the radio and played Bozo the Clown on TV as well. A local McDonald's franchise had him play 'Ronald McDonald the Hamburger Happy Clown' in three of their television spots.
That was 1963.
It also was the first time America saw Ronald McDonald.
One last Willard tale...
It was Bill Clinton's first Inauguration. When you go on the road with the anchors, they broadcast from one place and the weatherman is like the satellite that revolves around them. In a word you move and that's how I found myself in a parking lot with all kinds of marching bands.
They were going to be in the parade and having them in the shot was great TV.
Willard was in that parking lot, as well. He saw me and before I knew it he pulled me into his shot and we both were on CBS and NBC at the same time. He put his arm around me and gave me a smoochie, on the cheek, on live television.
When you've been smooched by Willard Scott? You've been smooched.
Great TV, great friend.
And that's a couple more of my stories.
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